Jack Vance, the master of science-fiction and fantasy, died at 96 at his Oakland home on Sunday, May 26. His son, John Holbrook Vance II, said that his father died from complication of old age. "Everything just finally caught up with him," he said.
Vance, whose legal name is John Holbrook Vane, was born on August 28, 1912 in San Fransisco. In 1937, he entered University of California and studied physics, journalism and English. Before he completed his study, he entered U.S. navy and worked as an electrician in the naval shipyards at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
When navy life became miserable, Vance quit and was discharged "with prejudice." He returned to university and graduated in 1942. He later joined Merchant Marine as an ordinary seaman and wrote his first short stories at sea.
In 1946, Vance got married to Norma Ingold. The couple has one child, Vance II, and they lived in their house in Oakland. In early 1980s, he was diagnosed with glaucoma and after a failed operation, he was declared legally blind. He continued writing with his wife's assistance.
Vance had published 60 books, some of which were published under pseudonyms like Ellery Queen, Alan Wade, Peter Held, John van See, and Jay Kavanse. However, his best work is probably "The Dying Earth", a 1950 novel which tells a tale about a far-future Earth.
The author won some awards for his works. The awards included World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, Jupiter Award, World Fantasy Award, and several Hugo Awards.
In 2009, New York Times Magazine described Vance as "one of American literature's most distinctive and undervalued voices." In the same year, Vance published his memoir, "This is Me, Jack Vance".