My new novel, set in the universe of Jack Vance,
Wake the living Galleons at your peril...
The Elder Race once ruled the entire Alastor cluster. Fierce predators, they tore suns from the sky, leaving the worlds of their enemies to freeze in the dark.
Now only the Galleons are left: living ships that sail the world river which girds Phaedra: Alastor 824.
After the death of his father, Gunnar arrives on that ancient world, trying to find a new home. Having two girlfriends sounds like a good start, but Lavoine is the deeply tricky daughter of the last Voodoo queen, and Semele a fierce huntress who has sworn never to kiss a boy until she Walks with the Galleons.
And now Lavoine is trying to wake up the Galleons and bring back the Elders...
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In the series "Palandins of Jack Vance" the novel Phaedra: Alastor 824 by the Dutch writer Tais teng. This novel takes places in Jack Vance’s well beloved story universe of the Alastor books: the far flung future where humanity has spread between the stars and every planet has developed its own unique culture. The young Gunnar arrives with his mother on Pahedra, Alastor 824, a planet where mysterious Elder Galleons sail the equatorial canal and where the inhabitants of every picturesque metropole consider all others mere bumpkins. Two girls catch Gunnar’s heart, the tricky Lavoine who is the last Voodoo queen, and Semele the huntress who is only interested in a boy who is worthy. But when Lovoine is trying to wake up the Elder, the aliens who once moved whole planets and wrote messages on the surface with mountain ranges, things get interesting.
Tais Teng writes a great, colorful novel which is worthy to be called a complement to the books of Jack Vance. It has grand, weird cultures and customs. A great, engaging adventure which was a lot of fun to read. I hope to read more of these books in the future.
April 8, 2019
Is it Jack? No, but still has Vance-like qualities and fulfills a decades-long wish to return to Alastor Cluster. Very enjoyable. Karl
rated it really liked it
“Phaedra: Alastor 824” by Tais Teng is a standalone ‘Alastor Cluster’ novel, with the full permission and co-operation of the Jack Vance estate and takes place in the Jack Vance Universe of the Gaean Reach, as does most of Mr. Vance’s space stories. The book is a worthy inclusion alongside of “Trullion: Alastor 2262”, “Marune: Alastor 933”, “Wyst: Alastor 1716”, I believe Vance’s “Demon Prince” series also take place in the Gaean Reach location.
It becomes apparent that Dutchman Tais Teng, the pen name of artist, poet, sculptor and author Thijs van Ebbenhorst Tengbergen, has been a long time Vance fan, and it is claimed in his bio that he has written more than 120 novels for both adults and children, most in his native language.
Mr. Teng does not try to be Vance. He creates the flavor and aroma almost Vanceian. The story is similar to the ones utilized by Vance, concerning a young protagonist coming of age in a strange location and having to come to terms with a major conflict not of his making. Mr. Tang does not exhibit the narrative abilities of Vance, nor the smooth seamless transitions that Vance is capable of. Yet he does tell a good story incorporating engaging humor and the necessary conflict to move the narrative forward.
In this novel we follow the exploits of young Gunnar as he arrives on the ancient world of Phaedra after the death of his soldier father. The planet once contained an ancient Elder Race who ruled the entire Alistor cluster. The race has now long disappeared leaving only Living ships that sail the world river that girds Phaedra completely and is twenty miles wide in portions.
Someone is trying to awaken the Elder Race which will bring havoc to the entire cluster.
Gunnar is the only person who stands in the way of utter chaos.
This is the first entry into the "Paladins Of Vance" series from Spatterlight publishers. (less)
As a hardcore Vance fan (I own a copy of the VIE and cooporated in bringing it to life) I have been starving for a new Vance, which obviously will never come. But this book is a good second choice.
The atmosphere of the book is truly Vancian. I like the introductions in the chapters, just as Vance did. I liked the references to Vance (e.g. Trullion and Glinnes) and his coined words ('bonterfest', 'pull a Gersen') and also the descriptions of the strange cultures and planets are a feast for the mind. The story is interesting enough (there is nothing better than a good old fashioned road-trip, or in this case, a planet-trip) so all in all I very much enjoyed reading the book.
But is it a Vance? Close, but not quite yet. Vance was better with language and the use of words. Vance was less (sexually) explicit and relied more on the fantasy of the reader. And, not easily put into words, I am missing 'something'.
That being said, I still hope for more books of Tais Teng, set in the Alastor cluster. With this book he shows himself a worthy successor. That is why I have given five stars.
And one final thing... I want an endless book!