Friday, November 13, 2009

Banjos and Decaying Civilizations


I've been burning through Jack Vance books lately. I was greatly entertained by the Tschai series and now I am just finishing up the Durdane trilogy. Next up are Demon Princes books. I love Vance's variations on the theme of civilizations evolving in isolation, usually in various states of drift, decay, and decadence. The character dialogue in his books is amazing, often hitting a chill-inducing sweet spot between hilarity and beauty.

Actually the main reason I like Vance is because he plays jugband music on his banjo, much like myself. I love the space jazz musician protagonist of the Durdane books.

I was surprised a few months back when the NY Times published a laudatory article on Vance.