Big Planet is Jack Vance’s first major sf novel, and in the words of the Encyclopedia of SF, “provided an sf model for the planetary romance which has been of significant use for forty years”. The huge world of the title is home to a range of colourfully detailed and imaginative human societies, which Vance explores with the zest and humour which are hallmarks of his work. All Jack Vance titles in the SFGateway use the author’s preferred texts, as restored for the Vance Integral Edition (VIE), an extensive project masterminded by an international online community of Vance’s admirers. In general, we also use the VIE titles, and have adopted the arrangement of short story collections to eliminate overlaps. Big Planet was cut almost in half for its first publication, but sadly the excised pages are lost.
In 1492, Colombus discovered America. In 1992 Claude Regan had to make it happen again! The US needed a shot in the arm as the twentieth century entered the last decade. And a World’s fair celebrating five hundred years of American civilisation might just do the trick. Regan was the trickiest, most ruthless promoter in the country. And the first thing he realised was that Earth wasn’t big enough to hold the kind of fair he wanted. So he built a new world!
He’s the perfect starship trooper: big, strong, and not too bright. He’s the perfect hero: willing to do almost anything to save his neck (it’s one of the body parts that’s still his own.) Tsuris, the Mystery Plane, has a mysterious secret weapon, and Bill must get it. But Bill has something the Tsurisians want. They have a lot of brains, but not enough bodies. They’ll take any body that comes along – and put one of their brains in it! Can Bill escape with his own brain? Can he find the secret weapon? Can he get a drink?
He’s the perfect Spaceship Trooper: big, strong, and completely brainwashed. He’s the perfect hero: willing to do almost anything to save his neck (perhaps one of the only body parts that’s still his own.) Bill is in the hospital, vainly hoping for a real foot to replace the satyr’s foot he’s been lumbered with. Not that he has anything against satyrs – at least not until one grabs him by the foot and pulls him under the ocean. Into a world of unspeakable and endless pleasures! Roaming this dimension of primordial desires, Bill faces dragons and gunslingers for the sake of true love – and a really good beer!
BILL – the perfect Starship Trooper: big, brawny, and brainwashed. Possessor of two right arms (impressive when it comes to saluting) and a foot that is threatening to turn into something more suited to being an umbrella stand than anything that could be squeezed into a size 11 sneaker. BILL – a perfect recruit for the good ship Bounty, bound for the Chinger war and carrying a cargo of as nice a company of homicidal misfits and maniacs as you could wish to meet outside of a penitentiary asylum (which is where they’ve just come from). BILL, THE GALACTIC HERO – he’s back, he’s bad and about to meet the most hideous alien lifeform of his entire career. He’d do anything to save his skin without rocking the boat – but mutiny? On the Bounty?
The gigantic world known as Big Planet had become a wilderness of strange peoples and weird cultures as a result of having been the dumping ground for every crackpot and malcontent that ever emigrated from the Earth. Somewhere in its unmapped vastness a plot was being hatched to disturb the peace of the mother world’s civilization. This novel was previously published under the titles Planet of the Damned and Slaves of the Klau. All Jack Vance titles in the SFGateway use the author’s preferred texts, as restored for the Vance Integral Edition (VIE), an extensive project masterminded by an international online community of Vance’s admirers. In general, we also use the VIE titles, and have adopted the arrangement of short story collections to eliminate overlaps.
Blake had waited a long time for his big chance. Finally the selection board called him in. This was it. He got his promotion, his captain’s ticket and his first assignment. Vorgal was a tough planet but Blake was ready for it. He was the first spaceman to land on Vorgal without crashing. He was the first human being to see a Vorgalian and live. He was the first to learn the planet’s deadly secret an come back alive. But…when he went into landing orbit around Earth they fired on him. No one would believe that the impossible had happened. They thought Blake’s body was being used by an alien, and unless he could convince them fast he would die. Without his secret knowledge of Vorgal, Earth would die too…
The benevolent, paternalistic World State regarded the freedom-minded Jeffersonians as a minor embarrassment whose violent elimination would cause more disruption than their demise would merit. So both sides were happy when the chance came for voluntary exile to a distant planet. But two hundred years later the less benevolent descendant of the World State that had let them go was to decide that the cosmos was not big enough to hold both it and a free people.
THE STORM LORD is a big novel of an unknown planet and of the conflict of empires and peoples on that world. It is a story of a priestess raped and slain, of a baby born of a king and hidden among strangers, and of how that child, grown to manhood, sought his true heritage. It is a novel of alien gods and lost goddesses, of warriors and wanderers, and of vengeance long delayed. It is an epic in every sense of the word.
IN THE “DOC” SMITH TRADITION The planet was fine for big game hunters. And it was the tradition there that one must have a trophy before one could call oneself truly a man. If that were all, it would hardly interest Cap Kennedy because his trophies consisted of planets saved for Terra and missions accomplished. But there was something on Eriadne which was not just a hunt trophy – something which required the presence of Kennedy and his men to check on. One of these things was a fragment of Zheltyana construction which outdated all civilisation. But the hunt proved to be a double one – Kennedy against an unslayable monster and a lost world of monsters against Kennedy. And if he lost, it would be Terra itself that would be a trophy on some alien’s hunting lodge wall. SPAWN OF LABAN is one of the best – a real edge-of-the-seat science fiction chiller in the tradition of Edward E. Smith and Edmond Hamilton