Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, August 9, 2013


Today is Jack Vance Day on Friday's Forgotten Books.  Because I am a slacker, I'm not reviewing any of Vance's books today.  What you should do is head over to In Reference to Murder, B.V. Lawson's fantastic blog, where she will be curating this week's links.  (Patti Abbott will return to her grindstone next week.)  Anyway, that's where you will find about a zillion links to reviews of Jack Vance books and stories -- as well as of other books that caught the eyes of your faithful FFBers.

But let's get back to Vance, who is not being reviewed by me.  For those unfamiliar with the man and his work, Jack Vance (a.k.a. John Holbrook Vance, Peter Held, Alan Wade, John Van See, John Holbrook, and occasionally Ellery Queen) was, IMHO, perhaps the greatest stylist since Avram Davidson.  He's won Hugo Awards and a Nebula for his science fiction, a World Fantasy Award. the Jupiter Award, an Edgar for his mystery fiction, and the admiration of readers everywhere.  A Science Fiction Grand Master and a winner of the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award, Vance passed away this past May at age 96.  For those unfamiliar with his work, get off the stick and start reading!

And to help you start reading, here's some stories available free on the web:


  • "Hard Luck Diggings" (Startling Stories, July 1948) *
  • "Sonatoris Shortcut" (Startling Stories, September 1948) *
  • "New Bodies for Old" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1950)
  • The Five Gold Bands (Startling Stories, November 1950)
  • "Overlords of Maxus" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, February 1951)
  • "The Masquerade on Dicantropus" (Starling Stories, September 1951)
  • "The Plagian Siphon" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, October 1951)
  • "Abercrombie Station" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, February 1952) **
  • "Sabotage on Sulfur Planet" (Startling Stories, June 1952)
  • "Chowell's Chickens" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, August 1952) **
  • Big Planet (Startling Stories, September 1952)
  • "The Kokold Warriors" (Thrilling Wonder, October 1952) *
  • "Three-Legged Joe" (Startling Stories, January 1953)
  • The Houses of Iszm (Startling Stories, March 1954) ***
*  Magnus Ridolph stories
** "Abercrombie Station" and "Chowell's Chickens" were combined to form the novel Monsters in Orbit (1965)
*** The Ace Books edition (1964) adds about 8,000 words

At Internet Archive:
  • "Winner Lose All" (Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1951)
  • "Ulward's Retreat" (Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1958)

At Project Gutenberg:
  • "Sjambak" (If, July 1953)

At Baen Books *:
  • "Liane the Wayfarer" (Worlds Beyond, December 1950) * *
* included in The World Turned Upside-Down, edited by David Drake, James Baen, and Eric Flint (Baen Books, 2006)
** a Dying Earth story

And, in audio in two parts at (#272. #273):
  • "The Moon Moth" (Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1961)

Also, Vance's Edgar-winning novel, Man in a Cage, was filmed in 1963as an episode of Boris Karloff's Thriller and is available on Youtube.  The radio show Dimension X aired an adaptation of "The Potters of Firsk" (from Astounding Science Fiction, May 1950), available at Internet Archive.  In 1953 Vance wrote two episodes of Captain video and His Video Rangers ("Black Planet Academy" and "Adventure on Phobus"); if these are available on the internet I have not been able to find them.  Can anybody help?

My discussion of Vance's Bad Ronald (both the book and the 1974 television movie) was published on this blog on May 31.

Here's an interview with Vance that was hosted by Mike Hodel on Hour 25 on November 12, 1976:

And, finally, Vance with ukulele and kazoo!

96 years.  A life well lived.


  1. Thanks for pointing to all this Vance bounty available on the web - all sounds great Jerry, cheers.

  2. Jerry, I haven't read anything by Jack Vance yet, so thanks very much for the "guided tour" of the author and his work.

  3. My Kindle loves free stuff, thanks! That's also interesting about 'Man in a Cage' being a TV episode -- I'll have to see if I can scare that up.

  4. I've been reading Jack Vance since the 1960s. He's my favorite SF writer. Vance wrote unique books that resonate for years! Nice review!

  5. My only quibble--Davidson actually followed Vance into print, and both were pretty damned fully-formed by their initial publications (startlingly enough)...

    1. You're right, of course, Todd. The point I was trying to get was that Davidson left the stage long before Vance and that Vance continued to wonder us with his newer works. Both certainly belong in a select pantheon.