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Jack Vance quotes (showing 1-30 of 93)

“Good music always defeats bad luck.”
Jack Vance
“What are your fees?" inquired Guyal cautiously. "I respond to three questions," stated the augur. "For twenty terces I phrase the answer in clear and actionable language; for ten I use the language of cant, which occasionally admits of ambiguity; for five, I speak a parable which you must interpret as you will; and for one terce, I babble in an unknown tongue.”
Jack Vance, Tales of the Dying Earth
“Notice this rent in my garment; I am at a loss to explain its presence! I am even more puzzled by the existence of the universe.”
Jack Vance, Tales of the Dying Earth
“While we are alive we should sit among colored lights and taste good wines, and discuss our adventures in far places; when we are dead, the opportunity is past.”
Jack Vance
“If religions are diseases of the human psyche, as the philosopher Grintholde asserts, then religious wars must be reckoned the resultant sores and cankers infecting the aggregate corpus of the human race. Of all wars, these are the most detestable, since they are waged for no tangible gain, but only to impose a set of arbitrary credos upon another's mind.”
Jack Vance, The Face
“I understand the gist of your speculation,' said Rhialto. 'It is most likely nuncupatory.”
Jack Vance, Rhialto the Marvellous
“Law cannot reach where enforcement will not follow. —Popular aphorism.”
Jack Vance
tags: law
“Beauty is a luster which love bestows to guile the eye. Therefore it may be said that only when the brain is without love will the eye look and see no beauty.”
Jack Vance
“Mischief moves somewhere near and I must blast it with my magic.”
Jack Vance
“Cease the bickering! I am indulging the exotic whims of a beautiful princess and must not be distracted.”
Jack Vance
“I am not Cugel the Clever for nothing!”
Jack Vance, Tales of the Dying Earth
“What exists is real; therefore it is tragic, since whatever lives must die. Only fantasy, the vapors rising from sheer nonsense, can now excite my laughter.”
Jack Vance, The Green Pearl
“Freedom, privileges, options, must constantly be exercised, even at the risk of inconvenience. Otherwise they fall into desuetude and become unfashionable, unorthodox—finally irregulationary.”
Jack Vance, Emphyrio
“We prostrate ourselves before the fish-god Yob, who seems as efficacious as any.”
Jack Vance
“I am a dull person reeks, my conversation consists of insipid platitudes.”
Jack Vance
“When the ships had lifted, they returned across the river to the silence of death. Then his grandfather told him, "Many fine things your father had planned for you: learning and useful work and a life of satisfaction and peace. Do you recall this?"
"Yes, Grandfather."
"The learning you shall have. You will learn patience and resource, the ability of your hands and your mind. You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done—so therefore you may never know life of peace. However, I guarantee you ample satisfaction, for I will teach you to crave the blood of these men more than the flesh of woman."
The old man had been as good as his word.”
Jack Vance, The Demon Princes, Volume One: The Star King, The Killing Machine, The Palace of Love
“The symbologist made a cryptic sign. "That remains to be seen, as the cat said who voided into the sugar bowl.”
Jack Vance, The Palace of Love
“Candor is never indiscreet. Truth, which is to say, the reflection of life, is beautiful.”
Jack Vance, The Demon Princes, Volume One: The Star King, The Killing Machine, The Palace of Love
“The dead man's companions at the counter started to their feet, but halted as Voynod with great aplomb turned to face them. "Take care, you dunghill cocks! Notice the fate of your fellow! He died by the power of my magic blade, which is of inexorable metal and cuts rock and steel like butter. Behold!" And Voynod struck out at a pillar. The blade, striking an iron bracket, broke into a dozen pieces. Voynod stood non-plussed, but the bravo's companions surged forward.

"What then of your magic blade? Our blades are ordinary steel but bite deep!" And in a moment Voynod was cut to bits. The bravos now turned upon Cugel. "What of you? Do you wish to share the fate of your comrade?"
"By no means!" stated Cugel. "This man was but my servant, carrying my pouch. I am a magician; observe this tube! I will project blue concentrate at the first man to threaten me!" The bravos shrugged and turned away. Cugel secured Voynod's pouch, then gestured to the landlord. "Be so good as to remove these corpses; then bring a further mug of spiced wine.”
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
“The world is a place of marvels”
Jack Vance, The Green Pearl
“Living creatures, if nothing else, have the right to life. It is their only truly precious possession, and the stealing of life is a wicked theft”
Jack Vance, Mazirian the Magician
“The Brinktown jail is one of the most ingenious ever propounded by civic authorities. It must be remembered that Brinktown occupies the surface of a volcanic butte, overlooking a trackless jungle of quagmire, thorn, eel-vine skiver tussock. A single road leads from city down to jungle; the prisoner is merely locked out of the city. Escape is at his option; he may flee as far through the jungle as he sees fit: the entire continent is at his disposal. But no prisoner ever ventures far from the gate; and, when his presence is required, it is only necessary to unlock the gate and call his name.”
Jack Vance, The Star King
“The banquet proceeded. The first course, a mince of olives, shrimp and onions baked in oyster shells with cheese and parsley was followed by a soup of tunny, cockles and winkles simmered in white wine with leeks and dill. Then, in order, came a service of broiled quail stuffed with morels, served on slices of good white bread, with side dishes of green peas; artichokes cooked in wine and butter, with a salad of garden greens; then tripes and sausages with pickled cabbage; then a noble saddle of venison glazed with cherry sauce and served with barley first simmered in broth, then fried with garlic and sage; then honey-cakes, nuts and oranges; and all the while the goblets flowed full with noble Voluspa and San Sue from Watershade, along with the tart green muscat wine of Dascinet.”
Jack Vance, The Green Pearl
“I am not partial to folk who are grim and austere. I prefer fanciful folk who make me laugh.”
Jack Vance, Madouc
“Nothing is more conspicuous than a farting princess.”
Jack Vance, Suldrun's Garden
“I live in a constant flux; I am unable to make fixed plans.”
Jack Vance, Lyonesse: Madouc
“T’sain shrugged. “I have lived little, and I am not wise. Yet I know that everyone is entitled to life.”
Jack Vance, Mazirian the Magician
“It is an unthinkable discrepancy that fifty-four men should consume the food intended for fifty-three.”
Jack Vance
“Only the fact of my broken limbs prevents me from leaping at your throat.”
Jack Vance
“What is an evil man? The man is evil who coerces obedience to his private ends, destroys beauty, produces pain, extinguishes life.”
Jack Vance

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