Monday, August 29, 2016

Jack Vance the Magician

"The less a writer discusses his work - and himself - the better. The master chef slaughters no chickens in the dining room; the doctor writes prescriptions in Latin; the magician hides his hinges, mirrors and trapdoors with the utmost care." Vance in the afterward to "The Bagful of Dreams" The Jack Vance Treasury (2007)

August 28, 2016 would have been Jack Vance's 100th birthday.

The man had an incredible gift to spin worlds from nothing and paint them with a palette of the most vivid language imaginable.

His work is so compelling, in fact, that it’s very hard to remember that every word he wrote after 1980 (a list that includes 11 novels, 27 short stories, and a number of essays, forwards, afterwards, and footnotes) was written by a man who was legally blind and growing steadily blinder. This bibliography is impressive enough – but let’s not forget that in 1980 Vance had already been publishing stories and novels for thirty-five years.

Vance reputedly kept an arm’s length between himself and fandom, rarely exposing himself to real world scrutiny. He is said to have compared himself to a stage magician, whose power of illusion would be spoiled by revealing how his tricks were done. But I sometimes wonder if the truth is that he was actually rather shy of the attention he would have gotten if he’d put himself in the limelight.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Truesdale Affair's Real Affront

[First, apologies for long silence - real life. I will get back to the couple of projects I had going shortly]

Image result for sword woman howard

So, by now most of those who follow SF with any interest at all in the Hugos and Worldcon have probably heard the sordid tale of Dave Truesdale's ejection from Worldcon in reaction to how he opened his panel on the state of short fiction in SFF.

I'm not going to belabour that point, which is being quite adequately argued about in other places. What I want to talk about is the panel itself.