van Vogt, A.E.

The World of Null-A was the first hardcover science fiction novel published after World War II (Simon & Schuster, 1948). It won the Manuscripters Club Award. It was listed by the New York area library association among the hundred best novels of 1948. The World of Null-A has been translated into 9 languages, and when first published, created the French Science Fiction Market all by itself - according to Jacques Sadoul, editor of Editions OPTA. The World of Null-A finished second in the Retro Hugo award voting for Best Novel of 1945 presented in 1996 at L.A.con III.

For many years, two quotes appeared on the paperback editions of this novel. "Without doubt one of the most exciting, continuously complex and richly patterned science fiction novels ever written!" - Groff Conklin; and "One of those once-in-a-decade classics!" - John Campbell. However the novel was the subject of an extended critical essay by fellow author and critic Damon Knight. In "Cosmic Jerrybuilder: A. E. van Vogt", Knight writes that "far from being a 'classic' by any reasonable standard, The World of Ā is one of the worst allegedly-adult science fiction stories ever published.”

The Ā symbol was replaced by 'Null - A’ in later publications to reduce costs and completely removed from the 1970 revision by van Vogt.

   

                                  Simon and Schuster - First Edition, 3rd print                                              Grosset & Dunlap - Reprint (1950)                                       Easton Press Edition

‘Slan' was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction (September – December 1940) and subsequently published in hardcover in 1946 by Arkham House, in an edition of 4,051 copies. In 2016, Slan was awarded the Retro-Hugo Award for Best Novel for 1941.Probably van Vogt’s most popular novel.

     

                Weidenfeld - First Edition Hardcover                                            Easton Press Edition - signed                                               Doubleday  - BOC Edition Hardcover             

   

           Eyre and Spottiswoode - First Edition Hardcover                                  Grayson - First Edition Hardcover                                            NESFA Press - First Edition

 This is the vintage first UK edition by A.E. van Vogt, published in 1952. The story itself has quite a few popular references, not the least of which includes Stephen King in both ‘Firestarter’ and 'Golden Years’ and Paul F. Wilson’s ‘Repairman Jack’ series. A popular quote in the book is an NRA favourite: "The right to buy weapons is the right to be free”, and another “People always have the kind of government they want. When they want change, they must change it.”  Seems pretty relevant given our current times,  the book itself is actually a classic example of Libertarian SF. It was followed by a sequel ‘The Weapon Makers’.

Aside from the actual story this copy features a quaint publishers blurb on the back which really shows its age:

'Science Fiction has gained enormous popularity in recent years both in America and on the Continent of Europe. It is as yet little known in England, and with this …’ . 

Amazing how things change! 

   

                                                                                                                                                                                                       TPB

                        

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