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Maske: Thaery

(Gaean Reach)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  37 reviews
There is a Hole at the eastern fringe of the known universe. Deep within it hangs a lost star, Mora, with twin planets, Maske and Skay. On wild Maske there is a rocky peninsula inhabited by a clan of warlike dreamers, the Droads. The eldest son, Trewe, is by birthright Droad of Droad. The second son has no choice but to turn his face toward adventure. His name is Jubal Dro ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published November 1st 2003 by iBooks (first published 1976)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  577 ratings  ·  37 reviews


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mark monday
quintessential Jack Vance adventure novel. swiftly-paced, dryly witty, deeply ironic, byzantine in its layers of back-story and multiple displays of world-building yet happily trim and stripped-down in its actual verbiage, featuring a sardonic young hero, his icy love interest and various mysteries that he is only slightly interested in solving.

Jubal Droad is a high-caste Glint in the land of Thaery, on the planet Maske, on the outskirts of the Gaean Reach. unfortunately being a noble son of Gli
...more
Lyn
Mar 27, 2016 rated it liked it
I went to see the 1980 David Lynch film Dune in the theaters. At the cinema we attended, there were handouts that explained some of the language and the culture that the viewers would see: those that were not familiar with Frank Herbert’s classic novel.

I think there should be such an introduction in most of Jack Vance’s books: a beginners guide to what’s going on in the pages to follow.

Vance actually does provide a short introductory chapter to his 1974 book Maske: Theary. It helps, I went back
...more
Florin Pitea
A better than average planetary romance with a really clever twist.
Christopher
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I might have to make my own separate 'Jack Vance' shelf one day.

So, 'Mask:Thaery' has an awkward-ass name for a book. Its back cover and online descriptions is a confusing word salad of awkwardly lifted introduction, and in a long and prolific career its certainly not one of the more famous or well reviewed works of Vance.

But despite all of this, Mask: Thaery, is awesome. It is at least as good (if way less long and varied) as 'Planet of Adventure' for travel/action, and comes nearest of any of
...more
Metaphorosis
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-rev, reviewed
Vance novels are usually worth reading for the fantastic language and wordplay alone, and this is no except. Maske also contains the usual tropes of disaffected wealth, disillusioned youth, and a fair amount of no-longer-appropriate sexism. It also has, however, one of Vance's more human and likable protagonists.

In brief, Jubal, from a disadvantaged group, sets out on a wanderjahr to find fame, fortune, and his way in the world. He encounters and employs the usual Vance Machiavellian tricks, but
...more
Terence
Jul 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jack Vance fans
Shelves: sf-fantasy
More of a 2.5 or so but I'm being generous and rounding up because even second-rate Vance is fun to read.

Maske: Thaery is your typical Vance SF novel: The protagonist, Jubal Droad, is smart, cynical and emotionally distant, though underneath there is a passionate, involved person. The action is swift-paced and the villain is contemptuously evil but it's formulaic and not Vance at his best.

If you're already a Vance fan, you'll be pleasantly diverted for a few hours. If you're not yet a Vance fan,
...more
TJ
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Maske: Thaery was first published in 1976 and is currently available in paperback and Kindle editions thanks to Spatterlight Press. My out of print hardcover copy is 181 pages long. This is the second time I have read this interesting Vance novel in recent years. I liked it equally well both times and continue to rate it a 4.

Maske is a planet and Thaery is a region on the planet that is composed of 13 different "districts" or "counties". The district our main character, Jubal Droad, is from is c
...more
Jacob Rice
May 27, 2014 rated it liked it
This book details the adventures(?) of Jubal Droad the Glint in Thaery on the planet Maske as his tries to decipher the motives of Ramus Ymph via the help of Nai the Hever and Shrack the sailor, a trial which takes him from Djan to Glentlin and to other worlds. That sentence pretty much gives you the tone of the book. It fluctuates between being a compelling story of a driven man and feeling overstuffed. Overall I just wasn't very captivated by the world of Maske and its various customs. Which i ...more
Fantasy Literature
May 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Jack Vance was a fairly prolific author during his writing career, publishing over sixty novels and various short stories in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. During the 1960’s and 70’s many of his science fiction stories were set in a far future milieu which he termed the Gaean Reach. In these stories interstellar travel is common place, as is colonization of a multitude of solar systems throughout the galaxy. While some of the colonized planets contain alien life forms with ...more
Steven Harbin
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I agree with with some other reviewers that Maske: Thaery is not one of Jack Vance's best books, this story of young Jubal Droad is still a good enjoyable coming of age adventure story, the type that Vance really seems to like writing.
I thought the culture of Thaery and the surrounding areas could have been a little bit more clearly explained, and that the book could have easily been a little longer, but as one of my goodreads.com friends who also read and reviewed the book remarked "even
...more
Teodor
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New to Vance; picked this off my shelf after having got it months ago from a yard sale intrigued by the wonderully lurid cover to the 1976 Fontana edition. Not quite the swashbuckling space opera I was expecting, but I found it interesting that Vance's world-building is ham fisted and slapdash on the one hand (huge info dumps in footnotes and the accompanying glossary) and quietly cumulative on the other (delivered through bureaucratic entanglements and long stretches of sparring dialogue). It's ...more
David Layton
Jack Vance is one of those authors who often wrote fantasy novels that masquerade as science fiction, and "Maske: Thaery" is a prime example of this. The story takes place on a world in deep space cut off from most the rest of human colony worlds. On Maske, the descendants of human colonists have more or less renounced technology and modern state-based politics for a medieval system. There are some references to telephones, what are possibly self-driving cars, and a few other technical accoutrem ...more
Hokomoko
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-escapism
Sits next to Night Lamp and Emphyrio on the virtual shelf, a third Bildungsroman: As ever, Vance has created a rich and fascinating setting. His protagonist, the young man Jubal Droad, has to navigate many of its perilous aspects on his path to self-determination and overcoming the obstacles that appear before him. His irrepressible nature make it fun to follow his exploits. Thaery is a country populated by descendants of pilgrim settlers fleeing decadence. Their way of life and creed in crisis, ...more
Mkfs
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty solid Jack Vance novel. The title indicates this was meant to be part of a series of weird-culture worlds, like the Alastor novels. Wonder what the potential follow-ups might have been.

The action sprawls over a wide area considering the short length of the novel, yet the conspiracy at the core is small in scale and rather amusing once revealed.

Substantial portions of the action happen off-screen, increasing the pace quite a bit. The main character is, as in the case of many Vance novels,
...more
Justin Covey
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vance's stories are like clockwork marvels. A casual onlooker may dismiss them as pretty but cold and mechanical. But the more closely you look the more and more wondrous they become, with so many surprises and such dynamism that you begin to wonder if there aren't some ghosts in the machine after all. ...more
Federico Kereki
Jack Vance was great at creating societies, with special customs, clothing, honors, etc., and this book is an example of that. The only negative comment is that sometimes too much happens "between chapters", and the book may seem disconnected. ...more
Rog Harrison
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I have probably read this book at least ten times and I always enjoy it. It's a pity that Jack Vance did not develop the ideas in the book because the book is a little rushed and could have been longer. It's also a pity he never returned to Maske again so this is just a one off. The central character, Jubal Droad, is interesting and his final act made me laugh out loud. I agree with other reviewers that this is by no means one of Jack Vance's best books and I would not recommend it as the best ...more
Avel Rudenko
Finished in two-sittings. Not spellbinding at all. In this earlier book by Jack Vance, we can see many of the themes Jack put into later books - strange societies with odd rules, clothing and behaviors, and the idea of the roguish man making his way by his wits, outdoing the villains by his cleverness, rather than by powerful thews, flashing swords or arcane skills. The final chapters are not that satisfying - Jubal seeks his revenge, but the fate of Ymph seems more of a deus ex machina, not due ...more
S.J. Arnott
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm exceptionally fond of Jack Vance's scifi and fantasy works (for the latter, check out the Lyonesse series or the Cudgel books) and this novel is almost a cross-over of the two genres - our young hero butting heads with haughty aristocrats and an eccentric civil service in an effort to right some wrongs. The story has almost a quasi-medieval feel to it, but is set against a background of interplanetary travel.

Not the best Vance book for a beginner, but a solid example from his back catalogue,
...more
Alien
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
At the beginning nothing much happens. Of course there is Vances trademark, i.e. the world building. And there is plenty of it. And there is also his typically inflated style. I was not much enthused about the first part. But then it got interesting. The hunt of the mysterious Ramus Ymph gets quite entertaining and also the bickering and haggling with Nai the Hever and his haugty daughter are quite amusing. And of course Vances fountain of bizarre ideas about dresses, customs, lifeforms etc. nev ...more
James
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, fiction
It's been a number of years since I last read this, it's a decent read but not the best of Vance's SF novels. It's a revenge novel combined with a methodical police procedural and the odd character of Jubal Droad certainly suffers a bit from this combination. Still, you have several very strange human societies combined with otherworldly planets, a Vance trademark. The final act culminating in the final punishment has a very cynical twist to it. ...more
Pedro L. Fragoso
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Brilliant, highly quotable ("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.”), I simply couldn't put it down. Not only great characters and immense fun, there are also passing intelligent and prescient obvervations on the ravages of mass tourism and the lurking dangers of an understated police state. Amazingly good entertainment. ...more
Mark Cronan
Oct 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Not the best Vance, but well within that sweet spot common Vance novels offer; that being a book you look forward to continuing every time you put it down, full of adventure, creativity, a simple but interesting moral quandary, and some laughs.
Erik Graff
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vance fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Odd. I recall acquiring this hardcover from the Science Fiction Book Club while I was at seminary in New York City. I recall reading it and, notwithstanding its fantastical character, being surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I do not, however, much recall the contents.
Adam Calhoun
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Microreview: It's always nice to see Jack Vance write like Jack Vance does. I think I'll call it Vancing. When he vances, a delightful story always ensues with a clever character going up and down and up and down and then being clever and finding it kind of worked out. But in a clever way. ...more
Kate Howell
Nov 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
There's this one scene with the "bone crusher" that is absolutely hilarious. I just love how Vance can craft a sentence. He's truly unique! ...more
Michael Pryor
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sardonic, sly, lapidary.
Stephen Arnott
Typical Jack Vance fare but no less good for that.
Dan Yingst
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Typical Vance.

That's a high compliment.
...more
Peter Tillman
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Vance comfort-reads.
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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
...more

Other books in the series

Gaean Reach (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • The Gray Prince
  • Night Lamp
  • Marune: Alastor 933
  • Trullion: Alastor 2262
  • Wyst: Alastor 1716
  • Araminta Station (Cadwal Chronicles, #1)
  • Ecce and Old Earth (Cadwal Chronicles, #2)
  • Throy (Cadwal Chronicles, #3)
  • The Star King (Demon Princes, #1)
  • The Killing Machine (Demon Princes, #2)

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