Monday, June 28, 2010

Ecce and Old Earth

by Jack Vance

Great, a clear step above Araminta Station. There’s much better pace, managing to use its increased length from a normal Vance novel to draw out the most pleasurable details and overall sense of fun. Here, the contrast between Cadwell and Earth develops the coherence of both societies. The narrative positively bubbles with fun minor details and credible political structures, involving not just the political structures of the planets but also the econom, culture and quirky individuals attached to them.

The story also features a more likeable take on the main characters, and overall revels in the quirky yet credible details that Vance throws into the world. The actual plot is a pushed through thriller at basis, yet with a long timespan and an overall sense of relaxation to the writing and the characters that builds up the interest in the story. It’s a work that benefits from dialing down the tension more than one would expect, in allowing the characters to do appealing things. The plot involves one of the most engaging hunts through museums that I've seen, and it connects effectively to the larger political intrigue that runs through the trilogy. Vance also demonstrates a great understanding of how the politics of small leisure and political groups works. Overall a delightful space romp.

Better than: Araminta Station by Jack Vance
Worse than: Wyst: Alastor 1716 by Jack Vance

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