Jack Vance, sorted by year written
show ‘Thrilling Wonder’ (clear filter)
“You are unnecessarily truculent. Here will be no occasion for violence.”
He had no trouble finding Isabel May’s ship. In the field of his telescope lay a cubical white building: the only landmark visible from horizon to horizon.
“I want to minimize the shock on the brain,” explained the doctor. “The visual images no doubt will be confusing, to say the least. The Phalid’s color spectrum, remember, is twice as long, the field of vision three or four times as wide as that of the average human being. It has two hundred eyes, and the impressions of two hundred separate optic units must be coordinated and merged. A human brain accommodates to two images, but it’s questionable whether it could do the same for two hundred. That’s why we’ve left intact a bit of the creature’s former brain the nodule coordinating the various images.” Here Plogetz paused long enough to give the complex black head an appraising glance.
Wratch looked about the sky for familiar star-patterns, and for the first time regretted the seven new colors in his spectrum. Because the stars were entirely different in guise, some bright in over-violet, others in sub-red.
Republished in Chateau d’If and Other Stories. Spatterlight, 2012
Reprinted in Son of the Tree, Spatterlight, 2012
Revised for The Augmented Agent and Other Stories, Underwood-Miller, 1986.
Reprinted in Chateau d'If and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012
“She’s okay,” said Carr. “It was that kapok stuff from Deneb Kaitos. Now let’s see I’ve got to set up this phony code. Hey, Scotty,” he called down to Allixter, “made your will yet? This is like stepping out of an airplane holding your nose and hoping you’ll hit water.”
Encouraged, Allixter proceeded to Step Two Enumeration. The screen depicted symbols representing the agglomerative numerals a series of lines, one dot in the first line, two dots in the second line, three in the third, four in the fourth, in such fashion up to twenty. Joe, alive to his task, made sounds for the numbers. Then the screen displayed a random multitude of dots and Joe created another sound.
The speaker made a bleating sound which once more seemed to carry near-human overtones. Allixter set his shoulder to the mobile unit.
Republished in Sail 25 and Other Stories
“It’s catching,” said the pilot vehemently. “Look, kid, I know. I’ve ferried out to all the stations, I’ve seen ’em come and go. Each station has its own kind of weirdness, and you can’t keep away from it.” He chuckled self-consciously. “Maybe that’s why I’m so batty myself...Now take Madeira Station. Gay. Frou-frou.” He made a mincing motion with his fingers. “That’s Madeira. You wouldn’t know much about that...But take Balchester Aerie, take Merlin Dell, take the Starhome ”
When Jean reached the Hotel Atlantide in Metropolis she wore a black dress and black pumps which she felt made her look older and more sophisticated. Crossing the lobby she kept wary look-out for the house detective. Sometimes they nursed unkind suspicions toward unaccompanied young girls. It was best to avoid the police, keep them at a distance. When they found that she had no father, no mother, no guardian, their minds were apt to turn to some dreary government institution. On several occasions rather extreme measures to ensure her independence had been necessary.
Comment: According to foreverness the story was based on an idea of the editor. According to www.isfdb.org Station Abercrombie and Cholwell’s Chickens were revised (fix-up) as Monsters in Orbit, 1965.
Republished in Golden Girl and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012
A: There are 97 conventions of battle which may be employed: for instance, Code 48, by which we overcame strong Black Glass Tumble, allows the lance to be grasped only by the left hand and permits no severing of the leg tendons with the dagger. Code 69, however, insists that the tendons must be cut before the kill is made and the lances are used thwart-wise, as bumpers.
The guide continued, “The Eastern Shield warriors can be seen coming over the hill...It seems as if they surmise the Ivory Dune strategy and will attempt to attack the flank...There!” His voice rose animatedly. “By the bronze tree! The scouts have made a brush...Eastern Shield lures the Ivory Dune scouts into ambush...They’re gone. Apparently today’s code is 4, or possibly 36, allowing all weapons to be used freely, without restriction.”
Magnus Ridolph made an easy gesture. “I profess an amateur’s interest in military strategy; I will assume responsibility for that phase of the plan.”
Republished in Magnus Ridolph, Spatterlight, 2012.