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Five Gold Bands (Mayflower Science Fantasy)

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Picaresque Irish adventurer Paddy Blackthorn is caught attempting to steal an interstellar space drive and is sentenced to death by the ruling council of mutant humans. The mutants' creator bequeathed them the secret of the drive, and with it a monopoly on space travel, which allows them to dominate normal humans. During his escape, Paddy discovers that the knowledge of ho Picaresque Irish adventurer Paddy Blackthorn is caught attempting to steal an interstellar space drive and is sentenced to death by the ruling council of mutant humans. The mutants' creator bequeathed them the secret of the drive, and with it a monopoly on space travel, which allows them to dominate normal humans. During his escape, Paddy discovers that the knowledge of how to manufacture the engines has been stored in five gold rings, one for each mutant race. The rings are hidden in five secret locations for safekeeping. With the help of a beautiful human secret agent, Fay Bursill, Paddy searches the home planets of each of the mutant species, in the hope that Earthfolk will be able to resume their rightful place in space.


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Picaresque Irish adventurer Paddy Blackthorn is caught attempting to steal an interstellar space drive and is sentenced to death by the ruling council of mutant humans. The mutants' creator bequeathed them the secret of the drive, and with it a monopoly on space travel, which allows them to dominate normal humans. During his escape, Paddy discovers that the knowledge of ho Picaresque Irish adventurer Paddy Blackthorn is caught attempting to steal an interstellar space drive and is sentenced to death by the ruling council of mutant humans. The mutants' creator bequeathed them the secret of the drive, and with it a monopoly on space travel, which allows them to dominate normal humans. During his escape, Paddy discovers that the knowledge of how to manufacture the engines has been stored in five gold rings, one for each mutant race. The rings are hidden in five secret locations for safekeeping. With the help of a beautiful human secret agent, Fay Bursill, Paddy searches the home planets of each of the mutant species, in the hope that Earthfolk will be able to resume their rightful place in space.

30 review for Five Gold Bands (Mayflower Science Fantasy)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    Vance's first novel, TFGB was first serialized in the 40s and published as a book in 1950. Pretty typical pulp space opera, meaning Vance employed the going tropes of the day. While it has an interesting premise, the two lead characters (and their cheesy romance) really drag the story down. Further, although there are some tantalizing hints of what would make Vance so excellent, such as his innovative world building and socioeconomic analyses, these serve primarily as window dressing here. Paddy Vance's first novel, TFGB was first serialized in the 40s and published as a book in 1950. Pretty typical pulp space opera, meaning Vance employed the going tropes of the day. While it has an interesting premise, the two lead characters (and their cheesy romance) really drag the story down. Further, although there are some tantalizing hints of what would make Vance so excellent, such as his innovative world building and socioeconomic analyses, these serve primarily as window dressing here. Paddy Blackthorn, our main protagonist, is stereotypically Irish, complete with accent and all (never mind that the time frame is several centuries from now). Humans have settled the universe to a degree, thanks to finally finding a FTL drive. The inventor the drive gave each of his five sons pieces of the engineering aspects of the drive and they still have monopoly control over space drives. Whether it is due to genetic tinkering, or human adaptability, the human race has radically diverged from the native stock. Each of the five sons settled a different planet and as a result, they can scarcely be called human anymore (although they still can breed with other 'races'). Paddy, charged with death for a crime in the opening pages (trying to steal a space drive) gets 'employed' to be a translator for the annual meeting of the decedents of the five sons due to his linguistic skills (and that they have to kill the translator after the even to keep meeting's secrets). Miraculously, Paddy survives the meeting and kills all five decedents and takes their 'gold bands' (hence the title) and escapes. Within the bands Paddy hopes to find the secrets of the FTL drive, but what he finds instead are a series of clues that hopefully lead to the actual secrets. Paddy teams up with Fay, an Earth secret agent, on an outlaw world and the quest begins... So, on the one hand, TFGB is 'classic' quest novel set in space featuring a slick con-man and a top spy from Earth, intending to find the secrets of the drive and give them to Earth (now largely a backwater). On the other hand, this is a cheesy romance novel between Paddy and Fay. Lots of stereotypes involved to be sure and the sensibilities of the 40s make them selves felt to a crushing degree. I might recommend this to die-hard Vance fans and those who want to complete his opus, but definitely not a good place to start on Vance. It is pretty amazing to read this after other excellent stories Vance told in his later career-- he sure came a long way! 2 meh stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Baal Of

    This is one of the weakest Vance stories I've read, which might be due to it being one of his relatively early published novels. Wikipedia lists it as being published in 1953, and my copy lists a 1950 copyright. The characters are weak, showing only glimmers of the odd but compelling style he developed later in his career. The plot is a fairly straight-forward quest, with a moderately dissatisfying ending, and the sexism is a bit heavy. Also there's some very weird references to Christianity tha This is one of the weakest Vance stories I've read, which might be due to it being one of his relatively early published novels. Wikipedia lists it as being published in 1953, and my copy lists a 1950 copyright. The characters are weak, showing only glimmers of the odd but compelling style he developed later in his career. The plot is a fairly straight-forward quest, with a moderately dissatisfying ending, and the sexism is a bit heavy. Also there's some very weird references to Christianity that feel completely out of place, but may have been pandering to the mores of the time. The book was still enjoyable, as light space faring fantasy, but didn't have much meat to it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    sometimes even Vance had to pay the bills.

  4. 5 out of 5

    TJ

    This 138 page novel was written in 1949 and first published under the title "The Five Gold Bands" in 1950 in Startling Stories magazine. In 1953 it was reissued with the title "The Space Pirates" and in 2002 it was published under the title "Rapparee." Vance himself preferred the Rapparee title. A rapparee was an Irish gorilla fighter from the 1690s, and our main character once refers to himself as being one. Our main character is the Earther, Paddy Blackthorn, who has gone to the planet Akhabats This 138 page novel was written in 1949 and first published under the title "The Five Gold Bands" in 1950 in Startling Stories magazine. In 1953 it was reissued with the title "The Space Pirates" and in 2002 it was published under the title "Rapparee." Vance himself preferred the Rapparee title. A rapparee was an Irish gorilla fighter from the 1690s, and our main character once refers to himself as being one. Our main character is the Earther, Paddy Blackthorn, who has gone to the planet Akhabats where valuable space-drives are assembled. Paddy is apprehended by Kudthu guards while he is trying to steal some of the rare and costly space-drives. The penalty for this is mandatory death. But when the "Koton Councillor" learns that Paddy is a master of numerous languages, he decides to delay the execution and use Paddy as a translator at an upcoming annual council meeting of the Five Sons of Langtry. As the novel progresses we learn the interesting background story. Many years ago a man named Samuel Langtry from Earth invented the "space-drive" that allows ships to travel at great speeds through space. Instead of turning the secret plans for creating space-drives over to the government or others on Earth, he distributed the information among his five sons. These sons left Earth and settled on five different planets. The descendent heirs of the original Five Sons of Langtry, now twenty generations later, continue to be the only ones who can produce space-drives. Each of the descendent heirs rules his own planet and has part of the instructions for building this drive. Together they have a monopoly on manufacturing space-drives which are essential to trade and commerce. These drives are strictly rationed to Earth inhabitants who do not know how to build them. People from Earth are also considered inferior by the residents of the five planets and are not even allowed to use the same hotels when visiting. The gravity, atmosphere, food and other factors on each planet have lead to adaptations so that the humans on each of the five planets act, think and look dissimilar to Earthers and each other, often strikingly so even though they all are still human and could even interbreed. Some planetary inhabitants are short, squat and very muscular from the greater gravity on their planet. On another planet the humans look like 8 foot tall eagles. These physical and mental changes appear to have happened over twenty generations since our main character meets with the Koton twentieth Son of Langtry. Each of the descendent Five Sons of Langtry wears a gold band with information or clues enclosed in a compartment in the band regarding where each of them has hidden their partial instructions on how to build a space-drive. One of the bands also has a key in it. After Paddy is able to take possession of all five of the gold bands, he tries to decipher the information or riddles included in each band. To locate the actual space-drive plans he will have to visit each of the five planets on a treasure hunt like expedition. Once he has all five sets of space-drive instructions, he hopes to be able to sell them for a vast sum of money to the highest bidder. Paddy initially flees to the planet Spade-Ace in the Thieves Cluster where he has major surgery to alter his face, voice and fingerprints. While there he joins up with a woman, Fay Bursill, who is an Earth Agent with her own space ship who has been trying to locate Paddy so she could eventually bring the space-drive instructions back to Earth. The two of them then undertake adventures to visit each of the five planets to decipher the instructions, find the hidden space-drive plans and eventually return them to Earth. Although Paddy makes disparaging remarks about Fay's body, appearance and personality, a romance gradually develops between them. In the meantime an intensive and massive hunt is undertaken by others from the five planets and elsewhere to find Paddy and Fay, with immense rewards offered to the person who captures them alive. In the face of such intensive search efforts, Paddy and Fay will have to find a way to slip into each planet without being discovered and arrested. Vance fans will notice some of his signature marks in this novel. There is some world building, for example, although it is rather simple compared to what Vance would do in other novels. We see some of Vance's ideas of how living on different planets changes the inhabitants. When migrants from Earth settle on different planets the gravity, atmosphere, foods and other conditions on the planets modify the physiques, thoughts, behaviors, skills and limitations of the settlers. Then we have a Vancian type main character who is not an idealistic or romanticized hero. Paddy here is more of a lecherous, insulting, self serving, brash, ruffian and thief. There is also a typical Vancean quest or adventure, this time almost resembling a treasure hunt. This is the third time I've read this novel, and I've read everything by Vance that was ever published. To me this very early writing is simply not one of Vance's better novels. The dialog is merely routine, even sparse or choppy at times. The narration sometimes seems patchy and disjointed. Compared to other works by Vance, the writing here is rather flat and grey scale, sometimes more like a draft than a final product. So, although the plot is somewhat interesting with an intriguing background story, and we do see Vancian touches in the work, I wouldn't recommend this novel to most readers unless they are Jack Vance enthusiasts. I liked it somewhat and rate it a Goodreads 3 or "liked it." P.S. In addition to "rapparee," a word I had to look up was "propinquinty." Reading Vane can expand one's vocabulary.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Florin Pitea

    It was OK, but definitely not worth a re-read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    TJ

    This 138 page novel was written in 1949 and first published under the title "The Five Gold Bands" in 1950 in Startling Stories magazine. In 1953 it was reissued with the title "The Space Pirates" and in 2002 it was published under the title "Rapparee." Vance himself preferred the Rapparee title. A rapparee was an Irish gorilla fighter from the 1690s, and our main character once refers to himself as being one. Our main character is the Earther, Paddy Blackthorn, who has gone to the planet Akhabats This 138 page novel was written in 1949 and first published under the title "The Five Gold Bands" in 1950 in Startling Stories magazine. In 1953 it was reissued with the title "The Space Pirates" and in 2002 it was published under the title "Rapparee." Vance himself preferred the Rapparee title. A rapparee was an Irish gorilla fighter from the 1690s, and our main character once refers to himself as being one. Our main character is the Earther, Paddy Blackthorn, who has gone to the planet Akhabats where valuable space-drives are assembled. Paddy is apprehended by Kudthu guards while he is trying to steal some of the rare and costly space-drives. The penalty for this is mandatory death. But when the "Koton Councillor" learns that Paddy is a master of numerous languages, he decides to delay the execution and use Paddy as a translator at an upcoming annual council meeting of the Five Sons of Langtry. As the novel progresses we learn the interesting background story. Many years ago a man named Samuel Langtry from Earth invented the "space-drive" that allows ships to travel at great speeds through space. Instead of turning the secret plans for creating space-drives over to the government or others on Earth, he distributed the information among his five sons. These sons left Earth and settled on five different planets. The descendent heirs of the original Five Sons of Langtry, now twenty generations later, continue to be the only ones who can produce space-drives. Each of the descendent heirs rules his own planet and has part of the instructions for building this drive. Together they have a monopoly on manufacturing space-drives which are essential to trade and commerce. These drives are strictly rationed to Earth inhabitants who do not know how to build them. People from Earth are also considered inferior by the residents of the five planets and are not even allowed to use the same hotels when visiting. The gravity, atmosphere, food and other factors on each planet have lead to adaptations so that the humans on each of the five planets act, think and look dissimilar to Earthers and each other, often strikingly so even though they all are still human and could even interbreed. Some planetary inhabitants are short, squat and very muscular from the greater gravity on their planet. On another planet the humans look like 8 foot tall eagles. These physical and mental changes appear to have happened over twenty generations since our main character meets with the Koton twentieth Son of Langtry. Each of the descendent Five Sons of Langtry wears a gold band with information or clues enclosed in a compartment in the band regarding where each of them has hidden their partial instructions on how to build a space-drive. One of the bands also has a key in it. After Paddy is able to take possession of all five of the gold bands, he tries to decipher the information or riddles included in each band. To locate the actual space-drive plans he will have to visit each of the five planets on a treasure hunt like expedition. Once he has all five sets of space-drive instructions, he hopes to be able to sell them for a vast sum of money to the highest bidder. Paddy initially flees to the planet Spade-Ace in the Thieves Cluster where he has major surgery to alter his face, voice and fingerprints. While there he joins up with a woman, Fay Bursill, who is an Earth Agent with her own space ship who has been trying to locate Paddy so she could eventually bring the space-drive instructions back to Earth. The two of them then undertake adventures to visit each of the five planets to decipher the instructions, find the hidden space-drive plans and eventually return them to Earth. Although Paddy makes disparaging remarks about Fay's body, appearance and personality, a romance gradually develops between them. In the meantime an intensive and massive hunt is undertaken by others from the five planets and elsewhere to find Paddy and Fay, with immense rewards offered to the person who captures them alive. In the face of such intensive search efforts, Paddy and Fay will have to find a way to slip into each planet without being discovered and arrested. Vance fans will notice some of his signature marks in this novel. There is some world building, for example, although it is rather simple compared to what Vance would do in other novels. We see some of Vance's ideas of how living on different planets changes the inhabitants. When migrants from Earth settle on different planets the gravity, atmosphere, foods and other conditions on the planets modify the physiques, thoughts, behaviors, skills and limitations of the settlers. Then we have a Vancian type main character who is not an idealistic or romanticized hero. Paddy here is more of a lecherous, insulting, self serving, brash, ruffian and thief. There is also a typical Vancean quest or adventure, this time almost resembling a treasure hunt. This is the third time I've read this novel, and I've read everything by Vance that was ever published. To me this very early writing is simply not one of Vance's better novels. The dialog is merely routine, even sparse or choppy at times. The narration sometimes seems patchy and disjointed. Compared to other works by Vance, the writing here is rather flat and grey scale, sometimes more like a draft than a final product. So, although the plot is somewhat interesting with an intriguing background story, and we do see Vancian touches in the work, I wouldn't recommend this novel to most readers unless they are Jack Vance enthusiasts. I liked it somewhat and rate it a Goodreads 3 or "liked it." P.S. In addition to "rapparee," a word I had to look up was "propinquinty." Reading Vane can expand one's vocabulary.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    The Rapparee by Jack Vance aka The Five Gold Bands, The Space Pirate The Rapparee is an early, stand alone SF novel by Jack Vance about an Irishman called Paddy Blackthorn who, upon obtaining the five gold bands which hold the secrets to space travelling technology, sets upon a quest to restore Earth's position amongst rival species in the galaxy. The plot, although simple is quite an enjoyable one, and is backed up well by an interesting back story. A scientist from Earth called Langtry invented t The Rapparee by Jack Vance aka The Five Gold Bands, The Space Pirate The Rapparee is an early, stand alone SF novel by Jack Vance about an Irishman called Paddy Blackthorn who, upon obtaining the five gold bands which hold the secrets to space travelling technology, sets upon a quest to restore Earth's position amongst rival species in the galaxy. The plot, although simple is quite an enjoyable one, and is backed up well by an interesting back story. A scientist from Earth called Langtry invented the “space drive” which enabled man to colonise the galaxy. His five sons, known as the Sons of Langtry, each colonised a different planet where they became the evolutionary starting point of five new mutant human races. These five new races have now become dominant over Earth, and they control space drive technology, thus monopolising trade and progress throughout the galaxy. People from Earth are derogatorily known as “Earthers” and have became a second-class species, effectively an evolutionary dead-end, who are no longer privy to the secrets of space drive technology and have no say in how the technology is shared amongst the races and planets. After outwitting the five Sons of Langtry and capturing their gold bands, Paddy Blackthorn goes on a quest to collect the five pieces of information that collectively reveal the secret of space drive technology to restore Earth's position in the galaxy. The two main characters in The Rapparee are Paddy and Fay. Paddy Blackthorn, an Irishman, is a typical Vance character, brash and confidant. Whereas Fay Bursill provides the romantic hook to the story, an Earther agent who is determined to help Paddy for the good of her home planet. The prose throughout The Rapparee is, by Vance's high standards, quite plain and ordinary for the most part. Similarly, the dialogue between characters, barring a few exceptions, is not quite playful or delightfully obscene like his other works. This is strange considering that this story was first published in the same year as The Dying Earth. The following quote is one of these exceptions, and has Vance describing Paddy's affections towards Fay in only the way he can: Paddy waited like a spent swimmer. Zhri Khainga watched him carefully for a moment, then said, "You have a projective identification with this woman?" Paddy blinked. "Eh, now? What are you saying?" "You 'love' this woman?" One of Jack Vance's finest skills is his ability to paint exotic worlds and alien cultures and, unlike other aspects of his writing in The Rapparee, this is something that it very much present in full force here. A personal favourite was the idea of the Thieves Cluster, an area of space where authorities are too scared to venture, an area which is the only safe haven in the galaxy for criminals. Besides this, each of the Langtry planets was interesting and varied enough to hold the readers attention but perhaps lacked the depth of background information that we are spoilt with in The Demon Princes books. Overall, The Rapparee is a short and enjoyable story which on one hand showed glimpses of Jack Vance's unique style that he was to go on and develop, whilst at the same time also struggled to break away and find its own voice from other 1950's SF literature of the time. This is not a book for readers new to Jack Vance, but it is certainly an enjoyable read to those already well acquainted with his works.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Conor

    The book was a little sexist (which reflected the 1950 publication date) but it was also entertaining and funny. I think it had enough action and scenery to make it a more enjoyable movie than a book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Irascible rogue Paddy Blackthorn, Irish Earther, has the misfortune of being caught when he breaks into an alien facility to steal valuable space-drives. See, the powerful races of the universe have banded together in an act of self-interest, and limit the distribution of space-drives (e.g., FTL spaceship engines)… preventing small, worthless planets such as Earth from gaining access to too many space-drives. For his attempted theft, Paddy is sentenced to death but, at the last minute, is discov Irascible rogue Paddy Blackthorn, Irish Earther, has the misfortune of being caught when he breaks into an alien facility to steal valuable space-drives. See, the powerful races of the universe have banded together in an act of self-interest, and limit the distribution of space-drives (e.g., FTL spaceship engines)… preventing small, worthless planets such as Earth from gaining access to too many space-drives. For his attempted theft, Paddy is sentenced to death but, at the last minute, is discovered to be multi-lingual. Instead of immediate execution, he’s shipped off to translate for the Five Sons of Langtry, leaders of the alien nations and descendants of the space-drive’s creator. Paddy manages to get out of this predicament from dumb luck and quick thinking, and makes off with the golden circlets the Five Sons wear around their arms—each one with a clue, a puzzle hinting at the blueprints to construct space-drives. And with that secret worth potential billions to the Earth Government, Paddy realizes what he’s going to do next. As he evades the authorities, and teams up with an attractive woman secret agent working on behalf of Earth, Paddy criss-crosses the galaxy to track down the formula of the space-drives. All told, a rather unexceptional read… very early in Vance's career, it's got the right elements, but misuses them in its haste. I did like reading a work from Vance’s early years, and I don’t have anything to complain about other than its shallowness and brevity. It’s not without merit, but it’s also without greatness — and lacked that distinctive spark that characterizes Jack Vance's best novels. Five Gold Bands is a short and entertaining book, but falls into mindless action novel territory, and nothing new or exciting happens within it. Recommended for Vance fans and completists only, because there are dozens of better Vance novels out there for the fair-weather reader to seek out. Full review found here.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Craig Herbertson

    The Irish adventurer or robber depending on your moral viewpoint, Paddy Blackthorn, is caught as he attempts to steal an interstellar space drive and is sentenced to death by the ruling council of mutant humans. These mutants, five species, are all descended from the sons of the original adventurer who accidentally discovered the space drive. Their descendants mutated under the influence of their new planetary conditions and after a bit came to despise earth men. The five councilors each have a r The Irish adventurer or robber depending on your moral viewpoint, Paddy Blackthorn, is caught as he attempts to steal an interstellar space drive and is sentenced to death by the ruling council of mutant humans. These mutants, five species, are all descended from the sons of the original adventurer who accidentally discovered the space drive. Their descendants mutated under the influence of their new planetary conditions and after a bit came to despise earth men. The five councilors each have a ring; effectively separate clues to the drive to preserve its secret from everyone else. The rings are hidden in five secret locations. Paddy, with the help of the beautiful but scrawny human secret agent, Fay Bursill, attempts to find them. Published in the fifties, it's brilliantly written for the time. Paddy seems a bit over American Irish but beyond that its a great read - a bit like a Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel rat for grown ups.

  11. 5 out of 5

    F. Stephan

    Maybe not the best of Vance. I read it as a kid and have kept a foundness for this book. There is a sense of freedom in it, of exploration of many worlds. There can be a lot of critics of the structure and the book itself and many in this site are true. But, it remains a cool fun read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    B.P. Buckley

    A mid-century space opera, in which protagonist Paddy Blackthorn finds himself in possession of the titular quintet, the five bracelets which offer clues to the whereabouts of the greatest secret of Paddy’s age, faster-than-light space travel. In order to gain this knowledge for the human race, Paddy will need the help of Earth Agency’s young agent, Fay Bursill. The book is fast-paced, complete with the captures of the heroes, daring escapes, and ironic reversals of fortune that were de rigueur A mid-century space opera, in which protagonist Paddy Blackthorn finds himself in possession of the titular quintet, the five bracelets which offer clues to the whereabouts of the greatest secret of Paddy’s age, faster-than-light space travel. In order to gain this knowledge for the human race, Paddy will need the help of Earth Agency’s young agent, Fay Bursill. The book is fast-paced, complete with the captures of the heroes, daring escapes, and ironic reversals of fortune that were de rigueur for the pulp era. The Five Gold Bands is a rollicking adventure, even if it only occasionally rises above cliché. The book is from the early phase of Jack Vance’s career, and it shows. The hero and heroine are two-dimensional enough that they might as well be named “Wily Irish Rogue” and “Secret Agent Chick.” And there are elements of the book that have not aged well, e.g., I’m not sure that there’s that much “faith and begorra”-type talk in Ireland now, and there will probably be even less of it in the 27th century (or whenever this yarn is supposed to be taking place.) Even Vance’s extensive vocabulary is barely in evidence, although I will admit that I had to look up the word “rapparee.” I found the Five Gold Bands to be a breezy, fun read, with a few cool settings (e.g., the Thieves’ Cluster, an eight-star system with 100k satellites, where the laws of sentient beings do not reach.) Nevertheless, the book never achieves the level of surprise or inventiveness found in Vance’s later work. I doubt that anyone besides a hard-core Vance fan is going to want to read this book more than once.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tom Britz

    The Five Gold Bands, AKA The Space Pirate is Jack Vance's first novel and it shows much of his promise as a future Grand Master of science fiction. This is a simple adventure story, the secrets of the space drive were stolen generations ago and kept by five families, each with a home on five separate planets in the known universe. Along comes Paddy Blackthorn as he tries to steal some of the information. A miscalculation and he is captured and taken to a secret meeting of the five families. Ther The Five Gold Bands, AKA The Space Pirate is Jack Vance's first novel and it shows much of his promise as a future Grand Master of science fiction. This is a simple adventure story, the secrets of the space drive were stolen generations ago and kept by five families, each with a home on five separate planets in the known universe. Along comes Paddy Blackthorn as he tries to steal some of the information. A miscalculation and he is captured and taken to a secret meeting of the five families. There he manages to escape and incidentally kills all the patriarchs of the five, from whom he acquires five wrist bands of gold each of which holds a clue the where the secrets are kept on each of the five planets. From there the novel takes us on a trip around the galaxy as Paddy seeks to stay one step ahead of the galaxy wide search for him. He meets and forms an alliance with an Earth Agent, Fay Bursill and they go about attempting to recover the secrets. This novel shows Jack Vance's humor and skill with description, for which he is justly famous for. Early Vance is still better than many other writers in their prime. A good rollicking read, enjoy it, I did.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thierry Massihians

    I disagree with most of the reviews posted about this book, mostly because it's unfairly compared to later Vance's masterpieces. Yes, The Five Gold Bands is full of stereotypes, yes there is a cheesy romance included, but the pace is fast and fun, and the action is worth anything from a Mission Impossible movie. It's short enough to be read in one sitting and is far better than wasting time watching a bad SF movie such as Hollywood is usually plagued with (with some exceptions of course). So, sit I disagree with most of the reviews posted about this book, mostly because it's unfairly compared to later Vance's masterpieces. Yes, The Five Gold Bands is full of stereotypes, yes there is a cheesy romance included, but the pace is fast and fun, and the action is worth anything from a Mission Impossible movie. It's short enough to be read in one sitting and is far better than wasting time watching a bad SF movie such as Hollywood is usually plagued with (with some exceptions of course). So, sit down, take a deep breath, and dive into The Five Gold Bands. A seriously underrated little gem.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mieke Van Immerseel

    I simply love JackVance, he has to be one of my favourite writers. If you are into Sci-Fi i wholeheartedly recommend any book of his. This book was funny and interesting to read, but frankly, the ending was a bit dissatisfying. After reading about all of the adventures Paddy and Fey went on, I expected them to do something with it, but yeah, they didn't. But all of the adventures in the mean time were cool and i like paddy blackthorn's character, that slut, with his women of Meave with their leg I simply love JackVance, he has to be one of my favourite writers. If you are into Sci-Fi i wholeheartedly recommend any book of his. This book was funny and interesting to read, but frankly, the ending was a bit dissatisfying. After reading about all of the adventures Paddy and Fey went on, I expected them to do something with it, but yeah, they didn't. But all of the adventures in the mean time were cool and i like paddy blackthorn's character, that slut, with his women of Meave with their legs and behinds

  16. 4 out of 5

    Federico Kereki

    A quick read! More like a juvenile book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeroen Van de Crommenacker

    It's one of those classic Jack Vance novels that I like to read. Not one of the most memorable though. It's one of those classic Jack Vance novels that I like to read. Not one of the most memorable though.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Reese

    A weak example of Vance’s early work, only if interest to devoted fans or people exploring his full catalogue. The writing is significantly poorer then his later works.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Orangereader

    Skipping.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rick English

    Turns out i had read this one under a different name "The five gold bands" Turns out i had read this one under a different name "The five gold bands"

  21. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    As someone else here said, even Jack Vance had to pay the bills. This story is nothing special. However, it's a testament to Vance as an author that he can make a banal story pretty readable and achieve a decent level of world building in such a short book. The cluster of Outlaw planets was interesting and I'd have liked to have seen them expanded on. Humanity diverging into various different sub species based on their planets environment is pretty cool, but I found it a little unbelievable to h As someone else here said, even Jack Vance had to pay the bills. This story is nothing special. However, it's a testament to Vance as an author that he can make a banal story pretty readable and achieve a decent level of world building in such a short book. The cluster of Outlaw planets was interesting and I'd have liked to have seen them expanded on. Humanity diverging into various different sub species based on their planets environment is pretty cool, but I found it a little unbelievable to have such radical changes in biology with a couple of generations (it's implied all are natural evolution without any genetic engineering). A quick easy read to while away a few hours. Can easily be read within a day or plane journey.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kiro Selanor

    I love Jack Vance. His "Lyonesse" trilogy is on my all-time favorites list. I've read a few other things which I also liked very much. So when this book turned up for a measly charge, I bought it. Turns out I shouldn't have bothered. This is a very early book (1950), and its quality is poor. The style is painfully old-fashioned, the plot forced, and characterization sorely lacking. And I can tell all this despite the fact that after the first 50 pages I just skimmed it until the end. I love Jack Vance. His "Lyonesse" trilogy is on my all-time favorites list. I've read a few other things which I also liked very much. So when this book turned up for a measly charge, I bought it. Turns out I shouldn't have bothered. This is a very early book (1950), and its quality is poor. The style is painfully old-fashioned, the plot forced, and characterization sorely lacking. And I can tell all this despite the fact that after the first 50 pages I just skimmed it until the end.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rog Harrison

    "This is one of Jack Vance's earlier books where he was still developing his style and really is only OK. Well worth a read if you are a fan but certainly not the place to start if you are not. This is not to say that Jack Vance's earlier books are worse than his later books because in the fantasy field "The dying earth" was written around the same time and is a classic. I have read "Five gold bands" probably five or six times over the years and while it is full of good ideas most of them are no "This is one of Jack Vance's earlier books where he was still developing his style and really is only OK. Well worth a read if you are a fan but certainly not the place to start if you are not. This is not to say that Jack Vance's earlier books are worse than his later books because in the fantasy field "The dying earth" was written around the same time and is a classic. I have read "Five gold bands" probably five or six times over the years and while it is full of good ideas most of them are not developed and the story is rushed and probably should have been longer." was what I wrote on 8 October 2012 when I gave it two stars. Maybe I am getting mellow in my old age but I enjoyed reading this again. It's a light hearted book with a lot of humour The protagonist is a smooth talking Irish man and is in the "lovable rogue" category so the story is not meant to be taken seriously though there is some social comment and satire. Taken on its own terms I think it deserves three stars.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    This is from 1950 and it shows. I suspect Vance wrote this in a weekend. Roguish hero is standard 1950. He appears not to be omnicapable in the Doc Smith style, bit in several cases he states that he can't do something then throws levers at random and does it anyway. Of course the female lead falls for him. Of course he casually slaughters anything that gets in his way - millions of them in one case - but of course it doesn't count because they're Not Like Us. I don't doubt for a moment that Van This is from 1950 and it shows. I suspect Vance wrote this in a weekend. Roguish hero is standard 1950. He appears not to be omnicapable in the Doc Smith style, bit in several cases he states that he can't do something then throws levers at random and does it anyway. Of course the female lead falls for him. Of course he casually slaughters anything that gets in his way - millions of them in one case - but of course it doesn't count because they're Not Like Us. I don't doubt for a moment that Vance wrote an outline, perhaps "grand chase, five settings" then made it up as he went along. And of course zipping between star systems is easier in this book than going to Walmart is in today's world. But that wasn't unusual then. Read this fast, skimming if necessary. It will give you a better understanding of 50s SF. But don't judge Vance by this. Some of his later works are MUCH better.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Breyen Hyphen

    A very interesting read. Doesn't hold up as sci-fi because it was written in 1950 and don't even think it was meant to be taken seriously back then... but there's a lot of pulp influence in other works ("Star Wars" anyone? There's a city named "Corescens" and a rogue scoundrel flying around the galaxy with a beautiful smart woman by his side... "Guardians Of The Galaxy" the opening theft scene is eerily similar!!)... and though the plot is silly and hard to follow, there are some nice ideas and A very interesting read. Doesn't hold up as sci-fi because it was written in 1950 and don't even think it was meant to be taken seriously back then... but there's a lot of pulp influence in other works ("Star Wars" anyone? There's a city named "Corescens" and a rogue scoundrel flying around the galaxy with a beautiful smart woman by his side... "Guardians Of The Galaxy" the opening theft scene is eerily similar!!)... and though the plot is silly and hard to follow, there are some nice ideas and Vance is a pretty good writer... there's enough good vocablulary even to make you smart and it doesn't come in stilted or cudgeled in like in some other sci-fi that tries way too hard to be all intelligent. It's short, and it's fun, and I'd read another Jack Vance book, sure.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    It's an early work and it shows. The components are all there, of course: a dashing, slightly self-delusional rogue of a hero; a picaresque treasure hunt quest; a series of weird societies and human variants that have evolved away from core humanity. But in this case the result lacks the usual polish and flair. The language is relatively flat and there's little reveling in the oddness of the planets visited. It's an early work and it shows. The components are all there, of course: a dashing, slightly self-delusional rogue of a hero; a picaresque treasure hunt quest; a series of weird societies and human variants that have evolved away from core humanity. But in this case the result lacks the usual polish and flair. The language is relatively flat and there's little reveling in the oddness of the planets visited.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pierre Armel

    I have just finished this book and have mixed feelings about it. For sure, it is a very early Jack Vance book, far from the sophisticated and colorful later sagas, but nonetheless it lacks the sense of wonder Vance usually creates in his works. Humor and a couple of good scenes save the book though.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pedro

    Your typical golden age space opera. Nothing special. I do love the way Jack Vance describes strange worlds, nevertheless this is far from his best work. The plot is predictable, but fun. Not to mention old science fiction is really cheap. I got this one for a dollar.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle

    Lazy Jack Vance is still good, but it's nothing to write home about. Lazy Jack Vance is still good, but it's nothing to write home about.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rhialto

    This book (or maybe just one story from it?) is also known as The Rapparee (in the Vance Integral Edition).

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