Sadly, Vance departed this world before writing enough novels to last us through eternity. I like to imagine additional novels that Vance might have written, or, for maximum fun, novels that Vance wrote in an alternate universe. These imagined Vance novels all begin with stray threads that Vance left scattered through his stories.....
At the end of The Palace of Love, we see Gersen meeting "Drusilla I", one of the clones of Jheral Tinzy: "The girl was immensely appealing, with a thousand charms and graces."
But then 12 years later, at the start of The Face, Drusilla is never even mentioned. When Vance continued the Demon Princes saga after the 12 year hiatus, Kirth Gersen was busy trying to attract the attention of Lens Larque, the 4th Demon Prince to be hunted down and confronted by Gersen.
|The Demon Princes Series.|
When Gersen first begins his effort to find and kill the 5 Demon Princes, he is very much a loner.
|Gersen and Alusz|
In The Killing Machine, Gersen makes use of information that is provided by Alusz Iphigenia (princess of Gentilly on the "lost planet" of Thamber) to help him track down and kill Demon Prince Kokor Hekkus. Gersen does a better job of protecting Alusz from harm, but ultimately the course of his life alienates her and drives her away: "Never again, he told himself, would he involve a woman with the dark necessities of his life..."
In The Palace of Love, Gersen becomes somewhat enamored of Zan Zu of Eridu. However, after his failed romance with Alusz and fearing more heartache, he pushes Zan Zu away.
At that point, we turn the page and watch Gersen meet the charming Drusilla. Presumably Gersen has an enjoyable dalliance with her, but all that is left to our imaginations.
Later, in The Book of Dreams, Gersen makes use of Maxel Rackrose, Tuty and Otho Cleadhoe and Alice Wroke as collaborators who help him eliminate Howard Treesong, the fifth and final Demon Prince. Alice is the perfect match for Gersen. For her own personal reasons, she shares Gersen's desire to kill Treesong.
I previously imagined that in the Ekcolir Reality, Vance wrote other Demon Prince novels including The Clones of Sogdian (originally imagined as a prequel to The Palace of Love) and Return to Dar Sai (a sequel to The Face). Could there be additional books added into the Demon Princes saga, placed sequentially between The Palace of Love and The Face?
|The Palace of Love.|
|Drusilla of Alphanor and Kirth|
Gersen begins his acquaintance with "Drusilla of Alphanor" by reading some of Navarth's poems to her. This unconventional approach surprises her, but she says, "...I'm an unconventional person..." and we are left wondering if she and Gersen can become friends.
Vance set the Demon Princes saga about 1,400 years in our future, but it is a future that seems remarkably similar to the mid-20th century. I did not discover Vance as an author until 1978, but it is fun and educational to remember the period of time when he started writing the Demon Princes stories: the 1960s.
In 1962 the first James Bond film was released, Dr. No, based on Ian Flemming's 1958 spy novel. Vance's own 1958 novel, The Languages of Pao, features a kind of "secret agent": Palafox of the Breakness Institute. In the opening scene, Palafox runs afoul of the brash and bumbling would-be-dictator Bustamonte and he is thrown into prison.
|Dreams of flight in Science Fiction.|
Artwork by Virgil Finlay.
In 1964, Ian Flemming helped launch The Man from U.N.C.L.E. on television.
|United Network Command for Law and Enforcement|
|The Demon Princes|
|The Man from Zodiac|
|a Zodiac Control agent|
|Our Reality Chain.|
About three years ago I sketched out the plot of a sequel to The Book of Dreams (see also). What if "behind the scenes" during Gersen's quest to destroy the five Demon Princes there is a larger struggle over the fate of Humanity?
For the Exode Trilogy, I've written Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance and Carl Sagan into the story. It is fun to explore a special role for science fiction writers in telling us about the fate of Humanity in past Realities. For example, Asimov told the story of the Malansohn Reality in The End of Eternity.
|The Reality Chain that led to the world|
as we know it (the Buld Reality)
The next Reality in our Reality Chain, the one that followed after the Asimov Reality, is usually called the Ekcolir Reality, but I used to call it the Noÿs Reality. It becomes the task for "the Editor" of the Exode Trilogy to tell the story of the Ekcolir Reality. Thus, the Exode Trilogy is recursive science fiction where the science fiction genre plays an important role in the story.
|Preland, Human, Sedronite evolutionary tree.|
In the Ekcolir Reality
In the Ekcolir Reality, from 1967 to 1977 the twins Jack and John Vance wrote a series of novels featuring Drusilla and Kirth in which they become aware of -and caught up in- the struggle between Overseers and Interventionists.
After Gersen first meets Drusilla on Alphanor, they begin a joint investigation into the Interventionist experiments that were being performed on the planet Sogdian and learn that Drusilla had been scheduled to be infected by nanites and only narrowly escaped that fate because of Gersen's visit to Sogdian during which he managed to kill Viole Falushe.
The planet Sogdian is the fifth planet of the star Miel, within the Sirneste Cluster, which is located in the Aquarius Sector of the galaxy.
|Sogdian is in the Aquarius Sector of the galaxy.|
|A Drusilla clone on Sogdian.|
|Thamber: The Gentilly Protocol|
The second novel in the Aquarius Trilogy, Thamber: The Gentilly Protocol, includes an account of events when Drusilla and Kirth visit Thamber. They discovery that Zodiac Control is actually a tool, along with the Institute, being used to manipulate the growth of human civilization and shape the ultimate fate of Humanity.
|Novelette by John Vance|
With clues gathered on Ghnarumen, Kirth and Drusilla develop the hypothesis that the Demon Princes are all controlled by alien endosymbionts.
Kirth and Drusilla next go to the Fomalhaut star system and discover the artificial life remnants of the ancient technologically-advanced humanoids who long ago designed and crafted both the Star Kings and we humans.
|The Aquarius Sector of the galaxy (map key).|
Zodiac Control has a secret research center on one of the Fomalhaut planets. In order to put an end to the meddling of Kirth and Drusilla, the Zodiac agents simulate a collision between Gersen's Pharaon and some space debris in the Fomalhaut system. Zodiac Control takes Drusilla for use in their secret experiments.
|Book 3 of the Aquarius Trilogy|
Gersen has had some of his memories erased by Zodiac Control and mercifully that allows him to forget about Drusilla and get on with his grim task of killing the last two Deomon Princes. He returns to Aloysius and resumes his hunt for the two remaining adversaries, Lens Larque and Alan Treesong.
Next: Tall aliens and the tall tales of science fiction.
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