The Eyes of the Overworld by Jack Vance book dust jacket

The Eyes of the Overworld by Jack Vance book dust jacket — English dust jacket (virtual)
The Eyes of the Overworld by Jack Vance book dust jacket — English dust jacket (virtual)
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Along with other books, at the initial stage of the formation of the series, this rather strange collection of Jack Vance was published. Unfortunately, the only one. It was all about the author's fame in the USSR and Russia, as well as the state of legislation in the field of copyright.

Front cover illustration

The Eyes of the Overworld: Chapter III: The Mountains of Magnatz. Illustration by Vladimir Mikhailovich Kanivets
The following is an excerpt from the novel The Eyes of the Overworld from Chapter III: The Mountains of Magnatz (between titles of chapters 3 and 4).

Another hour passed; the sun was now aloft. The folk of Vull would discover that their Watchman was gone, and with him their treasure, Cugel chuckled, and now a breeze lifted the mists, revealing the landmarks he had memorized. He leapt to the bow and hauled on the anchor line, but to his annoyance the anchor had fouled itself.

He jerked, strained, and the line gave a trifle. Cugel pulled with all his strength. From below came a great bubbling. “A whirlpool!” cried Marlinka in terror.

“No whirlpool here,” panted Cugel, and jerked once more. The line seemed to relax and Cugel hauled in the rope. Looking over the side, he found himself staring into an enormous pale face. The anchor had caught in a nostril. As he looked the eyes blinked open.

Cugel threw away the line, leapt for the oars and frantically rowed for the southern shore. A hand as large as a house raised from the water, groping. Marlinka screamed. There was a great turbulence, a prodigious surge of water which flung the boat toward the shore like a chip, and Magnatz sat up in the center of Lake Vult.

From the village came the sound of the warning gong, a frenzied clanging.

Magnatz heaved himself to his knees, water and muck draining from his vast body. The anchor which had pierced his nostril still hung in place, and a thick black fluid issued from the wound. He raised a great arm and slapped petulantly at the boat. The impact threw up a wall of foam which engulfed the boat, spilled treasure, Cugel and the girl toppling through the dark depths of the lake.

Cugel kicked and thrust, and propelled himself to the seething surface. Magnatz had gained his feet and was looking toward Vull.

Cugel swam to the beach and staggered ashore. Marlinka had drowned, and was nowhere to be seen. Across the lake Magnatz was wading slowly toward the village.

Cugel waited no longer. He turned and ran with all speed up the mountainside.

Compare the illustration from the Russian edition with the illustration on the cover of the edition in the original language:

Illustration by Vladimir Mikhailovich Kanivets in 1992 and Cover by Greg Hildebrandt and Tim Hildebrandt (Hildebrandt) in 1977Illustration by Vladimir Mikhailovich Kanivets in 1992 and Cover by Greg Hildebrandt and Tim Hildebrandt (Hildebrandt) in 1977

See also the site's blog post.

Back cover illustration

Son of the Tree by Jack Vance, Chapter XII (last chapter). Illustration by Vladimir Mikhailovich Kanivets
The following is an excerpt from the novelette Son of the Tree Chapter XII (last chapter).

Joe had a flash impression of complete confusion. A milling mob of men circled an object he could not identify — a squat green and brown thing which seemed to writhe and heave.

Hableyat burst through the circle, with Joe at his side and Elfane pressing at Joe's back. Joe looked in wonder. The Son of the Tree?

It had grown, become complicated. No longer did it resemble the Kyril Tree. The Son had adapted itself to a new purpose–protection, growth, flexibility.

It reminded Joe of a tremendous dandelion. A white fuzzy ball held itself twenty feet above the ground on a slender swaying stalk, surrounded by an inverted cone of flat green fronds. At the base of each front a green tendril, streaked and speckled with black, thrust itself out. Clasped in these tendrils were the bodies of three men.

Hableyat squawked, “The thing's a devil,” and clapped his hand to his pouch. But his weapon had been impounded by the Residence guards.

A Ballenkarch chieftain, his pale face distorted, charged the Son, hacking with his saber. The fuzzy ball swayed toward him a trifle, the tendrils jerked back like the legs of an insect, then snapped in from all sides, wrapped the man close, pierced his flesh. He bawled, fell silent, stiffened. The tendrils flushed red, pulsed, and the Son grew taller.

Four more Ballenkarts, acting in grim concert, charged the Son, six others followed. The tendrils thrust, snapped and ten bodies lay stiff and white on the ground. The Son expanded as if it were being magnified.

“Prince Harry's light assured voice said, Step aside... Now then, step aside.”

Harry stood looking at the plant–twenty feet to the top of the fronds while the fuzzy white ball reared another ten above them.

The Son pounced, with a cunning quasi intelligence. Tendrils unfurled, trapped a dozen roaring men, dragged them close. And now the crowd went wild, swayed back and forth in alternate spasms of rage and fear, at last charged in a screeching melee.

Sabres glittered, swung, chopped. Overhead the fuzzy white ball swung unhurriedly. It was sensate, it saw, felt, planned with a vegetable consciousness, calm, fearless, single purposed. Its tendrils snaked, twisted, squeezed, returned to drain. And the Son of the Tree soared, swelled.

Panting survivors of the crowd fell back, staring helplessly at the corpse strewn ground.

“Глаза чужого мира” on the original dust jacket. “Джек ВЭНС” on the spine.

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