The Last Castle - Jack Vance While this has all the usual trappings of a Vance story - declining society, strange environment, weird creatures - it's unusual in leaning more toward the macho he-man resolution of its time than toward Vance's usual sardonic onlooker.

Award winner or not, I wouldn't put it in the same category as The Languages of Pao.

A good introduction to Vance, and a fun story for fans.