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I read this one a few years ago and it's just annoying me that I can't find any trace of it anywhere. I don't believe I've misremembered the details, but if someone can enlighten me:

The main character was a teenager about 18-20 years old and I'm convinced his name was Asfeo. He lived with his father who was very authoritarian and sent him away to spend time with a hermit/guru of some sort. The story took Asfeo into various situations where he had to surrender his will completely to the events that happened around him, this being the real crux of the story. So an early predicament was when we ended up in a lake and lost all of his possessions and needed to rely on what others, and the world, gave to him rather than relying on what he had brought with him. The climax of the story was of him arriving at a small house where the hermit lived, and needing to use the knowledge of what he had learned on his journey in order to gain access to it. After struggling to do this, he finally had his aha! moment and everything made sense to him. This is when the hermit appeared to him, and it turned out to be his father who was actually a wise old man who had sent his (possibly spoilt brat) son into the world to learn what life was really about, as he was preparing him for his legacy which was to be king or emperor or similar. In short, Asfeo needed a short, sharp lesson to gain some wisdom so he could live and rule appropriately - so it was a rite-of-passage book.

Any clues?

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    Probably not Vance, unless the character's name is wrong. I tried searching and nothing came up. – user14111 Jan 22 '15 at 6:10
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    I've read all of Vance's novels and I'm pretty sure this isn't one of them. It might be a short story I've forgotten - it does share some common themes with the Dying Earth story "Guyal of Sfere", but no specifics - but I doubt it. Have you read any of Vance's imitators? Michael Shea and Matthew Hughes write into Vance's worlds, so it might be one of these. Or perhaps it was in the collection "The Songs of the Dying Earth"? – Cugel Jan 22 '15 at 12:04
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    I concur: this was most probably not Vance. I believe I have read all of his work, except perhaps for one or two stories that appeared only in pulp magazines when he was young, so it would be unlikely for you to stumble upon this exceedingly rare story in an ancient magazine—indeed, this valuable treasure that you'd have had to hunt down in order to find it. In addition, this kind of plot doesn't sound Vancean at all: he usually isn't very interested in Biblesque moral lessons like this one. – Cerberus Jun 29 '16 at 0:37
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    There is an Osfeo in Matt Hughes's Fools Errant, but it's not the main character (I think). It is said that Hughes was heavily influence by Vance; the book is even dedicated to Vance. A fragment: i.imgur.com/3lWkJ2p.png – Cerberus Sep 12 '17 at 4:10
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    @Cerberus - OP here on a different account. I think you may have it. I just found an excerpt online and I there is some recognition of Osfeo as a referred character, and the Archon is the main ruler. And your username is the same as someone I used to play Quakeworld with 20-odd years ago :-) – markdwhite Apr 7 '18 at 15:26
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I'd say this was most probably not Vance. I believe I have read all of his work, except perhaps for one or two stories that appeared only in pulp magazines when he was young, so it would be unlikely for you to stumble upon this exceedingly rare story in an ancient magazine—indeed, this valuable treasure that you'd have had to hunt down in order to find it. In addition, this kind of plot doesn't sound Vancean at all: he usually isn't very interested in Biblesque moral lessons like this one.

There is an Osfeo in Matt Hughes's Fools Errant, but it's not the main character (I think). It is said that Hughes was heavily influenced by Vance; the book is even dedicated to Vance. A fragment:

enter image description here

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    Are there really any early Jack Vance pulp magazine stories that have not been reprinted in anthologies and collections? What are they?? – user14111 Apr 7 '18 at 23:28
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    @user14111: I'm not sure. It's possible, no? – Cerberus Apr 8 '18 at 16:43
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    I can't accept this as the answer because I'm on a different account than the original one, so I've upped your comments too :-) I'm about 20% through Fools Errant and a lot of it is recognisable as being the book I was after. I'm enjoying reading it, so many thanks for identifying this one correctly! – markdwhite Apr 8 '18 at 23:28
  • @markdwhite: Great! I might want to read it too. – Cerberus Apr 9 '18 at 0:56
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The description in the original posting sounds like a parallel-universe description of my first Archonate novel, Fools Errant. The young fop sent out into the world of Old Earth is an apprentice Archon named Filidor, and the sage/guru Osfeo is a character in a book of homilies he reads from as he progresses. There is an episode involving the collapse of a giant beaver dam and the lake that breaks through. Filidor was guided across the world by an irascible hairless dwarf who was more than he seemed.

The novel was originally published in Canada in 1994, just in time for its publisher to be absorbed by a conglomerate and dissolved. It was republished by Warner Aspect in 2001, just in time for the popular mood to turn against lighthearted satire.

Here's a link to the first chapter: https://www.matthewhughes.org/excerpt-from-fools-errant/

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    Well, I'm totally up for a bit of light-hearted satire (and a touch of dark-hearted satire sometimes too), and I'm enjoying my second reading of this since the first reading about 15 years ago. I misremembered many details (Osfeo not Asfeo, uncle not father, and the presence of the dwarf), but just read the castorel's dam section and that was definitely the lake incident I referred to. Thanks for bringing this story into the world :-) – markdwhite Apr 8 '18 at 23:35
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    You're very welcome. Did you know there is a sequel? It's called Fool Me Twice and has pirates. – Matthew Hughes Apr 9 '18 at 11:40
  • @markdwhite you can ask to have your accounts merged. – SQB Oct 8 '18 at 7:53

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