Monday, February 8, 2010

You know what?

This is some lazy, wooly, flabby-ass writing over here:

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

And this is what sublime prose sounds like:

"And one midnight I found her in the embrace of a black naked demon, and the sight twisted my mind. I stood back aghast. I was not seen, and I went slowly away. In the morning she came running across the terrace, smiling and happy, like a child. 'Leave me,' I told her. 'You are vile beyond calculation.'"

Jack Vance, T'Sais

Listing off the reasons the first one is known throughout the English-speaking world and the second one is so obscure that the only Google references to it (all 2 of them) are in actual searches of the on-line text of the book is the same as listing off all the worst things about life.


  1. I hate F.Scott-- he was writing middle brow fic then, & that is what it remains.

    Vance is great; Gene Wolfe is better.

  2. English lit...studying the Stephen King's of our great grandparent's generations...

    @Mordicai: I love Wolfe, but I find Vance more sublime. Wolfe deals in intellectual constructs while Vance deals with the writhing grasping worldly worms of our brains.

  3. BUT you can read all of Green Magic online:

    and in May i think KFJC/northern california/will be doing a Vance special lasting a week (?) that should bust open the free world to his well edited greatness. i was approached to do a portion, not sure if its completely set in stone tho.
    Vance, he's still alive and F Scott has stopped, and that accounts for most of the 'classics'. dead, then aaaah! whoops. most of the classics out there, especially in the sf field are not that great. Dune! hey everyone Dune!!! is homework from Herbert, to me anyways, an opinion. Whipping Star is a more interesting, slick, ingenious read. edited down to a lash. thats a classic!

    if you like the writings of Vance, try this guy Matthew Hughes. he's off to a great start. well edited sarcastic stuff.
    a lot to read on his website:

    i've found Wolfe to ramble on about great ideas, forget them and then go into another tangent leaving loose ends and forgetting where he was going to that question mark or locus. wish he had proof read some of the New Sun series, eh, thats just me...rambling in 3 directions.

  4. Jack Vance named a notorious wizard 'Chun the Unavoidable'. That is genius right there. It's easily the best name in the writings listed in Appendix N. Nobody could possibly prove me wrong on this.

  5. I'm a fan of both authors. There are times when I find Vance's linguistic acrobatics to be amazing, and times when I find them tiresome. I also never expected to see the two authors compared to one another for any reason...

  6. For future reference on what vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said, KFJC has a live netcast feed, so you can listen to it from anywhere you have an internet connection and some kind of streaming audio player:

  7. In an alternate probability-continuum, the name F. Scott Fitzgerald is primarily kept alive by gamers, most of whom have only vague misconceptions of where the inspiration for the "Gatsbian economics" of their world's original role-playing game comes from. I will not be at peace until I have accessed this continuum, abducted a breeding stock of these gamers, and shaped their descendants into a grotesque array of physiognomies perfectly adapted for war and menial labor. - Tavis

  8. Now there're 5 links to that quotation from Vance, two of them leading to your blog.
    It really is strange, though. Vance is doubtlessly great, and I've always thought the Dying Earth stories to be the best part of his creation. So deliciously scary... and yet the good guys got what their deserved in the end.

  9. There's no good guys in Dying Earth...

  10. Gods, yes. I *hated* The Great Gatsby when I read it in high school. And I didn't necessarily hate all the literature we had to read for school--I actually kind of liked around 60% of it. But that book sucked so bad...

  11. I need to start reading Vance, apparently. "Vile beyond calculation" tickled me in just the right places.

    Of course, I'm a fan of Zelazny, and have been known to work "Misli, gammi gra'dil, Strygalldwir" into conversations, so what tickles me is apparently somewhere between sublime and grotesque...

  12. I have never read Gatsby, but I own that collection of Vance stories, and have for more than a decade. (I haunt secondhand bookstores.)