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City of the Chasch

(Planet of Adventure #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,524 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Someone sent distress signals to outer space from the planet Tschai. It was Adam Reith's misfortune to be sent from Earth to investigate. Because when his ship came close to Tschai, it was torpedoed... and Adam escaped to the surface with his life and nothing else.

Tschai was a vast planet and previously unexplored. Adam, taken as slave by humans, learned that there were fo
Paperback, Bluejay Illustrated Editions #11, 200 pages
Published March 1986 by Bluejay (first published 1968)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
After having read his ‘Tales of the Dying Earth’ featuring the scoundrel Cugel (The Dying Earth) this shouldn’t have come as such a great surprise, but I loved this book. They certainly don’t make them like this anymore. The City of the Chasch is the marvellously bizarre first book in a series that is called, in some cases, ‘The Planet of Adventure’, and in other cases, the ‘Tschai’ series. It owes a lot to the pulps and in particular to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter / Mars / Barsoom series ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017

To one side of the 'Explorator IV' flared a dim and aging star, Carina 4269; to the other hung a single planet, gray-brown under a heavy blanket of atmosphere. The star was distinguished only by a curious amber cast to its light. The planet was somewhat larger than Earth, attended by a pair of small moons with rapid periods of orbit. An almost typical K2 star, an unremarkable planet, but for the men aboard 'Explorator IV' the system was a source of wonder and fascination.

Call them whatever you
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
The City of the Chasch is Jack Vance’s 1968 first book in his ‘Tschai’ series. Reminiscent of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom books, the Tschai is Vance’s magnum opus of alien life and man’s adventures on a planet colonized by several races. This also reminded me of Robert Silverberg’s magnificent Majipoor series with its inventive combination of science fiction and fantasy. The four books were published together in 1993 as the Planet of Adventure.

As in much of Vance’s writing, his detailed world
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
_The Chasch_ (originally published as _City of the Chasch_) is sort of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars as envisioned by Jack Vance. It is an entertaining Planetary Romance tale (or Sword & Planet if you prefer that designation) that describes the adventures of Adam Reith, Earthman and sole survivor of the Explorator IV a starship that is destroyed by unknown forces while in orbit above the planet Tschai. Reith is a Scout, meaning that he is a Jack-of-all-Trades uniquely equipped for sur ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
City of the Chasch, also known as The Chasch, was first published as a paperback novel in 1968. My copy is 141 pages long. It is the first of four novels in the Planet of Adventure series about the planet Tschai. It appears to still be in print in paperback along with the other three novels under the title Planet of Adventure by Orb books. Each of the four novels included continues with the main character, Adam Reith, and same storyline. There are four main civilizations on Tschai. Each involves ...more
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Only Jack Vance could have pulled this off - vintage 60s Sci Fi (that means solitary male heroes who can fight aliens, plan daring escapes, lead armies, drink without embarrassing themselves, get on with the ladies), set in a planet that has - I don't know - maybe about six different alien races co-existing in the same landscape, with multiple societies, histories, sub-species.... The whole shebang and its all easy to digest, urbane, generally not too offensive politically.

He makes it all look
This series belongs to my absolute all time favorites. I think I've read these books ten times or more and they are still interesting, great to read and fun.
For people who would like to try and start reading science fiction: please choose something by Jack Vance.
Aug 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2009, sci-fi
City of the Chasch is pure pulp, the characterisation paper-thin, as is the general story line. Having said that, it is a great read, I was not disappointed at all, quite the opposite. The novel grips from the opening and I’m now waiting impatiently for my next fill of the series.

I’m now looking forward to reading the next instalment in the adventure, the excellently titled ‘Servants of the Wankh’ (apparently, Vance was advised to change the title to ‘Servants of the Wannek‘ after the publishers
Jack Massa
I first read this about 30 years ago, but after recently coming across The Pnume (Tschai, 4), I decided to read the whole series through.

I love Vance's compressed, ironic, decorative prose, his "lapidary style" as one friend put it.

Aside from that, this is pure escapist fun: Meet quirkly alien, have funny dialogue. Meet dangerous alien, bash and run.

Can't wait to read the next installment.
Chris Gager
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
First of the short novels collected in "Planet of Adventure." Reviewed in my review of "Planet of Adventure."

- 3.75* rounds up to 4* for the great writing and world creation of Mr. Vance. Otherwise very much in line(generally and generically) with many other fantasy-sci novels. Not quite in the space opera category occupied by "The Demon Princes" and therefore not as compelling for me.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Quite good universe, superb prose, excellent characters, surreal landscapes and real intense action plus subtle plot and satiric, and highly critical content,
Molly Ison
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Sexist, colonialist D&D wish fulfillment.
Bill Burris
A bit like a slightly modernized version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series. ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Michael by: blog comment on Game of Reading
Classic science fiction in all its splendor: Interesting ideas, fairly good yarn, correct grammar, and stylistic wood.
K.T. Katzmann
In his inimitable style, Vance narrates the eventful tale of Adam Reith, a stranded Earth astronaut, marooned on Tschai, a world where all humans are slaves to aliens and the societies are ridiculous.

I had hoped to like this a lot more.

The strange people and places Reith encounter are wonderful; I'm particularly fond of the society that basically runs like a message board, with everyone inheriting an avatar. The methods of speaking are distinct;y Vancian, with his sardonic, devil-may-care pessim
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
My first introduction to Jack Vance, whom I'd heard of but never read. It was quite an enjoyable book. I would imagine that to enjoy this story you have to know to take it lightly & be up to having a light, fun read. Nothing too serious, nothing that tugs the heartstrings, nothing overly complicated or so beautifully written you have to re-read certain passages. This was just a plain, but fantastic, adventure featuring a most unlikely hero named Reith. Vance wrote this long ago & it reads as suc ...more
David McGrogan
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is just archetypal Vance. Single malt, no added colour, non-chill filtered. If Vance is what you like, you will want to savour it. If you don't, you will, I would guess, want to wash it down the plughole. I happen to like Vance better than just about any other writer, so for me reading this was like sipping a glass of Bruichladdich in front of a wood fire on a late autumn evening. Right from the start you know you are in the hands of an absolute master: the prose is as taut and spare as eve ...more
Great Sword & Planet story by one of the masters of the SF/Fantasy Genre. I've never read anything by Jack Vance yet that I did not love. This is the first of a tetralogy of novels with the protagonist Adam Reith from Earth who is exploring space for earth but suddenly he finds himself the only survivor stranded on the planet Tscai with humans and alien beings named the Blue Chasch, the Green Chasch, the Wankh, the Dirdir, the Pnume and the Phung. What an amazing imagination and a great action a ...more
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Campy pulp fiction relying heavily on tropes of the genre. Very little character development, abysmal portrayals of women (well, one woman, there is only really 1 female character). The main character strides forward as only a white man in retro sci-fi can, completely certain that his way of life is the correct one and that he must liberate the poor savages of Tschai. If you can set all that aside, a fun light read.
Love of Hopeless Causes
Jan 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Hoopla lost my place and I wasn't thrilled enough to return. Struck me as an Edgar Rice Burroughs meme with more of a Fantasy emphasis. Audiobook review, perhaps I'll try the print version some time. ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: space-opera
At the time of writing this review, The Chasch is the second science-fiction book in a row that I’ve read where named characters are obliterated in the prologue. The first time, I experienced a painful mental, “What?!” This time, I experienced a curious mental, “Did the Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers association send a trope memo that I missed?” Of course, there was no SFWA memo and the first book I read with this potential new trope (It may not really be new; I may have just missed it unti ...more
I haven't read Vance before and had no idea what to expect. City of the Chasch was published in 1968, but it would fit in with SF of an earlier era - the 1930s or 40's, or even earlier. It puts me in mind of John Carter's adventures on Barsoom by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The attitudes are a bit dated. The only virtue of women is their beauty. Putting adversaries to death is done rather cavalierly. The protagonist is from Earth of the future, but his general outlook is from the nineteenth century.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Good, pulpy fun.
Miranda N.  Benson
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-read-again
I intended to read the entire Planet of Adventure series, but after finishing City of the Chasch, I had to walk away. While Vance is undeniably a master of world-building and I admire his voice, that's not enough to forgive his one-dimension characters that rely completely on tropes, or the overt misogyny that permeates every page of this book.
This story is the epitome of white savior complex: our protagonist (who I suppose we're supposed to like) crash-lands on an unknown planet and wrangles hi
Dec 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sword-and-planet
The fun of the book is that Reith is adaptable, moral, and willing to become entangled in local problems, all of which is a recipe for adventure in the Vance mode. And as a bonus, he's pleasant to travel with, and not some grim antihero.

And of course there are all sorts of nice Vance tidbits, from the culture of the Emblem Men (where the person is merely the spiritual vehicle for the medallions they wear), to the sandblast guns (firing particulates at relativistic speeds), to the ways that the a
May 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I've been meaning to get around to re-reading some of my Jack Vance ever since I heard he died last fall. 

This is fairly standard fair for the 60's—an interesting story, but with an Earthman stranded on an alien planet who is, of course, a match for anything that planet can throw at him. All the women he meets need to be rescued (not that he has a good record at that…) and all the aliens are evil.

Still the world-building is bett
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since I last re-read this series of Jack Vance.
I was afraid of finding it very dated. After all, it's a book that is 50 years old.
Well, my fears were not justified: this first volume is still a great adventure novel, Tschaï is still a fascinating world, the story is always interesting.
Maybe some aspects of the book are slightly dated (a touch of machismo, an absence of cynicism) but it did not spoil my reading pleasure.
A great book, by a great author.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
The thing about Jack Vance books is they never lag, he doesn't get bogged down in the minutia of 'world building'. He gives you just enough to suspend belief and hold onto your seats, coz it's always going to be a ride. This was a very impressive book, well paced, colourful characters and poignant in it's simple accessibility. A great adventure. ...more
Baal Of
This is probably the weakest of the Vance books I've ever read. The world is less developed than in a lot of his other books, and the story is rather straight-forward. It still fun, but definitely on the light fluffy side. ...more
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The first in a four book series of Sword and planet type books. Pretty good. Definitely more strange than the average one. Very imaginative, although I wasn't overly enamored of the story line. ...more
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Beyond Jack Vance: Tchai 8 40 Dec 09, 2012 08:19AM  

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Aka John Holbrook Vance, Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Alan Wade.

The author was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. During the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed widely to science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first novel, The Dying Earth , was published in 1950 to g

Other books in the series

Planet of Adventure (4 books)
  • Servants of the Wankh (Planet of Adventure, #2)
  • The Dirdir (Planet of Adventure, #3)
  • The Pnume (Planet of Adventure, #4)

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