Magic Highways

by Jack Vance
Release date: March 2013
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction, short stories

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.

Contents:

  • Phalid’s Fate
  • Planet of the Black Dust
  • Ultimate Quest
  • Men of the Ten Books
  • The Planet Machine
  • Dover Spargill’s Ghastly Floater
  • Winner Lose All
  • Sabotage on Sulfur Planet
  • The House Lords
  • Sanatoris Short-cut
  • The Unspeakable McInch
  • The Sub-Standard Sardines
  • The Howling Bounders
  • The King of Thieves
  • The Spa of the Stars
  • To B or Not to C or to D
(updated 2013-03-27)

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