Edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan. Dust jacket by Tom Kidd.
A legend has to start somewhere...
As so many writers have said, it’s in the shorter and mid-length work that the storytelling craft is best learned. Hard-Luck Diggings brings together fourteen such pieces from the first twelve years of Grand Master Jack Vance’s genre-defining career, from back when he first worked to pay the mortgage, buy the groceries, travel the world, eventually building his own private “dream castle” and starting a family.
Like any writer serious about staying in the game, we see him targeting the markets of the day, doing what was needed to meet the tastes of editors and their readerships while at the same time perfecting his own special way of doing things so that his name, his distinctive voice, stood a chance (in modern marketing parlance) of becoming a viable “brand.”
Hard-Luck Diggings brings that fascinating process to life in fine style. As well as serving up vintage entertainment from one of the field’s genuine masters, it provides an illuminating armchair tour of how the Jack Vance enterprise came to be, full of zest and life, the thrill of the upward climb and of so much more to be done. This is a book to be savoured with a twinkle in the eye, a knowing smile, but most of all, with a love of adventure and high romance firmly in place.
John Holbrook "Jack" Vance (1916–2013) was an American mystery, fantasy and science fiction writer. Though most of his work has been published as by Jack Vance, he also wrote 11 mystery novels using his full name John Holbrook Vance, three under the pseudonym Ellery Queen, and once each using the pseudonyms Alan Wade, Peter Held, John van See, and Jay Kavanse.
Vance won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1984 and he was a Guest of Honor at the 1992 World Science Fiction Convention in Orlando, Florida. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America made him its 14th Grand Master in 1997 and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted him in 2001, its sixth class of two deceased and two living writers.