Bibliography: A. E. van Vogt

Resources like the ISFDB and The Storysource are wonderful but sometimes too detailed or require a lot of navigating and collating of information while others like the SFE are equally wonderful but sometimes not bibliographically detailed enough. This is a middle road, based on those sources and my collection, which may still be too much or too little for many but I hope some will find it useful or possibly even interesting.

This particular thin bibliography or fat checklist was motivated by my recent purchase of Out of the Unknown which completes my library of what I think of as van Vogt’s “Phase I” books. The reason for the notion of “phases” is that, with very few exceptions, he essentially wrote from 1939-1951 and managed to publish most of this material in book form from 1946-66 until, after over a decade of almost no original material, Frederik Pohl (editing Galaxy and If at the time) got van Vogt back to writing new material in 1963 which manifested in book form from 1969 on. I wanted to recheck his bibliography to make sure I’d gotten it right and, while I was at it, post the results as this categorized bibliography.

However, this isn’t the first one I’ve started–just the first I’ve finished. Prior to the van Vogt, I’d also recently acquired the “last” of what I think of as the essential (if affordable) Kuttner/Moore and, before that, Leiber. I actually started with the Kuttner/Moore bibliography, so it and the Leiber may be along some time soon, possibly followed by others.

The following is a list of parameters and conventions used in the lists below but it might be better to skip it, move directly to the lists, and only refer to it as needed.

  • The lists don’t include non-SF, translations, omnibuses, etc., but do include van Vogt’s core titles of science fiction published in English.
  • The format of entries is generally ‘Title (Series). Date Publisher Book-format Author-attribution. Description: Contents. Other-editions. Notes.’ (not all elements are present in all entries). The original edition and every edition that is substantially different from the original are listed in bold. If the publisher is based in the UK, that’s noted in parentheses. The book formats are ‘hc’ (hardcover), ‘tp’ (trade paper), or ‘pb’ (mass market paperback). The format of the contents is: ‘(Date [Fixup] Magazine/Anthology)’ (see below for “fixup”).
  • Dates for books and their contents are given as ‘1939’ (if the month is unknown), ‘1939-07’ (for July 1939), ‘1979-06/07’ (for June/July 1979), ‘1951-Sp’ (for Spring 1951) or ‘1948-10+3’ (meaning the work was serialized in the October 1948 issue plus the next three issues, taking it to January 1949. If the issue sequence is more complicated than that, I’ll note it.
  • I list significant variant titles (indicated with SFE’s ‘vt’) but I’m not too particular about details of spelling, articles, prepositions, etc., in the titles. The point is simply to list titles that might possibly be confusing rather than every trivial variation.
  • Books are ordered chronologically by book publication within each main category (with the exception of redundant books which are extracted from the chronological order and placed in their own subsection) although, when a book has a prior magazine publication, that is significant and is also listed.
  • When referred to in the descriptions, non-US and posthumous books are surrounded by {braces}. (For van Vogt, this is especially pertinent to the US and UK versions of The Best of A. E. van Vogt. Also note that {Futures Past} came out about three months before van Vogt died but he was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s at that point (not to mention it had been 21 years since his last collection) so I count it as posthumous.)
  • When referred to in the descriptions, collections are often referred to in (parentheses). If they have multi-word titles, those are abbreviated:
    • {3EE}=The Three Eyes of Evil and Earth’s Last Fortress
    • AB=Away and Beyond
    • DU=Destination: Universe!
    • {FP}=Futures Past
    • FOW=The Far-Out Worlds of A. E. van Vogt
    • M33=M 33 in Andromeda
    • MOT=Masters of Time
    • MTS=More Than Superhuman
    • OOTU=Out of the Unknown
    • PI=The Proxy Intelligence and Other Mind Benders
    • TBO=The Best of A. E. van Vogt
    • TM=The Twisted Men
  • Though fixups are usually considered novels, in this particular bibliography, I separate van Vogt’s fixups from his novels and collections. For those not familiar with the term, a “fixup” (at least as I use it) is a half-collection/half-novel-like thing made up of previously published stories that are revised to merge better with the other stories, often with the help of new bridge/glue sections written to smooth the transitions and/or expand the material.
  • Stories that are part of fixups or expansions are indicated by a shortened book title in [brackets]. This means they have been collected in a sense, but when I describe them as uncollected, collected for the first time, etc., I’m referring to them as individual stories in essentially their original forms. Fixup references are usually the same as the title (possibly with articles dropped). More severe abbreviations are:
    • Atom=Empire of the Atom
    • Rogue=Rogue Ship
    • Rull=The War Against the Rull
    • Space Beagle=The Voyage of the Space Beagle
    • Weapon Shops=The Weapon Shops of Isher
  • A ‘^’ before a date indicates a story that was extracted from the fixup material at that time, rather than a pre-existing story incorporated into the fixup.
  • An ‘*’ after a title indicates a story that never appeared in a van Vogt collection individually but appears only in a fixup or an expanded novel.

Another thing to note about fixups and “phases” is that Rogue Ship could arguably be Phase II because a significant part of it comes from 1963 but it also includes two Phase I stories and was fixed up prior to The Silkie. On the flipside, Quest for the Future and Supermind could arguably be Phase I fixups because the former is built entirely out of Phase I material but none were related, and all had been previously collected while the latter is much like Rogue Ship in reverse, having only one Phase I story and being mostly two Phase II stories. Both also came out after The Silkie. Some collections are also ambiguous (though perhaps less so, with most being entirely from one phase or the other or with the exception of only a story or two. Most Phase II or posthumous collections with significant Phase I content have mostly only reprinted or previously fixed-up Phase I content).

Finally, I’d note that Edna Mayne Hull was van Vogt’s wife. E. M. (or E. Mayne) Hull is credited with some stories that came out from 1942-46 (coincidentally, van Vogt’s peak of productivity when it was a rule to use a pseudonym when more than one story by the same author appeared in the same issue) which resulted in a collection, fixup, and novel under that name or combined with van Vogt’s. Some believe she had a brief writing career (a notion van Vogt helped support) but others believe van Vogt essentially used the name as a pseudonym, much as John Campbell used his wife’s name Doña Stuart to create his Don A. Stuart pseudonym. Either way, all work credited to Hull appears in four books. Three stories published in Unknown appear in all editions of Out of the Unknown while a fourth ostensibly intended to be published there appears in the 1969 paperback edition. Five of the six Artur Blord stories originally published in Astounding appeared in the fixup Planets for Sale. The other (“Abdication” vt “The Invisibility Gambit”) and one other Astounding story credited to Hull (“Rebirth: Earth” vt “The Flight That Failed”) appear in The Proxy Intelligence with other van Vogt stories. Finally, the serial The Winged Man was published in Astounding and much later in revised book form. All four books are listed below.

I’ve tried very hard to include all information on a certain level and to make it accurate but there are bound to be errors. I’ll update this if anyone points out any or provides more information, or if I discover anything myself. I’ll then add a changelog of substantial changes at the end of the post to make it easy for people to be aware of them.

I’ve also tried to make this concise yet clear but, if it’s not, let me know and I’ll try to fix it.

Novels

Phase I

  • Slan. 1946 Arkham House hc. Slightly revised from 1940-09+3 Astounding. 1951 Simon & Schuster hc and 1968 Berkley pb both slightly revised.
  • The Weapon Makers (Weapon Shops #2). 1947 Hadley hc. Reprinted from 1943-02+2 Astounding. 1955 Ace double pb vt One Against Eternity.
  • The Book of Ptath. 1947 Fantasy Press hc. Reprinted from 1943-10 Unknown. 1964-07 Paperback Library pb vt Two Hundred Million A. D.; 1976-03 Zebra pb vt Ptath.
  • The World of Null-A (Null-A #1). 1948 Simon & Schuster hc vt The World of Ā (spelling used only on US hardcovers). Reprinted from 1945-08+2 Astounding.
  • The House That Stood Still. 1950 Greenberg hc. 1960 Beacon pb slightly revised, likely by other hands, vt The Mating Cry, which was used for subsequent reprints under the original title; 1976-06 Panther (UK) pb as The Undercover Aliens, which perhaps uses the original text.
  • The Universe Maker. 1953-10 Ace double pb. Expanded from the novella “The Shadow Men”* 1950-01 Startling.
  • The Pawns of Null-A (Null-A #2). 1956 Ace pb. Reprinted from 1948-10+3 Astounding vt The Players of Ā. 1966-03 Berkley vt The Players of Null-A.
  • The Mind Cage. 1957 Simon & Schuster hc. The short story “The Great Judge” (AB, {Transfinite}) was the seed for this.
  • The Wizard of Linn (Clane #2). 1962 Ace pb. Reprinted from 1950-04+2 Astounding.
  • The Winged Man. 1966-03 Doubleday hc as by A. E. van Vogt & E. Mayne Hull. Revised from 1944-05+1 Astounding as by E. Mayne Hull.

Phase II

  • Children of Tomorrow. 1970 Ace pb.
  • The Battle of Forever. 1971 Ace pb.
  • The Darkness on Diamondia. 1972-01 Ace pb.
  • Future Glitter. 1973-10 Ace pb; 1977-10 Sphere (UK) vt Tyranopolis.
  • The Secret Galactics. 1974-03 Prentice-Hall tp. 1976-08 DAW pb as Earth Factor X.
  • The Man with a Thousand Names. 1974-08 DAW pb.
  • The Anarchistic Colossus. 1977-04 Ace pb.
  • Renaissance. 1979-05 Ace pb. An excerpt with slightly modified ending was published essentially simultaneously as “Femworld”* 1979-06/07 Galaxy.
  • Cosmic Encounter. 1980-02 Doubleday hc.
  • Computerworld. 1983-11 DAW pb. 1985-07 DAW pb vt Computer Eye.
  • Null-A Three (Null-A #3). 1985-07 DAW pb.

Posthumous (essentially not by van Vogt)

  • Slan Hunter. 2007-07 Tor hc as by Kevin J. Anderson and A. E. van Vogt (written by Anderson from an outline by van Vogt and his step-son). Reprinted from 2006-12+2 Jim Baen’s Universe (bi-monthly).

 

Fixups

Phase I

  • The Voyage of the Space Beagle. 1950 Simon & Schuster hc. Components: “Black Destroyer” (1939-07 Astounding), “War of Nerves” (1950-05 Other Worlds), “Discord in Scarlet” (1939-12 Astounding), “M 33 in Andromeda” (1943-08 Astounding). 1952-01 Signet pb vt Mission: Interplanetary.
  • The Weapon Shops of Isher (Weapon Shops #1). 1951 Greenberg hc. Components: “The Seesaw”* (1941-07 Astounding), “The Weapon Shop” (1942-12 Astounding), “The Weapon Shops of Isher”* (1949-02 Thrilling Wonder).
  • The Mixed Men. 1952 Gnome hc. Components: “Concealment” (1943-09 Astounding), “Lost: Fifty Suns” (^1972 The Book of Van Vogt), “The Storm” (1943-09 Astounding), “The Mixed Men” (1945-01 Astounding). 1955-12 Berkley pb vt Mission to the Stars.
  • Planets for Sale. 1954 Frederick Fell hc as by E. Mayne Hull. Components: “Competition”* (1943-06 Astounding), “The Debt”* (1943-12 Astounding), “The Contract”* (1944-03 Astounding), “Enter the Professor”* (1945-01 Astounding), “Bankruptcy Proceedings”* (1946-08 Astounding) all as by E. Mayne Hull. 1965 Book Company of America pb as by A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull. (Incidentally, in addition to none of the Blord stories being collected individually, none were even anthologized except for “Competition” in Men Against the Stars, Martin Greenberg, ed.)
  • Empire of the Atom (Clane #1). 1957 Shasta hc. Components: “A Son Is Born” (1946-05 Astounding), “Child of the Gods” (1946-08 Astounding), “Hand of the Gods” (1946-12 Astounding), “Home of the Gods” (1947-04 Astounding), “The Barbarian” (1947-12 Astounding). 1957 Ace double pb slightly abridged.
  • The War Against the Rull. 1959-09 Simon & Schuster hc. Components: “Co-operate–Or Else!” (1942-04 Astounding), “Repetition” (1940-04 Astounding), “The Second Solution” (1942-10 Astounding), “The Green Forest” (1949-06 Astounding), “The Sound” (1950-02 Astounding), “The Rull” (1948-05 Astounding).
  • The Beast. 1963 Doubleday hc. Components: “The Great Engine” (1943-07 Astounding), “The Changeling” (1944-04 Astounding), “The Beast”* (1943-11 Astounding). 1969 Panther (UK) pb vt Moonbeast.
  • Rogue Ship. 1965 Doubleday hc. Components: “Centaurus II”* (1947-06 Astounding), “The Expendables” (1963-09 If), “Rogue Ship” vt “The Twisted Men” (1950-03 Super-Science Stories).

Phase II

  • The Silkie. 1969 Ace pb. Components: “Prologue to The Silkie” (^1976 The Best of A. E. van Vogt), “The Silkie”* (1964-07 If), “Silkies in Space” (1966-05 If), “Enemy of the Silkies”* (1967-10 If).
  • Quest for the Future. 1970-07 Ace pb. Components: “Film Library” (1946-07 Astounding), “The Search” (1943-01 Astounding), “Far Centaurus” (1944-01 Astounding). All three unrelated stories had been collected in AB and DU.
  • Supermind. 1977-01 DAW pb. Components: “Asylum” (1942-05 Astounding), “Research Alpha” (1965-07 If with James H. Schmitz), “The Proxy Intelligence” (1968-10 If). Two previously collected related stories were combined with the unrelated (and uncredited) collaboration with Schmitz which served in place of an unwritten third story, with the whole serving in place of an unwritten but contracted book.

Collections

Phase I

  • Out of the Unknown. 1948-04 Fantasy Press hc as by A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull. Six previously uncollected stories from 1940-43 Unknown with half credited to van Vogt and half to E. Mayne Hull: “The Sea Thing” (1940-01), “The Witch” (1943-02), “The Ghost” (1943-08), all as by A. E. van Vogt; “The “Ultimate Wish” (1943-02) originally as by E. M. Hull, “The Wishes We Make” (1943-06), “The Patient” (1943-10), both as by E. Mayne Hull. 1969 Powell pb adds an introduction by A. E. van Vogt and “The Wellwisher” as by E. Mayne Hull, which is included as a story scheduled for Unknown when the magazine shut down. 1970-06 Sigwick & Jackson (UK) hc vt The Sea Thing and Other Stories. 1970-10 NEL (UK) pb restores the title but cuts the intro, “The Witch”, and “The Patient”. Only “The Sea Thing” (Monsters) and “The Ghost” ({Transfinite}) appear in other collections.
  • Masters of Time. 1950 Fantasy Press hc. Two previously uncollected novellas from 1942-44 Astounding: “Recruiting Station” (1942-03, re-titled “Masters of Time” for this collection and later sometimes titled “Earth’s Last Fortress”) and “The Changeling” [Beast] (1944-04). The Fantasy Press edition is the only one, but the two parts were later published individually as Masters of Time and The Changeling, both 1967 Macfadden. The former also appears as half of a 1960 Ace double vt “Earth’s Last Fortress”, part of the UK-only collection The Three Eyes of Evil and Earth’s Last Fortress and, under its original title, in the collection {Transfinite}.
  • Away and Beyond. 1952 Pellegrini & Cudahy hc. Nine previously uncollected stories from 1940-48, all but one of which are from Astounding: “Vault of the Beast” (1940-08), “The Great Engine” [Beast] (1943-07), “The Great Judge” (1948-07 Fantasy Book), “Secret Unattainable” (1942-07), “The Harmonizer” (1944-11), “Heir Unapparent” (1945-07 vt “Heir Apparent”), “The Second Solution” [Rull] (1942-10), “Film Library” (1946-07), “Asylum” [Supermind] (1942-05). 1963-09 Panther (UK) pb cuts “Vault of the Beast”. 1952-09 Berkley pb cuts that and “Heir Unapparent”. (The Avon and Jove paperbacks are complete.) The latter story also appears in M 33 in Andromeda while the former is reprinted in Monsters, {TBO}, {FP}, and {Transfinite}. Further, {Transfinite} reprints everything else in this collection except (again) “Heir Unapparent” and “The Second Solution” [Rull], which is reprinted in {FP} and {Transgalactic}.
  • Destination: Universe!. 1952 Pellegrini & Cudahy hc. Ten previously uncollected stories from 1943-50, six of which were published in Astounding: “Far Centaurus” (1944-01), “The Monster” vt “Resurrection” (1948-08), “Dormant” (1948-11 Startling), “Enchanted Village” vt “The Sands of Mars” (1950-07 Other Worlds), “A Can of Paint” (1944-09), “Defense” (1947 Avon Fantasy Reader, No. 4), “The Rulers” (1944-03), “Dear Pen Pal” vt “Letter from the Stars” (1949-Wi Arkham Sampler), “The Sound” [Rull] (1950-02), “The Search” (1943-01). 1953-03 Signet pb and 1964-03 Berkley pb drop van Vogt’s introduction. “Monsters” and “Enchanted Village” are reprinted in Monsters, the former also in {TBO} (which also reprints “Dear Pen Pal”) and the latter also in {FP}. All but “Defense” are also reprinted in {Transfinite}, leaving that one unique to this collection.
  • The Twisted Men. 1964-01 Ace double pb. Three previously uncollected novelettes from 1949-51, two of which were published in Super Science Stories: “The Twisted Men” vt “Rogue Ship” [Rogue] (1950-03), “The Star-Saint” (1951-03 Planet Stories), “The Earth Killers” (1949-04). “The Star-Saint” is reprinted in PI and “The Earth Killers” is reprinted in FOW but the only other appearance of “The Twisted Men” is in fixup form.
  • Monsters. 1965-02 Paperback Library pb. Four previously uncollected stories (though two had appeared earlier in fixup form) from 1949-50, three of which were published in Astounding, and four reprints (one of which had been cut from an edition of AB): “Not Only Dead Men” (1942-11), “Final Command” (1949-11), “War of Nerves” [Space Beagle] (1950-05 Other Worlds), “Concealment” [Mixed Men] (1943-09), “Enchanted Village” vt “The Sands of Mars” (DU), “The Sea Thing” (OOTU), “Resurrection” vt “The Monster” (DU), “Vault of the Beast” (AB). 1976-08 Zebra pb vt The Blal drops Forrest J. Ackerman’s intro, and doesn’t credit him as editor. Monsters is also sometimes known as Science Fiction Monsters, but this title is only found on the cover and not the spine or title page. “Final Command” and “War of Nerves” [Space Beagle] later appear in {Transfinite}, with the latter also appearing in both TBOs. “Concealment” [Mixed Men] later appears in {Transgalactic}. “Not Only Dead Men” is unique to this collection.
  • The Far-Out Worlds of A. E. van Vogt. 1968-10 Ace pb. Eleven previously uncollected stories from 1941-51 and 1963-66 and one reprint: “The Replicators” (1965-02 If), “The First Martian” vt “This Joe” (1951-08 Marvel), “The Purpose” (1945-05 Astounding), “The Cataaaaa” (1947-07 Fantasy Book), “Automaton” vt “Dear Automaton” (1950-09 Other Worlds), “Itself!” (1963-07 Gamma 1), “Process” (1950-12 F&SF), “Not the First” (1941-04 Astounding), “Fulfillment” (1951-11 New Tales of Space and Time), “Ship of Darkness” (1948-02 Fantasy Book), “The Ultra Man” (1966-05 Worlds of Tomorrow) and “The Earth Killers” (TM). 1974-01 Ace pb vt The Worlds of A. E. van Vogt adds one previously uncollected story (other than in its fixup) and two stories that had been collected after the original release of FOW: “The Storm” [Mixed Men] (1943-10 Astounding), “The Expendables” [Rogue] (M33), “The Reflected Men” (MTS). Later reprints from the original contents are: “The Cataaaaa” ({TBO}) and “The Replicators”, “The First Martian” vt “This Joe”, and “Fulfillment” (all {FP}). From the additional contents: “The Storm” [Mixed Men] and “The Expendables” [Rogue] (both {TBO}, the former also in Transgalactic), and “The Reflected Men” (FP). The other seven are unique to this collection.
  • The Proxy Intelligence and Other Mind Benders. 1971-01 Paperback Library pb. Five previously uncollected stories (including one which had appeared in fixup form) from 1940-49 and 1968 and one reprint. “The Proxy Intelligence” [Supermind] (1968-10 If), “The Problem Professor” aka “Project Spaceship” (1949-08 Thrilling Wonder), “Rebirth: Earth” vt “The Flight That Failed” as by A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull (1942-12 Astounding as by E. Mayne Hull), “The Gryb” [Rull] vt “Repetition” (1940-04 Astounding), “The Invisibility Gambit” vt “Abdication” as by A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull (1943-04 Astounding as by E. Mayne Hull), “The Star-Saint” (TM). 1976-05 Zebra pb vt The Gryb replaces “The Proxy Intelligence” with “Humans, Go Home!” (MTS). “The Proxy Intelligence” [Supermind] is a sequel to “Asylum” [Supermind] (AB) and is reprinted in both TBOs. The other stories first collected in this are also unique to it with “The Invisibility Gambit” vt “Abdication” being notable as the only Artur Blord story not fixed up into Planets for Sale.
  • M 33 in Andromeda. 1971-04 Paperback Library pb. Five previously uncollected stories (though all but one had appeared in fixups) from 1939-46 Astounding and 1963 and one reprint (which had been cut from an edition of AB): “Siege of the Unseen” vt “The Chronicler” vt “The Three Eyes of Evil” (1946-10), “Discord in Scarlet” [Space Beagle] (1939-12), “M 33 in Andromeda” [Space Beagle] (1943-08), “The Expendables” [Rogue] (1963-09 If), “Heir Unapparent” vt “Heir Apparent” (AB), “The Weapon Shop” [Weapon Shops] (1942-12). “Siege of the Unseen” had appeared as half of a 1959 Ace double but this was its first appearance in a collection. It was only reprinted in the all-reprint {3EE}. Other stories reprinted later are “Discord in Scarlet” [Rull] ({Transfinite}), “The Expendables” [Rogue] (the “Worlds” version of FOW and {TBO}), and “The Weapon Shop” [Weapon Shops] (also {TBO}). “M 33 in Andromeda” [Space Beagle] is unique.

Phase II

  • More Than Superhuman. 1971-05 Dell pb. Six previously uncollected (and recently written) stories from 1965-71: “Humans, Go Home!” (1969-09 Galaxy), “The Reflected Men” (1971-02 Galaxy), “All the Loving Androids” (original), “Laugh, Clone, Laugh” (1969 The Science Fiction Worlds of Forest J. Ackerman, with Forest J. Ackerman), “Research Alpha” [Supermind] (1965-07 If, with James H. Schmitz), “Him” (1969-01 Spaceway). “Humans, Go Home!” is reprinted in the Gryb version of PI and “The Reflected Men” is reprinted in the Worlds version of FOW and {FP}.
  • The Book of van Vogt. 1972-04 DAW pb. Seven previously uncollected stories (two from fixups) from 1947, 1952, and 1971-72, four of which are original: “The Timed Clock”, “The Confession”, “The Rat and the Snake” (1971-01/02 Witchcraft & Sorcery), “The Barbarian” [Atom] (1947-12 Astounding), “Ersatz Eternal”, “The Sound of Wild Laughter”, “Lost: Fifty Suns” [Mixed Men] (1952 The Mixed Men). 1979-09 DAW pb vt Lost: Fifty Suns. “The Sound of Wild Laughter” receives a sequel novel with The Secret Galactics. “The Barbarian” [Atom] is reprinted in {Transgalactic}. “Lost: Fifty Suns” [Mixed Men] was original material in its fixup but is broken out as an independent story for the first time.
  • The Best of A. E. van Vogt. 1974-05 Sphere (UK) pb (apparently beating the hardcover from Sidgwick & Jackson (UK) by six months). UK-only collection of four previously uncollected stories (three from fixups) from 1944-49 Astounding and 1966 and nine reprints: “Juggernaut” (1944-08), “Hand of the Gods” [Atom] (1946-12), “The Green Forest” [Rull] (1949-06), “Silkies in Space” [Silkies] (1966-05 If), “Vault of the Beast” (AB), “The Weapon Shop” [Weapon Shops] (M33), “The Storm” [Mixed Men] (Worlds), “The Cataaaaa” (FOW), “The Monster” vt “Resurrection” (DU), “Dear Pen Pal” vt “Letter from the Stars” (DU), “War of Nerves” [Space Beagle] (Monsters), “The Expendables” [Rogue] (M33), “The Proxy Intelligence” [Supermind] (PI). 1979-03 Sphere pb splits this into two volumes. Of the previously uncollected stories, “Hand of the Gods” reappears in {Transgalactic}.
  • The Best of A. E. van Vogt. 1976-07 Pocket pb. Bizarrely selected collection of six previously uncollected stories (three from fixups) from 1947-48 and 1964-74, two reprints, plus an intro, outro, and three essays by van Vogt, as well as an intro by Barry N. Malzberg: “Don’t Hold Your Breath” (1973-07 Saving Worlds), “All We Have on This Planet” (1974-10 Stopwatch), “War of Nerves” [Space Beagle] (Monsters), “The Rull” [Rull] (1948-05 Astounding), “Future Perfect” (1973-08 Vertex), “Home of the Gods” [Atom] (1947-04 Astounding), “Prologue to The Silkie” [Silkie] (1969 The Silkie), “The Proxy Intelligence” [Supermind] (PI). Of the previously uncollected stories, “Don’t Hold Your Breath”, “The Rull”, and “Future Perfect” were reprinted in {Transfinite} and “Home of the Gods” was reprinted in {Transgalactic}. The excerpt from The Silkie and “Don’t Hold Your Breath” (1973) are unique to this collection.
  • Pendulum. 1978-12 DAW pb. Contains seven previously uncollected stories (six original) from 1971 and 1978 and an article: “Pendulum”, “The Male Condition”, “Living with Jane”, “The First Rull”, “Footprint Farm”, “The Non-Aristotelian Detective”, “The Human Operators” (1971-01 F&SF with Harlan Ellison). All are unique to this collection with the allowance that “The Human Operators” had been collected in Ellison’s Partners in Wonder and “The First Rull” was added to a 1999 Orb edition of The War Against the Rull.

Redundant

  • The Three Eyes of Evil and Earth’s Last Fortress. 1973-06 Sidgwick & Jackson (title is reversed for the paperback edition). This UK-only volume reprints “Siege of the Unseen” vt “The Three Eyes of Evil” (M33) and “Masters of Time” vt “Earth’s Last Fortress” (MOT).
  • The Universe Maker and The Proxy Intelligence. 1976-08 Sidgwick & Jackson (second title dropped from the paperback edition). This UK-only volume prints The Universe Maker with “The Proxy Intelligence” [Supermind] (PI).

Posthumous (and largely redundant)

  • Futures Past: The Best Short Fiction of A. E. van Vogt. 1999-10 Tachyon hc (in a limited printing of 1,000 trade paperbacks and 126 hardcovers). One previously uncollected story (from a fixup) and seven reprints: “Co-operate–Or Else!” [Rull] (1942-04 Astounding), “Enchanted Village” (DU), “The Second Solution” [Rull] and “Vault of the Beast” (both AB), “The First Martian” vt “This Joe”, “Fulfillment”, and “The Replicators” (all FOW), and “The Reflected Men” (MTS). “Co-operate–Or Else!” appears again in {Transgalactic}.
  • Transfinite: The Essential A. E. van Vogt. 2003-04 NESFA hc. One previously uncollected story (from a fixup) and twenty-four reprints. This would be an omnibus of the story contents of four books (if the fixup nature of The Voyage of the Space Beagle is ignored) but for the substitution of five stories (two being cut from one book and one from the rest). It includes 7/9 of Away and Beyond (skipping “Heir Unapparent” and “The Second Solution”), 9/10 of Destination: Universe (skipping “Defense”), 3/4 of The Voyage of the Space Beagle (skipping “M 33 in Andromeda”), 1/2 of Masters of Time (skipping “The Changeling” and reprinting “Masters of Time” under the title “Recruiting Station”). The five replacments are: the Phase I stories “The Ghost” (OOTU), “Final Command” (Monsters) and “The Rull” [Rull] and the Phase II stories “Future Perfect” and “Don’t Hold Your Breath” (the last three all from TBO). Bizarrely, “Black Destroyer” [Space Beagle] (1939-07 Astounding) appears as an independent story in a van Vogt collection for the first time, though it of course appeared in its fixup and appeared independently in multiple essential anthologies such as Adventures in Time and Space, From Wells to Heinlein, and The Great Science Fiction Stories #1.
  • Transgalactic. 2006-10 Baen tp. Three previously uncollected stories (all from fixups) from 1945-46 Astounding and eight reprints (including a novel). This collects the magazine versions of material incorporated into the three fixups of The Mixed Men, the Ezwal subset of The War Against the Rull (“Co-operate–Or Else!” and “The Second Solution”), and Empire of the Atom, plus the latter’s serial sequel, The Wizard of Linn. See the books above for details. Of this material, “A Son Is Born” [Atom] (1946-05), “Child of the Gods” [Atom] (1946-08), and “The Mixed Men” [Mixed Men] (1945-01) are collected in this form for the first time. However, of this material, only “The Second Solution” [Rull] (AB) and “Concealment” [Mixed Men] (Monsters) had appeared in “Phase I” collections.

Uncollected Stories

Despite all the above, some stories never made it into any van Vogt book, at least in their original forms (though all but one of the early fugitives did appear in the fixups or expansions detailed above). The following list excludes various excerpts, condensations, round-robins, etc., and only lists things that were, or were billed as, actual stories. (It also doesn’t repeat the several Blord stories credited to Hull which are fully detailed above in Planets for Sale.) If a story was reprinted in an anthology, that’s listed after its original publication. Only “Seesaw” was anthologized more than once and, for it, I just picked the anthology I think is best. Since van Vogt’s last collection in his lifetime was 1978, I classify the last few stories as “post-collection era” stories.

Phase I

  • “The Seesaw” [Weapon Shops] (1941-07 Astounding) The Great Science Fiction Stories #3, Asimov/Greenberg, eds.
  • “The Beast” [Beast] (1943-11 Astounding)
  • “Centaurus II” [Rogue] (1947-06 Astounding)
  • “The Weapon Shops of Isher” [Weapon Shops] (1949-02 Thrilling Wonder)
  • “The Shadow Men” [Universe Maker] (1950-01 Startling)
  • “Haunted Atoms” (1951-Sp 10 Story Fantasy.)

Phase II

  • “The Silkie” [Silkie] (1964-07 If) The If Reader of Science Fiction, Pohl, ed.
  • “Enemy of the Silkies” [Silkie] (1967-10 If)
  • “Death Talk” (1978 Pulsar 1, Hay, ed.; reprinted in 1981-12 Fantasy Book)
  • “Carthing” (1970-11 Quark/1, Delany/Hacker, eds.)

Post-Collection Era

  • “Identity” (1978 Chattacon SF Convention Booklet) The Survival of Freedom, Carr/Pournelle, eds.
  • “Femworld” [Renaissance] (^1979-06/07 Galaxy)
  • “The Dream of the Sorceress (1980-11 Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn, Aspirin, ed.)
  • “The Brain” (1985-Wi Weird Tales.)
  • “Prologue to Freedom” (1986-11 Worlds of If) Lamps on the Brow, Cahill, ed.

Birthday Reviews: Niven, van Vogt, Williamson

This week’s birthdays include some especially high-magnitude stars in the SF firmament and bring us one pretty hard SF story and two that are very much not. Twice we go to Mars where non-Martian aliens have set up amazing superscience gizmos and once we take a trip to the Lesser Magellanic to try to find fifty lost suns.

Larry Niven (1938-04-30)

“The Hole Man” (Analog, January 1974)

Captain Childrey is a neat freak who is leading the expedition of the Percival Lowell to Mars. Astrophysicist Andrew Lear is a slob who discovers an abandoned base put on Mars by interstellar visitors ages ago. Lear believes it’s powered by a quantum black hole. Childrey does not and mockingly calls Lear “the hole man” in the sense of having a hole between his ears. The expedition does not go well.

This is a hard SF story with a strong human interest. The science fictional parts are engaging and well done but the problem with the story is that it’s deadly serious, but has a flippant tone which never really changes. That tone makes for enjoyable reading in the course of the story, but seems like a weakness in retrospect. Still, the ideas and execution of the tale are otherwise excellent from its great opening hook (“One day Mars will be gone.”) on to its personal and celestial conclusions.

A. E. van Vogt (1912-04-26–2000-01-26)

“Concealment” (Astounding, September 1943)

It’s kind of funny that van Vogt is known for his fixups (novels built up out of previously published stories) and that SF frequently suffers from infodumps when this reads like it went the opposite direction, seeming like an excerpt from a novel, and generally has the opposite of infodumps, being very cryptically in media res. It does go on to form the prologue to one of my favorite overlooked van Vogt books: The Mixed Men aka Mission to the Stars.

In it, the Imperial Earth battleship Star Cluster blazes past a “meteorite” weather station (for detecting and charting space storms of vast dimensions and durations) in the Lesser Magellanic where Gisser Watcher immediately destroys himself and his station to keep the knowledge of the locations of the Fifty Suns hidden from Earth. Mere atomic annihilation is not enough, of course, as Earth has matter transmission technology and the crew of the ship uses something akin to that to simply reconstitute him and his station after they’ve reversed course. What follows is a battle between Watcher and Grand Captain Laurr (Gloria Cecily) and her crew to hide or find the Fifty Suns that were established outside Earth’s control 15,000 years ago. Mental technology is brought to bear on Watcher, which initially has some effect but not much, as the Chief Psychologist says he’s resisted her attempt with mental power like one with an IQ of 800 despite initially having an “average” IQ of 167. As if that weren’t enough, his Dellian training gives him techniques to achieve heightened super-strength in the same way he can achieve heightened super-intelligence, which comes into play when things get physical at the end.

Basically, it’s all here: if you don’t like van Vogt, then you probably won’t like this; if you do, you probably will. In about fifteen pages, you get a concrete and literal milieu of fifteen millennia, multiple galaxies, multiple star systems (including one with ninety-four planets), and you get super-minds and super-strength, with cryptic openings (Lady Laurr is introduced as “she” and only given a plethora of names after a couple of pages) and abrupt, numinous endings. And this is just one story, and just the start of the book. Bigger, better, faster, more! Preposterous? Yes. Fun? Yes!

Jack Williamson (1908-04-29–2006-11-10)

“Nonstop to Mars” (Argosy, February 14, 1939)

When I saw it was time to celebrate Jack Williamson’s birthday, I thought I should really review one of his serious classics such as “With Folded Hands” but I kind of knew I wouldn’t be able to resist re-reading “Nonstop to Mars,” especially after the van Vogt.

Now that the cathion rockets have begun to take over, a guy like Carter “Lucky” Leigh is a bit outmoded, along with his career of flying planes nonstop from place to place for publicity and sponsorships. Things got even worse last time, as he was circumnavigating the Earth from Pole to Pole but got pushed out of the news by the “Stellar Shell” or the strange object that came into the system from Beyond and threatened to hit Earth, but actually landed on Mars. And they get worse still on his current flight from Capetown to Honolulu as weird atmospheric conditions and some strange sort of tornado damages his plane and forces him to make an emergency landing on a South Pacific islet. He’s surprised to get an answer to his distress call from a scientist on the islet and is even more surprised when the scientist turns out to be a woman. Not only that, but the woman is Dr. Elene Gayle, the very one who discovered the Stellar Shell and she has a dislike of publicity hounds – her boyfriend is a noble altruistic rocket pilot.

Some time goes by as they uncomfortably help one another and argue. Atmospheric conditions worsen and Gayle becomes convinced that her worst fears are true: the Stellar Shell was an alien ship and the aliens are using the tornado tunnel between planets to siphon Earth’s atmosphere to Mars. The Earth is likely doomed. Then Gayle’s boyfriend and another scientist arrive to take Gayle back to the mainland, leaving Leigh to take care of himself. He sets upon a plan that is bold, to say the least. In the final third of the novelette, he repairs his plane and, when the islet rotates under the siphoning vortex again, he takes it into the maelstrom for an unforgettable voyage which is only the first of his great challenges.

The history of science fiction is a bit askew in that “the 30s” really run from about 1926-1938 and “the 40s” run from about 1939-1949 but, despite this tale’s 1939 date, it really is “a 30s story.” The characterization of Leigh and the depiction of his life and skills are very good but the relationship of Leigh and Gayle is much like that of Hammond and Burlingame in Weinbaum’s recently reviewed “Parasite Planet” (1935) and the science obviously, um, strains belief. What’s remarkable is how Williamson manages to introduce even an atom of plausibility to it and how it’s so breathtakingly audacious that it’s all worth it, regardless. Preposterous? Yes. Fun? Yes!

Top Ten Most-Read Authors

The “Top 10 Monday” at Thrice Read was on “Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From.” I don’t guess this is a “tag” and I don’t usually (ever?) play on them anyway but I got curious and ended up making the list and jotting some comments (that got increasingly out of hand the more I got excited). I don’t do the Goodreads thing so I just had to cobble the list together as best I could. The result isn’t a list of “favorite” authors but it certainly includes a lot who would be on such a list. It is also composed almost entirely of older authors with all that entails mainly because some newer authors haven’t had as much time to accumulate.

The list has eleven authors because I originally thought Spinrad and Dick were tied at #10 with eighteen but then I remembered I’d read Radio Free Albemuth but didn’t feel like deleting Spinrad because of that. Though I have another Spinrad novel and a non-fiction work in the Pile, I still have three PKD novels and a collection (it’s a big Pile), so he’d still be behind. Speaking of non-fiction, the numbers for Heinlein, Clarke, and Asimov would go up if counting non-fiction.

11. Norman Spinrad (18)

Spinrad’s peak for me was from Bug Jack Barron (1969) to Child of Fortune (1985), with Bug Jack Barron, The Iron Dream (1972), and The Void Captain’s Tale (1983) (along with the novella Riding the Torch (1974)) being the essential long Spinrad works. The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde (1970) is an essential collection and No Direction Home (1975) isn’t bad, either. Spinrad’s a New Wave guy and The Iron Dream savagely parodies SF&F archetypes by presenting the novel as written by Hitler and The Void Captain’s Tale is a kind of “art space opera” which is thickly stylistically experimental. So absolutely not my kinds of things but Spinrad is just amazing anyway.

10. Philip K. Dick (19)

PKD is overrated and overread (if only because he’s so highly rated and widely read) but I do love Martian Time-Slip (1964), The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), and Ubik (1969) and like some others. His “Collected Stories” (five volumes, of which I’ve read four) also contain a lot of great stuff. He’s a brain-bending beatnick who grapples with the nature of reality, the dehumanization of automation, and god and insanity.

09. Roger Zelazny (20)

Roger Zelazny is now probably most famous for fantasy novels and the things he ought to be famous for are pyrotechnic SF(-ish) stories. Another sort of new-wavy guy with a lush style and vivid imagination. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of his stuff but love a lot of it, too. The early novels (excluding the expanded versions of excellent novellas) are pretty good, but his collections are where it’s at. Four for Tomorrow (1967) only contains two stories not repeated in The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories (1971) and both are still essential, as are My Name Is Legion (1976) and even The Last Defender of Camelot (1980) and Unicorn Variations (1983).

08. Arthur C. Clarke (23)

Clarke is another guy I’ve gotten rid of a lot of. His very earliest novels are too much like travelogues and such of his later novels as I’ve read seem a little tired but the run of SF novels from Childhood’s End (1953) to 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) (excepting Imperial Earth (1975)) is excellent. I’ve also read and enjoyed most of his collections before replacing them with The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke (2000) which would have to be essential even if a story or two slipped through the cracks. One of the few hard SF writers who seem to also make literary folks at least somewhat happy.

07. Robert Silverberg (24)

Robert Silverberg was a story factory in the 50s. I’ve read very little from that period but have vague but fond recollections (those are not from the 50s) of Master of Life and Death (1957). His critically esteemed period began when Frederik Pohl, who’d recently become sole editor of Galaxy and If, made him a deal in about 1963. This manifested in book form by 1967. So Silverberg also became a sort of new New Waver. Probably the most successful novel of that period was Dying Inside (1972). But again, for me, the stories were the peak and probably the essential single book would be Beyond the Safe Zone (1986), which is an omnibus of Unfamiliar Territory (1973), The Feast of St. Dionysus (1975), and Capricorn Games (1976) which, along with Born with the Dead (1974) and the stories fixed up into The World Inside (1971), collect the vast bulk of his stories from 1970 to his brief retirement period of about 1976-79. Later in 1979, he began serializing the superficially sunnier fantasy-tinged Lord Valentine’s Castle (1980) which is nevertheless SF filled with dark undercurrents. Regardless, it’s an excellent book and became the start of a series for which he may now be best known.

06. Fritz Leiber (24)

Fritz Leiber is the protean master of everything. He’s a very good SF writer in addition to being one of the very best in both fantasy and horror. I’ve never read his Burroughs pastiche, Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), and think A Specter is Haunting Texas (1968) is only okay while The Silver Eggheads (1962) is very nearly bad (and maybe a couple of his collections aren’t perfect) but you can’t go wrong with anything else. His Changewar series is one of the major time travel series in SF and his Fafhrd & Grey Mouser/Lankhmar series is a cornerstone of fantasy, while a huge number of stories and novels like Conjure Wife (1943) and Our Lady of Darkness (1977) are important to horror. I have a special fondness for a couple of relatively neglected works. One is a solipsistic mildly nightmarish tale that appears in various forms under various titles such as You’re All Alone and The Sinful Ones (c.1953, either version is good) and the other is a bit of exhilarating slapstick weirdness called The Green Millennium (1953).

05. A. E. van Vogt (25)

A. E. van Vogt. What can you say? People tend to view Campbell’s Astounding as monolithic but there was a great deal of variety throughout, manifested most obviously by the colorful overreaching towards transcendence of van Vogt amidst the cool reason of Asimov and the folksy groundedness of Heinlein. It would be easy for a critic (such as Damon Knight) to trash van Vogt but a more admirable critical task would be to analyze exactly how he managed to create such worlds that mesmerized generations of readers with such unconventional materials and methods. As Dick said,

Damon feels that it’s bad artistry when you build those funky universes where people fall through the floor. It’s like he’s viewing a story the way a building inspector would when he’s building your house. But reality really is a mess, and yet it’s exciting. The basic thing is, how frightened are you of chaos? And how happy are you with order? Van Vogt influenced me so much because he made me appreciate a mysterious chaotic quality in the universe which is not to be feared.

Van Vogt’s career went in at least two phases. From 1939 to about 1951, he poured forth a mighty torrent of stories and novels. Then (perhaps due to his penchant for odd systems of promised empowerment) he became involved in Dianetics (not Scientology) and basically quit writing except to “fix up” a bunch of stories into sorts of novels. In book form, this covers stuff from basically 1946 to 1968. The dynamic Frederik Pohl struck once again, getting van Vogt to write new stuff from about 1963 which manifested in books from 1969 on. I’m not very familiar with the later phase but almost anything from the earlier phase is fantastic. Again, while the Weapon Shops and Null books and things like The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950) are famous (and rightly so) I also feel like mentioning my appreciation for a somewhat less famous early fixup, The Mixed Men (1952, aka Mission to the Stars).

04. Poul Anderson (27)

Poul Anderson is an odd writer for me. Works such as Brain Wave (1954) and Tau Zero (1970, an all-time favorite) as well as The Enemy Stars (1958) and The High Crusade (1960) are classics and quite various in content. (He’s also very highly regarded as a fantasist and I have a couple in the Pile but haven’t read any.) He’s written innumerable stories of equally wide variety and high caliber. His Polesotechnic League/Terran Empire future history series, featuring Nicholas van Rijn, David Falkayn, and Dominic Flandry, is very good. So I’ve read a lot of Anderson books and enjoyed a lot. But I’ve also gotten rid of several and he’s definitely a guy who wrote too much with a lot of stuff rarely less than serviceable but often not much more than that. And (kind of like the often excellent Jack Williamson) he seems to lack, for me, some sort of pizzazz or spark or whatever many of my very favorite writers have. Nevertheless, at his best he’s very good.

03. C. J. Cherryh (35, maybe 37)

C. J. Cherryh’s well known for fantasy works and has written excellent singletons of a more or less science-fictional nature such as Wave Without a Shore (1981) and has written stories (even winning her first Hugo for one) but (at least until the Foreigner series) she was best known for the series of novels set in her Union/Alliance universe and particularly those at the core of it, running from the Hugo-winning Downbelow Station (1981) to Finity’s End (1997). She can be a difficult author, writing complex, claustrophobic, tough tales and, indeed, I read a book eons ago, then another couple fewer eons ago, before she finally clicked for me while giving her yet another try (which included a re-read of Downbelow Station). Then again, some folks dive right in with no problem. Either way, she’s a superb science-fictional anthropologist with a great knack for creating aliens and putting hapless humans in their midst. Also, for such a space-oriented author who doesn’t usually focus on specific hard sciences, she nevertheless plays closer to the rules of the universe than most authors. In addition to Downbelow Station and the other core Merchanter works, some of my favorites of hers are The Faded Sun trilogy (1978-79, really one big novel published in three parts) and the Heavy Time/Hellburner duo (1991-92) except that those two really need a third book. I also especially like both the original trilogy and the belated sequel that make up her “science fantasy” Morgaine Saga. In fact, aside from shared-world stuff and post-1988 fantasies, I’ve read all her stuff until around 1992 when it gets more sporadic and the only one of those I really didn’t care for was Hestia (1979), though Brothers of Earth (1976) might be my next least favorite. Basically, it’s all good. I’m sure the Foreigner stuff is too but I read either the first volume or first trilogy in the series (which is why I’m not sure of the count for Cherryh) and I just didn’t feel like getting involved with that.

02. Robert A. Heinlein (40)

Heinlein and Asimov. Basically, if you don’t know who they are, go find out. If you don’t love one or both of them, I’m afraid we can’t be friends. (I kid. Sort of.) When I was younger, I actually liked all Heinlein but he definitely breaks into two clear phases with a fuzzy phase between. His late phase (which I mark from 1970-1988) didn’t survive either my getting older or my re-reading them or both. Friday (1982) comes closest to the early magic. The middle phase, basically from 1961-1970 is very choppy but does include a couple of Hugo winners, a late and brief addition to the Future History stories and the much-belated publication of both of the two related stories that make up Orphans of the Sky (1963). But it’s the early phase of 1939-1959 that is nearly solid gold. This period includes virtually all the Future History stories and juvenile novels as well as many other independent stories and novels. All the virtues of Heinlein and almost none of the vices are present in those masterpieces of science fiction.

01. Isaac Asimov (44)

While I’m not going to argue with anyone who prefers Heinlein, my personal favorite is Asimov. Partly, this is nostalgic and honorary in the sense that I recall reading The Foundation Trilogy (1951-53 from 40s stories) and having my brain irrevocably altered. But leaving that aside, he’s still my favorite for his clear prose, imaginative scope, embrace of logic and reason, and sense of humor.

He preferred his Robot stories and I prefer his Foundation stories but I love both and they’re both essential. His work divides into early (1939-59) and late (1982-1992) with a couple of books and several stories between and many people disregard the late period, including the Robot and Foundation sequels. Even I will admit that they aren’t as essential but at least the first of the new works, Foundation’s Edge (1982) and The Robots of Dawn (1983), while different from the earlier titles, are still very good and none are bad.

I’d also make a pitch for the often slighted trio of Empire novels (1950-52) which, after all, are important precursors (and, ultimately, connective elements) between the Robots and the Foundation. Even considered as stand-alones, they really captured my young imagination. Paradoxically, I put off reading his six Lucky Starr juveniles (1952-58) until my imagination was no longer especially young. Asimov lacks Heinlein’s easy rapport with youth so they don’t stand up to his juveniles, but they’re still pretty good. (On the other hand, I read one “Norby” book when I was young but I believe they were basically written by Janet Asimov and targeted at people much younger than I, and I have never had any interest in reading more. Also, while both Silverberg and Asimov are on this list, I didn’t care for the one book I read of the several in which Silverberg expanded Asimov stories into novels.)

More important than those (if not as essential as Robots and Foundation) are The Gods Themselves (1972) and The End of Eternity (1955), as well as the story collections which include great works like “Nightfall” and “The Last Question” (usually along with chatty, amusing, informative introductions to the volumes and stories).