Jack Vance, one of the greatest SF/F writers has passed away.
Probably best known for his Dying Earth sequence of short stories and novels (The Dying Earth, Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel’s Saga and Rhialto the Marvellous) he was also winner of the 1966 Hugo Award for his novella The Last Castle.
As a writer he was witty, playful, often baroque in his use of language and with a powerful, soaring imagination. His influence can be felt in the work of such writers as Gene Wolfe. Michael Moorcock and George R.R Martin and, more recently, Joe Abercrombie and Mark Charan Newton.On a personal level I am a huge fan of Jack Vance both as a writer – my own Shining Cities sequence of short stories owes much to The Dying Earth – and, in particular, as a reader.
The Magnificent Showboats of the Lower Vissel River, Lune XXIII, Big Planet (aks Showboat World) is a personal favourite of mine and in some ways is archetypal Jack Vance – a big, sprawling adventure with a colourful, well-realised background and an equally colourful protagonist, beautifully written with hardly a word out of place.
A short obituary can be found at Locus online: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2013/05/jack-vance-1916-2013/