©1940, 1945, 1951, 1968 A. E. van Vogt. Introduction ©2007 Kevin J. Anderson; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America
"One of the landmark novels of the genre." (Library Journal)
When I started this audio book, I really wondered if the reader was up to it. And, you know what? He is. It's a classic of old science fiction. I remember it from when I was young. And it still holds up. So often, with science fiction, even the big authors of today, the characters seem shallow, even whiney. I'm sorry to say that. But, that's not the case here. Van Vogt was writing much more than just a fiction of ideas. He had something he was trying to say. This was his first novel. And what a grand debut! Some reviewers, elsewhere, complain of how this novel slows down in places, of how it's not all about sustained action. In truth, that is precisely why this novel is as great as it is. It's an odd story. Slightly structured on formula, with serialized climaxes. But, van Vogt truly believed in intuition. Not just pure reason. And these things clash in this novel. Wonderfully so. So, if you like the older stuff, this is definitely one of the better ones. And the audio version carries it well. Recommended.
"A seminal work of the man and superman type that has resulted in much of the superhero entertainment we enjoy today"
From stories like Heinlein's Gulf in 1949 on to the many tales in the pulps and then onto things like the X Men comics and other superheroes of the marvel universe the genetic basis of so many tales of this sort can be seen to have one of their sources in Slan . The story richly deserves the retroactive Hugo it received for 1941 last year.
Van Vogt was once the most popular SF writer of his day. Today he's not as popular as tastes in style have changed. Some readers will rate this as a two star story--for stylistic infelicities (largely masked in an audio reading), comparative descriptive dearth, and basic characterizations. On the other hand, a large contingent of SF readers enjoy a break-neck pace, surprises in character and SF ideas, and a focus on its unraveling SF aspects. Since novels should be rated on what they are aiming for versus what a reader expects, I gave this four stars.
This may be a fine book if you consider when it was written, but overall it was a very disappointing book, and the narration was flat and boring.
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