Jack Vance, sorted by year written
show ‘1945’ (clear filter)
A pirate story that almost reads as an episode from The Star Diaries by Lem. Except, there is no parody, no wit, no interesting analogy. It’s a crude tale of greed set against a weirdly anachronistic background...
Republished in Sail 25 and Other Stories. Spatterlight, 2012.
“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
“Several hundred thousand years ago,” mused Lurulu, “we had a period called ‘The Era of Insanity’; this was when the white-haired people of the south and the golden-haired people of the north purposely killed each other.” She paused, then said vaguely, “They had a culture roughly equivalent to yours.”
Lurulu ignored the onlookers, completely indifferent to the staring eyes and excited babble. Baxter, uncomfortable and somehow resentful, followed at her elbow as she turned up the street. She seemed to enjoy the sunlight, and held her hand outstretched, as if feeling the texture of the light. Her skin glowed like rich satin. She breathed deeply, glanced in at the houses which lined the street. Blackney’s little hospital was in a pleasant suburb, shaded with great elms, and the houses sat well back among gardens.
Republished in Golden Girl and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012.