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on September 18, 2012
Araminta Station is the first book in one of Vance's most charming series, the Cadwal Chronicles, and is followed by Ecce and Old Earth, with the trilogy completed in Throy. The story is set in Vance's Gaean Reach and centres on the struggle over control of and title to the world Cadwal. Cadwal is a wildlife preserve with strict limitations on the number and activities of the human inhabitants regulated by the Naturalist Society Charter, in order to mitigate nuisance to the native creatures and safeguard the planet's natural beauty. However, the charter has been in force for so long that many of Cadwal's inhabitants consider it more of a philosophical quirk than a governing law. The hero, Glawen, becomes embroiled in a complex and interlocked series of crimes and schemes by groups who would rest control of the Cadwal from the Conservancy, and remake it to suit their own agendas.

The books abound with all the things that give Vance's work their timeless and much loved charm; elegant writing style, evocative yet economical description, quirky characters, charming footnotes and asides, insight into human nature and a story driven by characters rather than science fiction or fantasy spectacle. Araminta Station and its sequels are probably second only to the Lyonesse series in complexity of storyline, characterisation and beautifully absorbing realisation. Though less influential than the earlier Dying Earth stories, the Cadwal Chronicles and the Lyonesse sequence are Vance at the pinnacle of his abilities and writing career.

Araminta Station is a thoroughly enjoyable and completely engaging read, and is one of the classic science fiction works by one of the greatest writers of our time, and I commend it to you without reservation. If you've never read Vance and lean towards SF rather than fantasy, then this is the place to meet the master. If you lean more towards fantasy than SF, then consider starting with Suldrun's Garden. The chances are good that you'll end up reading and enjoying them all.
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on April 2, 2013
There comes a time, and luckily it takes a very long time, where you know for sure that this book--as good as it is--is definitely Jack Vance. I've found the same thing with author's I've cared to read a lot of (admittedly few), most notably Heinlein. Frank Herbert is an example of someone who doesn't suffer from this, but then again, I find his quality varies dramatically (note the difference between say "Dune"/"The God Makers" and "The Green Brain"/"White Plague." But I digress.

This is a Jack Vance novel. The language is unique (although less so than many of his other works), the heroes are not tough guys, and the solutions are not simple. Horror exists around every corner of every idyllic world, and I mean horror. And you can bet that basically every person you meet is trying to screw you.

That's the bad part, if you consider that bad. On the other hand, the settings are amazing. Each world, sometimes used for only a chapter, could easily support several novels. The inhabitants are erratic, and easily lend themselves to the feeling of a divergent evolution. The plot is quick, and the characters even quicker. Just don't become too attached to any of them.
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on August 4, 2015
The first book in a truly GREAT trilogy.
Not your average SF.
A master story teller.
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on October 13, 2016
Tension and suspense to go with great characters and descriptions.
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on January 8, 2014
Quirky and an easy read. Part of a trilogy, so left on a cliffhanger a bit. Have read this many times.
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on June 12, 2011
Another extraordinary world-building story with startliing backdrops, adventure, action, murder, intrigue, wordsmithery, and mellifluous pacing. Jack Vance's eclectic verbiage and poetic storylines are magical, captivating, and addictive. It's no wonder he is one of the world's most revered and awarded authors in the sci/fi fantasy/adventure genres. Another masterpiece from one of America's literary treasures!
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on January 7, 2013
I'm a huge jack vance fan after reading the Demon princes series, cugels saga and the durdane series. However I'n nowehere near as impressed with this first book of the Cadwal chronicles. I'm about 80% the way through it and its very slow moving with not much happening. If you are a fan of the books i mentioned and like the great use of a central "good guy" that Vance uses in those books mixed in with imaginary fantasy, great alien worlds, bad guys, magic and different forms of life then this book may dissapoint you a little. I probably will not buy the other Cadwal chronicle books.
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on June 8, 2005
It looks as if this novel has been thoroughly reviewed by others already, as is only right. I'll just add that I am amazed by Vance's ability to create so many distinctive and funny characters. I have no idea how he does it. There is nothing forced about his humor; it flows naturally with the story. It seems like such an unknown skill to write funny lines which truly sound like they belong to the characters rather than the author behind them.
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on September 23, 2012
Such an awesome book, its just a shame about the cover artwork... The original cover art was much better...
if due to rights you can't get that, this book still deserves better and easier to see cover art and titling.

The original DAW artwork for many Vance books was incredible (yes I know Araminta Station was never a DAW book), it would be nice to set that as a benchmark.
I realize this project of releasing Vance on Kindle may be put together by volunteers, still why not go the extra few steps and create a cover the book deserves...?
Can a lover of Jack Vance ask for less?
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on March 24, 2015
He is a good writer and read the Lyonesse serie which I liked very much. But I couldn't put with this one, too boring and didn't finished.
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