The Pnume Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Pnume

In the previous three novels in Jack Vance's science fiction series, castaway Adam Reith has had dealings with three of the four sentient alien species that inhabit the planet Tschai in his attempts to return to Earth. In The Pnume, he faces the fourth.
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Reith is building a starship with the forced cooperation of his prisoner, the treacherous Aila Woudiver. Somehow, however, Woudiver has him kidnapped and sold to the Pnume, the secretive native race of Tschai. Though he manages to free himself before the Pnume take delivery (for their Museum of Foreverness), Reith finds himself trapped in the worldwide Pnume underground complex.

He manages to steal a copy of the Master Charts, which show every tunnel, chamber, exit, etc. He kidnaps a Pnumekin (human slave of the Pnume) woman named Zap 210 to interpret the charts for him. They embark on a long, dangerous journey to an exit back to the surface. On their trek back to the spaceship, they become lovers. When Zap 210 is captured by the Pnume, Reith secures her release and freedom for all the Pnumekin in exchange for his assurance that the Master Charts will not be given to their enemies. Then he and his companions set out for Earth.

Best part of story, including ending: Once again, Vance invents a realistic alien race. Far from hating the three invading species, the Pnume welcome them, enjoying the spectacle unfolding on their planetary stage.

Best scene in story: Reith has to explain to Zap 210 the changes her body is undergoing because she is no longer ingesting "diko", a drug that suppresses Pnumekin sexual development.

Opinion about the main character: Reith's dogged, indomitable persistence finally pays off.

The review of this Book prepared by J. Lee a Level 10 Peregrine Falcon scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Pnume

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 50%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 10%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   stranded on alien planet, fighting aliens to survive Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   explorer Age:    -   20's-30's


A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:    -   unfriendly aliens Planet outside solar system?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Jack Vance Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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