Edited by Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan. Dust jacket by Tom Kidd.
The Ultimate Grandeur
Fantasy and Science Fiction Grandmaster Jack Vance is very much a writer of the Space Age. His time “traveling” the magic highways of his imagination spans the period bracketed by the final years of World War 2 and the Cassini–Huygens probe reaching Saturn space in late 2004, the year he brought his magnificent career to a close.
In those first thrilling, dangerous, heady days, science did seem to promise all the answers, and it was in a “double” universe of the familiar workaday world and the utterly unlimited one of the imagination that the ever-practical yet romantic, diligently physics-savvy yet as often wildly improvisational Jack Vance worked.
Even as he wrote tales set in the far future of his acclaimed Dying Earth, even as he produced mysteries and suspense stories of a much less fanciful kind, Jack’s determined quest to become a “million words a year” man saw him ranging a universe criss-crossed with busy interstellar highways: a network of flourishing trade and tourist routes leading to new frontiers, far-flung colonies, alien worlds, with ample room for exotic races, travelers, traders and scoundrels, even space pirates, ample opportunity for grand schemes of every kind.
Magic Highways gathers sixteen of those early space adventures from that exciting first decade, spanning the years 1946 to 1956. In these frequently inventive, often surprising space operas, Jack takes us to vivid destinations along the vast interstellar highways of a future where anything is possible.
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.