Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jack Vance: Genre Artist

The Genre Artist - "If you had never read [Jack] Vance and were browsing a bookstore’s shelf, you might have no particular reason to choose one of his books instead of one next to it by A. E. van Vogt, say, or John Varley. And if you chose one of these alternatives, you would go on your way to the usual thrills with no idea that you had just missed out on encountering one of American literature’s most distinctive and undervalued voices."


Randy Johnson said...

I received Songs of The Dying Earth in the mail this week.

todd mason said...

What an invidious comparison...John Varley has been one of the most ingenious of sf writers in his time, and while van Vogt isn't my favorite writer, he did offer some models and challenges to those who followed. Neither, of course, is half the prose stylist that Vance is. But had the TIMESer bothered to cite any one of a number of genuinely lesser writers in the field, his point would be stronger. And less of a snotty bit of business.

Matt Hughes said...

@ todd mason

I think he chose Van Vogt and Varley out of alphabetical reality. Those are the two authors most likely to flank Vance in a bookstore or library's sf section.