This volume might have been titled "The Early Jack Vance", as it features stories from the first dozen years of Vance's career, when his major outlet was pulp magazines. In these stories, Vance already displays the lively imagination and mastery of the English language that came to characterize his entire career.
Among the fifteen stories are these:
The World-Thinker, Vance's first published story, features two types who would recur often in Vance's writing: the assured and competent hero, and the feisty, equally-competent heroine. They deal with an entity who, like Vance himself, creates fully-formed worlds at will.
I'll Build Your Dream Castle is the first occurrence of a theme that also would appear again: the tension between those who buy and those who sell; in this case, houses.
DP! was written shortly after World War II, when refugees and victims of the carnage and upheaval were constantly in the news. Here, the 'displaced persons' are a hominid species driven from their homes by geological catastrophe.
Seven Exits from Bocz is also informed by the horrors of the second War.
The Foreword to this volume is written by Vance scholar David B. Williams, who presents a thorough overview of Vance's entire career, from the promising beginnings presented here, to the masterpieces that would earn him the SFWA Grandmaster award in 1997 and a place in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
The World-Thinker and Other Stories is Volume 1 of the Spatterlight Press Signature Series.Released in the centenary of the author's birth, this handsome new collectionis based upon the prestigious Vance Integral Edition. Select volumes enjoyup-to-date maps, and many are graced with freshly-written forewords contributedby a distinguished group of authors. Each book bears a facsimile of theauthor's signature and a previously-unpublished photograph, chosen from family archives for the period the book was written. These uniquefeatures will be appreciated by all, from seasoned Vance collector to new reader sampling the spectrum of this author's influential work forthe first time. - John Vance II
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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.