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May 26, 2017

Perfection of Joy

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Jack Vance died four years ago. Ever since back in August 2013, I have been doing Vance tribute posts every August (he was born on August 28th; last year) and May (died May 26th; last May).

Perfection of Joy
In Jack Vance's novel Araminta Station, the protagonist is Glawen Clattuc, a young policeman who is sent on a trip away from his home planet in search of the criminals who have been arranging for "Perfection of Joy" outings on Cadwal. The planet Cadwal is a nature preserve, governed by the Cadwal Conservancy. In the interest of raising money, a small tourism industry has been allowed to develop on Cadwal.

The Perfection of Joy excursions have been arranged by Simonetta Clattuc, a renegade member of Glawen's family who hopes to destroy Araminta Station. Simonetta, an outcast from Araminta Station, has taken control of the Yips, a group of 100,000 runaways and their descendants who reside illegally on an island not far from Araminta Station's location on the mainland.

cover art by Boris Vallejo
In need of cheap labor, the administrators of the Cadwal Conservancy, who reside at Araminta Station, have for centuries issued work permits to Yips. These temporary laborers can be granted six month work permits at the Station, but often these permits are extended indefinitely for the trained Yips who perform particularly useful functions.

Vance never mentions the exact population of Araminta Station, but the legal residents of Cadwal number only a few thousand. The Cadwal police are desperate for money to defend themselves against invasion of the mainland by Simonetta and the ever-increasing population of Yips. The leaders of the Cadwal Conservancy also hope to buy passage for the Yips on space transports so that they can be settled on nearby worlds.

One of the islands on Cadwal
One of the tourists who came to Cadwal for a Perfection of Joy "vacation" is a wealthy bank owner. The Araminta Station police threaten him with prosecution and extort a large sum of money from him. Vance never describes in detail the horrible crimes that are committed during Perfection of Joy excursions on Cadwal, but those illegal excursions result in the deaths of several young Yip women.

To investigate these crimes and discover who is behind the Perfection of Joy excursions, Glawen travels to the planets of origin for the tourists who have participated in Perfection of Joy excursions on Cadwal. He discovers the identity of the woman who has distributed Perfection of Joy brochures on those worlds and learns that she is the new wife of one of his own family members. Before he can report this discovery to his superiors at Araminta Station, Glawen is double-crossed by a fellow policeman and thrown into a prison. Eventually, Glawen escapes, returns to Cadwal and takes revenge.

The Sacred Shin
The Sacred Shin by Anney Fersoni
In The Palace of Love, the poet Navarth tries to hide from Demon Prince Viole Falushe in Edmonton. The story takes place about 1,500 years in the future. Edmonton has become a destination for pilgrims who want to gaze upon the Sacred Shin.

I like to imagine that Vance's stories about the Demon Princes and Cadwal reflect actual events from a previous Reality. In my recursive science fiction story A Search Beyond, the replicoid of Isaac Asimov investigates Deep Time and reveals the secret of how new human gene combinations were devised during the far future of the past Reality in which Glawen existed.

Viole Falushe became involved in a study of special gene combinations that originally existed in the Earth girl Jheral Tinzy. Clones of Jheral were constructed and studied in order to explore those unique gene combinations.

Alien Gene Transfer by Ivory Fersoni
I like to imagine that the Sacred Shin was a geological artifact containing evidence that the pek first visited Earth about 2,000,000,000 years ago. The human species arose through a long process of genetic manipulations and alterations imposed on the creatures of Earth by the pek and bumpha.

The Genetics Cluster
Some past related blog posts about genetics in Vance's universe:
Genes of Dar Sai
The Junius Revolution
Alastor Cluster as laboratory for DNA modification
August 2017 celebration of Jack Vance's Sci Fi

Next: secrets of Mars
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