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The Moon Moth (Graphic Novel)

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A classic science fiction tale finds new life in this graphic novel adaptation. A fascinating blend of murder mystery and high-concept science fiction, The Moon Moth has long been hailed as one of Jack Vance’s greatest works. And now this intricately crafted tale is available in glorious full color as a new graphic novel. Edwer Thissell, the new consul from Earth to the pl A classic science fiction tale finds new life in this graphic novel adaptation. A fascinating blend of murder mystery and high-concept science fiction, The Moon Moth has long been hailed as one of Jack Vance’s greatest works. And now this intricately crafted tale is available in glorious full color as a new graphic novel. Edwer Thissell, the new consul from Earth to the planet Sirene, is having all kinds of trouble adjusting to the local culture. The Sirenese cover their faces with exquisitely crafted masks that indicate their social status. Thissell, a bumbling foreigner, wears a mask of very low status: the Moon Moth. Shortly after Thissell arrives on Sirene, he finds himself embroiled in a an unsolved murder case made all the more mysterious by the fact that since everyone must always wear a mask, you can never be sure who you’re dealing with.


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A classic science fiction tale finds new life in this graphic novel adaptation. A fascinating blend of murder mystery and high-concept science fiction, The Moon Moth has long been hailed as one of Jack Vance’s greatest works. And now this intricately crafted tale is available in glorious full color as a new graphic novel. Edwer Thissell, the new consul from Earth to the pl A classic science fiction tale finds new life in this graphic novel adaptation. A fascinating blend of murder mystery and high-concept science fiction, The Moon Moth has long been hailed as one of Jack Vance’s greatest works. And now this intricately crafted tale is available in glorious full color as a new graphic novel. Edwer Thissell, the new consul from Earth to the planet Sirene, is having all kinds of trouble adjusting to the local culture. The Sirenese cover their faces with exquisitely crafted masks that indicate their social status. Thissell, a bumbling foreigner, wears a mask of very low status: the Moon Moth. Shortly after Thissell arrives on Sirene, he finds himself embroiled in a an unsolved murder case made all the more mysterious by the fact that since everyone must always wear a mask, you can never be sure who you’re dealing with.

30 review for The Moon Moth (Graphic Novel)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Seth T.

    [On Sirene, everyone who's anyone drives their own Noah's ark (minus the two-by-twos of course)] Generally, the purpose of setting a story in a science fiction world meanders down one of two lanes. On the one hand, an author may hope to introduce in the reader's mind a critique of contemporary society, culture, or history by forcing a comparison of analogy. A Brave New World, 1984, Gattaca, Solaris, even Alien—these are stories whose goals are above and beyond the simple entertainment of the reade [On Sirene, everyone who's anyone drives their own Noah's ark (minus the two-by-twos of course)] Generally, the purpose of setting a story in a science fiction world meanders down one of two lanes. On the one hand, an author may hope to introduce in the reader's mind a critique of contemporary society, culture, or history by forcing a comparison of analogy. A Brave New World, 1984, Gattaca, Solaris, even Alien—these are stories whose goals are above and beyond the simple entertainment of the reader. These follow in the grand science-fiction tradition of giving readers easy tools with which to evaluate the current world-state by stripping the contemporary situation of its context. It's a time-honoured and noble pursuit. The other option, less praise-worthy perhaps, is the simple use of science-fiction elements to decorate well-worn stories and make them seem fresh or exciting. Star Wars, Predator, Treasure Planet, E.T., Aliens, or Back to the Future—there's nothing wrong with these stories in principle. They're fun and adventurous and make for an invigourating experience; but they're not exactly stories that couldn't exist successfully in non-science-fiction terms. I have not read the works of Jack Vance—this Moon Moth adaptation is my introduction—but I hope his other works slide so neatly from these alternating taxonomies as well as The Moon Moth does. This isn't a work by which we examine our present culture's social ills; neither is it predictive, extrapolating out from some forseeable future. And it doesn't even so much dance a thrilling adventure epic to save the world from the A.I. threat or span galaxies to watch the combat of empires unfold. It probably wouldn't make a great film (though a great film might be set in these fascinating climes). Instead, The Moon Moth seems more a development of possibilities solely for the sake of deducing the directions they might take a people. The particular investigation at stake here is the quality and means of social communication if a civilization were to develop along a different, perhaps more elegant, vector. On Sirene, the world central to The Moon Moth, conversation is blatantly far from equitable. All discussion is embellished, pronounced, and finally given meaning through the use of instruments. Each instrument has a particular purpose, a goal through which status and intent is communicated. One instrument may convey wrath to a lesser member of the social hierarchy, while another when properly used may convey polite obsequience to a person of superior standing. Only the slave caste sings conversations unaccompanied by instrumentation, and that is a bare mark of their low station. Further complicating matters each citizen wears a mask, the make of which further codifies social station and directs which instruments should be played in conversation with each other citizen. All interactions on Sirene are conducted according to the concept of personal honour. There is no currency beyond one's personal honour—or more properly, what personal honour one may convince others he possesses. A citizen may wear a grand mask if he has the honour to pull it off. A citizen may take goods of the finest craftsmanship if he has the honour that would allow him to do so. On Sirene fortune favours not merely the bold however, for overstepping one's honour may lead to a speedy decapitation. Foreigners, then, are at a distinct disadvantage on this world, and being an offworlder ambassador would be a trial of great magnitude for even the most quick-witted diplomat. The Moon Moth is constructed as a sort of thriller, engaging a not-so-quick-witted ambassador as he tries to unearth a murderer whose face he cannot know—after all, on Sirene we all wear masks and may change our masks at will so long as we can keep up with the demands of the masquerade. While there is some excitement over protagonist Ser Thissel's dilemma as he tries to detect a man who may be undetectable, the plot is not the book's central joy. This is good because that avenue is rather thin and even as the narrative turns to its final twist, we recognize that the story may have only ever been an excuse for us to engage Vance's strange, intricate world. I was fine with the story, but Ser Thissel (nearly incompetent for much of the book) and reaching the climax were never my motivations for remaining in The Moon Moth's grip. Vance and his adapter, Humayoun Ibrahim, have crafted a world that I've returned to over and again in thought over the several weeks since reading The Moon Moth. Not only is Vance's world fascinating, but Ibrahim's visual translation of the instrumental idea leaves me wondering how the story could have ever succeeded in bare prose. While I generally found Ibrahim's figure-drawing a weakness, the manner by which he effortlessly demonstrates both the instrument being used and the technical proficiency with which it is being played is so winning that I can hardly imagine the story in any other form. Comparing Ser Thissel's lurching melodic incompetence with the natural musicianship of Sirene's natives is caught by readers at a glance and the story's purposes are never hindered for lack of craftsmanship on this score. [In case you missed it, he's playing a violin with a sword. Badass!] There are some bumps to the road, however, the chief of which is the natural difficulty in translating a foreign language for readers in such a way as to make the text flow effortlessly. Because The Moon Moth is chiefly concerned with the exploration of a music/status based language, converting that simply to wholly verbal expression would be inadequate. There is some learning curve demanded of readers and Ibrahim does what he can to help by providing at the book's frontmatter a visual glossary of several instruments, the sounds they make, and the social implications of using each instrument. For the first few exchanges readers will doubtlessly be turning back to this glossary as an aid to understanding. Due this break in the reading rhythm, one's first experience of the text may feel staggered and a bit too staccato. I felt some of this myself but found a second reading to be far less punctuated and discovered a rhythmic sense that I missed on my first read-through. [This is basically like the inside cover of Vietnamerica that you keep flipping back to so you can tell who's who throughout the story] I'd be tempted to understand that kind of difficulty in the reading experience as a knock against the work, but in The Moon Moth's case I think the complexity of the idea merits the work it requires of the reader. As I said above, I've come back again and again over the intervening weeks to the concepts Vance and his interlocutor present in this small book. It's such a fascinating excursion into what makes a language and how language can direct a people that I can't help but enjoy it, despite any initial reservations I may have held. Ibrahim presents a colourful, intricate world—one only partially of his own making, but one worth our time nonetheless. ___________________________ [Review courtesy of Good Ok Bad]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jared Millet

    Vance's "The Moon Moth" was an interesting choice for a graphic novel adaptation. The story hinges on concepts that lend themselves to the graphical format, such as the masks that all the characters wear, and ideas that don't - namely the music that permeates all Sirenese conversation. That Ibrahim managed to pull the latter trick off is no small feat. His art style leans more toward Spiegelman or McCloud than that of mainstream comics, which is appropriate for a story heavy on personal interact Vance's "The Moon Moth" was an interesting choice for a graphic novel adaptation. The story hinges on concepts that lend themselves to the graphical format, such as the masks that all the characters wear, and ideas that don't - namely the music that permeates all Sirenese conversation. That Ibrahim managed to pull the latter trick off is no small feat. His art style leans more toward Spiegelman or McCloud than that of mainstream comics, which is appropriate for a story heavy on personal interaction and light on action scenes. The only thing you lose in such a translation are the sweeping alien vistas you'd expect on a waterworld where everyone lives on houseboats and traveling cities. "The Moon Moth" does succeed in capturing the flavor of a Vance story, if not the language itself. This edition begins with a reprint of a long tribute piece to Vance that was originally published elsewhere. If you're not already a Vance devotee, skip it and just read the story, then come back to it at the end. Then track down the original story the book is based on and read that too.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    This is a graphic adaptation of Jack Vance's classic story. It's not a really bad version, but didn't work for me. Vance's strength was the richness of his language and phrasing, which by nature doesn't translate well to the condensation of this format. Too, I thought the art didn't really stand up to the story; his detailed descriptions of artistic masks and carvings didn't come through at all, and the musical theme was entirely lost. I liked the idea, but not the execution... I suspect the cho This is a graphic adaptation of Jack Vance's classic story. It's not a really bad version, but didn't work for me. Vance's strength was the richness of his language and phrasing, which by nature doesn't translate well to the condensation of this format. Too, I thought the art didn't really stand up to the story; his detailed descriptions of artistic masks and carvings didn't come through at all, and the musical theme was entirely lost. I liked the idea, but not the execution... I suspect the choice of story had more to do with my opinion that anything else.

  4. 5 out of 5

    First Second Books

    I initially read Jack Vance's short story 'The Moon Moth' when I was in high school; in talking to our editorial director about books we had read in childhood, it was great to find that he also remembered this story vividly. Jack Vance is a spectacular world-builder; we're so pleased to be able to publish this book and give readers another way to come to his work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Raina

    Vance is one brainy guy. The language and concepts here are amazing. Basically, it's a space future, and there's this planet where everyone wears masks, 24/7. Masks denote status and there are strict, potentially lethal consequences of getting the etiquette wrong. As if that wasn't enough, all speech on this world is accompanied by instrumental music, played by the speaker on hand instruments carried around on everyone's belts. Add to all this a government agent trying to catch a fugitive withou Vance is one brainy guy. The language and concepts here are amazing. Basically, it's a space future, and there's this planet where everyone wears masks, 24/7. Masks denote status and there are strict, potentially lethal consequences of getting the etiquette wrong. As if that wasn't enough, all speech on this world is accompanied by instrumental music, played by the speaker on hand instruments carried around on everyone's belts. Add to all this a government agent trying to catch a fugitive without being able to see the faces of anyone around him. Crazy crazy complex. This was originally a short story published serially in the 60s. The illustrations of this graphic adaptation have a nonwestern quality to them. The masks the characters wear look like they're from ancient south american or southeast asian mythology. Before the body of the story, the volume includes an essay on Vance and his significance originally run in the New York Times Magazine. While I admire the sophistication of this, I can't say that I was ever sucked into the story. It's a bit too cerebral for that. A bit too unfamiliar. It has qualities similar to The Arrival by Shaun Tan. What a great way to get a taste of Vance's work, though.

  6. 5 out of 5

    jenni

    an illustrated adventure in cultural incompetency

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What can I say about Jack Vance? Not a thing. The forward to this graphic novel by Carlo Rotella entitled “The Genre Artist” (originally published in Time magazine in 2009) extols the virtues of a Jack Vance story because of his way of creating an occasion and opulent speech in what some might consider just lowly genre fiction. I could not attest to any of this having never read a Jack Vance novel. Then out of the blue comes “The Moon Moth” a graphic novel adaptation “Based on the Classic Short What can I say about Jack Vance? Not a thing. The forward to this graphic novel by Carlo Rotella entitled “The Genre Artist” (originally published in Time magazine in 2009) extols the virtues of a Jack Vance story because of his way of creating an occasion and opulent speech in what some might consider just lowly genre fiction. I could not attest to any of this having never read a Jack Vance novel. Then out of the blue comes “The Moon Moth” a graphic novel adaptation “Based on the Classic Short Story,” and I begin to believe that their might be something to the praise heaped upon him. In this story, Edwer Thissell has been assigned to be the new consular representative to the planet Sirene. Sirene is a place where everyone wears masks and everyone converses by singing with the accompaniment of various instruments. Every mask and every instrument used signify something about the user’s status in relation to others and it is with status, also known as Strakh that one gets what they need. Thissell threw himself into studying and preparation for his new post, but such endeavors did not truly prepare him for the odd customs and quick, harsh justice for missteps in custom. In addition to having to awkwardly stumble through the customs of this new planet he has received orders to apprehend an assassin who has made his way back to Sirene. This man is an Out-Worlder like Thissell, but in a world of masks he is going to be hard to find. Based on the story premise and the dialogue I certainly now believe that Jack Vance is an unheralded master of words that transcend the sci-fi and mystery genre in which he writes. Just the idea of such a planet with such customs and the dialogue he creates for it speaks to a very imaginative and exacting mind. What I still cannot speak to is Vance’s ability to set a scene. In this adaptation I am only getting Ibrahim’s take on Vance’s world. In that I am quite disappointed. What this story really requires in a graphic novel is greater detail and a more refined color palette. Just one example of why I say that is found on page 19 and 20. Thissell is preparing for life on Sirene and the computer is telling him about the planets ways; it educates him of their occupation with intricacy; their intricate craftsmanship, symbolism, language, and interpersonal relationships. On page 19 it refers to the intricately carved panels of the houseboats and the intricate symbolism of the masks they wear. These two items are visual in nature and therefore, visually, should be intricately rendered; however I did not find this to be the case. I appreciate simplicity in some graphic novels, but this story begged for more detail. If nothing else, this graphic novel adaptation has moved me to want to read the original short story. And, maybe I missed it, but why hasn’t anyone made this into a movie?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

    [disclosure: I won this in a Goodreads First Reads Contest] So that's how you write a mystery short story! Actually, I still don't know (well, from this book anyway. I have other examples if I decide to read them). And that's the only real problem with this adaptation. Too many of the clues are glossed over in a couple of panels. The musical instruments used with dialogue (a cool SF trick that added lots of flavor to the tale and worked really well in the graphic novel format) were not all include [disclosure: I won this in a Goodreads First Reads Contest] So that's how you write a mystery short story! Actually, I still don't know (well, from this book anyway. I have other examples if I decide to read them). And that's the only real problem with this adaptation. Too many of the clues are glossed over in a couple of panels. The musical instruments used with dialogue (a cool SF trick that added lots of flavor to the tale and worked really well in the graphic novel format) were not all included in the front page, or at least the variations used were unclear. All in all, this was a neat story with a cool world idea (no money, just your prestige denoted by your mask, your deeds and the instruments used to talk with) retold with wonderful drawings. I do feel (like a few other reviewers have said) that quite a bit was cut out of the story to make it fit. Actually, let me amend that. I feel Humayoun Ibrahim, in choosing his panels, thought he was telling a lot more of the story through the art than he really was. There were quite a few details that were lost on me, as someone who has not read Jack Vance. And no, the 12 page "sing the praises of Vance" essay that introduces this graphic adaptation didn't really get me interested in reading his stuff. I might pick up a book somewhere at sometime, but I'm not rushing out anytime soon. "The Moon Moth" was an interesting short ... but if I want awesome SF that is written with a literate bent, I'll just read Samuel R. Delany.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jake Swanney

    Summary of The Moon Moth: The new consul for Earth, Edwer Thissel, gos to the planet Sirene and has difficulty adapting to the culture there. It is class based, where diffrent classes have diffrent masks they have to wear, and diffrent instruments they used to communicate with. Edwer then learns of an assassin that has landed on Sirene, but he is unable to find out who it is due to the masks. He manages to find the assassin, but the assassin unmasks Edwer. Edwer turns it around to his advantage Summary of The Moon Moth: The new consul for Earth, Edwer Thissel, gos to the planet Sirene and has difficulty adapting to the culture there. It is class based, where diffrent classes have diffrent masks they have to wear, and diffrent instruments they used to communicate with. Edwer then learns of an assassin that has landed on Sirene, but he is unable to find out who it is due to the masks. He manages to find the assassin, but the assassin unmasks Edwer. Edwer turns it around to his advantage, and the assassin is killed by the natives. Picture address: http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compr... The style of art in this book is an intresting choice, but Vance makes it work. It is full color, and there are multiple instances where the jsound coming from the insstrumnets is represents as colors an shapes. I personally enjoyed this graphic novel, however I feel like there were places where the plot simply advanced too fast. At some point it was easy to lose track of what was happening at a particular scene, causing me to have to reread the previous page or two for context. The main character, Edwer, changes immensly throughout this comic. At the bginning he knew none of the customs of Sirene, but by the end he had become a very influencial person on the planet. Yes, I recommend this book to people who enjoy scifi. There are definitely some hard sci-fi notes in there, and is a fairly heavy read for its size.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    I bought Moon Moth through bookoutlet.ca for a crazy cheap price. I enjoyed most titles from :01 (First Second) and the price was too good to pass up, so I feel pretty forgiving right from the start. Moon Moth was good, but not great. Adapted from a short story by Jack Vance, Humayoun Ibrahim does his best to translate a rather complicated story into a more visual format. I instantly loved the thick lines and solid colours of his illustrations. The clumsy panel transitions, inconsistent pacing an I bought Moon Moth through bookoutlet.ca for a crazy cheap price. I enjoyed most titles from :01 (First Second) and the price was too good to pass up, so I feel pretty forgiving right from the start. Moon Moth was good, but not great. Adapted from a short story by Jack Vance, Humayoun Ibrahim does his best to translate a rather complicated story into a more visual format. I instantly loved the thick lines and solid colours of his illustrations. The clumsy panel transitions, inconsistent pacing and inability to draw a person running in a realistic fashion are a bit of a problem. While I enjoyed the vitality, personality and vibrancy of his style (so much potential here), its pretty evident that Ibrahim is still developing as an artist. Jack Vance's story is creative and humorous. It feels as though he's trying to say more than what is immediately evident. From the foreword written by Carlo Rotella, you'd think that Jack Vance was some sort of underdiscovered genius. And perhaps he is. If this is a taste of his work, I'd be interested to find some of his books. There was a lot I enjoyed about the graphic adaptation of Moon Moth, but also a lot I found clumsy and awkward. Its hard to recommend, but if you find it for $2 (like I did) than I'd say grab it and give it a go. I'd be interested to see more of Ibrahim's work, especially if he has improved upon some of his pacing and illustration mistakes.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Logan Young

    This is the first time I have read Jack Vance (I realize this is an adaptation of his short story into a graphic novel) but I really enjoyed it. The world he created was so unique with a population that had such a distinct culture, and it was pretty miraculous how the artist was able to pull off how this society communicates exclusively through music. The art is pretty cool as well, not like mainstream comics at all. The plot itself was solid too, no complaints on that. Perhaps my one complaint This is the first time I have read Jack Vance (I realize this is an adaptation of his short story into a graphic novel) but I really enjoyed it. The world he created was so unique with a population that had such a distinct culture, and it was pretty miraculous how the artist was able to pull off how this society communicates exclusively through music. The art is pretty cool as well, not like mainstream comics at all. The plot itself was solid too, no complaints on that. Perhaps my one complaint is that at times it moved a bit too fast. There were instances where I was reading and I suddenly didn't understand what was going on and had to turn back a couple pages and reread what just happened. Also since you never see the character's faces, just their masks (which they change from time to time) it was a bit hard for me to keep them straight. I'm sure it was easier to do that in the short story, which I will make sure to read eventually since I enjoyed this graphic novel so much.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed the creativity of this piece, and the artwork. It put forth the kind of imagery that is likely to stay with me. I was a bit distracted by the singing speech, as it was set up to convey subtlety of power differences between characters, and I knew I was missing out on the conveyance of this, because I didn't have a handle on what all of the instruments meant. Use of the clapping blocks for talking to servants was the only one that stuck - I can imagine lots of people from my past who wou I enjoyed the creativity of this piece, and the artwork. It put forth the kind of imagery that is likely to stay with me. I was a bit distracted by the singing speech, as it was set up to convey subtlety of power differences between characters, and I knew I was missing out on the conveyance of this, because I didn't have a handle on what all of the instruments meant. Use of the clapping blocks for talking to servants was the only one that stuck - I can imagine lots of people from my past who would have chosen the blocks to talk to me! I think I will have to explore Jack Vance further, given this was my first introduction to his work and once I get used to wherever he's coming from, I might really enjoy his work.

  13. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    This is not Jack Vance's great short story, "The Moon Moth." It is an adaptation by Humayoun Ibrahim. Excerpts from Vance's short story are included in this graphically illustrated book. If you have read and love the short story, then you might want to read this adaptation. I do not recommend it by itself, however, and doubt that it was intended for those who are not already familiar with the short story. The illustrations are cartoon like but seem fine, although I already had my own imagined im This is not Jack Vance's great short story, "The Moon Moth." It is an adaptation by Humayoun Ibrahim. Excerpts from Vance's short story are included in this graphically illustrated book. If you have read and love the short story, then you might want to read this adaptation. I do not recommend it by itself, however, and doubt that it was intended for those who are not already familiar with the short story. The illustrations are cartoon like but seem fine, although I already had my own imagined images after having read the story about four times in the past month. My rating: 3 "Liked it." My rating for the short story was a 5.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Austin

    this book was a very interesting book I can't really explain this book it is weird. but I did enjoy it you have to read it to try to understand it. I liked it tho I gave it a 3 stars because it was hard to follow nut it was still good it is about this other life on a different planet made of people with masks on. I would recommend this book to someone who likes a weird story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christina Scholz

    Well. There was an attempt at adapting Vance's story into a graphic novel. I would have appreciated a style that was at least a little more about detail, especially when things like "intricate carved panels" are mentioned (while the artist is showing plain surfaces in the picture). But it is plot-wise that this adaptation suffers the most. The murder mystery is introduced quite far into the book - and then reduced to a Cliff Notes-style summary. None of the ironic humor and none of the mounting Well. There was an attempt at adapting Vance's story into a graphic novel. I would have appreciated a style that was at least a little more about detail, especially when things like "intricate carved panels" are mentioned (while the artist is showing plain surfaces in the picture). But it is plot-wise that this adaptation suffers the most. The murder mystery is introduced quite far into the book - and then reduced to a Cliff Notes-style summary. None of the ironic humor and none of the mounting suspense survive. Also, when I read the original short story, I had this impression that unexpected plot-twists were lurking behind every turn of the page. Sadly, this graphic novel can't hold up with the joy of reading Vance. Not by far.

  16. 4 out of 5

    honeybean

    Some parts were too simplified and glossed over - it lost some of the effect from the story. Beautiful pictures and lovely illustrations of the masks, the dialogue boxes also were used creatively. I wish more emphasis was put on the instruments, though, and explained a bit more throughout the story as the narrator makes his faux-pas.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    A gorgeous adaptation of a sci-fi short story about a man struggling to live in and understand a culture and planet so different from what he's used to while attempting to seek justice based on the terms of his own culture.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    A murder mystery with some sci-fi and musical twists. Vance's imagination is only matched by his master of the English language. Read his stuff. Great artwork brings out the oddities of this story and the methods of communication of this story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Maran

    Disclaimer: I've not read the short story this was adapted from. On its own, the graphic novel was nicely drawn and had interesting concepts, but never really sucked me in. I felt detached from the narrative. In the end it made me want to read the source material.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I liked the way the different instruments are represented in the text; there's a handy guide in the front as to what each looks like when it's used. I found the story a little hard to follow in places, but ultimately quite satisfying!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Koonu

    I loved the concept more so than the story and I feel the art elevated these to great effect. The verbose, sing-songy communication and the law of masks certainly left an impression!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Moon Captain

    I think I'm going to like the original story even better

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    This graphic novel turned me on to Jack Vance. Quick read and a great story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jan Ayers

    Now I want to read more Jack Vance.....

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karissa

    The only Jack Vance work I have read to date is The Last Castle, which to be honest I don't remember all that well, so it must not have made a huge impression on me. I have Songs of the Dying Earth on my shelf to read, but have not yet read it. I guess the point I am trying to make is that I think I could have written a better review for this if I was familiar with the original short story in more depth. This graphic novel feels like a sketch of what the full story probably was. Edwer Thissell, t The only Jack Vance work I have read to date is The Last Castle, which to be honest I don't remember all that well, so it must not have made a huge impression on me. I have Songs of the Dying Earth on my shelf to read, but have not yet read it. I guess the point I am trying to make is that I think I could have written a better review for this if I was familiar with the original short story in more depth. This graphic novel feels like a sketch of what the full story probably was. Edwer Thissell, the new consul from Earth to the planet Sirene and is having trouble adjusting to the way of life on Sirene. On Sirene everyone wears masks and accompanies speech with a variety of muscial instruments. There is no currency but your honor, or the honor that others perceive you have. Edwer is having trouble and as a bumbling outsider is given the lowly mask of a Moon Moth. Things get more complicated as Edwer tries to solve a murder mystery; but things are confounded by the fact that everyone wears masks and no one knows who is who. As I mentioned above I am not familiar with the original short story that this graphic novel is based on. There are some interesting concepts in here. Basically they are around the type of society Edwer ends up living in. Imagine a society with no currency except the honor that you have as perceived by others. Kind of crazy right? Crazy and interesting all at once. Then imagine that everyone in this society wears masks and speaks using a variety of musical instruments. Yep, the society just got a bit crazier. Now...imagine that some one is murdered and you have to figure everything out, having not lived in this society and having a limited understanding of what the heck these people are doing. It makes for an interesting story on a number of levels. So I enjoyed the story it was crazy and entertaining and even made you think a little bit. I did have a couple problems with it. The whole thing is illustrated in a cartoony way with lots of pastel colors; definitely not my favorite. I guess it fit okay for the story, but the pastel light-heated colors gave the story a even more goofy feeling. At times it was hard to tell which instruments the people were playing while speaking and some of the frames were hard to follow because of this. Also Edwer comes off as kind of whiny at points. He keeps talking about how no one told him it would be like this. I kept thinking he should get over it, stop whining, and start working to understand the things that he needed to. Overall though I enjoyed the story. It is a somewhat comic look at a crazy society and at how an already complex problem (a murder) can become even more complex when society is so different from what we consider normal. A great read for those who love science fiction with a light tone to it. The illustration wasn't my favorite; lots of pastel colors and sometimes hard to follow...but it was okay. If you are a Jack Vance fan or a sci-fi fan I would recommend giving it a read through.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Bacall

    The Moon Moth (adapted by Humayoun Ibrahim) by Jack Vance was originally printed in 1961 and Vance is considered to be one of the most under-appreciated important authors of the science fiction genre. Although he has been graced with numerous awards he never received the big paydays or name recognition as other perhaps less deserving authors in the genre. In the intro essay: The Genre Artist by Carlo Rotella, author Michael Chabon says: "Jack Vance is the most painful case of all the writers I l The Moon Moth (adapted by Humayoun Ibrahim) by Jack Vance was originally printed in 1961 and Vance is considered to be one of the most under-appreciated important authors of the science fiction genre. Although he has been graced with numerous awards he never received the big paydays or name recognition as other perhaps less deserving authors in the genre. In the intro essay: The Genre Artist by Carlo Rotella, author Michael Chabon says: "Jack Vance is the most painful case of all the writers I love who I feel don't get the credit they deserve." This beautifully written introduction essay is the perfect diving board into the strange, masked rainbow story that lies ahead. Sirene is a planet where all people are masked at all times and which mask is worn is decided by the level of prestige the person holds in society. Members of society play various instruments while they sing (talk), each send out a different color of sound. Edwer Thissel is learning all of the rules of the planet in three days in hopes of blending in during a mission in which he is to serve as the representative to the home planets and track down a killer named Haxo Angmark. The back of the book describes it as "A fascinating blend of murder mystery and high-concept science fiction." I agree fully and would add that the bright coloring and strange folk look, this remided my of Howard Finster, of the illustrations are satisfyingly original and demand attention. The text is all written in a hand calligraphy style and the colors that come from the instruments that the characters use while speaking swirl around the word bubbles. I'm very thankful to have come across this truly enlightening and poetic read. I had yet to encounter the work of Jack Vance and was instantly drawn into the poetic word choices that he makes. "With a fund of racial energy and a great deal of leisure time, the population occupies itself with intricacy." "To an out-worlder on a foreign planet, the voice of one from his home is like water to a wilting plant!" "Dawn over the bay of Fan is customarily a splendid occasion. The sky is white with yellow and green colors. When Mirelle rises, the mists burn and writhe like flames." I'm already anxious to re-read this, find the original story and dig into that and look into Jack Vance as an author and a man. This is an exceptional Graphic Novel and uses all of the unique story-telling possibilities to the fullest extent possible. It will be a challenge for most young readers but would make a great choice for an older teen that already appreciates graphic novels and or fantasy fiction and would make a fabulous gift/read for adults that are either graphic novel readers or fans of Vance's work. It's definitely worth checking out the sample pages available for viewing at Macmillan Kids: http://us.macmillan.com/themoonmoth/J...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Will McLean

    The Moon Moth Will McLean This story takes place in the future, and is about Edwer Thissell. One day Edwer receives a letter telling him he has to arrest an assassin named Haxo Angmark. Thissell makes the conclusion that Angmark must have killed and taken the place of one of the other three expatriates on the planet. But on the planet he is on, everyone must wear a mask, so how is he to know where Angmark is? I would say this book is for kids in grades 7 and up because of some violence, scary imag The Moon Moth Will McLean This story takes place in the future, and is about Edwer Thissell. One day Edwer receives a letter telling him he has to arrest an assassin named Haxo Angmark. Thissell makes the conclusion that Angmark must have killed and taken the place of one of the other three expatriates on the planet. But on the planet he is on, everyone must wear a mask, so how is he to know where Angmark is? I would say this book is for kids in grades 7 and up because of some violence, scary images at times and challenging words. The author of this book was Jack Vance, but the book was later adapted by Humayoun Ibrahim. Jack Vance, was known for his Fantasy, Science Fiction and Mystery books. Did you know that the original Moon Moth book was written in 1961? It was adapted 51 years later in May, 2012. WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD Eventually, Thissell is able to solve the mystery by taking a slave from each suspect and finding out which mask they all wear. After he finds out which mask Angmark wears, Edwer is captured, has his mask stolen, and forced to walk in public without his mask, which is the ultimate humiliation on this planet. Thissell, using his quick thinking, takes advantage of this humiliation and turns it into bravery. He then asks nearby citizens to help him destroy his enemy. END OF SPOILERS Overall, I feel like this is a really good book, with its combination of amazing artwork, great dialogue and its impressive story line. The Moon Moth is a fictional book, because of its setting in space. According to some of the reviews I read, This may be one of the books where the remake was better than the original book. I would definitely read this book again, it made me laugh, and feel worried for Edwer. I would rate this book at nine on a scale of one to ten, and would recommend this to all my friends who love to read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Mansfield

    Reason for Reading: I love science fiction short stories. This is the adaptation of a short story by Jack Vance and since I had not read the story in question I first did so before reading this graphic novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was quite pleased to find it such a clever murder mystery set in a foreign, alien atmosphere. This novel starts with the reproduction of an article from "The New York Times" magazine written about Vance and his being a genre writer and how it affected his success Reason for Reading: I love science fiction short stories. This is the adaptation of a short story by Jack Vance and since I had not read the story in question I first did so before reading this graphic novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was quite pleased to find it such a clever murder mystery set in a foreign, alien atmosphere. This novel starts with the reproduction of an article from "The New York Times" magazine written about Vance and his being a genre writer and how it affected his success as a writer. This is an interesting article but much better suited to those who are already fans of Vance. This is my first introduction to the author, I have of course heard of him but never read him before. The graphic is well done and stays true to the original. It is quite an easy story to adapt since after the opening scenes the story is very much dialogue driven making it perfect for graphic adaptation. The author has managed to keep true to the story and even use original text in some parts. What is harder, is to convey this story visually as it is a very absurd society and Ibrahim has shown that well in conveying the musical singing everyone speaks in and the use of bright bold colours. This representation does take away from the cleverness of the solving of the actual mystery though. The mystery is extremely compelling and its logical solution is astute. The twist ending is fun and works very well in the graphic adaptation. This graphic is not as good as the original story which I would give full 5/5, but it is a great adaptation and if it encourages anyone to read the original story then its homage has been successful. I know I will read Vance in the future.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This was my first introduction to the writing of Jack Vance. He's definitely got a distinctive voice. I loved this graphic adaptation of his short story, The Moon Moth It's a story that benefits greatly from a little illustration (it's a little difficult to keep the masks and musical instruments separate otherwise). The text and images work together to accomplish a common goal, which is not always the case when it comes to graphic adaptations of texts. The setting is exotic, but the plot is relat This was my first introduction to the writing of Jack Vance. He's definitely got a distinctive voice. I loved this graphic adaptation of his short story, The Moon Moth It's a story that benefits greatly from a little illustration (it's a little difficult to keep the masks and musical instruments separate otherwise). The text and images work together to accomplish a common goal, which is not always the case when it comes to graphic adaptations of texts. The setting is exotic, but the plot is relatively unconvoluted. Edwer Thissell is promoted and sent to the planet Sirene. Before he can make use of his new authority though, he's got to learn Sirenese customs. Communication takes place via a large number of small musical instruments, and each is suited to a precise social occasion or employed with a citizen occupying a particular station in life. To complicate matters, masks are worn by everyone. These likewise vary across social strata. Thissell must discover the identity of the man behind a series of brutal murders, and he'll soon find that no one is what they seem. The individualistic nature of Sirenese society also means he must conduct his investigations on his own. The story takes its name from the mask that Thissell must wear when arriving on Sirene for the first time. It's a ugly thing that doesn't bestow much "strakh" or "glory" and that's a bad thing when that's your only form of currency. Vance's work is imaginative while still being remarkably grounded and relatable. I can't recall reading anything quite like it. I would of course recommend it for sci-fi aficionados, but I think I'd also hand it to mystery lovers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    The Moon Moth is a brilliant story that involves a mystery as well as a lot of odd cultural interactions. It had its flaws, though, and this graphic version accentuates those. While the solution to the mystery that is offered certainly did work, it only did so because the villain got sloppy. That's never good, in a mystery. Also, the resolution involved is awfully close to being a deux ex machina event. Yes, there's a setup for it, but it requires there being only one Moon Moth mask in the city, The Moon Moth is a brilliant story that involves a mystery as well as a lot of odd cultural interactions. It had its flaws, though, and this graphic version accentuates those. While the solution to the mystery that is offered certainly did work, it only did so because the villain got sloppy. That's never good, in a mystery. Also, the resolution involved is awfully close to being a deux ex machina event. Yes, there's a setup for it, but it requires there being only one Moon Moth mask in the city, which is not stated before that in this adaptation. What kept me from giving this adaptation a fourth star was the artwork. The artist's style was not to my taste, but he did several creative things, including lettering tricks when a character was using music as part of dialogue, as was common on the world of the story. Unfortunately, detail was lacking. The "fancy" houseboats looked no fancier than the ordinary ones, just bigger. There was no way to distinguish quality masks from ordinary ones. The artist just didn't manage those things, and they're important to the story. On the good side, the artist did figure out how to use cartoon shortcuts to show emotions through the central character's mask, as his body language and sweat drops indicate key elements. Unfortunately, since the artist didn't use the same tricks for anyone else, we are only able to see one character's emotions. That is consistent with the key mystery of the story, but it still looked odd in context.

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