Marune: Alastor 933 – Jack Vance

Alastor #2 An amnesiac slowly finds clues to his home planet and society. Marune was one of the first Jack Vance books I ever bought. In fact, one of the first books of any kind I bought with my own money. I had no idea who Vance was, or what I was getting into. I don’t remember what drew me to the book. It may have been the Coronet cover, which had virtually nothing to…

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Trullion: Alastor 2262 – Jack Vance

Alastor #1 A retired policeman turns to athletic skills to raise money. Trullion is classic Vance. Arcane vocabulary, lush landscapes, disaffected characters – this book has it all. It also introduces Alastor Cluster, ruled by the idosyncratic Connatic, who wanders incognito amongst his subjects. Briefly, Glinnes is an ex-policeman, come home to Trullion after retirement. Naturally, he finds that all is not well, and part of his patrimony has been squandered. He turns to his…

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Lurulu – Jack Vance

Ports of Call #2 The crew of a merchant spaceship visit odd destinations. As a standalone book, Lurulu isn’t a great success. It’s short, and it depends heavily on what went before. (Though there is a nice summary of Ports of Call, which is well worth reading, as it describes that book in even more colorful terms than the book itself.) As a sequel, or considered as the final part of a single volume inexplicably…

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Ports of Call – Jack Vance

Ports of Call #1 Fate forces a young man to make his way as crew on an itinerant trade ship, visiting weird and wonderful planets. Half a century after he started publishing, Vance showed in this story that he still had his gift. For Vance fans, the characters are familiar types, but the writing flows just as smoothly as ever. Ports of Call is a travelogue, somewhat in the mode of Big Planet (but broader)…

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The Pleasant Grove Murders – Jack Vance

Joe Bain #2 Sheriff Joe Bain once again faces a mystery – a perplexing series of murders in a nearby town and some complex personal issues. This is the second of Jack Vance’s mysteries about Sheriff Joe Bain cases in rural California south of San Fancisco. The previous book, The Fox Valley Murders, was technically interesting and well written, but not outstanding. Vance plotted and outlined a third book, but never wrote it. This book…

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The Fox Valley Murders – Jack Vance

Joe Bain #1 There’s been a murder, and Sheriff Joe Bain is responsible for solving it. Everyone suspects a recently released ex-convict, but Bain needs proof. Jack Vance was a genius in the SFF field, but he also wrote mysteries, including two books about Sheriff Joe Bain. This first one introduces the setting and Bain himself, a ne’er-do-well who’s found himself as a lawman. After a convicted killer gets out on parole, things start to…

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