Jack Vance, the grandmaster of science fiction and fantasy, sadly passed away in his sleep on Sunday 26 May 2013, aged 96. As a prolific and much-loved author for five decades, he wrote more than 50 novels and 100 short stories. He was well-known for such classic as The Dying Earth, Lyonesse, and Night Lamp and has influenced authors from Ursula K Le Guin to George RR Martin.
After hearing of his death, the Game Of Thrones writer left a heartfelt blog saying, “I had the honour of meeting Jack a few times, but I cannot claim to have known him well. But he had a huge influence on me and my work, and for the past 50-some years has ranked among my very favourite writers. Every time a new Jack Vance book came out, I would drop whatever else I was doing and read it. Sometimes I did not mean to, but once you cracked the covers of a Vance book, you were lost.
“Vance’s Dying Earth ranks with Howard’s Hyborian Age and Tolkien’s Middle Earth as one of the all-time great fantasy settings, and Cugel the Clever is the genre’s greatest rogue, a character as memorable as Conan or Frodo (either of whom Cugel would likely swindle out of their smallclothes, had they ever met).”
Martin edited a tribute to Vance in 2009, an anthology that featured stories based in his universe from writers such as Michael Moorcock and Neil Gaiman. The latter took to Twitter to pay his respects saying, “thank you for the dreams and the magic, Jack Vance.”
Fans can leave a message on the website Foreverness, dedicated to the author, where his family encourage you to raise a toast. They also left this message: “Recognised most widely as an author, family and friends also knew a generous, large-hearted, rugged, congenial, hard-working, optimistic and unpretentious individual whose curiosity, sense of wonder and sheer love of life were an inspiration in themselves. Author, friend, father and grandfather – there will never be another like Jack Vance.”