Enjoyable, energetic, very recognizable Vance. A fast moving account that unpacks a wonderfully inventive background well-connected to a fun story. Not hugely deep, but the environemnt of the Shant and its factionalized collections of cantons is one worth uncovering, and the tale of shifting from religious youth to slave labor to musician to master of the planet is made gripping and surprisingly plausible. It's interesting to compare Vance to Clarke at points, since his layout of skills is so different and his futures tend to be vastly more cluttered and violent. Perhaps Vance's biggest asset is his throwing in of implausibility that works and feels credible, strange human variations and cultural customs that add history yet are clearly beyond the main human environment. Reading this text shortly after Vance's autobiography does make me think of it as more like wish fulfillment compared with the relatively sedate pace put in. Above all this is enjoyable and with enough interesting ideas put in to be worth the effort.
Worse than: The Book of Dreams by Jack Vance
Better than: Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks