Over his long career, Jack Vance has been a prolific science-fiction writer. Sometimes his writing is exciting, sometimes subdued. His 2004 novel, "Lurulu" is of the latter sort. But what it lacks in treacherous villains and dangerous situations, it makes up in its richness of detail and pursuit of meaning. Lurulu is a mystical place, or perhaps state of being—a concept that means something different to each person. The book speaks of friendship and of the adventure of everyday living—at least everyday living for spacemen.
This sequel to "Ports of Call" begins after Myron Tany has offended his eccentric aunt and been put off her ship. Being a resourceful youth, he quickly finds employment on another. As the Glicca travels from star to star, Myron and his colleagues encounter interesting characters, societies, customs and beliefs. Although nothing much actually happens, the writing is superb, the dialog, sparkling. The pace is perfect, the content entertaining and the style satisfying.
Future critics may not consider this to be Vance's best work. But it's not his worst. Vance, writes in his preface to the 2007, "The Jack Vance Treasury," that he considers, "Lurulu" to be his, "final book." Vance, born August 28, 1916, was 89 when he penned that June 2006 preface. The writing in "Lurulu," like the texture of fine old wine, is mellow. Some things do improve with age.
Check out this entry on VanderWorld for a bit more on Jack Vance.
Photo by David M. Alexander. Taken in the early 1980s.