Edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan
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.
Table of Contents
- Hard-Luck Diggings (1948)
- The Temple of Han (1951)
- The Masquerade on Dicantropus (1951)
- Abercrombie Station (1952)
- Three-Legged Joe (1953)
- DP! (1953)
- Shape-Up (1953)
- Sjambak (1953)
- The Absent-Minded Professor (1954)
- When the Five Moons Rise (1954)
- The Devil on Salvation Bluff (1955)
- Where Hesperus Falls (1956)
- The Phantom Milkman (1956)
- Dodkin’s Job (1959)
From Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):
"Even these early tales make it clear why Vance is still one of the most revered, read, and taught of science fiction authors, highlighting his blending of genres, forward-thinking and prophetic science, and careful craft."
From SF Site:
“Jack Vance is a familiar name to most SF/Fantasy readers. Now, as his writing career seems to have drawn to a close, he is getting a welcome new shot of recognition, driven by a memoir, a tribute antholology, and some interesting new collections of his work. Hard-Luck Diggings is the latest collection, and it is different from the others in not really selecting a representative group of his stories, nor a themed set, nor the best. It is instead a choice of some of the more interesting works from his first decade or so of publishing.”
“As you would expect from a master of the genre, none of the stories in here are a disappointment… Subterranean Press are apparently planning a further Jack Vance anthology and for any author with such a long and distinguished career, I consider this a valuable service.”
- Tom Kidd
- Jack Vance
- 296 pages
- United States
- Subterranean Press
- In Print
- eBook Edition