Monday, February 07, 2011

Man Beyond Man - Alexei Panshin

"The Early Stories of A.E. van Vogt"


" It was the novelet "Black Destroyer," his second science fiction story, which convinced Campbell that this "Alfred Vogt" -- as he would address him at the outset -- wasn't just another highly promising beginner who required tutoring and guidance. On the basis of this singular story, it became evident to the editor that this 26-year-old from Winnipeg -- just two years younger than Campbell himself -- had already arrived as a wild imaginative talent unmatched in science fiction.

Van Vogt demonstrated in "Black Destroyer" that the apparent virtues of his first effort had been neither an illusion nor a fluke. His new story had the very same strengths: Once again, he started his story with a dynamic and gripping first line -- "On and on Coeurl prowled!" -- and then hurtled along from there. Once again, he asked the reader to identify with the drives and purposes of a powerful alien creature. And once again, he offhandedly mixed together a multiplicity of SF concepts, any one of which another writer might have thought more than sufficient to serve as the basis for a story.

But this time his plot was more integrated. Better than that -- unlike "Vault of the Beast" and its model, "Who Goes There?", which still retained overtones of the conventional Techno Age alien invasion story -- "Black Destroyer" had a situation that was completely new and different."

5 out of 5