Throughout his long and impressive career as a celebrated professional storyteller, Jack Vance showed a fascination not only with having characters solve mysteries in all sorts of dramatic and wondrous situations using their powers of observation, deduction and common sense, but also with the possibility of higher states of mind in play, other realms of existence, even spirit worlds.
Vance approached such things with a healthy, properly wary, scientific curiosity, even while embracing the liberties allowed any popular entertainer, and so made the exploration of such higher states part of his stock in trade.
Whether richly displayed in his Dying Earth stories with their wizardly spellcasting, eldritch beings and strange dimensions, or in his science fiction tales with the incredible mental powers afforded races like the Green Chasch, the Fwai-chi, the Meks of Etamin 9 besieging the final human strongholds in “The Last Castle,” even given to divergent human peoples on Koryphon, Maske and countless other worlds, or to the likes of his most extraordinary Demon Prince, Howard Alan Treesong, Vance was forever drawn to what else might comprise human (and other) natures in all their myriad forms.
Minding the Stars: The Early Jack Vance Volume 4 reflects this beguiling blend of the practical and the otherworldly, combining tales that explore the workings of such mental powers with other stories selected from the earlier days of the Grandmaster’s illustrious career.
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About the Author
California native Jack Vance (1916-2013) was one of the greats of science fiction. He was the author of dozens of sci-fi books and fantasy novels, including the popular Lyonesse and Dying Earth series and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning book The Last Castle. In 1997, he was honored as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. He died in Oakland, California.