Aug 28, 2016

Origins of Jack Vance

Jack Vance was born on August 28th, 1916. During 2016 I have been celebrating the first century of the Vance Era.

Anney's tribute to Vance
At the very start of 2016, I was engaged in writing some Jack Vance fan-fiction. I was also scheming to find a way to insert an image of Vance into the banner for this blog. It took me until August to complete the banner update, but now every page of this blog has at the top a (tiny) image of Vance and also the Vance-inspired code words "IPX" and "ZODIAC".

Wible's Resort
Although Vance has been honored as a writer of mystery, fantasy and science fiction stories, he chafed at being indiscriminately lumped in with all other writers of science fiction. His Demon Princes, Alastor Cluster and Cadwal sagas are set in the future where travel between the stars using spaceships has a degree of difficulty similar to that of travel between sea-side ports by ocean liners in the 20th century. Otherwise, the level of technology in these stories is not much advanced beyond what is familiar to us.

Vance crafted tales about people who we readers like to spend time with. For me, there is an endless temptation to imagine additional new adventures for some of the characters who were created by Vance. A good example is Sessily, who was murdered at a young age and taken away from us.

The Asimov Reality
The Oikumene
Vance set many of his stories out among the stars of the Oikumene and the Gaean Reach. Occasionally there is mention of robots and other technological gizmos, but for the most part the people in Vance's imagined future live much as we do today.

in the Asimov Reality
I like to imagine that Vance's tales of life in the Oikumene reflect actual events that took place in the Asimov Reality. In that Reality, Earthlings were supplied with access to faster-than-light space travel technology in order to distribute populations of humans to thousands of distant worlds where various special genetics experiments could be performed.

The Scutinary Vitalists
The far future of the Asimov Reality became a period of truce during which both R. Gohrlay and Grean could work to develop human variants that would have greater capacity to use the Bimanoid Interface. Also, I imagine that the analogues of Jack Vance who lived in the Ekcolir Reality were allowed to write stories about events that actually took place in the Asimov Reality.

The Escapist Clan
Recently, I learned that Jack Vance had an analogue who lived all the way back in the First Reality. That original "version" of Jack Vance was a friend of Gohrlay and so when Gohrlay was inserted into the historical timeline of Earth in the Asimov Reality, her "old friends" such as Vance were already there and "waiting" for her. It was because his First Reality analogue had known Gohrlay that the positronic robots of Earth made sure to provide Vance with high temporal momentum, assuring that he would have an analogue in every Reality.

Blue Forest Camp by Sam Jaqy
When the Writers Block was formed as the means to shape the science fiction genre in the Ekcolir Reality, it was inevitable that a "copy of Vance" would be included among the "staff" of the Writers Block. It was through such meddling and using replicoids to slip memories between successive Realities that accounts of events in the Asimov Reality reached us here in the Final Reality where we are "forced" to view them as science fiction stories. The analogues of Jack Vance who lived in the Ekcolir Reality used many pen names including "Sam Jaqy".

Agent of Zodiac by Joan Brunner.
According to Gohrlay (who was a science fiction fan in the Ekcolir Reality) several different science fiction writers published stories in that Reality about events that took place in the Asimov Reality. One of these was Joan Brunner. Many of the Ekcolir Reality analogues of famous science fiction authors were women in that Reality. Apparently "the" analogue of Jack Vance in the Ekcolir Reality was born as twins, one of whom was female.

Songs of Lake Mar
Here in the Final Reality, one of the "copies of Vance" remained on Earth after the death of Jack Vance in 2013. That "copy of Vance" was a member of the Dead Widowers. For a time, I had hopes that I might continue to have contacts with the Dead Widowers, but apparently the tryp'At Overseers cracked down and either drove the remaining members of the Dead Widowers into hiding or removed them all from Earth.

Perfection of Joy
Just in case there is still a "copy of Vance" on Earth: Happy Birthday, Jack!  

Related reading: more Vance:

League of Yrinna
August 2013
August 2014
August 2015
May 2013
May 2014
May 2015
May 2016
May 2017
August 2017

Next: Zeta Gohrlay
Jack Vance (left) and cover art by Nicolas Fructus. Visit the Gallery of Book and Magazine Covers.

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