A. E. Van Vogt: Science Fantasy's Icon
H. L. Drake
Booklocker, 2002 (2001)
Reviewed by Marian Powell
t's always a pleasure to read a labor of love. H. L. Drake spent thirty years doing the research for this book and his admiration for his subject shines through every page. He wants people to understand and appreciate the life work of A. E. Van Vogt. After a very brief biography, he analyzes the major novels and short stories.
. E. Van Vogt was one of the top SF writers of the
of Science Fiction. He was first published in 1939, and his stories immediately catapulted him to fame in the science fiction world. His first novel,
, was published as a serial in 1940 and became such an instant success that, according to Mr. Drake, for years science fiction fans had a slogan, '
Fans are Slans
' and a commune was even started called '
The Slan Shack
'. Van Vogt devoted himself to his writing and to self-improvement and general semantics theory. This led to his involvement in dianetics and the accusation that his interests had taken over his fiction.
r. Drake devotes much of the book to a sympathetic examination of Van Vogt's interests and how they affected his work. For that reason, the appeal of this book is limited to those already familiar with the works of A. E. Van Vogt. Reading this work inspired me to reread
and I found it still to be a highly enjoyable novel. I recommend this analysis to those who have read Van Vogt's stories and would like to know more about the man and his views. I also suggest that anyone who enjoys science fiction and fantasy, but is unfamiliar with Van Vogt, look up his novels, especially the early works.
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