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The Moon Moth Paperback – May 22, 2012
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“Honored as one of science fiction's Grand Masters, Vance demonstrates his rich vocabulary and skill at depicting unfamiliar cultures in this classic SF story from the 1960s.” ―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Jack Vance, born John Holbrook Vance in 1916, was one of the greatest masters of fantasy and science fiction. He was the winner of many awards for his work and career: the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. Among his awards for particular works were the Hugo award in 1963 for The Dragon Masters, in 1967 for The Last Castle, and in 2010 for his memoir This is Me, Jack Vance! He won a Nebula Award in 1966 for The Last Castle. He won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1990 for Lyonesse: Madouc. . He also won an Edgar for the best first mystery novel in 1961 for The Man in the Cage.
Vance published more than 60 books in his long career, sometimes under pseudonyms. Among them were 11 mystery novels, three of them as Ellery Queen. He wrote some of the first, and perhaps best, examples of "planetary adventures", including a novel called Big Planet. His "Dying Earth" series were among the most influential fantasy novels ever written, inspiring both generations of writers, and the creators of Dungeons and Dragons.
Vance's series from Tor include The Demon Princes, The Cadwal Chronicles, The Dying Earth, The Planet of Adventure, and Alastor. Vance's last novels were a series of two: Ports of Call and Lurulu.
Jack Vance was a sailor, a writer, an adventurer, a music critic, and a raconteur. He died in May 2013.
Humayoun Ibrahim lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Moon Moth is his first graphic novel.
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Top customer reviews
My wife comments, "in trying to parse the code as I read this graphic novel, I experience something of what an underworld character experiences trying to parse the social code of Sirene as expressed in music."
Vance's story involves a cleverly conceived culture in which status or prestige is paramount, and communication depends upon mastery of several musical instruments. To fit in on Sirene, a visitor from Earth needs to procure a mask, a houseboat, and some slaves.
Thissell, the new consular representative to Sirene, is given little of the information he needs to survive. After three months on the job, however, he's notified that an assassin has arrived on Sirene. He is ordered to kill the assassin, but finding him is difficult in a culture where everyone wears a mask. The story eventually turns into a mystery: has the assassin killed an offworlder and assumed that person's identity, and if so, which mask conceals the assassin?
Vance has always been a good storyteller. "The Moon Moth" showcases his skill as a writer of mysteries and science fiction. The ending is wonderfully ironic. On the basis of the story alone, I would give "The Moon Moth" 4 or maybe 4 1/2 stars.
A couple of things bothered me about this graphic adaptation that have nothing to do with Vance. The lettering is of inconsistent quality. Of much greater importance, the art is just too cartoonish to carry a serious story. The artist probably picked this story because he does a better job rendering masks than faces. On the basis of the art alone, I would give "The Moon Moth" 2 stars. Combining the art with the story, I wind up at 3, maybe 3 1/2.
This is the adaptation of a short story by Jack Vance and since I had not read the story in question I first did so before reading this graphic novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was quite pleased to find it such a clever murder mystery set in a foreign, alien atmosphere. This novel starts with the reproduction of an article from "The New York Times" magazine written about Vance and his being a genre writer and how it affected his success as a writer. This is an interesting article but much better suited to those who are already fans of Vance. This is my first introduction to the author, I have of course heard of him but never read him before.
The graphic is well done and stays true to the original. It is quite an easy story to adapt since after the opening scenes the story is very much dialogue driven making it perfect for graphic adaptation. The author has managed to keep true to the story and even use original text in some parts. What is harder, is to convey this story visually as it is a very absurd society and Ibrahim has shown that well in conveying the musical singing everyone speaks in and the use of bright bold colours. This representation does take away from the cleverness of the solving of the actual mystery though. The mystery is extremely compelling and its logical solution is astute. The twist ending is fun and works very well in the graphic adaptation. This graphic is not as good as the original story which I would give full 5/5, but it is a great adaptation and if it encourages anyone to read the original story then its homage has been successful. I know I will read Vance in the future.
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