Right, I’ll hold my hands up and admit it. I’ve never read Jack Vance before this collection. If that admission hasn’t made you turn off your computer or mobile device in disgusted fury, please bear with me as I’m a convert.
In ‘Dream Castles’. this second volume of works originally published between 1947 and 1968, we are shown the entire spectrum of Vance’s imagination and vision.
A decent chunk of the collection is made up of ‘The Dogtown Tourist Agency’ which centres on Vance’s futuristic detective Miro Hetzel, so if you’ve already read that, you may feel a tad short-changed. Of course, if you’re a Vance fan, another opportunity to read it won’t be the worst thing in the world.
Miro Hetzel has two bites at the cherry in this collection as he appears in the superior ‘Freitzke’s Turn’ which I feel has a little more oomph to it.
Other strong entries here include ‘I’ll Build Your Dream Castle’ in which a builder manages to infuriate the competition by offering better homes at cheaper prices simply by being clever. First published in 1947, perhaps builders today could learn something from this tale. ‘The Enchanted Princess’ is a story set in modern day America with a producer having discovered a new way of making films.
My personal favourite in the collection is ‘Golden Girl’ about an alien visitor to Earth that will break your heart.
What I enjoyed most about this collection is its sheer diversity. One story takes place on an alien planet with exotic vistas and strange customs while the next is set in a hospital on Earth focusing on a blind girl and her imagination. There’s no rhyme or connection, bar the Miro Hetzel stories, so you never know what’s coming next. Plus the nice introduction by editors Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan gives us a little more insight to the man himself.
A worthy addition to all book shelves and I’ll certainly be investigating more of Vance’s work.
(pub: Subterranean Press. 365 page deluxe hardback. Price: $ 45.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-59606-451-5)
check out website: www.subterraneanpress.com