17 Oct. 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project

A Flash of Vance

Jack Vance, one of my favorite authors, has an unusual take on the law.  In fact, he has an unusual take on humanand occasionally on aliencivilization.  That's why he's one of my favorite authors.  He also has a remarkable facility for people and place names,  and his descriptions of foreign (OK, non-existent) locales is nonpareil.

 Among his works, immortalized by the Vance Integral Edition, is the "Demon Prince" series, and in "The Face," part of that series, one finds this vignette:

"Sometimes regarded as over-abstract and over-rigorous, Benchmaster Dalt is by no means a dreamy-eyed theorist; to the contrary he insists upon full etiquette.  Court officials consider him a stern disciplinarian"
"Yes, yes, muttered the Chief Clerk.  I've heard much the same story, from one source or another."

"Smarten up your bailiffs," said Addels.  "Provide your stentor the best throat lozenges—because Benchmaster Dalt is coming to enliven your court.  He watches like an eagle.  If someone scamps his duty, he's flayed to the bone."

Somehow, this little Wall Street Journal excerpt reminded me of Benchmaster Dalt and his scheme to unmask Lens Larque, one of the Demon Princes. 

We need more such serious journalism in this country and our defamation law should encourage rather than discourage it," one of the [Law Lords] Baroness Brenda Hale, wrote in her opinion.

"In some ways it's the coming of age of press freedom in the U.K" said Dan Tench, a partner in Olswang Solicitors..."

OK, maybe you see it, maybe not.  Maybe you need to read more Vance, or I, less.

© 2006
Richard Factor

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