If you said “Jack who?” you might want to know George R.R. Martin once called him the greatest living science fiction writer and a master of fantasy “right up there with Tolkien.” That’s right, buddy, Tolkien. Unfortunately, as of Sunday, May 26, 2013, he no longer qualifies as living and will have to settle for merely being the greatest.
Carlo Rotella’s overview of Vance’s significance as a writer in The New York Times Magazine is probably the best thing I’ve ever read about him. I suggest you read it too. “The Eyes of the Overworld” (from the second Dying Earth book) is a prescient and deeply ironic metaphor for this avatar-obsessed virtual non-life we’re cultivating as a race of touchscreen and phone addicts. And this, 40 years before FaceBook. It’s also hilarious. Thank you, Jack Vance, for just being you.
A totally killer schedule is in place for Albuquerque’s annual, homegrown festival of science fiction and fantasy. The theme of this year’s convention is steampunk, which we at the Alibi are crazy about [Feature, “Full Steam Ahead,” July 21-27]. There’s a costume contest on Saturday night, a discussion on “Steampunk Definitions: More Than Victorian Clothing,” a make-and-take workshop with gears, and vendors selling corsets, cloaks and all the other bits and bobs to fulfill your mechanical-wonder needs.
Well, it’s official: the latest installment of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is at the publisher and there’s nothing you or I or anyone else can do about it except wait patiently for it to be published. Until then, we’ve got HBO’s TV adaptation of A Game of Thrones to tide us over—which I’d sure have a hell of a lot more to say about if they hadn’t sent me that mean DMCA copyright infringement notice the other day. (It’s really hard to watch stuff that isn’t on your computer’s hard drive and never, ever was in the first place.)
As it is, I have to base my observations on that partially-cheesy, partially-compelling, pre-DMCA-notice first episode that I also did not download from anywhere at any time and which, despite its charms, totally failed the crucial can-I-watch-it-with-my-wife litmus test. Sadness. Some thoughts:
How is a 50-foot-tall fire-breathing stuffed-toy dragon related to a superhero reality show and a deadly alien virus? It’s George R.R. Martin’s job to figure it out.
Nom de Plume: none
Location: Santa Fe
Key Book Titles: Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, the Wild Cards series, In A Song of Ice and Fire series: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons (forthcoming)