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Blind seer Jack Vance at age 94

The Jack Vance Treasury

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Vance, John Holbrook, writing as "Jack Vance."

He won three Hugo awards; the first for his short novel The Dragon Masters (1963) and the last for his memoir This is Me, Jack Vance! (or More Properly, This is “I”) (2009). The Last Castle (1966) managed the rare trick of also winning the Nebula Award. He received a World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement in 1984 and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2001.

He won three Hugo awards; the first for his short novel The Dragon Masters (1963) and the last for his memoir This is Me, Jack Vance! (or More Properly, This is “I”) (2009). The Last Castle (1966) managed the rare trick of also winning the Nebula Award. He received a World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement in 1984 and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2001.

Vance, John Holbrook, writing as "Jack Vance."

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Vance, John Holbrook, writing as "Jack Vance."

For a time, I lost touch with Jack Vance, as I did with many of the Galaxy contributors after that. Then I heard that things were not going as well as he deserved for him. First came the word that he was losing his vision, and then that Norma had died. Before the blindness became total, he was still managing to get some writing done by scribbling a word or two, in giant letters, on each sheet of paper and then writing the next word or two on another sheet,

For me the fun quotient was diminishing around that time. I have long believed as an article of faith that no one should hold the same editorial job for more than a decade or so, because (I believe) the best work is done when it is all fresh and new and after a while the editor is just going through the motions. A few years after I proved that point by making a serious mistake with another Jack Vance story, . Jack had divided the story into a number of chapters and added a clutch of scholarly, but irrelevant, comments at the beginning of each chapter. Editors are put upon this Earth for the purpose of correcting an author’s errors in such matters, and I set myself to improving Jack’s chapter headers by cutting them fifty per cent or so.