Jack Vance, sorted by year written
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Fair was immensely stimulated. The notes assured him that he was on the right track and further indicated a number of blind alleys from which Fair profited by avoiding. He applied himself so successfully that before the week was out he had evoked a sprite of the green cycle. It appeared in the semblance of a man with green glass eyes and a thatch of young eucalyptus leaves in the place of hair. It greeted Fair with cool courtesy, would not seat itself, and ignored Fair’s proffer of coffee. After wandering around the apartment inspecting Fair’s books and curios with an air of negligent amusement, it agreed to respond to Fair’s questions.
He found Gerald McIntyre at a wayside service station in the heart of the South Dakota prairie. McIntyre was sitting in an old wooden chair, tilted back against the peeling yellow paint of the service station, a straw hat shading his eyes from the sun. He was a magnetically handsome man, blond of hair, brown of skin, with blue eyes whose gaze stung like the touch of an icicle.
Republised in The Moon Moth and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012
First published in two parts in Galaxy, December 1963 and February 1964.
Star King (also published as The Star King) is a science fiction novel by American writer Jack Vance, the first in his Demon Princes series. It tells the story of a young man, Kirth Gersen, who sets out to track down and revenge himself upon the first of the Demon Princes, the five arch-criminals who massacred or enslaved nearly all the inhabitants of his colony world when he was a child.
The antagonist of the book was originally known as Grendel the Monster, and was subsequently renamed Attel Malagate for the novel version. (Accessed 12 March 2019)
“Will you stay awhile, Mr. Gersen?”
“Two or three days, perhaps. I have things to think over.”
Smade nodded in profound understanding. “We’re slack just now; just you and the Star King. You’ll find all the quiet you need.”
“I’ll be pleased for that,” said Gersen, which was quite true; his just-completed affairs had left him with a set of unresolved qualms. He turned away, then halted and looked back as Smade’s words penetrated his consciousness. “There’s a Star King here at the tavern?”
“He has presented himself so.”
“I’ve never seen a Star King. Not that I know of.”
Smade nodded politely to indicate that the gossip had reached to the allowable limits of particularity. He indicated the tavern clock: “Our local time; better set your watch. Supper at seven o’clock: just half an hour.”
Tristano fell back, now startled. For an instant he sat laxly asprawl. Gersen caught Tristano’s leg and ankle in a lock, threw over his weight, and felt the bone snap. Tristano sucked in his breath. Snatching for his knife, he left his throat exposed; Gersen hacked backhand at the larynx. Tristano’s throat was well-muscled, and he retained consciousness, to fall back, feebly waving his knife. Gersen kicked it away, edged forward carefully, for Tristano might be equipped with one or a dozen secret built-in weapons.
Leave me be,” croaked Tristano. “Leave me be, go your way.” He dragged himself to the wall. (more)