Jack Vance, sorted by year written
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Comment: It’s a bit unclear to what genre this story exactly belongs (unless one reads SF simply as Speculative Fiction).
The affair had occurred five years previously. The house was abandoned and perhaps inevitably there was talk of haunting. Jean explicitly corroborated these reports. The group had been jocular, skylarking, inviting ghosts to the feast: all ostensibly casual and careless, but all inwardly thrilling to the spooky look of the house, and the memory of the macabre killing. Jean had noticed a flickering of red light at the window of the living room. She had assumed it to be a reflection of the fire, then had looked again. There was no glass in the window. Others noticed; there were squeals and squeaks from the girls. All rose to their feet. Inside the living room, clearly visible, hung a body, twisting and writhing, clothed in flames. And from within came a series of agonized throat-wrenching sobs.
Republished in Sail 25 and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012.
First published in two parts, July 1975—September 1975. First published as a book September 1975 by Ballantine Books.
According to Foreverness Vance resided in Spain at the time of writing. (ref)
I remember the novel as having potential, but ending too soon with a deus ex machina-like ending.
Pardero said somewhat ponderously: “You recognize me then?”
Yes, Your Force, now that I have spoken with you. I admit to confusion; your presence has altered in a way which I hardly know how to explain. You seem, shall we say, more mature, more controlled, and of course your foreign garments enhance these differences. But I am certain that I am right.” The clerk peered in sudden doubt. “Am I not, Your Force?”
Pardero smiled coolly. “How could you demonstrate the fact one way or the other without my assurance?”
Republished by Spatterlight, 2012: Marune: Alastor 933