Meet Everett Coles
Jack Vance has been an inspiration to many writers. If you look at Jack Vance's Wikipedia page, you'll see an impressive list of famous writers in the "influenced" column. In 2011 HarperCollins even published a Jack Vance tribute anthology featuring the most distinguished fantasists of our day called "Songs of the Dying Earth". This month on jackvance.com, we'd like you to meet two other authors whose writing was also inspired by Jack Vance, Jack Everett and David Coles.
Jack Everett and David Coles:
Jack Everett & David Coles make up the writing team of Everett Coles – the name which appears on most of our eBooks. We have been devoted followers of Jack Vance since we first came across his Dying Earth series so many years ago. Between us, we have virtually every story that Jack has written and his Integral Edition graces the book shelves of Jack Everett’s study.
We wrote two novels, available as eBooks, as a homage to Jack Vance’s writing and in particular, to his Demon Princes series. These – The Faces of Immortality and To Rule the Universe – follow the exploits of a more or less retired interstellar detective. Gyle Meredon is somewhat similar to Jack Vance’s character, Kirth Gersen and his adventures take place in a universe not far removed from Oikumene.
We write f&sf, thrillers, suspense, mystery and historical novels. We are the only writers we know of to write in the past, the present and the future.
Review of 'The Faces of Immortality' by Nick Gevers (June 2005)
In The Faces of Immortality, Everett Coles continues his exploration of the archetype of the wizard Merlin, but this time—appropriately and absorbingly—within the context of full-blown revenge space opera. His model in this is the Demon Princes quintet of novels (1963-1981) by Jack Vance, the American master of baroque SF and science fantasy: a very difficult act to follow, yet Coles carries off his affectionate homage quite ably.
In the Demon Princes books, Vance set a reluctant yet superbly competent hero, Kirth Gersen, against a group of five galactic master villains, figures of eccentric evil, who, hidden behind flamboyant aliases and vast structures of clandestine criminality, haunted the civilized planets of the thirty-sixth century with threats of kidnapping, slave-raiding, blackmail, massive fraud, and ultimately, subversion of central institutions. Vance’s influence has been wide, and Everett Coles reflects it to advantage…
Coles’s scenario is overtly similar to Vance’s, although it occurs a thousand years hence, not fifteen hundred. In place of the Oikoumene, there is the Purlieu or the Pale; the IPCC gives way to PLEA, the Purlieu Law Enforcement Agency. There are many settled worlds, their inhabitants sometimes grown significantly away from human norms; perilous technologies are regularly on the loose; as in Vance, this poses severe difficulties in maintaining general peace and order, as Gyle Meredon, Coles’s latest avatar of Merlin (Myrddin), finds to his cost. It’s tempting to view The Faces of Immortality as a sixth Demon Princes novel, a revival of Gersen’s career after his retiremen, yet Coles has original cards to play as well…
Thus, while there are many ideas and plot devices in Faces that directly (and pleasurably) recall elements from the Demon Princes, Coles builds on such Vancean riffs, elaborating twists and parodic delicacies of his own. The rival civilizations on the planet Lore, which clash in artificial wars fuelled by pheromonally induced religious fanaticism and an endemic gambling fixation, are wittily set forth; some of the Lore set-pieces, like the arm-wrestling competition, are extremely funny; the bizarre alien ecology on Chanticleer is ingeniously worked out and the lost world of Lokmar, with its tragic political schism and dark legacy, has considerable grandeur of the kind Vance achieved in his early works especially. It’s also pleasing to see Vance’s robust-baroque prose style captured so reliably in Faces, the addictive diction basic to his fame repeated but also modified, amplified or restrained by Coles as appropriate: there’s plenty of erudite wordplay and sensuous description in Faces, my favourite passage being the encounter between Meredon and a pair of farmers arguing over crop damage inflicted by goats… Now that Vance’s career as a writer is ending, it’s very comforting to think that new authors are so well equipped to carry on his brand of picaresque entertainment, and even enrich the formula at times.
David’s website: www.DavidBColes.co.uk
Jack’s website: www.JackLEverett.me.uk