"Howard Fair, looking over the relics of his great-uncle Gerald McIntyre, found a large ledger entitled:
WORKBOOK & JOURNAL
Open at Peril!
Fair read the journal with interest, although his own work went far beyond ideas treated only gingerly by Gerald McIntyre.
"The existence of disciplines concentric to the elementary magics must now be admitted without further controversy," wrote McIntyre. "Guided by a set of analogies from the white and black magics (to be detailed in due course), I have delineated the basic extension of purple magic, as well as its corollary, Dynamic Nomism."
Fair read on, remarking the careful charts, the projections and expansions, the transpolations and transformations by which Gerald McIntyre had conceived his systemology. So swiftly had the
technical arts advanced that McIntyre's expositions, highly controversial sixty years before, now seemed pedantic and overly rigorous." From "Green Magic" by Jack Vance
After rereading Dune by Frank Herbert, I realized there was about a fifty year gap in my knowledge of Science fiction and fantasy works. Back in the day I liked Phillip Farmer, Isaac Asimov, and
Robert Heinlein. Only in the last few months have I begun to read in this area again. I recently read and really enjoyed Clifford Simak's Hugo Award winning novel, The Way Station, several works by the powerfully imaginative Octavia Butler and two wonderful short stories by Isabell Wong and Alyssa Yap, both of Filipino ancestry. I have also read a few short stories by writers like Karen Russell and Leonora Carrington that border on the fantasy genre. I must not forget to mention a stunning debut novel Bald New World by Peter Tieryas. I also reread Brave New World. There are other genres such as steampunk that blend into fantasy and science fiction also. Of course there is Horror Fiction.
I wanted to find out what I had missed in the last fifty years. Who better to ask than the readers of my blog, as smart and as literate group as can be found on this planet.
Both Fred and Mudpuddle said some of the work of an American writer, Jack Vance (born 1916, died 2013, both in San Francisco Bay Area) was perhaps superior to Dune. I did some quick research, the literary output of Vance is huge, over sixty books and uncounted short stories, mostly published in pulp magazines. His work is still under copyright and I could find only one short story online, "Green Magic", first published in 1943. I read this story and loved it. It is squarely a work of fantasy, of dark magic showing us the dangers of reading the journals of deceased great uncles who made a life long study of the cycles of magic.
The journal is read by Howard Fair, himself a student of the black, white and purple cycles of magic. He has been known to conjure up a demon to liven up a dull party. He is shocked when he reads of his uncle's exploration of the green cycle of magic, something hitherto fore unknown to him. He invokes a sprite from the green world, who warns him against a study of the green cycle. Howard ends up spending hundreds of years mastering this realm. Finally he longs for his old world and returns to his apartment only to discover he has been gone only two hours. I will leave much of the plot unspoiled. Readers of the great Irish fantasy writer
The very real fun in this story is Vance's creation of the theories of magic, simulating great learning in an arcane realm. We see how Howard has been changed.
I really enjoyed this story and will venture more into his world.
At the link to "Green Magic" there are links to webpages with lots of information on Vance.
Readers of Sheridan de Le Fanu, the great Irish fantasy writer (extensively posted upon on my blog) and the early 20th century Welsh master Arthur Machen will feel at home in this story. Maybe they are the literary Lolos of Vance.
Again my thanks to Fred and Mudpuddle. I will hopefully this year read a few more short stories and at least his Hugo Award Winning works.