Jan 28, 2017

Baron Boddissey

cover art by Edmund Emshwiller
I recently blogged about The Lani People, published in 1962, which mentions convergent evolution.
by Baron Boddissey

I wonder if Jack Vance read The Lani People and was dismayed by the shoddy science in it. It is fun to imagine that Vance was inspired to create Baron Boddissey, an imaginary biophilosopher who could react to the silly science that is contained in The Lani People.

Vance's description of Dasce
The Star King was originally published in Galaxy magazine with illustrations by Edmund Emshwiller. Emshwiller's portrait of "Beauty" Dasce is a great pulp science fiction icon.

Shown to the left is how Vance described Hildemar Dasce. Dasce is described by a colleague as being able to paralyze dogs with a glance.

Edmund Emshwiller's depiction of Smade's Tavern
The protagonist of The Star King and the entire five volume Demon Princes series is Kirth Gersen. He meets Dasce at Smade's Tavern.

Smade's Tavern is the only building on Smade's Planet, a desolate world in the Beyond.

Model 9b (left)
Vance's description of Smade's Tavern
I suppose Emshwiller felt the need to place some additional trees in his illustration of Smade's Tavern so as not to make the scene look too desolate.

Gersen arrives on Smade's Planet in his Model 9b spaceship. In my mind, I don't picture the spacecraft of Vance's Oikumene as looking like 20th century chemical rockets.

list of 5 Demon Princes
In the original version of The Star King, Vance refers to the first Demon Prince as "Grendel the Monster". In the later book version of the story, Grendel was changed to Attel Malegate (the Woe).

Gersen wants to find and kill the five Demon Princes who attacked his home in the famous Mt. Pleasant raid.
The Mt. Pleasant raid, illustration by Edmund Emshwiller.
cover art by Gino D'Achille
In the shift from Galaxy magazine to the DAW book printing of "Star King", Vance changed the name of Gersen's grandfather from Rolf Harpit Gersen to Rolf Marr Gersen. The original printing of the story also had typographical errors such as "Sarcoy" substituted for "Sarkoy".

Jan Holberk Vaenz LXII
Vance was audacious in his use of long quotations from imaginary books and magazines at the start of chapters in The Star King. The story is set about 1,500 years in the future and one of the imaginary authors of the future is Jan Vaenz.

linker text in Galaxy
In the Exode Saga, I have fun imagining that Vance's stories about the Oikumene took place in Deep Time.

Also, I imagine that the replicoid of the Vance analogue in that Reality "lived" into the future and witnessed the events that were eventually described by "our Vance" here in the Final Reality. Actual events in the Asimov Reality were transformed into science fiction stories in our Reality.

When published in Galaxy, The Star King was split in the middle, with some linker text apparently added by Fred Pohl to make a bridge between the two halves of the story. Pohl also added the following teaser on page 133 (image, below):
Page 133.

The Thrilling Conclusion
Galaxy was only being published once every other month, so readers had to wait two months for the second half of The Star King.

Poor Pallis Atwrode is abducted by Dasce.
Illustrations by Edmund Emshwiller also accompanied part 2 of the story. Shown to the right on this page is Emshwiller's depiction of how poor Pallis was kidnapped by "Beauty" Dasce from a parking lot near the Avante Esplanade.

In our universe, there was no cover illustration for The Star King in 1964, but in the Ekcolir Reality, the analogue of Jack Vance wrote a third part for the story about a later return of Pallis and Kirth to Tehalt's planet.

Reconstructed by Zeta from the Ekcolir
Reality. Original cover art by John Gaughan
I like to imagine that after killing Howard Treesong, Gersen became aware of the fact that there were alien nanites inside the Demon Princes. Alice Wroke and Kirth returned to Tehalt's planet and attempted to isolate nanites from Grendel's grave.

Kirth eventually brings Grendel to justice. Along the way, Gersen defeats Grendel's henchmen. Tristano is beaten in hand-to-hand combat, Suthiro is killed and Dasce faces a fate worse than death, being imprisoned by a personal tormentor (Rampold) on Tehalt's planet.
Suthiro's death (illustrated by Emshwiller)

Rampold was held as Dasce's prisoner for 17 years until until Gersen arrives to liberate Pallis from Dasce's evil clutches.

Gersen learns that Grendel is an alien who can disguise himself so as to appear to be human: he is one of the so-called Star Kings.

I like to imagine that the secret of how Star Kings can change their appearance is due to their use of developmental control nanites.

Next: archived blog images
Dasce's hidden prison on the surface of a "dark star". Illustration by Edmund Emshwiller.
Related Reading: A Star King and The Palace of Love.
visit the Gallery of Book and Magazine Covers

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