Jack Vance was one of literature's 'most distinctive and undervalued voices'

Vance collected a number of awards over the years, including Hugo Awards for 'The Dragon Masters' in 1963, 'The Last Castle' in 1967, and for his memoir 'This is Me, Jack Vance!' in 2010.

By , Associated Press

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    Jack Vance is seen on his boat in the 1980s.
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Jack Vance, an award-winning mystery, fantasy and science fiction author who wrote more than 60 books, has died. He was 96.

Vance died Sunday evening at his home in Oakland, his son John Vance II told The Associated Press.

Jack Vance, whose legal name was John Holbrook, published most of his work as Jack Vance, but he also wrote 11 mysteries as John Holbrook Vance and three as Ellery Queen, as well as books under the pen names of Alan Wade, Peter Held, John van See and Jay Kavanse, according to the Jack Vance website, which is maintained by family and friends.

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"This is a complex guy, and (there's) an awful lot to say about him," John Vance told The AP.

In 2009, a profile in the New York Times Magazine described Vance as "one of American literature's most distinctive and undervalued voices," according to the website.

Vance collected a number of awards over the years, including Hugo Awards for "The Dragon Masters" in 1963, "The Last Castle" in 1967, and for his memoir "This is Me, Jack Vance!" in 2010.

"Author, friend, father and grandfather, there will never be another like Jack Vance," his son said.

Born in San Francisco, Vance graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1942. He worked for a while as an electrician in the naval shipyards at Pearl Harbor, leaving about a month before the Japanese attack there, according to the website.

Described as a "blue-collar guy" by his son, Vance worked over the years as a seaman, a surveyor and carpenter. His first book was published in 1945, but Vance did not establish himself as a writer until the 1970s.

Although legally blind since the 1980s, Vance continued to write with the aid of software, including his most recent novel, "Lurulu," his son said. Vance had said "Lurulu" would be his final book, but he completed his memoir, which was published in July 2009.

In his later years, Vance suffered from poor kidney health and diabetes, which he which he maintained by diet control, his son said.

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