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A Forgotten Classic
on 25 June 2009
Van Vogt is a fairly rated writer among SF officianados, and at the time of its release, this novel was well received. Philip Dick picked him as the model for his early writing and says repeatedly in his autobiographs that Vogt is one of his favourite SF writers, and this book, one of his favourite SF novels: high praise in deed from one of the finest writers of the 20th century. If that isnt reason enough to check it out, then i dont know what might convince. Personally, i prefer PKD's work, however, you can feel many of the elements of his style in this little novel, from the tongue-in-cheek naming, to the twists and turns of the plot.
Overall, the writing is action orientated, fast paced, and because of that, pretty damn exciting. I finished the book in a handful of hours and was a bit disappointed that the ending felt premature. In Van Vogts defense, few SF books of the time (40s) ran to more than 300 pages, and some publishers even used to cut a book at 200 or so pages, irrelevant of how it was setup, or where the end should lay. One reviewer here claims that the characters are one dimensional, and im not sure i could totally disagree with them, but they over state themselves by comparing the character quality to X-men, of all things, it is far better than that.
Give it a chance, and if you can pick it up secondhand, i would do so, save you moaning about it when you realize it isnt Stross, or god forbid, Banks. No, this is definitely a forgotten classic, influentially, interesting, relevant, well written, and certainly as good as Wells et al.