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The Dirdir (Planet of adventure series / Jack Vance) Paperback – Feb 1975

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Paperback, Feb 1975

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Who Hunts the Hunters? 14 April 2003
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on
Format: Paperback
Tschai, whose original inhabitants are the mysterious Pnume, has been invaded three times. Several waves of the harsh and opportunistic Chasch, then the Dirdir, and finally, the distant Wankh. Somehow, in the midst of this, humanity was imported and is considered under-men, servants to the alien races. When a help beacon is received on Earth an investigation is sent, only to be shot out if space. The sole survivor is Adam Reith, marooned on an unpredictable planet, on an odyssey to find a way to acquire another ship and return home.
In the first two volumes of this series, Reith survives encounters with the Chasch and Wankh, falls in and out of love, and accumulates several good friends. Most important, he has come to realize that the only way back to space is through the Sivishe space yards that serve the Dirdir. In addition, the only way to have a ship is to build it at an incredible price. Insurmountable problems to anyone but Reith, who always seems to greet adversity with a stylish equanimity.
To gain the money, Reith must gain the upper hand over the Dirdir, who regard the fields where the gems are found as a sacred hunting ground. Not for jewels, but for the humans who seek them. Predator chases predator across the fields of the Carabas. One seeks wealth, the other seeking dinner. Reith, of course, gets his sequins in an unorthodox manner, and earns the enmity of the Dirdir in the process.
Under cover, Reith, Anacho and Traz make their way to Sivishe and commission the spaceship. Of course, the cost is extravagant and they must deal with Aila Woudiver, a merchant. Woudiver has two character flaws - he is infinitely corrupt and venal, and he desperately wants to be a Dirdir. The latter may be impossible, but that detail has escaped the merchant's psychotic thinking. For Reith, complication mounts on complication, and his ability to cope will be severely taxed.
While none of this series lacks for action, 'The Dirdir' probably has the most ornate and exciting plot. Reith may not have the flair of the dashing hero of a medieval romance, but he is surprisingly loyal and chivalrous. His flaw in this book is a bit too much optimism, which leads him to become his own worst enemy on several occasions. Considerable time is spent on the Dirdir and their culture, revealing Vance's unique ability to fabricate worlds and peoples out of whole cloth. This series and the Demon Princes represent the best of Vance's early science fiction in what was to be a long and fruitful career.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Planet of Adventure series 7 Aug 2009
By Julia E. Riley - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like science fiction you will like this book. The imagination of Jack Vance is amazing. He creates whole worlds and civilizations that are completely unlike anything I could imagine, but which are totally believeable. I think he is the most creative writer I have ever read. He is able to draw you completely into these worlds he has created and his books are difficult to put down. There are four books in this series and I could not wait to get to the next book. Jack Vance is probably the most undervalued science fiction writer who ever lived, but I find his books far superior to any other science fiction. His plots are so intricate and characters are so quirky you cannot guess what might happen next.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This disappointing third volume would appeal only to the young adult audience for whom the series was originally conceived 9 Dec 2013
By Christopher Culver - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
THE DIRDIR is the third volume of Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure tetralogy (eventually republished in one volume by Tor), written in the early 1970s. In this series of books, the earthman Adam Reith is stranded on the planet Tschai, home to four different alien races and the human slaves they plucked from Earth in some prehistorical era. In THE DIRDIR, Reith must evade this eponymous race of savage hunting aliens as he tries to gain the funds to build a spaceship back to Earth.

Before writing the Planet of Adventure series, Vance was commissioned to produce a young adult work. Eventually he added some sex and more profound themes, so the first two volumes ended up as more adult science fiction insted. THE DIRDIR however is squarely meant for teenagers. Its plot essentially that of any run-of-the-mill comic book, and Reith is saved from every trap by a deus ex machina or his undefeatable kung fu skills. The book may have some value in moving the series along from the second volume, SERVANTS OF THE WANKH, to the much better final volume, THE PNUME, but I was quite disappointed.
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