The Pnume were an ancient race of the planet Tschai, living underground in a vast network of caverns with their human slave-species, the Pnumekin: The Pnume were the historians of Tschai, collecting its past with ruthless and scholarly dedication. Surface-dwellers never saw the Pnume – if they were lucky. Adam Reith was not so fortunate. The Pnume had heard rumors of a strange man, claiming to have come from the planet Earth, and they wanted him for Foreverness, the museum of Tschai life. Adam Reith was about to become an alien exhibit.
Tschai, the setting for the quartet of novels which commences with The Chasch (originally City of the Chasch), is a planet inhabited by a variety of alien species coexisting uneasily with humans – the Chasch, the Wannek, the Dirdir and the Pnume. 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.