The Last Castle (novella)

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"The Last Castle"
Author Jack Vance
Genre(s) Science fiction
Publisher Galaxy Science Fiction
Publication date 1966

The Last Castle is a science fiction novella by Jack Vance. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 1967 and the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 1966.

Plot summary[edit]

Most humans on Earth live in a small number of elaborate, high-tech castles as idle aristocrats primarily concerned with aesthetics, pastimes and questions of honor and etiquette. Only a small minority of humans live free lives outside of the castles, and are considered barbaric by the inhabitants of the castles. Various alien races serve the humans for maintenance as well as pleasure.

One day one of those races, the Meks, revolt and start destroying the castles until only Castle Hagedorn is left. Most of the nobles try to ignore the revolt of the Meks, preferring to die instead of fighting. One of them, Xanten of Hagedorn castle, decides to fight the Meks and searches for allies inside as well as outside the castle.

After a short and hard battle Xanten and his allies win. Concluding that humanity cannot go on depending on slave labor, they send the surviving Meks to their native planet, Etamin 9.