cover image LURULU


Jack Vance, . . Tor, $23.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86727-0

The sequel to SFWA Grand Master Vance's Ports of Call (1998) continues the adventures of Myron Tany in a headlong rush of droll vignettes in the spirit, if not with the depth, of Gulliver's Travels . Abandoned by his great-aunt for dawdling while piloting her space-yacht toward the distant world of Naharius, Myron now handles cargo aboard the interstellar freighter Glicca for Capt. Adair Maloof and his slightly shady crew and its passengers. The freighter wanders wherever its cargo may take it, guided by the frequently incorrect Handbook of the Planets . Along the way Myron learns about "lurulu," "a special word from the language of myth," which may best be translated as the achievement of your heart's desire. Myron has ample time to consider his own lurulu as he helps Captain Maloof find the man who seduced his foolish mother and killed his father, and assists with the sly wheeling and dealing necessitated by each planet's obscure customs to turn a proper profit. A subplot about the ups and downs of a traveling troupe of actors adds amusement but little else to the plot. Myron's travels feel largely aimless, but Vance's humorous takes on culture and morality are likely to keep readers entertained to the end of this short, old-fashioned SF novel. Agent, Ralph M. Vicinanza. (Dec. 1)