On Big Planet lies the Tinsitala Steppe and the great Vissel River, navigated by showboats bringing entertainment and spectacle to far-flung, idiosyncratic communities ashore. Canny ship-masters press relentlessly for advantage among quirky and boisterous audiences; competition is fierce. The stage is set for poignant mishap.
The king of a wealthy up-river realm plans a great contest among showboats. Lured by the boon, Apollon Zamp sails into unknown regions, accompanied by the enchanting but enigmatic Damsel Blanche-Aster, and her suitor Throdorus Gassoon. Meanwhile arch-rival Garth Ashgale plots Zamp's downfall.
Adventure, betrayal, high and low art, tragedy and farce ensue, in the inimitable style of Jack Vance.
The Magnificent Showboats of the Lower Vissel River, Lune XXIII South, Big Planet is Volume 5 of the Spatterlight Press Signature Series. Released in the centenary of the author's birth, this handsome new collection is based upon the prestigious Vance Integral Edition. Select volumes enjoy up-to-date maps, and many are graced with freshly-written forewords contributed by a distinguished group of authors. Each book bears a facsimile of the author's signature and a previously-unpublished photograph, chosen from family archives for the period the book was written. These unique features will be appreciated by all, from seasoned Vance collector to new reader sampling the spectrum of this author's influential work for the first time. – John Vance II