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4.0 out of 5 stars More early Jack Vance, 25 Mar 2013
This review is from: Magic Highways: The Early Jack Vance, Volume Three: 3 (Hardcover)
After Dream Castles, its nice to see an "early Jack Vance" volume which actually collects his early works, published 1946-1956. These are generally pulp tales of the era, without the distinctive Vancian voice in full. They are a mixture of the space opera of the day, and 7 (of the 10 written) Magnus Ridolph stories which are basically space detective stuff, always with a twist or two (these are pretty clearly Vance, but the balance of the volume could - almost - have been written by anyone). But its all great fun to read.

Together with Hard Luck Diggings, The Jack Vance Treasury, and Wild Thyme Green Magic, there is now a "Complete Magnus Ridolph" across the volumes Sub Press has published. The full TOC:

Phalid's Fate
Planet of the Black Dust
Ultimate Quest
Men of the Ten Books
The Planet Machine
Dover Spargill's Ghastly Floater
Winner Lose All
Sabotage on Sulfur Planet
The House Lords
Sanatoris Short-cut (from here all is Magnus Ridolph)
The Unspeakable McInch
The Sub-Standard Sardines
The Howling Bounders
The King of Thieves
The Spa of the Stars
To B or Not to C or to D

There is an introduction to the stories, a few notes about each of them: but several of the stories are referred to by one name in the introduction, and another name in the table of contents and in the introduction itself. Somebody goofed here - not as badly as Haffner Press's "experimental" or "non-traditional" listing of a table of contents wildly inaccurate in the information it conveyed in Terror in the House, but still it's a little confusing.

Normally I have been torn between 4 and 5 stars for these Sub Press Vance volumes: this time its torn between 3 and 4 (though ultimately its 4, because Magnus Ridolph is just so much fun). I don't know if there will be an Early Jack Vance vol4 - surely the old short stories must be running a little thin by now - but if this is the final volume in the collection, its still worth adding to your shelf.
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