cover image Wild Thyme, Green Magic

Wild Thyme, Green Magic

Jack Vance. Subterranean, $40 (354pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-226-9

The “spun-silver” prose of fantasy grand master Vance (Lurulu ) illuminates 12 delightful stories, some with intriguing afterwords by the author. Insightfully introduced by editors Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan, this showcase follows Vance’s career from his very first publication, 1945’s “The World-Thinker,” through 1961’s fast-paced novelette “The Augmented Agent” and 1974’s Dying Earth story “The Seventeen Virgins” to “Wild Thyme and Violets,” the outline for an Italy-inspired gothic romance that reads like a surreal flash fiction novel and was first published in 2005. Most of the focus is on Vance’s work from the 1960s and 1970s, which ranges from dramatic fantasy (“Green Magic”) to classic science fiction parables (“Ullward’s Retreat”). Two charming biographical essays by Vance’s late wife, Norma, round out the collection on a tender note. (June)