Excerpts from the interview:

‘‘I’ve always let my writing speak for itself. I’m not going to go around bragging about anything. If anyone likes the stuff, they’ll find out, and if they don’t like it, they won’t. Apparently I’ve got a pretty good reputation.

‘‘I don’t read any science fiction or fantasy anymore. It leaves me cold. I just read non-fiction and history and detective stories, once in a while a western story. I’ve not read science fiction or fantasy for recreation since I was a kid. I used to subscribe to Weird Tales. I remember running out to the mail box – I had to run a quarter mile to get to it, we lived out in the country – to grab Weird Tales, and taking it back.

‘‘I wrote to make money, not for any other purpose. I just wrote the stuff because I was pretty good at it, and I wrote as fast as I could. I don’t glorify my writing at all. For some reason I have the knack. I can’t take any credit for it, any more than you can take credit for being a beautiful girl.”

‘‘I remember one time Fred Pohl and I were at some kind of convention up in Reno. I went up to him and said, ‘Hey there, Fred!’ He looked at me and said, ‘Who are you?’ and I got mad and said, ‘Go to hell, I’m not going to tell you.’ I walked away from him and was standing on the stairs there, and 15 minutes later he walked up and said, ‘Jack Vance, you son of a bitch, you.’ He was editor of Galaxy at the time. My agent sold him a story, but he’d sold it to someone else first as well, so he got Galaxy’s money and the other guy’s money too. Fred Pohl couldn’t publish the story. He called me and was mad at me. I was in Tahiti at the time. He said, ‘Give me that money back!’ So I wrote him one called ‘The Last Castle’ instead, which he was happy for.”

‘‘Come to think of it, I do like most of my books. I did so much of my writing while travelling. My wife Norma would type for me. Poor Norma. She worked harder than I did. She was such a wonderful lady. I miss the hell out of her. Here’s how we met. I was working. I looked over the fence and there was this girl on a porch, playing with a kitten. She was petting it and being nice to it. I looked over and I thought, ‘She’s being nice to the cat. I wonder if she’d be nice to me?’ So I asked her for a glass of water. She ran into the house, came out and gave me a glass of water, I got to talking to her, and a while later we were married. She was a sophomore at Cal, the University of California, at the time.

‘‘I never was a good-looking guy. You can see my picture; I’m pretty ordinary looking. The girls never chased me much, but they never chased me away. Do you think I look my age now? I hate to tell you how old I am. I don’t feel my age. Obviously I don’t act like it.”

‘‘I’m recording some music with my friend Kevin Boudreau. We call ourselves the Go For Broke Jazz Band. I’m going to sell CDs as well as e-books on my website, . I play harmonica, ukelele, and jug, and do vocals and play kazoo, and Kevin plays string bass and the washboard. Do you think anybody’s interested in buying Jack Vance music?

‘‘We used to have jam sessions around here all the time. I used to play professionally at two or three different places. If I was any good at playing cornet I wouldn’t be bashful about letting you know, but if I’m honest, I’m just barely able to play it.

‘‘My mother played piano. These people used to come stay with us, and one time they brought up this guy George Gould. He was a wonderful jazz musician, and had a wonderful orchestra in San Francisco. When I was nine years old I heard jazz music for the first time, and it’s haunted me all my life. Jazz puts dopamine in your brain. There are other things that send dopamine into your brain, including sex. I think if you’ve had a lot of fun in your life, it changes your brain. I’m serious about this. I think if you did some research, you’d discover that if you have a lot of fun, it keeps you young. That’s a theory of mine and I don’t see any reason not to believe it’s true. Have as much fun as you can with your life. You see people going around that have bad things happen to them all their lives, and they are just dreary, and they die early.”