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Hard-Luck Diggings: The Early Jack Vance

Written by Jack Vance

Average Score: 76(4)

A legend has to start somewhere...

As so many writers have said, it's in the shorter and mid-length work that the storytelling craft is best learned. Hard-Luck Diggings brings together fourteen such pieces from the first twelve years of Grand Master Jack Vance's genre-defining career, from back when he first worked to pay the mortgage, buy the groceries, travel the world, eventually building his own private 'dream castle' and starting a family.

Like any writer serious about staying in the game, we see him targeting the markets of the day, doing what was needed to meet the tastes of editors and their readerships while at the same time perfecting his own special way of doing things so that his name, his distinctive voice, stood a chance (in modern marketing parlance) of becoming a viable 'brand.'

Hard-Luck Diggings brings that fascinating process to life in fine style. As well as serving up vintage entertainment from one of the field's genuine masters, it provides an illuminating armchair tour of how the Jack Vance enterprise came to be, full of zest and life, the thrill of the upward climb and of so much more to be done. This is a book to be savoured with a twinkle in the eye, a knowing smile, but most of all, with a love of adventure and high romance firmly in place.

Book Details

Science Fiction
Hardcover, 296 Pages
Published by Subterranean on June 30, 2010
ISBN-10 1596063017
ISBN-13 978-1596063013


Fantasy Literature | Kat Hooper
Review Rating: 85
...a nice collection of stories for any lover of excellent speculative fiction, and a necessary one for any true Vance fan.
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Publishers Weekly
Review Rating: 80
Even these early tales make it clear why Vance is still one of the most revered, read, and taught of science fiction authors... (Starred Review)
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Stephen Hunts SF Crownest | Gareth D. Jones
Review Rating: 80
As you would expect from a master of the genre, none of the stories in here are a disappointment.
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SF Site | Rich Horton
Review Rating: 60
As implied, little here besides "Dodkin's Job" and "DP!" is close to top-shelf Jack Vance, but the book is still quite worth the time of anyone who enjoys this master's work.
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