I’ve been writing way too many of these obituaries over the last few months. Have you ever read anything by Jack Vance? He’s one of my eternal favorites, and certainly one of the greatest wordsmiths I’ve ever encountered. I’ve always been surprised that he’s not better known; he’s a vastly underappreciated SFF grandmaster. I just learned that he passed away over the weekend. Locus has posted an obituary here, and you can leave a tribute message here. By all accounts Vance lived a full life; he was nearly 97, and my understanding is that he had been blind for many years. Still, the world is diminished for his loss.
I’ve been collecting his work for roughly the last fifteen years. I have his entire opus: all six volumes of The Complete Jack Vance plus his autobiography, and many individual works, four of which he signed. I’ll never forget the first Vance story I read: “Mazirian the Magician,” one of his Dying Earth tales collected in the anthology WIZARDS, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh. I encountered this truly amazing collection of fantasy stories when I was about 10-12 (take a look at the table of contents for that collection here).
In light of Vance’s passing, I will have to go back and read or reread more of his work. I’ve thus far reviewed eight of his novels on this blog. They can be found here:
Requiescat in pace, Mr. Vance.