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Vance, Jack

set fantasy science populated

(US, 1916– )

Jack Vance is the most consistently successful of fantasy writers in the American or non-Tolkienian tradition, and has also written many works of ‘space opera’, adventurous science fiction often set in quasi-medieval worlds. Vance's fantasy career began with The Dying Earth (1950), a collection of stories set in a very distant future where science has become indistinguishable from magic, and where the Earth is populated by ghosts and monsters as well as humans: this has had several sequels. A much later fantasy sequence is the Lyonesse trilogy begun by Lyonesse I: Suldrun's Garden (1983), this time set in a pre-Arthurian land, now drowned beneath the sea, but once more populated by creatures of incomparable diversity. Successful works of science fiction by Vance include Big Planet (1952) and Star King (1964). Their strength lies in his ability to create societies and cultures of bizarre plausibility.

Avram Davidson, Michael Shea.


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