The beloved science fiction pioneer has died, Locus Magazine says:

SF Grand Master Jack Vance, 96, died May 26, 2013 in Oakland CA. Vance was one of the most influential SF authors of the postwar period, and his visionary imagination and sophisticated, often playful use of language inspired countless SF writers, including Avram Davidson, Harlan Ellison, Matthew Hughes, George R.R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, and Gene Wolfe. His landmark Dying Earth sequence, set in the far future, began with collection The Dying Earth (1950) and continued with novel The Eyes of the Overworld (1966), Cugel’s Saga (1983), Rhialto the Marvelous (1984), and several related stories. Vance redefined the nature of planetary romance with his Big Planet (1952), and continued exploring that universe in sequel Showboat World (1975).

I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read very much Vance—a couple novellas, I think, and Dying Earth—but I've read dozens of books that wouldn't have existed without Vance pointing the way. For more Vance, check out this Mercury review of The Dying Earth from the archives.

(Via Sarah Weinman.)