TheDyingEarthThe moment I read my first Jack Vance story his style and prose imprinted upon my literary soul. In 1985 I heard a lecture by Norwegian writer Øyvind Myrhe, and during this he mentioned some writers that liked. Vance’s name stuck in my mind, and the time I was in a bookstore I found The Narrow Land, a collection of story stories. I was hooked from the title story, and searched all over Bergen for any Jack Vance book I could find.

In 1987 I was in the US for some seminars, and added to my Vance collection with over a dozen DAW paperbacks. I discovered his many and varies series, including the Planet of Adventure (four books), the Durdane trilogy, the Demon Princes (five books), as well as a wide range of fantasy and science fiction.

In 1988 I no longer had to buy just reprints and older paperbacks, as Vance continued to write and I was able to buy new fiction as it was published. Araminta Station was the first new Jack Vance novel I ever bought. This was published as a hardcover by Tor, though shortly afterward I discovered Underwood-Miller, which had published and continued to publish hardcover limited editions of Vance’s work. Some were reprints. Some of books never before published. Others were new books, published shortly before the mass hardcover editions. Through contacts among book dealers and catalogs (this was before the internet), I went back and bought every Underwood-Miller edition I could find. Usually these were the trade hardcover, but some editions were only published as singed, limited books and cost a fair bit more. I supplanted my Tor Araminta Station with an Underwood-Miller book, and the sequels to this novel, Ecce and Old Earth, and Throy, were U-M first. I’m not a Vance completist like some collectors, so I lack a couple of over-sized short stories published by U-M, but I have those in other editions.

Although Vance stopped writing fiction with Lurulu, he wrote an autobiography in 2009, which illuminates the history behind many of his books. This is Me, Jack Vance! (published by Subterranean Press) contains his inimical style, yet is almost far too short. Subterranean has taken over the mantle from Underwood-Miller, and started re-printing many of Jack Vance’s stories and hard to find mysteries, as well as a shared-world book written in honor of Jack Vance.