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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 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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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 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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Planet of Adventure is an omnibus of the four "Tschai" novels - City of the Chasch, Servants of the Wankh, The Dirdir, and The Pnume. It's the chronicle of the adventures of Adam Reith, a Terran scout, who finds himself stuck on the planet Tschai after the locals shoot down his starship. After this unexpected welcome, Reith manages a more or less safe landing, finds various alien species - and also humans of a number of strains.

It is as a captive of a tribe of human barbarians that Reith begins, although sooner or later he escapes, thereby avoiding emasculation and/or death at the hands of the priests who run the tribe. The tribe's soon-to-be former chief (Traz) joins him, deciding that continuing to live is preferable to near-term ritual death. Reith and Traz then encounter Anacho - a cannibal renegade Dirdirman - and head to the nearby City of the (Blue) chasch (to be distingished from the Green chasch), with the goal of recovering Reith's crashed ship.

There is then a pretty girl to rescue, who knows something of the distress signal that drew Earth's interest some 200 years ago...and after that, there are more and more problems to solve. Suffice it so say, Reith must overcome the Chasch, reason with the Wanhk - and the samurai-mandarin Yao people of Cath - before overcoming the leopard-like Dirdir, all in search of a ship that can be begged, borrowed, built or stolen (or some ultimately fruitful combination of the above). In turn, each alien race is neutralised.

Just when success is in reach, Reith must deal with the Pnume, the original inhabitants of Tschai. This final volume is a splendid long coda to the piece, introducing the delightful Zap 210 as a companior for Reith. It is only then that you realise that in The Dirdir there is no woman with a speaking part at all (or rather, it took me that long to notice) not as love interest, matronly innkeeper, or otherwise. Indeed, while a particular female plays a significant part in Wanhk, its in fact largely offscreen.

Given the shades of feuding aliens of many colours, this seems to me to be Vance's homage to Burroughs - at least, City of the Chasch seems to be, although I wont deny the resemblace declines as the series goes on. But it stands alone of that, and is all up a fantastic read, having action enough for anyone, and yet with the full flower of Vance's dialogue and exuberantly drawn societies on show. It is both adventure story and social critique, and can be read on any (or both) levels.
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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 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 7 November 1997
This book contains 4 excellent short SF novels by the masterful Jack Vance. Vance's descriptions and distinctive, elegant dialog combine to take the reader to an alternate reality in ways that very few writers can match. These books are perhaps my favorites by Vance. The alien beings depicted here are strange and fascinating, and Adam Reith is a resourceful, inspiring hero.
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