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Lurulu [Hardcover]

Jack Vance
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 2004

Myron Tany, rebellious scion of a wealthy family, tours the Galaxy on a very questionable interstellar freighter, in search of his lurulu.

Against the backdrop of the Gaean Reach, first the story of Jaro Fath unfolds: from wildling orphan to spaceship captain, a tale of adventure and discovery wittily told. A boy haunted by memories of his dead mother’s terror, Jaro’s life is directed by an inner voice he can’t account for…until he returns to Kammerwelt, described in The Handbook of the Planets as the fourth world in the entourage of Robert Palmer’s Star, drifting in a far-flung sector of the galaxy known as the Dragon’s Maw.

Then Myron Tany, in thrall to his zany aunt Dame Hester Lajoie, sets off in her space yacht to find a faraway fountain of youth. The captain flatters Hester agreeably, but when Myron points out that the man is a swindler, he is marooned on an inhospitable planet with barely his passage home. Thus he is given the perfect opportunity to live out his childhood fantasies of intergalactic adventure, alien encounters and exotic romance. Or starve to death. Luckily, the tramp cargo vessel Glicca is just then in need of a supercargo, and Myron is it.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Dec 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312867271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312867270
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,473,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

Praise for Jack Vance
‘From a master storyteller…Grand yarn-spinning.’
Kirkus Reviews.

‘Vance at his most effortless and pleasant.’
Booklist

‘Jack Vance is a peerless creator of strange landscapes.’
Financial Times

‘Jack Vance is one of the greatest image-makers of English letters’
Frank Herbert, author of ‘Dune’

‘As a landscape artist, a gardener of worlds, Jack Vance has been for half a century central to both sf and fantasy. He has a genius of place.’
Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

‘Vance is one of the finest writers science fiction has ever known.’
Poul Anderson

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jack Vance was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. He has since had a varied career: his first story was written while he was serving in the US Merchant Marine during the Second World War. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, he contributed a variety of short stories to the science fiction and fantasy magazines of the time. His first published book was ‘The Dying Earth’ (1950). Since then he has won the two most coveted trophies of the science fiction world, the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award. He has also won the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America for his novel ‘The Man in the Cage’ (1960). In addition, he has written scripts for television science fiction series.

Jack Vance’s non-literary interests include blue water sailing and early jazz. He lives in California in a house he designed and largely built himself.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
As a boy Myron Tany had immersed himself in the lore of space exploration. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars End of an Era? 3 Dec 2004
By Russell
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'd given up hope on this one, as the publication date slipped back and back. Not to be morbid, but might this be the last new Vance book we get? If so, it must be read in an interesting light by die hard fans of one of SF's greatest authors.
And it really is a book for die hard fans only. Like Ports of Call, the almost total absence of a meaningful plot or real character development means it must be read for the wit, eccentricity and extravagance of the language. If you're new to Vance, start with the Demon Prince series or Araminta Station.
Lurulu is a whimsical journey through various ports and towns of Gaean Reach. It is beautifully written; it is funny - not 'laugh out loud' but 'wry smile' funny. And it reprises many familiar Vance themes - the footloose lifestyle, repressive relationships with family and tradition, portside drinking and camaraderie, over the top impresarios, strange local customs. Unusually for Vance, the family relationships concern mother/aunt and son, rather than father and son as is usual in his works (Emphyrio, Araminta Station, Wyst).
This is a collection of incidents, vignettes and impressions. No story or character is developed, nuanced or extended. The central character is almost invisible - some of the bit parts are more memorable.
If you have explored the Gaean Reach previously and happily in Vance's many books, then you will enjoy this as a commentary/companion to his more robust stories. Otherwise, you'll probably wonder what all the fuss is about.
If this is the time for a retrospective on Vance's career, what does Lurulu tell us? That quality of language and uniqueness of vision can carry a book in the absence of plot; that the real science behind science fiction is as much anthropology as physics; that certain images, descriptions and impressions can live on long after the last page is turned.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Vance 2 Dec 2004
By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been reading Vance for almost forty years; I know he gets sneered at, for writing 'just science fiction', and even within the SF community, for writing space opera. But for me, reading Vance is like drinking a fine wine on the veranda of an inn overlooking a far sea. It is a pleasure that does not pall.
This is a fine writer, who makes whole worlds appear with a pen dipped in many colours, smells and shapes. As soon as I see Excerpts from the Handbook of the Planets heading each chapter, it is like coming home.
This book is vintage Vance; I can't say better than that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vance's final novel 28 Jun 2011
By John Middleton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Lurulu is the second half of Ports of Call, and itself divides quite neatly into two halves. The first half is quite focused on Myron Tany and Captain Malouf as they undertake a quest for justice on a strange planet, and the last half is a series of short visits to various planets on a tramp starship, buying and selling goods while keeping the local populace more or less happy. There is then an ending of sorts, which is really just a beginning when you think about it.

This was Vance's last novel, unless at age 95 he suddenly changes his mind and decides to write another one, which does not appear terribly likely.

The "Lurulu" of the title is difficult to describe accurately - the best notion I came up with was being at peace, satisfaction perhaps, and finding your personal Xanadu. It is what we are all in search of, I suppose, whether through travel, work, religion or immersing oneself in a cause. All of these options are dealt with in the book, to a greater or lesser degree, and while it is tempting to say that the answer Tany ultimately finds is "correct", I am not sure if it is as simple as that.

Don't read this if you have not read Vance before - even if you start with Ports of Call, its not the ideal place to begin reading Vance. His words are prose poetry, with a style somewhere between sparse and ornate - and somehow both at the same time. Better to start with Lyonesse or Tales of the Dying Earth. But if you have read Vance and enjoy it, this is a sweet little coda to a long and distinguished writing career.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Vance lovers need this 27 May 2011
By JerryW
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a sequel to "Ports of Call," very similar in style, and it is quite a slight volume with some overlap, moreover, between the two books. Read Ports of Call first.

Nobody should buy this book as an introduction to reading Jack Vance.. try something like the Dying Earth series or the Planet of Adventure series first. But if you have read Ports of Call, and if like me you believe that Jack Vance is one of the greatest science fiction authors of all time, then you will need to read this, his last novel. So far, anyhow..
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