Ports of Call (Jack Vance)
You know, I thought Jack Vance was one of the old-school authors. You know, from back in the day - Bradbury, Heinlein, and so on. And then I thought to myself, why don't I get something of his from the library, and bone up on some historical science-fiction.
So I read Ports of call at the Troll Family Cottage. It was entertaining - high-flown humor, perhaps. Ports of Call isn't a novel. It's a series of sketches, a farce - the main character, Myron, a uselessly foppish nephew who reminds me of Bertie Wooster (P. G. Wodehouse): "Of course I can fly your new space yacht," he assures his pompous aunt, "as long as it's got auto-pilot." So Myron and Dame Hester go for a little space tour, flitting from place to place. There's no plot, no real development of character. Every chapter is a new society, a some new friends and some new obstacles. It's got a lot of people being snotty to each other, and man do I love the vocabulary of the future!
But what really impresses me is that it was published in 1999. My jaw dropped when I saw that. The publisher has some respect for the readers (anyone who's ever run across the word etiolated is invited to leave a comment; I take my hat off for you).
If you secretly wish people spoke in Jane-Austen-like dialogue, cheer on the archness of Lady Catherine de Burgh - then, perhaps, this is the novel for you...
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