Read Araminta Station by Jack Vance Online


The planet "Cadwal" is forever set aside as a natural perserve, owned and administered by the Naturalist Society of Earth, and inhabited by a very limited number of skilled human scientists and their families. But this system has been complicated by the passing centuries, and has become a byzantine culture where every place in the Houses of Cadwal is the object of savage cThe planet "Cadwal" is forever set aside as a natural perserve, owned and administered by the Naturalist Society of Earth, and inhabited by a very limited number of skilled human scientists and their families. But this system has been complicated by the passing centuries, and has become a byzantine culture where every place in the Houses of Cadwal is the object of savage competition. In "Araminta Station", the first volume of "The Cadwal Chronicles", Jack Vance has constructed a brilliant, complex tale of revenge and murder, of love and alien intrigue, and set it glittering among the stars of the Purple Rose System....

Title : Araminta Station
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780791716526
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 554 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Araminta Station Reviews

  • Karl
    2019-06-03 20:43

    One of my favorite books which I try and read every couple of years.This hardcover is copy 74 of 500 signed and numbered copies, signed by Jack Vance.

  • Jack Broscie
    2019-06-17 19:49

    Een pil van een boek, maar wat voor 1. Vance kan als geen ander een geloofwaardige wereld bouwen. Lange verhaallijnen die geen moment vervelen, hoofdpersonen waar je je graag in verplaatst.Fantasy, SF en romantiek tot een geheel gesmeed, petje af. En dan de humor waarmee het overgoten is. Een van de beste verhalen ooit!

  • Jeffrey Daniels
    2019-06-23 18:31

    Jack Vance is my all-time favorite author, so gushing over any of his works is a given.On display in this trilogy is Vance's characteristic brilliant wit (his people speak elegantly, yet totally relatable) and majestic descriptions of flora and fauna. His landscapes, both planetary and societal are detailed and fascinating. Re-reading his work always turns up some previously unnoticed marvel. Another personal joy of mine is that Vance has tied this work into his famous "Gaean Reach", the large outreach of space that many of his stories take place in. I love when authors find a way to tangle all their tales, not necessarily related, into a large over-arching context. Larry Niven did this with his "Known Space" stories. Stephen King did this to a lesser extent with his Dark Tower later tales.In this first book, he begins the introductions and complications of Cadwal society and its unique caste system. Following young Glawen Clattuc through his youth and subsuquent adventures, you experience a grand panorama of the world and its people. As Glawen matures, his view of the world changes to fit his experiences and we feel the difference as readers.Vance does dialog like no other author. You leave one of his books wishing people really talked that way (I certainly wish I was that bright).The book is long and is the highlight of the series. The other books are solid (see future reviews) but this first book is a treasure of discovery and a delight to all those who appreciate clever character dialog and intricate socio-political dynamics.

  • Kevin
    2019-06-07 15:52

    Araminta Station is a long book, and it is very "Jack Vance." It's set in the very far future on a planet that has been set aside for centuries for preservation in near-natural state. Permanent population is strictly limited to the descendents of 6 original administrators -- 20 males and 20 females in each of the 6 "Agency" families. Over the years some allowances have been made for permanent staff, servants, tourists and tourist facilities, "compatible" economic development like small-scale wineries, etc., but "Agency Status" is desperately sought and jealously guarded.The society itself is rigidly divided into classes -- a Jack Vance specialty. Class interaction follows strict social rules. If you can get "into it," this is part of the fun.The book plots and sub-plots involve murder, class struggle, family rivalries and betrayal, a brewing inter-species revolt, etc. -- with hints of worse to come.The book itself is more than 500 pages long. I first read it about 10 years ago. At the time I remarked to my wife that the beginning of the book was interesting, but it didn't really draw me in until I got past the first hundred pages. One of the benefits of re-reading it was being able to appreciate the way that those first hundred pages were setting the scene for later conflicts.This book is the first of a three book series -- the Cadwal Chronicles. The second book is much shorter, and the third book is even shorter. My only real complaint is that this first book, Araminta Station, ends on a new cliff-hanger not really set up in the book. It could easily have been saved for the beginning of the second book, and the first book would have been a more satisfying read.I don't think I'd recommend this to a person who had not read anything else by jack Vance -- start with The Last Castle or the Dragon Masters -- but if you like Jack Vance, you will probably really like Araminta Station.

  • Metaphorosis
    2019-06-03 16:51

    Araminta Station has less of the wordplay that makes so many Vance books great fun to read. That's not to say it's not classic Vance - there are strict societies, dispassionate characters, and alien landscapes galore. But the verbiage is somewhat tamer than in other books. At the same time, Vance focuses more on the detective aspect than usual. In short, this is an excellent SF crime mystery handled with Jack Vance style and panache. The hero, Glawen Clattuc, is more approachable and 'normal' than many Vance protagonists, but true normality is reserved for Eustace Chilke, a supporting character. This book establishes the setting of the Cadwal Conservancy (a protected planet) and the pressures it faces. However, the scale of the story is mostly focused on Glawen and his struggles with rivals, love, and society. It's probably more of a 3.5 than a 4 on a Vance scale, but really anything by Vance is in a class by itself.CVIE edition

  • TJ
    2019-05-29 18:42

    Araminta Station is a 554 page novel by Jack Vance that was first published in 1987. It is much longer than most of his novels and is a later works written when he was at the peak of his talents. It is also the first novel of three that comprise the Cadwal Chronicles. This the second time I've carefully read this novel and have found it to be the best of the three in the series and one of Vance's finest. It is fascinating, intriguing and one of Vance's better novels. I look forward to reading again in a year or two. The setting is the distant future, mostly on the planet Cadwal. Old Earth continues to exist and can be readily visited. Cadwal is a planet in the Gaean Reach that was discovered by the Naturalist Society of Earth 900 years previously. Now it is managed by the Naturalist Society under a Charter that has maintained the planet as somewhat of a natural preserve, mostly undeveloped. It is managed by a Conservator plus six bureaus or families of 40 persons each (240 total) who reside at Araminta Station on the continent of Deucas. Each bureau or house is composed of the descendents of families that are descendents of the original six administrators hundreds of years ago. A rigorous social rating or caste system has been established so that only those who score the best (low scores or "index numbers" are better) are considered for possible appointment to one of the bureaus. Once a person turns 21 he or she may be granted "Agency status" as a member of one of the six bureaus if they have a good enough rating, if there is an opening and if they pass an exam. There is a 240 person limit (120 men and 120 women) so most persons at the age of 21 end up becoming "collateral" with almost no authority, minimal prestige and much less opportunity for employment or advancement. Persons who become collateral remain members of the Naturalist Society. Many of them move to a colony called Stroma on the continent of Throy or leave the planet entirely. Persons accepted into the bureau remain in the house of their birth and are considered Cadwal Agents. There is a major division in the Naturalist Society between the Conservationists and the LPFers (Life, Peace and Freedom.) The Conservationists want to adhere strictly to the Charter and keep Cadwal as a preserve. The LPFers (many who are collaterals and reside on Stroma) do not want to follow the Charter and advocate reform by which they mean additional settlements or estates for themselves and allowing the Yips to move to Deucas on a permanent basis. Laborers are not included in this limit of 240 people, and most of the labor is done by Yips. Yips are described as being tall, blonde haired, and biologically very similar to other people but appear unable to interbreed with other humans. Yips were brought to Cadwal as workers and most of them live on Lutwin Atoll in a city called Yipton. They can sign up to temporary work at Araminta Station for six month periods but are not allowed to live anywhere else on the planet. Yiptown has now become a tourist attraction and is ruled by the leader of the Yips called the "Oomphaw." The population of Yips on the planet is around 100,000 so they far outnumber Naturalist Society members. There are rumors that the Yips want to take over Araminta Station and the continent of Deucas, the most habitable of three continents on the planet because of its temperate climate. Conservationists want to send most or all of the Yips to another planet for resettlement. LPFers want to allow the Yips to expand and settle on the Deucas and elsewhere even though this would probably mean an end to the natural preserve, with Cadwal eventually becoming like any other planet.Our main protagonist is Glawen Clattuc whose father, Schrade Clattuc, works with the local police called Bureau B. Bureau B. has authority to enforce the Charter and maintain the peace on the planet but allows the Oomphaw of Yiptown to control things on Lutwen Atoll where most of the Yips live. The Bureau also tries to insure that Yips do not have advanced weapons or airships, but there is evidence that Yips have been stealing weapons and parts to assemble a combat airship. The assumption is that they are attempting to arm themselves in order to invade Araminta Station and all of the Deucas continent.Much of the initial story involves Glawen's growing up as a teenager in this culture, striving and competing to obtain Agency status while being infatuated with several girls and dealing with a few adversaries. He joins Bureau B and is involved in an elaborate on and off world investigation after his girlfriend suddenly disappears during a festival and is thought to have been kidnapped and murdered. This leads to his becoming a captive of a bizarre religious cult on another planet where he is kept in an ancient tomb and expected to help repopulate the religious cult by breeding with the women there, all of the cult men having become infertile. Glawen escapes after six months of confinement only to find that his father is either dead or imprisoned. This promises to lead to another adventure in the sequel novel Ecce and Old Earth.In Araminta Station and the other Cadwal Chronicles technological and scientific explanations are very minimal so they are science fiction mostly because they involve different planets and is in the distant future. They are among the few Vance novels where a woman (Wayness Tamm) plays a very important role both in her romance Glawen and in the action and plot. In the next two novels in the series she even takes the lead role at times and her character continues to be developed portraying her as intelligent, tenacious, competent and independent.Araminta Station is an action packed novel, brimming with police investigations, detective work, mystery, social satire, and creative descriptions of different people, cultures and planets (world building) along with many characters and much more character development than we usually find in shorter Vance novels. Although I found it very engaging, the novel is dense with details so that for full appreciation careful reading is necessary and repeated readings continue to unveil interesting complexities. This adds depth to the sociological, psychological and anthropological aspects of the novel while making the investigative and detective aspects of the story even more fascinating. Araminta Station is an excellent novel by one of our great science fiction writers. It can be read as a stand alone novel, but the saga continues in two more volumes that are worth reading, although not up to the same level. Araminta Station is long, complex and detailed so would probably not be a good choice for a person new to the writings of Vance.

  • Andrew Hamblin
    2019-05-29 21:40

    Araminta Station is the quiet administrative center of the Cadwal Conservancy, which encompasses the entire planet of Cadwal. A small number of families provide the human resources to staff the various bureaus established by the Cadwal Charter, an ancient document prepared by the Naturalist Society of Old Earth, that functions as their Constitution. People are chosen for this relatively small number of positions according to their Status Index; this is affected by lineage, academic achievement and other circumstances. Those who fail to qualify become "collaterals", who work at less prestigious jobs, sometimes off-planet. These extended families live together in sprawling ancestral homes, and each family more or less adheres to their specific familial stereotype.At some point in the past, the possibly-human race of Yips were introduced for menial labor. Yips that are not working for the conservationists are relegated to Yipton, an overcrowded tropical island. Their aim is to settle on the mainland, which is counter to the Charter, though a faction of Naturalists resident on the planet are sympathetic to their plight.Our hero is the young Glawen Clattuc, who begins the book as a teenager. He's smart, hardworking and resourceful, morally upstanding and often lovestruck. In other words, a Vance protagonist. Vance takes this peaceful setting and plops in a tale of murder, intrigue, and revenge.As with most Vance SF, technology is downplayed right out of existence. People come and go from the spaceport on space yachts, but they still telephone each other from land lines. Keep in mind this book was written in 1988, when cellular phones were already a reality: Vance must have ignored this development as it didn't fit into his bucolic vision.This book has a satisfying ending but still plants the seeds for the rest of the series.Favorite quotes:"This is a likely beast! I shall name it ‘Albers’ and ride it with aplomb, and all will marvel to see me dashing at great speed across the plain!""Your company is forced on me, despite my reluctance; each time you speak my fist balls up so that I may smash in your face. It may be a good and proper act; still I am a careful man and I desist, because I would forfeit your assistance out here among these strange people and strange noises.""For us the best is none too good; we use both jam and butter on our bread."Out there, coasting across the void in a great Glistmar space-cruiser, was Wayness. How large would she seem at such a distance? The size of an atom? Smaller? The problem became interesting. Glawen went below and calculated. Wayness, standing a hundred light-years away, would appear as large as a neutron at a distance of twelve hundred and fifty yards. “So much for that,” said Glawen. “Now I know.”

  • Rog Harrison
    2019-06-11 18:53

    This book came out in 1988 and I immediately bought a copy and have read it many times since. I always enjoy reading it and I think it is certainly in my top ten of favourite Jack Vance books.

  • Roddy Williams
    2019-05-28 21:45

    The first in another trilogy by Vance (The Cadwal Chronicles), this one set on the planet Cadwal, orbiting a star in what is known as the Wisp. As is common with Vance, we follow the fortunes of a young man (in this case Glawen Clattuc) growing up in a society with both advantages and injustices.Cadwal is, because of its natural beauties, its diverse landscapes and complex biosphere, a kind of planet-sized nature reserve and is held in trust by a society of Conservators, whose charter promises preservation of the planet's natural resources, along with its pre-sentient races.The conservators therefore restrict the number of humans living on the planet and employ temporary immigrant labour in the form of Yips, inscrutable blonde-haired humans who appear to have diverged slightly on the evolutionary route. The Yips, however, appear to have settled in, and are expanding their settlements.Vance is at his most Dickensian in this novel, where grotesques abound. Apart from his father, who appears to be relatively well-balanced and sane, his family is a little monstrous; particularly his scheming social climber of an aunt, Spanchetta, and her loathsome son, Arles.Glawen joins his father in 'Bureau B' which is, to all intents and purposes, a local police unit and is given various missions to accomplish.Arles is part of a club of young men who style themselves 'The Bold Lions' and are limited to a membership of eight. They dress in ceremonial lion costumes and are required to conform to the Bold Lions Manifesto and to learn a series of esoteric roars and growls.To add further to this baroque atmosphere Floreste's Mummers, a travelling theatrical troupe, are based on Cadwal but take their performances on tour throughout the planets of the Gaean Wisp.This is no idyllic paradise, however, and when Glawen's girlfriend (herself a performer with the Mummers) is murdered, tendrils of corruption begin to emerge. Vance's history as a crime writer serves him well here, since there is a sense of baroque noir surrounding Bureau B and Glawen's clandestine assignments.Plots strands are left open for the next two books in the trilogy.

  • Perry Whitford
    2019-06-19 13:57

    So this is what happened when Jack Vance took the opportunity to stretch out a little...Most of his novels are short, their strengths are obvious but they tended to leave me wanting a little more. Nearly five hundred pages in length, Araminta Station was certainly that. Regrettably I can't say it was all the better for it.Cadwal is a conservatory planet run by an incestuous cadre of families of ancient lineage. Vance never admits it outright but centuries of inbreeding has hardly done much to benefit the gene pool. Pretty much everybody has a screw loose.What starts out as a family feud morphed into an offbeat murder mystery before something altogether more sordid takes place. The characters appear too flippant and perverse to be considered dangerous. Just the same they are.As perverse as anyone are the Yips, a golden-skinned subspecies of humanity who mostly perform the role of servants, albeit untrustworthy ones. Shameless thieves and inveterate liars, I met trying to pretend that Vance hadn't racially modelled them after the Chinese, despite the obvious hints.Also central to the rambling plot are the Bold Lions, a fraternity drinking club ("a driving hell-for-breakfast bunch who always come out on top, and devil take the hindmost!') with some morally dubious members.The novel is full of incredibly wild and wonderful cultural detail, including footnotes on all manner of subjects, such as the symbology of "wait times.' As frivolous and meandering as it is fascinating and amusing, I really loved it up until about halfway through.Up until the length of the usual Jack Vance novel that is.The longer it went on the less entertaining it became, the endless succession of oddball encounters and conversations and began to grate, particularly the extended episode spent in the company of the Monomantic religious cult. By the end I was convinced that Vance had spent a little bit too much time out on his sailing boat and developed a touch of sunstroke.

  • Kate
    2019-05-27 16:56

    Odd. Very odd in fact. I've read a few Jack Vance books in the distant past, and I don't remember them being this odd!I like the set-up, in particular the fact that Cadwal is a nature reserve which is an entire *planet* which is under threat from unscrupulous people who want to exploit it (humanity obviously doesn't change even in the far future). The society of conservators is highly stratified and very formal, and this leads to the people in the book also being very formal. The dialogue reads like something out of an F Scott Fitzgerald novel, it's incredibly stilted and people converse in full rather than talk to each other in the way that conversation is normally written (e.g. they say "I will not" instead of "I won't"). This dialogue gives a really archaic feeling despite the fact it's set far in the future.Anyway, the story is pretty gripping and there are some really O_o moments as well as some villains who I just wanted to boo everytime they appeared on the page (Arles and Spanchetta for example).There was one awful example of "girlfriend in the fridge" ( put me off the book a bit, and it does seem that Vance does not manage to draw female characters very well. They are either idealised (Wayness, Sessily) or demonised (Spanchetta, leader of the Monomantic cult), and really there are no women in the book who are as completely drawn as Glawen, Kirdy or Arles.

  • Lucky
    2019-06-08 16:34

    Shows its age. The good: the characters are members of families who are guardians of a planet that has been declared the equivalent of a wilderness area. No immigration, no commercial enterprises except in restricted places: airport, visitor's lodge. A lot of discussion of the evils/benefits of wilderness areas, of political systems and who has the power to create and/or protect these areas. An interesting read for these reasons.The bad: It read like the dialogue sounded in 70's Kung-Fu Movies. Inappropriate use of exclamation in the middle of a paragraph of dialogue. The frequent statements I am an X! (a member of whatever family). Even off planet in areas that have never heard of the families the expectation is that you have heard of his family. Modern communications have certainly passed it by--they us telephones and radios. Not a lot of science. He basically took a nepotistic, family-based governing system and plopped it in outer space. I followed the central character through the book but never felt I knew him.

  • Samantha
    2019-06-05 17:28

    I really expected to struggle with this book but I didn't. It isn't like other sci fi aka laid full of jargon and background world building that has nothing to do with the plot.Instead there were likable characters, a gripping interplanetary murder mystery and a believable location. I can see how George RR Martin was influenced by Vane and I cant wait to read the sequel(if I can find a copy). A very entertaining piece of sci fi

  • Ted
    2019-06-12 15:32

    Based upon the cover illustration alone, I did not expect to travel to a distant world and find myself in an extended homage to Jane Austen. Still, as an Austen fan, I found the discourse either engaging and delightfully frothy, or truly representative of an author without interpersonal social skills. And the plot -- for the story was but some of a life -- was suitably interesting.

  • Bob
    2019-05-25 13:40

    This is my first Jack Vance book, and I was really expecting to like it, but was disappointed. It's okay, and comes to a satisfactory conclusion, but I almost gave up a couple times at the dry, boring storyline and the odd, ponderous dialogue.

  • Alan
    2019-05-30 16:44

    One of my favorite SF books. I reread it every so often. Adventure, mystery, and romance - in a completely realized future culture that is both familiar and strange - classic Vance!

  • Harvey
    2019-06-19 21:46

    Although this is not a seminal work of science fiction it is, nevertheless, probably my favourite book. It's a Jack Vance planetary romance par excellence.

  • Matt Thompson
    2019-06-20 20:31

    great story. loved it as a teeenager and wss just as delighted re-reading it again.

  • Rjyan
    2019-05-25 15:57

    Oh man this is an outrageous book. The "F#@% you very much"/"But good sir, I would not think of denying you the full balance of f#$%s you have so diligently earned"-style dialogue that Vance deploys to such hilarious effect in The Dying Earth books and Showboat World is here elevated to Shakespearean heights. (Those aren't actual quotes, btw, just a sloppy characterization.) The story here is a total page-turner of a thrilling political space epic-slash-comedy of interplanetary manners, full of subtle twists and laced throughout with dry, dark humor. Vance is a treasure. I know this description might be off-putting to some, but ARAMINTA STATION kinda makes me think of Dune if it had been written by Steely Dan-- ie: Replace Herbert's earnest self-importance & mystical pretensions with a casual materialism & droll scrutiny of the more banal strains of malice that permeate our culture.It feels nerdy af to level this at a book in which basically every single character is hilariously selfish a-hole, but: overall the gender roles/dynamics seem a little unimaginative. The human culture depicted in this book is bleak af . Of course, this was published 30 years ago, and like my boy Francis I says, our personal guilt is the large part of our eagerness to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Outside of this meta dimension, I think the craft itself on display here seems destined to endure, and this novel will be one of those that seems weirdly ahead of/out of time when read by our distant descendants.

  • Hans van der Veeke
    2019-06-16 14:54

    It has been some time since I read Araminta Station and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Jack folds out a consistent universe and an understandable planetary environment. Glawen is very likable as a character and the story intricate and satisfying, although sometimes a bit tedious. The dialogs are superb, as usual with Vance, and make me ponder if it is possible to use this attitude to my own personal advantage. But alas, something like that is not possible. There is only one master, one Jack Vance

  • Capitalismissexy
    2019-05-25 20:29

    Jack Vance might be the best author ever in history.Why are these books not used in lit class and on tv movies?I think they have slight pro capitalism flavour.Not quite as good as his other stuff but and interesting series no the less.

  • Els De Keuster
    2019-06-04 20:40

    Superb fantasy

  • Tex-49
    2019-06-12 21:33

    Non male, ma si interrompe sul più bello, il continuo nel secondo romanzo del ciclo di Cadwal, che, a questo punto, sembra più un romanzo in tre parti che un ciclo.

  • Ed Holden
    2019-06-10 20:38

    What a strange, strange novel this is. I bought it because I once read a short story by Jack Vance called The Moon Moth and thought it was astoundingly good; I'd never heard of this series but this book is the first part of it, and it was only a couple bucks. So.There are a lot of don'ts in the opening pages. A good novel shouldn't need a multi-page introduction that describes the setting, and the presence of one here, which reads like a tourist brochure, turned me off immediately. Still, I found the book strangely endearing. The world is well conceived, and the story was mostly unpredictable, full of seemingly random twists and surprises. The protagonist, Glawen Clattuc, meanders through it intently, yet his life feels as aimless as if there were no intent on the part of the author. There's a murder early on that greatly affects Glawen, yet even within the last 50 pages I had no idea whether it would be resolved at all.The world has a bunch of injustices that scream out at me, and I can't tell if that is the intended effect, or if the author is unaware of them. Glawen could be forced to leave his home world because there is a surprisingly low population cap for a handful of ruling families. Few people in the book object to this. There is an underclass on the world, another race of people named the Yips, who have a drastically different culture, and who are effectively multi-generational illegal immigrants, and the main characters react to them as antagonists. I can't tell if the author intends me to think this as well, or if he's sensitive to the institutional segregation he describes. And on two occasions police mete out justice with no due process (i.e., the police execute people). They're bad people! Yet, there is no follow-up, no trial, despite the fact that a court proceeding plays a major role in the conclusion. Is there only a justice system for members of the ruling family?Again, these thoughts hovered over the book, yet they don't feel like flaws, and there's something strangely endearing about they way they remain incomplete. I might read the second in the series.

  • Alexander
    2019-06-03 15:46

    One of Jack Vance's best - which makes it very good indeed. Engaging characters and awful characters, too. Fantastic and imaginative language, convincing and detailed world-building.

  • Derek
    2019-06-20 16:46

    The book takes an unexpected turn about halfway through, when the action inexplicably moves away from the intrigues, infighting, and politics of planet Cadwal. The protagonist, Glawen Clattuc, travels with a reluctant subordinate on a long investigation into various criminal activities. The bulk of this excursion, from the departure at the spaceport until Glawen's inevitable discovery of the criminals, is extraneous to the story and not terribly interesting to read, and during this hundred page expanse the book's energy dwindles to a standstill. Vance frequently engages in digressions of story and various wandering journeys of the characters, usually very enjoyably, but in this case it doesn't work. The problem appears to be that the otherwise-engaging Glawen is saddled with this reluctant subordinate, who does nothing but resist his actions and thinking, and so is only a burden for Glawen, the story, and the reading.In every other single way this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Glawen manages to combine mildly sardonic wit with an earnestness of character, unusual problem-solving, and competence at his trade, which is a melding of the best parts of Vance's usual protagonists. The verbal sparring is delightful to read, as always. The plot wanders a bit but fills the book, and the resolution to all the mysteries are satisfying. Finally, the society of Araminta Station itself, the derivation of the ancient Naturalist Society Charter, is an intriguing exploration of the results of a constrained law of the settlement, and the intrigues for the right for permanent residence is an interesting undercurrent to the book.

  • David Meiklejohn
    2019-06-08 16:50

    Set on a remote planet which has been reserved to allow its indigenous life to flourish, the Charter allows for just a limited number of people to live there, so competition can be fierce and relationships strained. And there are a big group of temporary workers, known as the yips, who want to be able to settle permanently.Glawen Clattuc has grown up on Cadwal and we follow him as he loves and loses (in mysterious circumstances), helping his dad investigate the dodgy goings on that they suspect are related to a certain Arles and his Bold Lion gang. He's assigned a partner in the investigation who appears to hate him and want him dead, and in fact Glawen finds himself in several difficult situations, not least being trapped in a monastery.Vance weaves a believable world. Nothing is particularly fantastic about Cadwal, but the political intrigues, the family dynamics and the odd characters are a joy to read, and give life to the whole thing. Glawen is polite, humble, resourceful and unfortunate in those who decide to oppose him, but I enjoyed reading his adventures.Not quite up there with Lyonnesse or the Dying Earth books, but still a great dad.

  • Daniel
    2019-06-16 13:39

    Araminta Station is a terrific detective/mystery story whose characters live in a world that is known for its natural beauties and for that reason is ruled by strict laws that grant that the human contact won't spoil or destroy these natural beauties. Still, even a minimum contact introduces a complex society who is divided into the ruling elite casts- or bureaus who are encharged of maintaining the stability, workers - humans not accepted as the elite but who chose to stay as workers but become social pariahs and the yips, humans perhaps genetic modified to become sociopaths and that do the hard work but seem willing to anything by a price.Jack Vance is a terrific world builder as he easily creates believable worlds and societies and weaves at these worlds stories of the mundane in the human race that are to be seen as universal critics. His heroes are moral islands that face and fight untiringly brutal human, alien or magical foes.

  • Yanik Franken
    2019-05-28 15:34

    Vance shows off his skills in creating detailed worlds and describing them in all wonder without forcing a static image upon you. This is pretty much what he does for the first half of the book. Safe for a mysterious murder all is set to introduce you into the world of Araminta Station and the planet as a whole. Characters and relations are slowly flashed out and plots are set up. I usually love this in his work, though it seemed all a bit to aimless at times in this case. Sometime after the halfway point, however, things start to ramp up and intensify with the visiting of other worlds and the unravelling and perusing of the murder mystery. A fun read with some lovely characters (although Glawen himself seemed a bit subdued by Vance’s main character standards).Although the book interested me enough to want to read on, I have yet to start in the sequel.

  • Mark
    2019-05-25 14:53

    A longish space opera that is, essentially, a string of boy's adventures some of which are like those of John Carter himself. Many resemble a police procedural. This is the number one volume of the book seller's delight, a trilogy, and I will read on. All of the plot lines are tied up, but one is added in the last adventure that serves as a lead into volume 2.It is always interesting to see how our view of the future is limited by the present. This book is copyright 1988, just before the internet became widely available and before the mobile phone took off. The characters in this book send written letters across space and in one adventure they search for a telephone.