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A trifling pastiche in honour of Jack Vance on what would have been his 97th birthday

August 28, 2013

The hetman addressed the captive. “You wear a three-tiered black hat, the traditional headgear and sacred symbol of Habanais, creator and ordinator of this reality and eighteen others. This is basest blasphemy, and the stipulated punishment is immersion for five days in the correction vat. Bailiffs!”

“Not so fast!” said Cugel. “You overlook an alternative explanation.”

The hetman hoisted his bushy brows. “Indeed? You claim, then, to be an avatar of Habanais, descended from the Overworld?”

From the assembled villagers came gasps and cries of astonishment.

“Correct!” said Cugel. “I am Habanais, and I require the customary obeisances and perquisites due to a deity of no small magnitude.”

The hetman stared coldly at Cugel. “It shall be so. According to the ninth holy triad of the Lustrous Codex, Habanais sits in splendour upon a throne of fire.” He called to the villagers: “Gaspar! Fetch a wooden chair! Dickon! Hune! Bring faggots and kindle a flame for the comfortable repose of our godhead!”

The corner of Cugel’s mouth twitched involuntarily.


On Facebook about five years ago (back when Facebook was still sort of fun) some people were writing short Vancian pastiches. My contribution was the crude confection reproduced above. To pay your own, more dignified tribute to the Grand Master, who was born John Holbrook Vance on the 28th of August 1916, head over to Foreverness and raise a toast.

Alternatively, just let your next character be a preening magician or a fox-faced vagabond in an over-fancy hat.

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