Evan Leach's Reviews > The Blue World

The Blue World by Jack Vance
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Mar 30, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 1960-1969, science-fiction, adventure, novels, american-literature
Read from March 30 to April 04, 2012

Do not be fooled by the cheesiness of this book’s cover, friends. I am ashamed to admit that, in the hubris of youth, I used to walk past Jack Vance’s novels at the used bookstore, smirking at the dated little novels with the goofy cover art. And my copy is apparently not even the cheesiest version of this book…check out this number:

Alternate Cover

Fortunately, I eventually saw the light and learned that I was oh so wrong. Behind these campy covers is some of the best prose you will find in sci-fi/fantasy (or indeed anywhere). Vance is in my personal holy trinity of sci-fi/fantasy prose writers along with Tolkien and T.H. White, which should come to no surprise to anybody who’s ever read his crisp, flawless writing. Vance’s books tend to be short, often under 200 pages, but that’s just because they don’t have an ounce of fat on them and Vance rarely wastes so much as a single word. This is my sixth Vance book (although my first stand alone novel) and he hasn’t let me down yet.

The Blue World is set on an aquatic planet where the human population live on giant floating “pads” of vegetation. Twelve generations ago, a starship crashed on this nameless world and the survivors’ descendants have been eking out a low-tech existence ever since. Making matters more difficult is that the humans live at the mercy of a giant sea-monster called a Kragen. This monster eats a lot of the humans’ food, and in exchange it doesn’t eat them. It’s not the greatest arrangement from the humans’ perspective, and Sklar Hast decides to finally do something about it. Unfortunately for Sklar, a significant portion of the human population has grown to worship the Kragen as a god, so Sklar’s efforts to rid humanity of the Kragen threatens to tear apart society itself.

Squid

Release the Kragen!!!

The plot is great and I’ve already made clear how much I enjoy Vance’s style. This book is probably not the easiest to find, but if you see it hanging around at your local bookstore I recommend you take the plunge.* 4 stars.

*And if you can’t find it, I highly recommend checking out The Demon Prince series or Dying Earth series, which are currently in print and can be found anywhere. If you enjoy science fiction you’ll be glad you did.
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Reading Progress

03/30 page 53
28.0%
03/20 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Somehow it doesn't have quite the same effect if you say "Release the Kragen!" :)


Evan Leach Richard wrote: "Somehow it doesn't have quite the same effect if you say "Release the Kragen!" :)"

Hahaha no not quite...


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