A Very Thin Book
In July, 2009, the New York Times Magazine ran a big article on Jack Vance, which began with: "Jack Vance, described by his peers as 'a major genius' and 'the greatest living writer of science fiction and fantasy,' has been hidden in plain sight for as long as he has been publishing -- six decades and counting." I just don't get it! This book was truly mediocre -- and it won Hugo and Nebula Awards! It is extremely thin, in literal as well as figurative substance. At 113 pages and around 22,000 words, it's barely a novella. It's extremely male, with women appearing only as objects and set decorations. The emotions are sparse and shallow, and the technology, the thing that usually revs up science fiction, is rudimentary, uninteresting, and not even described well.
From back cover of 1966, Ace Book, #47071. Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Science Fiction.
"First Castle Haleyon fell, then Sea Island, then Morninglight, the Maraval -- one by one, with their gauze-clad Phanes, ancient books and subtle essences, the proud castles of Earth fell before the rebellious Meks, until only Castle Hagedorn was left.
For 700 years the Meks had served without complaint; they were indispensable -- for no true gentleman would demean himself with the indignity of toil. Now, for no discernible reason, they were about to destroy the genteel civilization of Earth.
But the cultured aristocrats were too proud to lower themselves by dealing with the Mek rebellion. Even as their turrets crumbled around them they chose to remain dignified and aloof.
Someone had to DO something...Hagedorn was the last castle."