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Maxx
11-11-2010, 08:24 PM
Here's a paper on the software used to help integrate the
integrated complete edition of Jack Vance.

The paper claims that:

The VIE project is perhaps the most culturally innovative use of the Internet ever.


http://www2.sas.com/proceedings/sugi30/025-30.pdf

ColoradoGuy
11-11-2010, 10:06 PM
I've never read him -- is he worth the effort?

On the other hand, if Medievalist comes along she can tell us about how computers and the internet have affected Shakespeare studies.

rugcat
11-11-2010, 10:11 PM
I've never read him -- is he worth the effortFor those of us in the SF/F field, essential. For others, not so much, I think.

Interesting man, though.

SPMiller
11-11-2010, 11:40 PM
I'd hesitate to single out Vance as especially essential over a number of other writers, but as rugcat says, for spec fic people, he's definitely worth a read. Since he's been around for such a long time, he's had a greater influence over time than his shorter-lived contemporaries. His Dying Earth stories, for example, were a big fucking deal and still inspire homages to this day, but he has written many other fictions of note.

Maxx
11-12-2010, 12:53 AM
I've never read him -- is he worth the effort?



When I first came across his books 30 years ago,he seemed like quite a find. Then for the next 10 years I read a lot of his stuff. Lately not so much. I guess I would recommend the Lyoness Series and the Demon Princes Series if nothing else.

Ruv Draba
11-12-2010, 02:23 PM
I didn't notice the author affiliation until I'd read the whole paper through. SAS is a large, successful vendor of business intelligence software. This project appears to be "BI geeks do Jack Vance", and there is a strong fragrance of self-promotion through an exercise that I thought was more than a little tongue-in-cheek.

On the other hand, data cleansing on Optical Character Recognition of unstructured data is a serious Information Management challenge topic and there are some interesting techniques going on there. It's likely to be of interest to librarians, curators and the like (except that they'll probably never read the paper because it's about an author they wouldn't read and software they couldn't use.)

In terms of Vance's literary merit, I echo Rugcat's and SPM's take. He's not the Chandler of SF, and I don't think that a vocabulary count means anything in a genre where neologisms are de rigeur. (If you want to know who is the Chandler of SF, my vote would be Gene Wolfe.)

Aaron_Singleton
11-13-2010, 12:39 PM
Ruv Draba: I find it funny that you say neologisms are "de rigeur" in SF and that "vocabulary count (doesn't mean) anything" and then mention Wolfe, who never made up a single word in The Book of the New Sun, but used unusual and/or archaic words to give the books a unique flavor. But anyone who uses French in internet posts is already somewhat suspect =) Vance is an essential part of SF and literature in general, unless you are a literature snob who thinks genre is automatically exempt.

Ruv Draba
11-14-2010, 09:42 AM
I'd say that I'm a writer who thinks that any genre deserves considered literary critique and not just fannish squee-rants. SF has plenty of ideas I enjoy, but very little writing to drool over. Of the few SF writers with drool-worthy prose, Wolfe is foremost in my mind. Wolfe's ideas are thoughtful, crisp and iconoclastic, his style masterful, his meaning layered, his prose rich and lingering, and his ability to avoid gratuitous neologisms reflects that. He's a literary author who just happens to write SFF. I wish I had a fraction of his talent.

Vance has a fine, quirky style I enjoy, but I think they overplayed his literary significance in a flurry of self-promotion and squee.

I'm not sure what's wrong with using de rigueur in a post, other than that I misspelled it.

Torgo
11-15-2010, 05:57 PM
Vance is better than Wolfe. There, I said it. I doubt I can think of ten writers whose work I enjoy more.

Maxx
11-15-2010, 10:19 PM
Vance is better than Wolfe. There, I said it. I doubt I can think of ten writers whose work I enjoy more.

I agree. Vance is a joy to read and one of my favorites. Definitely in my top five for Sci Fi.

Maxx
11-15-2010, 10:24 PM
I didn't notice the author affiliation until I'd read the whole paper through. SAS is a large, successful vendor of business intelligence software. This project appears to be "BI geeks do Jack Vance", and there is a strong fragrance of self-promotion through an exercise that I thought was more than a little tongue-in-cheek.


It was a volunteer project.

They did find the most probable Vancean sentence:


the result read: “The door and the door and the door and the door and …”—
arguably a very fascinating result. However, while designing the SAS code to find this most probable sentence, it
quickly became apparent that more interesting sequences could be generated by loosening some of the constraints
imposed by the MPVS process, and by allowing a certain measure of controlled randomness to take part in the
program. Thus, the Stochastic Vancifier was born.

Ruv Draba
11-15-2010, 10:53 PM
I suspect it was one volunteered using corporate time and resources in an off sales month. :)

(I was kinda getting into "The door and the door and the door..." though. Nice rhythm and a cheekily postmodern bit of self-reference.)

Maxx
11-16-2010, 12:48 AM
I suspect it was one volunteered using corporate time and resources in an off sales month. :)

(I was kinda getting into "The door and the door and the door..." though. Nice rhythm and a cheekily postmodern bit of self-reference.)

Shows just how fine the difference between modern and postmodern can be when "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" is put up against a computer-generated "The door and the door and the door and the door (endless)"

It's true hat there must have been some level of corporate support for the software and the computer time at least.

Torgo
03-12-2011, 08:27 PM
Sorry for the necromancy, but I d/led a kindle preview of Lyonesse the other day and was delighted to see that the opening map was provided via the VIE project. So all that hard work is now feeding back into the main commercial stream of Vance's work.

Maxx
03-15-2011, 10:40 PM
Sorry for the necromancy, but I d/led a kindle preview of Lyonesse the other day and was delighted to see that the opening map was provided via the VIE project. So all that hard work is now feeding back into the main commercial stream of Vance's work.

I'm working on getting back into Vance. Necromancy is welcome.

I'm reading one of the last and best of the Demon Princes. The Book of Dreams

Pretty austere really. Lots of haunting moments, but nothing tediously painful unlike say Arminta Station

Torgo
03-16-2011, 02:39 PM
I'm working on getting back into Vance. Necromancy is welcome.

I'm reading one of the last and best of the Demon Princes. The Book of Dreams

Pretty austere really. Lots of haunting moments, but nothing tediously painful unlike say Arminta Station

Love The Book of Dreams and esp. its quiet, haunting ending, but I think my favourite by a whisker is The Face. Actually I really like Araminta Station and the sequels, too; I'm a bit of a fanboy.

Have you read Night Lamp?

Dgullen
03-16-2011, 03:11 PM
Genre influences aside I think you should read at least one of his books. For my money I'd recommend Night Lamp as a good start, or for something slimmer, the original Dying Earth.

Likew Torgo I'm a bit of a fanboy (currently awaiting delivery of my copy of the Compact VIE). Vance fans are intensely loyal (what other writer's fans would put together something like VIE?), and Vance is much admired by other writers - Songs of the Dying Earth is a fine collection of stories from many of today's best genre writers. Very influential, you'll either love his style (and he is one of the great stylists) - and therefore pretty much all his books - or you won't.

There's an in-depth appreciation from the New York Times here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19Vance-t.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1

Dave

Reziac
08-01-2014, 07:04 PM
(currently awaiting delivery of my copy of the Compact VIE). Vance fans are intensely loyal

The Compact VIE? (Alas, I can never afford the real deal :( )

What I'd like is the Electronic VIE...

And yes, there seems to be a threshold one passes to become a Vance fan; those on the outside often cannot see the lure, let alone the attraction.

Filigree
08-04-2014, 09:03 AM
Night Lamp was one of my favorites, and was actually part of my inspiration to get into the book arts community. I like Wolfe, too - but then I also like Pat McKillip and Tanith Lee, who can be heavily 'literary' SFF authors.

Maxx
10-31-2014, 06:26 PM
Love The Book of Dreams and esp. its quiet, haunting ending, but I think my favourite by a whisker is The Face. Actually I really like Araminta Station and the sequels, too; I'm a bit of a fanboy.

Have you read Night Lamp?

I just ordered it. Wow! Jack wrote an amazing number of good books!

Reziac
10-31-2014, 08:11 PM
I just ordered it. Wow! Jack wrote an amazing number of good books!

Night Lamp is among those I most often yearn to re-read. I recently bought a copy for myself (having previously suffered with library copies, which one must give back). The trouble with rereading one Vance book is that it immediately leads to rereading them all... if I haven't lost track, my most recent was complete reading #7. :eek:

And as to the Compact VIE...

http://www.aftonhousebooks.com/
PRICE: $1295 plus shipping and packing
<*cough*gasp*choke*>
That's even more than the first quote I saw for the leatherbound VIE!

Maxx
10-31-2014, 11:56 PM
Night Lamp is among those I most often yearn to re-read. I recently bought a copy for myself (having previously suffered with library copies, which one must give back). The trouble with rereading one Vance book is that it immediately leads to rereading them all... if I haven't lost track, my most recent was complete reading #7. :eek:

And as to the Compact VIE...

http://www.aftonhousebooks.com/
PRICE: $1295 plus shipping and packing
<*cough*gasp*choke*>
That's even more than the first quote I saw for the leatherbound VIE!

It's funny, but my interest in Vance seems to oscillate a bit. I first read him in the early 1970s and he didn't seem to stand out all that much. In the mid-1980s I systematically bought all of his books that
I could find used...which was already quite a lot.
Into the Early 1990s I read quite a bit and stopped around 1995. Oh! About 20 years ago! Now, I'm enjoying some new and old favorites again.

Reziac
11-01-2014, 01:26 AM
It's funny, but my interest in Vance seems to oscillate a bit. I first read him in the early 1970s and he didn't seem to stand out all that much. In the mid-1980s I systematically bought all of his books that
I could find used...which was already quite a lot.

The first Vance I read was The Languages of Pao, which a friend gave to me in 1974, insisting "It's stupid!" (She was not a SF/F reader. Actually she was going to throw it out, but I talked her into handing it over instead. It's a shorty paperback, fairly old.) At first I didn't realise what I'd found. But I acquired a few more at random (the limitations of a used-book budget), always enjoyed them, and within a few years he was on my "always buy" list. By now I have all but a few older and obscure works. I never did lose interest; rather, I discovered I could always read his stuff afresh. I try not to get tempted into a reread more than every 2 or 3 years, tho I suspect I'll never get bored of them regardless.

Maxx
11-03-2014, 07:46 PM
The first Vance I read was The Languages of Pao, which a friend gave to me in 1974, insisting "It's stupid!" (She was not a SF/F reader. Actually she was going to throw it out, but I talked her into handing it over instead. It's a shorty paperback, fairly old.) At first I didn't realise what I'd found. But I acquired a few more at random (the limitations of a used-book budget), always enjoyed them, and within a few years he was on my "always buy" list. By now I have all but a few older and obscure works. I never did lose interest; rather, I discovered I could always read his stuff afresh. I try not to get tempted into a reread more than every 2 or 3 years, tho I suspect I'll never get bored of them regardless.

My discovery of Vance was kind of odd. I had apparently be reading him off and on for years (I used to go through a lot of SCi-fi in the 1970s without thinking about it much). When I got some of the older stuff, they seemed very familiar. He was obscured by my interest in new wave sci fi in the late 1970s and after about 1995, by my interest in Iain Banks.

Reziac
11-03-2014, 08:36 PM
I just now realised this was SAS, the SAS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAS_Institute). SAS was the subject of ... I forget if it was on 20-20 or what, but a TV special some years ago. It's the largest privately-held company in the world (thus not held hostage by the need to perform for the stock market) and it operates according to the founder's vision. Their self-description (http://www.sas.com/en_us/company-information/corporate-social-responsibility.html) is not BS.