Enduringly popular author of far-future planetary romance.
August 28, 1916 – May 26, 2013
Jack Vance infused his novels and stories with a lyrical, idiosyncratic writing style rarely seen in science fiction and fantasy. He influenced a generation of writers and inspired a passionate, worldwide following.
Vance's first published book, The Dying Earth (1950), was instantly influential. Convincingly articulating a far-future Earth in which magic has replaced science, the novel has been an inspiration to authors and game designers ever since its publication.
Vance's sophisticated approach to the “planetary romance,” a style of science fiction tale in which the setting is a highly detailed planet, was also a milestone. By creating richly realized worlds, the characteristics of which profoundly affect the story's plot, he significantly expanded the genre's existing archetypes, providing a model that remains vital to this day.
As Vance's created worlds became richer and more complex so too did his style. His writing had always tended toward the baroque, but by the early 1960s it had developed into an effective, high-mannered diction, saturated with a rich but distanced irony. His resulting genius of place, and command as a landscape artist and gardener of worlds, has rarely been matched.