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A. E. Van Vogt

Classic Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Alfred Elton Van Vogt
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Author Information and Bibliography:
A.E Van Vogt is one of the classic names in science fiction and one of the genre's most widely read authors. He was born in Canada in 1912, the son of Dutch parents and made his initial impact with short stories for Astounding Science Fiction, such as 'Black Destroyer', which was published in 1939 and later formed a chapter in his classic 'The Voyage of the Space Beagle'. He moved to the States, where he wrote his first novel, Slan, in the 1940s. That was quickly accepted as a staple in any worthwhile SF diet and van Vogt has gone on to write a string of successful books

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Titles to Look Out For:
[in order of first year of publication. Each entry includes later editions]
1942. Masters of Time, a.k.a Recruiting Station; Earth's Last Fortress
1945. The World of Null-A
1948. The Pawns of Null-A, a.k.a The Players of Null-A
1959. The Voyage of the Space Beagle
1962. The Wizard of Linn
1965. Monsters
1965. Rogue Ship
1970. Quest for the Future
1974. The Darkness on Diamondia
1977. Supermind
1977. The Anarchistic Colossus
1983. Computerworld
1984. Null-A Three

 
Van Vogt, A. E. 'Masters of Time' published in 1967 in the United States by Macfadden Books, 128pp. Condition: fair, acceptable, wholly intact and readable with some mild foxing to the internal pages (a browning or tanning effect that occurs in some papers). Price: £4.00, not including post and packing (see Amazon listing)1967, Macfadden Books, pbk
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  • Masters of Time [top]
    First published in March 1942 in the United States in the magazine "Astounding Science Fiction" as "Recruiting Station", a variant of Masters of Time
    Published in 1960 by Acebooks as "Earths Last Fortress / Lost In Space", Ace Double D-431
    Published in 1967 in the United States in paperback by Macfadden Books, 128pp, no ISBN

Storyline: Norma was a helpless victim of the masters of time; Jack, who loved her, went willingly into slavery, hoping to find a way to release her from bondage. Both of them should have been destroyed, yet somehow, gaining strength from each other, they managed to retain some measure of their free will. But was it enough to save both of them - and more importantly, to save Earth from the monstrous fate that the masters of time had decreed for it?

Van Vogt, A. E. 'The World of Null-A'. Sphere Science Fiction, 1976, 224 pages. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access prebuilt search for this title on Amazon
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  • The World of Null-A [top]
    The World of Null-A appeared originally as a 1945 serial in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction, which was edited by John W. Campbell, Jr.
    It was the first hardcover sci-fi novel published by a major publisher after WWII (Simon & Schuster, 1948)
    It won the Manuscripters Club award and was listed by the New York area library association among the hundred best novels of 1948.
    Jacques Sadoul in France, editor of Editions OPTA, has stated that World of Null-A, when first published, all by itself created the French science fiction market.
    The 1st Edition sold over 25,000 copies in France. Jacques Sadoul continued to say (in 1969) that A.E Van Vogt was still the most popular writer in terms of copies sold. Its publication stimulated interest in General Semantics, such that it later became a generally taught subject in hundreds of universities.
    It has been translated into at least 9 languages.
    Van Vogt revised and shortened the tale for the 1948 novel release by Simon and Schuster. In 1970, van Vogt revised it yet again (though only slightly this time), and added an Author's Introduction in which he both defended the controversial work, and admitted that the original had been flawed.
    The World of Null-A is followed by the sequels, The Pawns of Null-A (also known as The Players of Null-A) (1956) and Null-A Three (1984)

Storyline: It tells the story of Gilbert Gosseyn, a man living in an apparent utopia in which those with superior understanding and mental control rule the rest of humanity. But when Gosseyn wants to be tested by the giant Machine that determines such superiority, he finds that his world is not as it appears.

[From the 1976 Sphere Science Fiction pbk reprint] 'Who was Gosseyn? Gosseyn himself didn't know his own identity-only that he could be killed, yet live again...But someone knew who Gosseyn was-and was using him as a pawn in a deadly game that spanned the Galaxy!
'

Van Vogt, A.E. 'The Pawns of Null-A', published by Sphere Science Fiction in 1976, paperback reprint, ISBN 0722187475, 224pp. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access a prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
1976, Sphere
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  • The Pawns of Null-A, a.k.a The Players of Null-A [top]
    The Players of Null-A is a 1956 science fiction novel by A. E. van Vogt originally published as a two-part serial in Astounding Stories in December of 1948 and January of 1949 (this leads to the mistaken idea that the book was published in 1948 due to the copyright notice). It incorporates concepts from the General Semantics of Alfred Korzybski and refers to non-Aristotelian logic. It was published in the US under the name The Pawns of Null-A.
    Players was published in the October, November and December of 1948, and January 1949, issues of Astounding Stories; and it had summaries of the earlier instalments, beginning in the November issue.

Story: The book opens with the introduction of a sinister new character, a shadowy being, called the Follower. What was the Follower? Gosseyn knew the creature threatened to destroy the whole solar system, but not even his Null-A trained brain could thwart the Follower's plans! Presently a strange history of human beings in our Milky Way galaxy emerges, and how they (we) got here:

Two million years ago, in a galaxy far away, the human race there discovers that a vast, deadly cloud of gas is enveloping all its planets. Not everybody can escape, but tens of thousands of small spaceships are sent out, with potential survivors aboard each little craft in a state of suspended animation. After the million-plus year voyage, the little ships reach our Milky Way galaxy, and begin to land at random on habitable planets thousands of light-years apart.

Gilbert Gosseyn, a clone descendant of one of the survivors has finally (in The World of Null-A) discovered the clues to his origin and his special abilities. Here on Earth in 2560 A.D he has received Null-A training, and is accordingly entitled to live on Null-A Venus. He is, at first, unaware that, as a result of his newly discovered self-knowledge, he has become the target of the machinations of the Follower, a shadow-like being who comes to Earth froma far-distant star system of the Greatest Empire- a vast interstellar civilisation. The Follower's purpose is to stop Gosseyn from leaving the Solar System. Which means he wants to stop him, first of all, from going to Venus, where there is a hidden-hidden underground-interstellar space-time distorter system for transmitting huge spaceships across light-years of distance instantaneously. Players ends with the destruction of the Follower.

Van Vogt, A. E. 'The Voyage of the Space Beagle', pbk, published by Panther Science Fiction in 1975 (reprint), 192 pages, ISBN 0586024395. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access pre-built search for this title on Amazon UK
Sphere. 1975 reprint
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  • The Voyage of the Space Beagle [top]
    Published 1959
    The first third of this novel, BLACK DESTROYER, appeared in the 7/39 ASTOUNDING as Van Vogt's first science fiction story and was supposed to be the inspiration for 1957's film, IT! THE TERROR FROM OUT OF SPACE, which in turn inspired 1979's ALIEN film.
    This novel is a collection of four novellas that were originally published independently in various pulp magazines from the 30's to the 50's.

Story: [From 1975 Sphere pbk reprint]: INTERGALACTIC QUEST. Into the awesome depths of intergalactic space hurtled the Space Beagle, travelling on Man's most ambitious expedition to the far reaches of the Universe. From galaxy to galaxy, the crew explored the remains of past races and civilisations on desolate planets and found weird life-forms floating in space itself. But the explorers not only had to contend with danger from the outside: within their own ship they carried one of the deadliest creatures in all creation...

This book contains four tales about the adventures of the crew of a star ship named the Space Beagle that travels to the far reaches of our galaxy and beyond. The ship is filled with a wide range of scientist from every major discipline (physicists, astronomers, geologists, chemists, biologists, etc.) as well as soldiers. The main character, Elliot Grosvenor, represents a new science/philosophy of Nexialism. This is a discipline that supposedly brings together all other disciplines but additionally provides a mechanism for viewing the totality of problems.
In each of the stories the ship is assailed by some alien menace that must be defeated. In all cases the threats initially appeared overwhelming, but were then defeated relatively simply. The internal political dynamics of the ship are a primary focus in the stories alongside the manoeuverings of individuals and factions. There are many details of the movie `Alien' that are taken directly from one of the novellas in this series.

Van Vogt, A. E. 'The Wizard of Linn', published in 1979 in Great Britain by New English Library, in paperback, 174pp, ISBN 0450038254. Condition: good, but vintage paperback, with some very light rubbing to the cover edges and some mild foxing to the internal pages. Price: £2.50, not including post and packing, which is extra (see Amazon listing)
1979, NEL, pbk
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  • The Wizard of Linn [top]
    Sequel to 'Empire of the Atom'
    First published in 1950 in the United States by Macfadden-Bartell in "Astounding Science Fiction" in a serialized version
    First published in 1962 in the United States in paperback by Ace Books
    First published in 1975 in Great Britain in paperback by New English Library, 174pp, ISBN 0450023397
    First published in July 1976 in Great Britain in hardback by New English Library, 176pp, ISBN 0450028534
    Reprinted in February 1979 in Great Britain by New English Library, 174pp, ISBN 0450038254

Storyline: The Earth had just suffered an atomic holocaust. This is Van Vogt's stunning sequel to 'Empire of the Atom'. Now it had reverted to a strange kind of barbarism where men could build space ships but could not communicate except by the most primitive of means - smoke signals. So, it came as a sickening shock for Lord Clane Linn, ruler of Earth, to learn, when he captured an alien invader's ship, that messages were being sent from Earth to the invader's homeland far across the galaxy. For Lord Clane Linn, it meant fighting the invading Riss forces at a technological disadvantage, without the help of his fellow Earthmen...

Van Vogt, A.E. 'Monsters', a collection of short stories published by Corgi in 1977, paperback, 192pp. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access a prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
Corgi, 1977 reissue, pbk
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  • Monsters [top]
    1970. Corgi paperback edition published
    1977. Corgi paperback edition reissued
Contents: 8 tales of hideous things-writhing, crawling, scaled or slimy, they represent some of A.E. Van Vogt's most outstanding feats of imagination.
1) Not Only Dead Men
2) Final Command
3) War of Nerves
4) Enchanted Village
5) Concealment
6) The Sea Thing
7) Resurrection
8) Vault of the Beast
Van Vogt, A. E. 'Rogue Ship', published in 1980 in Great Britain by Granada Publishing Limited in Panther Books, 205pp, ISBN 0586042830. Condition: Fair - the binding has split at pages 108-109 and is held together by the cover. The internal pages are tanned with age and the spine is creased and the surface is peeling away at the base of the spine. Still a decent reading copy. Price: £2.50, not including post and packing
1980, Panther Books, pbk
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  • Rogue Ship [top]
    First published in 1965 in the United States by Doubleday, in hardback with dustjacket, 213pp
    First published in 1967 in Great Britain by Dennis Dobson in hardback with dustjacket, 213pp
    Published in 1975 in Great Britain by Granada Publishing Limited in Panther Books
    Reprinted in 1978 in Great Britain by Granada Publishing Limited in Panther Books
    Reprinted in 1980 in Great Britain by Granada Publishing Limited in Panther Books, 205pp, ISBN 0586042830

About this book/storyline: A mighty space cruiser coasts through the dreadful emptiness of space on its voyage of human survival. Multimillionaire Averill Hewitt built her, crewed her with handpicked men and women, and had her launched on a one-way trip to the planets clustered around Centaurus. But he had not counted on radical changes developing in the social hierarchy on board-on mutiny and revolution, on space madness-nor on the astounding scientific advances made in that awful isolation...

Van Vogt, A. E. 'Quest for the Future', published in 1980 in Great Britain in paperback, 188pp, ISBN 0450045994. Condition: good, but vintage, with some slight rubbing to the cover edges and corners and some mild foxing to the internal pages. Price: £2.50, not including post and packing, which is extra (see Amazon listing)
1980, NEL, pbk
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  • Quest for the Future [top]
    First published in 1971 in Great Britain in hardback with dustjacket by Sidgwick & Jackson, 253pp
    First published in 1972 in Great Britain in paperback by New English Library, 188pp, ISBN 0450012859
    Reprinted in 1980 in Great Britain in paperback by New English Library, 188pp, ISBN 0450045994

Storyline: A starbeam penetrates the atmosphere. It brings a picture from seven hundred thousand years in the past. An electron makes a path of light across a cloud chamber. It brings a picture from fifty, a hundred or more years in the future...

Van Vogt, A. E. 'The Darkness on Diamondia', published in April 1980 in Great Britain in paperback, 188pp, ISBN 0283986514. Condition: good with some slight rubbing to the cover edges and corners and a bit of foxing to the internal pages (browning or tanning). Price: £3.00, not including post and packing
1980, New English Library, pbk
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  • The Darkness on Diamondia [top]
    First published in 1974 in Great Britain in hardback with dustjacket by Sidgwick & Jackson, 256pp, ISBN 0283981210
    First published in 1974 in Great Britain in paperback by New English Library, 188pp
    Reprinted in 1980 in Great Britain in paperback by New English Library, 188pp, ISBN 0283986514
    Published in April 1982 in the United States in paperback by New American Library, ISBN 0879977248

Storyline: Colonel Morton was sent to Diamondia to report on the war between Earth-descended colonists and the guerilla warriors of the inhuman Irsk. Because something was going terribly wrong - a darkness was settling in, mental confusion was epidemic, and there was evidence of Outside interference. The Darkness was impartial, and Morton's encounters with it were the most disturbing events of his career. For it seemed as if the Outside were deliberately stirring up the planetary pot, mixing minds with minds, and personalities with personalities. But when Morton realized that the only solution might be to find and use the incalculable power of the Lositeen Weapon, he realized also that the decision was too great for any one man - even for all men together - to make

Hardback, 1974:


Paperback, 1980
Van Vogt, A.E. 'Supermind', published by New English Library, 1977, pbk, 176pp, ISBN 0450037126. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access a prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
NEL, 1979
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  • Supermind [top]
    First published in 1977 in the USA by Daw Books
    First published in 1978 in Great Britain by Sidgwick & Jackson
    First published in 1979 in New English Library paperbacks

Story: Earth Was in Danger, its population threatened by the nomadic space-travellers, the Dreeghs. For Earth's inhabitants could provide the Dreeghs with blood, the essence of 'life' imperative for their survival. It was the beginning of a struggle, a conflict that was to be decided not by force of arms but by intelligence, by the supermind. But how far can the mind go? Research Alpha had to find out. If the evolutionary process could be speeded up so that a few million year's development could take place within a few days, could Point Omega be reached, the point of supreme intelligence, where man is at one with totality?

 

Van Vogt, A.E. 'The Anarchistic Colossus', published by The Science Fiction Book Club (Readers Union) in 1977, hardcover with dustjacket, 248pp. Sorry, sold out, but click image above to access a prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
1977, The Science Fiction Book Club, hbk
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Story: The Anarchistic Colossus takes place in a future Earth where anarchy has become a way of life-it is, however, a very special brand of anarchy, one that is controlled by the mysterious Kirlian computers. It is also one that must deal with a race of aliens who look upon the conquest of Earth as part of a very entertaining game.

Van Vogt, A.E. 'Computerworld', published by Sphere Science Fiction (New English Library) in 1986, paperback, 208pp, ISBN 0450059049. Sorry, sold out, but click image above to access a prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
NEL, 1986, pbk
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  • Computerworld [top]
    First published 1983 in the US by Daw Books
    Published in 1986 in the UK as a paperback by New English Library

Storyline: The computer controlled them all. Bio-magnetic recognition was infallible, instant. Its eyes were everywhere-in the street, in the home. There was no escape as it scanned, recorded, knew. An armed Computer Maintenance Corps handled social control. The military-style personnel thought the computer was God. But the computer stole. Energy. With every personal scan, every casual recognition check, there went a small but significant subject-to-computer mental energy transfer. Only the Computer Rebel Society saw the threat and had the will to organise against it

The computer introduces the book: '...For me a projection involves the two perceptions of sound and sight. I draw upon picture and sonic images in my memory circuits. Since I have read and summarized every book in print during my time, seen and summarized all motion pictures, recorded and summarized and cross-filed lectures, conversations between individuals, and been separately programmed to evaluate all formal human philosophies...Dr Pierce's request evokes a process of options, each of which I produce for myself in the form of images on a screen. It's as if I'm actually looking at different future each time. And, since I have no bias, no preconception, the decision as to which is the most likely to happen is something I observe in a mechanically detached way... .

Van Vogt, A. E. 'Null-A Three', pbk, published in 1985 by Sphere Science Fiction, 218pp. Sorry, sold out, but click image to access prebuilt search for this title on Amazon UK
1985, Sphere Science Fiction, pbk
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  • Null-A Three [top]
    Published 1984.
    Frederick Pohl, when editor of the Galaxy magazine, was the first person to ask A.E Van Vogt to write a Null-A sequel.
    Jacques Sadoul, editor of J'ai Lu the publishing company in France several times urged A.E Van Vogt to write a sequel. He subsequently urged van Vogt's wife to persuade him to write it. This strategy worked and the book was written!

Story: Worlds in Crisis. Whoever it was that the Dzan had discovered in a space capsule floating perilously close to their battle fleet, it was certainly no ordinary mortal. It wasn't just that this Gosseyn-as he called himself-had apparently come from another galaxy. Nor that he'd been awoken from an ages-long state of suspended animation by their sudden intervention. What troubled the Dzan most was that Gosseyn was-by his own admission-the reincarnation of another human being, one who not only seemed to share the same brain as Gosseyn, but was clearly still very much alive. Once they'd accepted the existence of Gosseyn and his alter ego, they realised that here somehow might be the weapon they needed in their struggle with the alien Troogs-or the cause of their own imminent destruction

 



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