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The birth of their son John does not in any way make them turn to a more sedentary lifestyle. John is packed up along with everything else and goes along for the ride. In the end Vance considers that perhaps he should have discussed his writing more but that isn't the point of his book - other than the fact that the writing could and did take place anywhere in the world and it all worked out swimmingly, didn't it? From Locus: "For all his desire to fade more into his work, Jack Vance is anything but an invisible man. This book tells more than was told before, but reveals less than some would like.

All the more reason to look to the fiction. That is where the inward Jack Vance lives. Sign Up for news and offers Make sure you don't miss interesting happenings by joining our newsletter program. In Print Preorders Out of Print. My Cart.


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  • You're currently on: Home This is me, Jack Vance! This is me, Jack Vance! Probably the main drawback of the book for most fans will be that it provides very limited discussion of his writing. He makes some comments about his books and the writing process throughout the book, but most of what he offers about his writing is restricted to the five page Final Word. Even that was included only because of the insistence of his editor. But Vance clearly states on the first page that, "This autobiographical sketch is perhaps more of a landscape than a self-portrait.

    My rating: 4. View 1 comment. Mar 15, Charles Dee Mitchell rated it it was ok Shelves: mid-century-sf , sf-memoirs-bios-letters-etc. I have already had to return this book to the library because I had it through inter-library loan, and late fees for inter-library loan are death. So I am a bit self-conscious about saying bad things about it, without being able to make specific references, But here goes. I am currently reading the Dying Earth cycle by Vance out of a commitment to exploring Golden Age SF and a challenge issued by the website Worlds Without End to read a book by one of the Grand Masters of Science Fiction each mon I have already had to return this book to the library because I had it through inter-library loan, and late fees for inter-library loan are death.

    Such fantasy fiction is not to my taste, but I looked forward to Vance's memoirs to see where this stuff came from. Vance, however, states that he is not interested in writing a nuts and bolts book about SF writing. He wants to tell his personal story, and he is doing so via dictation. An operation for glaucoma almost blinded him in the 's. Since then he has worked with computers, early versions of voice recognition software, and for the memoirs diction. His wife dies during the dictation of the book, but at this writing he is still alive in his mid-nineties.

    So it seems churlish to say the book is not very interesting. There are many biographical tidbits a reader might want to know more of, but perhaps it's the dictation method and a natural diffidence that keeps them from print. There is little personal insight and essentially no relationship betweenf the life, which involved periodic adventurous world travel, and the fantastic fiction it produced.

    It is not surprising late in the book in what passes as some personal reflection to learn that Vance prefers cozy to hard-boiled crime fiction. It is not unlike the account he gives of his own life. I am not, or at least not yet, a Vance fan. But they are legion. I wonder what they have made of this lukewarm memoir.

    Jun 14, Mike rated it it was ok Shelves: nonfiction. I really wanted to like this book, if only because of the alternate title, but I was expecting a totally different book. In fairness he warns you at the beginning that this will be his memoirs and that he hates talking about writing, but for such a prolific and talented writer to say almost nothing about writing or his books or where he got his ideas is kind of disappointing.

    Instead we have an autobiography, and while he clearly had a very sharp memory for people and places, it could just as we I really wanted to like this book, if only because of the alternate title, but I was expecting a totally different book. Instead we have an autobiography, and while he clearly had a very sharp memory for people and places, it could just as well be the autobiography of anyone who grew up in the 30s and 40s and had a bunch of jobs before becoming a full-time writer.

    Jack Vance’s This Is Me, Jack Vance! (Or, More Properly, This is I) | The Green Man Review

    There are very few details about his famous writer friends, very little about his own writing career, and so on. Vance is certainly a good storyteller and I still found it interesting to read about his life. I'm sure his children and grandchildren will appreciate all the fairly intimate stuff about his family.

    His love of life and dry humor make the book very readable. Perhaps some day a critical biography, which also talks about his books, will be forthcoming, but until then I will just share a passage from his last book, Lurulu: Maloof took up his tankard. Jun 07, Nicholas Whyte rated it did not like it. Unfortunately it's just not a very interesting book. The best bit is the early material about growing up during the Depression Vance was born in , but apart from that it's a sequence of dinners, holidays, parties, jazz concerts, enumerated in detail without much reflection.

    To give another, Vance has been blind for the last twenty years including when writing all his later books starting with Lyonesse , and while I shall bear in mind his extensive listing of mystery genre wriiters whose whork he enjoys listening to on audio, it would have been interesting to read something more profound about the effect of the loss of one of the five senses on the writer.

    A line about the distinctive smell of Irish peat is used twice. We really don't learn much about Vance the man, and even less about Vance the writer; and those like me who really only know him through his writing won't feel any the wise after reading this. This was a real disappointment. As a fan of the Dying Earth books, I was hoping to get a glimpse at the inner world and influences of the author. To be fair, he does state from the beginning that he doesn't plan on talking about the craft of writing. Nevertheless, I expected him to a least reveal something of his inner world.

    Instead, it's just one travel story after another along with endless descriptions of parties and restaurants. It was orally dictated since it was written after he had gone This was a real disappointment. It was orally dictated since it was written after he had gone blind, so it's missing the great prose style of his fiction. Only the last short chapter describes his influences, but does so extremely briefly and reluctantly. He mentions at the start of this chapter that he was basically forced to write it by his advisors who stated it inappropriate for him to leave it out.

    It's obvious that he wanted to. It's also kind of strange and disappointing that the only writers he enjoys reading are mystery novels. Jun 01, Mark rated it liked it.


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    Somewhat entertaining but superficial memoir from author Jack Vance. He tells us what he did, where he went, and who he met, but doesn't reveal much about himself. He also pretty much ignores his writing career, and has little to say about the craft itself. At least it's brief! Dec 25, Rog Harrison rated it really liked it. I have not been reading much over the last five months but this is a really charming memoir from one of my favourite authors.

    This Is Me, Jack Vance!: Or, More Properly, This Is "I"

    Aug 25, John Burns rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. This was mostly a fairly dull read. I think I found it more interesting than the average reader because I am a big fan of Jack Vance and had read 17 of his books before reading this one. It struck me that he had a tendency to view his own life on the same terms as he viewed his literature; the same interest in swindlers, the erudite, the eccentric; the same sense of a leisurely life, peppered with small adventures and occasionally punctuated with dark horrors. It's a very interesting read for an This was mostly a fairly dull read.

    It's a very interesting read for anyone who has read several of his books and has noticed the themes that seem to run through every work like a pulse. When viewed by the average reader, who is unfamiliar with Vance's work, it reads very much like a long digression by a nostalgic old man, without much to grab you.

    We see a lot of the man as a man of the world. His interests, hobbies, the jobs he worked, the friends he made. I think we see much less of the internal world of this man. His feelings. He writes about thin, dark-haired, pixie-ish girls that he meets.

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    They make a big impression on him. They are elegant, refined, aloof. They enchant him and then they disappear from his life. Such characters crop up a few times in this memoir and crop up repeatedly in his novels. His wife Norma on the other hand He met her one day.

    Shortly afterwards he asked her to marry him. She was a fine assistant Jack used to write in long hand and Norma would do the typing , a first-rate travelling companion and a mother to his son. She doesn't seem to have sparked his imagination in the same way these dreamy girls did.

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    On the other hand, this memoir was published the year after Norma's death. It wouldn't surprise me if Vance didn't feel inclined to let his thoughts linger on her. The woman is a silhouette. There was also very little about his writing and writing habits. We learn very little about the composition and the genesis of seminal works like The Dying Earth series, what he thought of the books, were some books harder to write than others, did he ever suffer from writers block etc. The book reads like the memoir of a wayfarer who happened to write literature for a hobby, not like the memoir of an actual writer.

    Writing seems incidental to Jack Vance. He would much rather tell you about specific 3-course meals that he ate 50 years ago, or about a specific jazz band that he saw one night in some obscure town. I can see how this would be frustrating for some of his fans but personally I always come to a biography wanting to know about the Man, not the Writer, wanting to know how the life influenced the work - so the book didn't disappoint me.

    It feels a little unedited. Vance was blind by the time he wrote this memoir so he had to dictate it. It was the first time he ever dictated a work and you can tell. The writing has a rambling, baggy, unfocussed feel. It doesn't have the taut, nimble, artful style of his best work, although the same wry personality with his own innate eloquence is still in evidence. I would only recommend it to big, big fans of Jack vance, and even then, such people might be disappointed.

    All the same I enjoyed it.

    City of the Chasch - Jack Vance

    I lose interest in books very easily these days but for whatever reason, this dull, rambling, uneven account of Vance's life held my interest throughout its brief span. If you love the man's work then I'm sure you will find this a pleasant read, if not much more. Jul 31, Timo rated it did not like it. The better name for this book would be: The list places I have visited, some people I have met, and not much else.

    Certainly Jack Vance tells very little of himself, and practically nothing of his writing. We used our car to take her to town, as she had no car of her own, and we got to be very friendly with her. We The better name for this book would be: The list places I have visited, some people I have met, and not much else. We also learn that he got stuck be a bee in some meadow, or him saw once a nice looking girl in some bar, with whom he fell in love instantly. The book feels like a stream of consciousness reminiscences.

    If you want learn something about his writing, how he got his ideas, how he got published, what he was thinking when he was writing, or anything you usually are excepting when you are reading an author biography, you will be deeply disappointed. I thought that the first part of the book was boring. There he mainly tells of several different jobs he worked on , and I was excepting to get to the interesting parts later when he started his career as author.