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4.7 out of 5 stars22
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 August 2002
Over the years I've managed to collect most of Vance's novels and while the Dying Earth and Lyonesse series have received the greatest praise it is the Planet of Adventure that I have reread more than any other.
Like all of Vance's work the way he describes characters and places makes them incredably easy to visualise, so that you feel as though you've visited races and places that are being described. Vance does this and still maintains the pace of the story so that all too soon you find you've reached the end.
The Planet of Adventure while perhaps not having the complexity of the Lyonesse series or the antics of the cunning Cugel in the Dying Earth series deserves a place on your bookshelf and in your mind. It's pure page turning adventure.
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on 8 April 2008
I read these when I was a teenager and loved them. Been out of reading sci-fi for years but recently bought the one-volume series when I happened to see it on Amazon and reading it all through brought back a wonderful feeling of nostalgia. I was entranced as a teen and found it just as enthralling, perhaps more so, 20 years later. And it's rekindled my passion for sci-fi in general. Plan to catch up with all the rest of Vance's works that I have never read, undoubtedly a cornucopia of goodies if half as good as this wonderful read.
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on 30 August 2001
Seems a bit senseless just to add to the earlier reviews, praising this set of stories with even more superlatives. I've read the separate volumes and also the complete set in French (available from They are wholly marvellous stories. The characters are utterly convincing. You might even fall in love with Zap 210 when she finally escapes from the Pnume. You can love Traz, and you get to admire Anacho the Dirdirman and share in the humour that carries them through their adventures. What atmospheres; scenes. And what adventures. No, the only way to share these enthsuaism is to read these books - wonderful, enduring value.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 July 2007
Well, at least I couldn't. It is really exceptional to write four adventure books which all are of the same incredibly high quality level. Although the principal hero, Adam Reith, is clearly superhuman (there is simply no way to defeat him in a fight) and so hard to totally relate to, it is only a minor flaw. The incredible adventures lived by the heroes, the multitude of different cultures (alien and human) present on the planet Tschai, the beauty of Jack Vance unique descriptions and dialogues - all of that makes for a masterpiece, which will never age. And it also contains one of the most gentle and touching love stories described in a SF book. A book to buy, fell in love with, devour greedily and later keep preciously on the shelf of honour - forever!
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on 17 December 2000
I bought the second volume of this series (the one with the unfortunate name) in a junk shop, and read it entranced. It made me check amazon with a certain nervousness, fearful that the other books in the series were no longer in print. Thank heaven it still is. This series simply is one of the most extraordinary books of the century -- like the best fantasy and sf it is inventive, colourful, vivid and has the quality of imaginative engagement that makes you feel you've really experienced what it describes; but at the same time it is so suave, so elegant and oblique -- in a word so cool. I don't know any writer in any genre who even comes close to Vance.
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on 12 September 2003
Out of the many books that i have read or that i have to read this is simply one of those books that i can never help but returning to again and again and again. as said in an earlier review Vance has a wonderfully elegant and simple style that brings other worlds and people to life.
if you are a fan of science fiction then this really is one of the finest examples that you are likely to find
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on 17 July 1996
If you're a fan of Jack Vance, this may be his best series. If not, this is an excellent introduction to this master of adventure SF and fantasy. In the first ten pages of the first book, Terran explorer Adam Reith's ship is destroyed by mysterious missiles, and he is stranded on the unknown planet Tschai. Tschai has been colonized by several mutually antagonistic alien races; they have imported primitive humans for use as servants; over millenia, several human subspecies have evolved, symbiotic to the various breeds of alien. Our hero gets to spend the next four volumes criss-crossing the planet from one cliff-hanging adventure to another in search of an intact spacecraft that he can buy, borrow, or steal. Gorgeous prose and intricate, fully realized alien cultures raise this above the level of a simple adventure series. Highly recommended.
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on 3 January 2013
This collection needs to be viewed as what it is - a traditional offering from the late 1960's aimed at a mainstream Sci Fi audience. Having said that you can read them on a number of levels, either as straightforward "yarns" or delve deeper into the underlying comment about racial intolerance and the concept of one race being superior to another.

I found the stories enjoyable bedtime reading, well paced and with enough quirky humour to keep the mood light, while not on a par with the Dying Earth or the Demon Princes books, the Planet of Adventure series continues the Vance canon of escapist entertainment and deserves a place in any enthusiast's bookcase.
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on 11 February 2016
Love this series. Simple prose conveying some beautiful imagery, witty, horrifying. Great sci-fi, putting humans in to alien situations and creating cultures accordingly.Yes, it's simplistic in some ways but not in a bad way, it leaves a lot unexplained, Vance sometimes appears to be deliberately vague but the books don't suffer because of this, quite the opposite. Similar to Harry Harrison's "Death World" trilogy but, I think superior.
I have read it many times, always a pleasure. If you like Zelazny's "Jack of Shadows" then you'll probably like this although Vance is science fiction as opposed to Zelazny's fantasy.
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on 16 August 2010
Review of the first book of this compilation, 'City of the Chasch':

A space scout* gets stranded on a strange planet with several alien races and several semi-enslaved races of humans. Rather less of the flowery language that you get in much of Vance's work. What you do get is rip-roaring adventure. Ultimately, this is quite an old-fashioned story that seems a little older than 1968 when it was first published. Good fun though.

I'll definitely continue with this series, although if I'm going to read it in public, I might need to get a plain cover for the second book, the unfortunately titled 'Servants of the Wankh'...
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