A bibliography for Jack Vance
Jack Vance, sorted by year written
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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)
Republished as The Star King and in the collection Demon Princes, both Spatterlight, 2012.
The houseboat had been built to the most exacting standards of Sirenese craftsmanship, which is to say, as close to the absolute as human eye could detect. The planking of waxy dark wood showed no joints, the fastenings were platinum rivets countersunk and polished flat. In style, the boat was massive, broad beamed, steady as the shore itself, without ponderosity or slackness of line. The bow bulged like a swan’s breast, the stem rising high, then crooking forward to support an iron lantern. The doors were carved from slabs of a mottled black-green wood; the windows were many sectioned, paned with squares of mica, stained rose, blue, pale green and violet. The bow was given to service facilities and quarters for the slaves; amidships were a pair of sleeping cabins, a dining saloon and a parlor saloon, opening upon an observation deck at the stern.
Thissell tried again, laboriously manipulating the strapan. He sang, “To an out-worlder on a foreign planet, the voice of one from his home is like water to a wilting plant. A person who could unite two such persons might find satisfaction in such an act of mercy.”
Republished in The Moon Moth and Other Stories, Spatterlight, 2012.