According to his autobiography This Is Me, Jack Vance!, the author constructed his own home. The wood home is also an idea that plays out in much of Vance’s fiction, Son of the Tree, The Cadwal Chronicles, and “Dream Castle”, included. It’s also the main behind the novella The Houses of Iszm, the subject of this review.
The Houses of Iszm is the story Farr Sainh, a botanist from the University of Los Angeles, who arrives at Iszm on a sabbatical intending to study the planet’s unique tree life in which its people make and sell homes. Security on Iszm strict due to the value of the trees, Sainh undergoes a variety of procedures having his identity verified, and even after being allowed entrance, is monitored continuously by the paranoid Iszic. Quickly becoming involved in another species attempts to steal some of the famous Iszic trees, Sainh’s adventures roll from there.