The Pnume were an ancient race of the planet Tschai, living underground in a vast network of caverns with their human slave-species, the Pnumekin: The Pnume were the historians of Tschai, collecting its past with ruthless and scholarly dedication. Surface-dwellers never saw the Pnume – if they were lucky. Adam Reith was not so fortunate. The Pnume had heard rumors of a strange man, claiming to have come from the planet Earth, and they wanted him for Foreverness, the museum of Tschai life. Adam Reith was about to become an alien exhibit.
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.