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Big Planet Paperback – Aug 1 1993


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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Tor Books (M/M) (Aug. 1 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812556984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812556988
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,184,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

"To land anywhere on Big Planet except Earth Enclave meant tragedy, debacle, cataclysm": it doesn't look good for Claude Glystra's interstellar mission when his sabotaged ship crashes deep in the heart of enemy territory. At least one of the traitors is on the loose, and the forces of the despotic Bajarnum of Beaujolais are out to destroy Claude, his fellow Earthmen and a lovely young native they christen Nancy, as the group embarks upon a deadly 40,000-mile journey to refuge in Jack Vance's weird and highly imaginative Big Planet.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jack Vance was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California in mining engineering, physics and journalism. During the Second World War he served in the Merchant Navy and was torpedoed twice. He started contributing stories to the pulp magazines in the late 1940s and published his first book, The Dying Earth, in 1950. Among his many books are To Live Forever, The DragonMasters, for which he won his first Hugo, The Blue World, Emphyrio, The Anome and the Lyonesse sequence. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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By G. R. Welsh on Sept. 4 2001
Format: Paperback
This was the first Jack Vance fiction I'd ever read. Nearly twenty years ago, my parents bought me a stack of "notched" sci-fi paperbacks, and this was one of them. It sat around for a while, but eventually one bored Saturday I sifted through the stack and pulled this one out to give it a chance. It was like finding a hidden gem. There's so much adventure, character and creativity packed into a mere 217 pages. Modern writers of fat 1000-page books and never-ending series could learn a lot from Jack Vance. His writing is brisk, clever and most of all colorful and lively. A LOT HAPPENS every few pages! Also, Vance's fiction holds up well over time because he does not rely so much on hard science and the theory of his day, but focuses instead on characters, invented cultures, humor, and the engaging interaction of many personalities. Check this book out, it's an enlightening contrast to just about everything else out there.
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Format: Paperback
I was somewhat unsure what to expect when I first started 'Big Planet' but right from the page 1 it moves at a great pace. The planetary landscapes - the sheer size and kaleidoscope of colours and races makes for fascinating reading. There is a certain 'steampunk' type quality to the types of technology employed but this adds to the novel's readability by avoiding overly technical jargon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
BIG PLANET Sept. 4 2001
By G. R. Welsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was the first Jack Vance fiction I'd ever read. Nearly twenty years ago, my parents bought me a stack of "notched" sci-fi paperbacks, and this was one of them. It sat around for a while, but eventually one bored Saturday I sifted through the stack and pulled this one out to give it a chance. It was like finding a hidden gem. There's so much adventure, character and creativity packed into a mere 217 pages. Modern writers of fat 1000-page books and never-ending series could learn a lot from Jack Vance. His writing is brisk, clever and most of all colorful and lively. A LOT HAPPENS every few pages! Also, Vance's fiction holds up well over time because he does not rely so much on hard science and the theory of his day, but focuses instead on characters, invented cultures, humor, and the engaging interaction of many personalities. Check this book out, it's an enlightening contrast to just about everything else out there.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great fun, aimed at a younger audience Nov. 24 1998
By Karl Compton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was the first Jack Vance novel I read, thirty or so years ago, and I've been a fan ever since. Vance is one of the great masters, and perhaps had the best use of the language of any SF writer before (at least) Zelazny. I'll always have a fond place in my heart for this one. It probably has more truly intriguing cultures tossed off in a couple of hundred pages than most authors manage in a lifetime, and on top of it all, it is a fun read.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Early Jack Vance Classic Sept. 27 2000
By David_A_Stever - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book, written in the 1950's, shows flashes of the brilliance of the later works of Jack Vance. The use of language (readers new to Vance would be advised to keep a LARGE dictionary by you, or else just let the flow of the language envelope you), the exotic settings, and the realization that the most alien and unknownable creatures that mankind will ever meet, will always be us.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Read SHOWBOAT WORLD First (or Instead). Avoid Butchered Editions July 9 2012
By J. Whelan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This 1952 sci-fi novel takes place on the aptly named "Big Planet", a vast untamed world of high diameter and low density, where a lack of heavy metals impedes advanced technology. It has been settled by countless Earth colonies seeking the freedom to pursue their own particular way of life.

Earth authorities, concerned about the activities of a local warlord/slaver, send a team to investigate/intervene. However, their ship is sabotaged and crashlands on Big Planet. The survivors, led by Claude Glystra, set out on an impossibly ambitious trek to reach Earth Enclave, located on the other side of the planet, 40,000 miles away. Meanwhile, they continue to worry about the possibility of an enemy agent in their midst.

Although I like the idea of "Big Planet", I don't think Vance puts that idea to its best use here. The overarching warlord/sabotage plot tended to distract from the challenge of the planet itself, and tended to have the effect of making a big planet seem small again. Part of the problem, perhaps, is that Vance's original 1948 manuscript (now lost) was almost twice as long, but edited down after he was told it would not sell. But, for whatever reason, we are left with a rushed adventure story that could just as easily taken place on a small planet.

Vance's inventiveness is on display, but he has done better elsewhere. In particular, he has done better with his vastly superior 1975 novel SHOWBOAT WORLD (a/k/a THE MAGIFICENT SHOWBOATS OF THE LOWER VISSEL RIVER, LUNE XIII SOUTH, BIG PLANET), written 23 years later, which is also set on Big Planet. Read that one first - it stands on its own. Read this later, and only if determined to read all things Vance.

If you do seek out BIG PLANET, make sure you find an edition that reverts to the 1952 text that appeared in Startling Stories. The 1957 Ace edition, and later editions based on it (such as the 1977 coronet edition), massacred the 1952 text. The 2012 Kindle edition from Spatterlight Press, the Gollancz Kindle edition, 1978 Miller-Underwood edition (but not, as Wikipedia wrongly says, the 1978 Ace edition) and the unobtainable Vance Integral Edition revert to the 1952 text. I'm not sure about the Gollancz paperbacks. One test is whether the opening paragraph refers to Hidders' mixed-race origens and ends with a reference to "many brains". If so, then read on. If not, and if the second page refers to a "Sister of Succor" rather than a "nun", then hold off and wait for a better copy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Made me upset. Feb. 9 2014
By E. S. Charpentier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A commission is sent from Earth to Big Planet to investigate the new Conqueror and see whether there should be any kind of intervention. Unfortunately, the ship crashes due to sabotage and the group sets out on a 40,000 mile journey to the other side of the planet and the safety of Earth Enclave. Not Everyone Is Going To Make It. Danger Lurks At Every Corner. Fantastic Creatures Abound. I gather this is an early example of the Quest through a Strange Land type of novel, so you can't fault it for being unimaginative, and some might call it a progenitor, but unfortunately it's not one of the first that I read.
Now that I think about it, I was enjoying it just fine until my favorite character died [I don't consider this a spoiler because you don't have any idea who my favorite character is.] and now I'm just pissed. And sad. I don't want to talk about this anymore.

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