Dan Schwent's Reviews > Night Lamp

Night Lamp by Jack Vance
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bookshelves: sf, 2010

A six-year boy is found nearly beaten to death and, in order to save his life, a portion of his memory is erased. He recovers and is adopted and becomes Jaro Fath, an outcast youth on the socially stratified planet Thanet. As Jaro gets older, his desire to find out about his past intensifies until he can resist the call of space no longer! Will he be able to unlock the mysteries of his past?

First off, I have to say I've discovered an advantage of reading using a digital book rather than an analogue one: no back cover flap to blow half the plot twists. Yeah, the flap revealed things that happened 60% of the way through the book. Bastards.

Night Lamp is a likeable read but it's not up to the standards of the Dying Earth books. While Vance creates some interesting cultures and creatures in the Gaean reach in this volume and the standard Vance formal dialogue is there, the sense of wonder is diluted with a sense of tedium. While Jaro is curious about his past, he only leaves Thanet 75% of the way through the novel. The first 75% is Jaro going to school and dealing with all the cliques while trying to become a spacemen despite what the Faths want. 75%. And when he finally figures out who was behind the death of his mother, there's a showdown, only it's in a courtroom. It reminded me of that Simpsons episode where Bart and Lisa watched a parody of the Phantom Menace that was all in the senate halls on Coruscant. The bit with Jaro's dead twin brother was fairly predictable. In fiction, how often does one twin actually die and not come back later in some capacity?

Night Lamp isn't a bad read, it just isn't up to the standard set by his earlier books.
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Reading Progress

September 18, 2010 – Shelved
September 18, 2010 – Shelved as: sf
October 2, 2010 – Started Reading
October 4, 2010 –
page 41
October 5, 2010 –
page 56
October 6, 2010 –
page 101
October 6, 2010 –
page 131
October 7, 2010 –
page 151
October 7, 2010 –
page 171
October 8, 2010 –
page 210
October 8, 2010 –
page 235
October 8, 2010 –
page 274
October 10, 2010 – Finished Reading
December 14, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Mohammed Abdi Osman Weird how you read this if you were expecting the quality of Dying Earth. Its at the end of 60 years career.

Did you find this as second hand or you choosed this over all the more acclaimed novels of his ?

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent I wasn't expecting Dying Earth quality but I was hoping it would have been a lot better than it was. Fortunately, I got it for 2 bucks at a used book store.

Mohammed Abdi Osman Dan wrote: "I wasn't expecting Dying Earth quality but I was hoping it would have been a lot better than it was. Fortunately, I got it for 2 bucks at a used book store."

Dont you have Vance novels in the library ? When you have read only his most classic work and is newbie when it comes to his overall writing its important you read his best works to get the best picture.

Also another reason to not expect great things from his late 90s,early 2000s work is how his eyesight got even worse and he couldnt write without a machine created for him.

message 4: by Otherwyrld (new)

Otherwyrld Mohammed wrote:
"Dont you have Vance novels in the library?"

The problem is that a lot of libraries don't have complete works of everything, especially of older works. Example - I belong to something called the London Libraries Consortium. Collectively there are 174 libraries and over 5 million items of stock available. How many copies of books by Jack Vance - less than 30 (that's copies, not titles - the book we are talking about here is not one of them). It's a source of frustration that all the books we would like to read are just not available from a free source anymore, often due to budget cuts in libraries.

message 5: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila Good job,Dan. Looks like the way,you're going. A 1,000 reviews by Christmas!

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