Jack Vance

1916 -

American writer

Author Jack Vance has been central to both science fiction and fantasy since 1945, publishing nearly ninety novels and collections. He has received every major genre award, including the Edgar, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master.

Beginning in the late 1940s, Vance contributed a variety of short stories and novels to the pulp magazines, but nothing of this early work, dependent as it was on pulp conventions, prefigured the mature Vance. The change began with his first published book, The Dying Earth (1950). The novel's convincing articulation of a future Earth in which magic has replaced science was instantly influential, and remains so to the present, continuing to inspire authors and game designers.

Vance's second original contribution to the science fiction and fantasy fields was his sophisticated approach to the "planetary romance," a style of science fiction tale in which the setting is a richly detailed planet, the characteristics of which significantly effect the plot. Vance's work not only expanded this genre's existing archetypes, but established several new ones, significantly inspiring other authors to this day.

As Vance's created worlds became richer and more complex, so too did his style. His writing had always tended toward the baroque, but by the early 1960s it had developed into an effective, high-mannered diction, saturated with a rich but distanced irony. His resulting genius of place, and command as a landscape artist and gardener of worlds has rarely been matched.

Selected Bibliography:
The Dying Earth (1950)
Big Planet (1952)
Showboat World (1975)
The Dragon Masters (1963)