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Slan: A Novel Paperback – June 26, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0312852368 ISBN-10: 0312852363

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books (June 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312852363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312852368
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Slan is legendary science fiction author A. E. Van Vogt's first and best-known novel, back in print from Tor Books's Orb imprint. The story is classic golden age science fiction: Jommy Cross is a slan, a genetically bred superhuman whose race was created to aid humanity but is now despised by "normal" humans. Slans are usually shot on sight, but that doesn't stop Jommy's mother from bringing him to see the world capital of Centropolis, the seat of power for Earth's dictator, Kier Gray. But on their latest trip to Centropolis, the two slans are discovered, and Jommy's mother is killed. Jommy, only 9 years old, unwittingly becomes caught up in a plot to undermine Gray, who may be more sympathetic to slans than the public suspects. The nonstop action and root-for-the-underdog plot has made Slan a science fiction favorite.

From Library Journal

One of the landmark novels of the genre, Van Vogt's 1940 tale follows the "Slan," a new breed of telepathic humans and their search for a society free from persecution. Essential for all libraries.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

It is considered a classic Science Fiction novel.
Arthur W. Jordin
While the plot runs too fast, the narrative becomes boring and it's awfully easy to get distracted and then lose the thread, given the rapid pace of events.
I was fortunate enough to read this book forty years ago. it was one of my favorites and have not read our since.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Dave_42 on June 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Slan" is A. E. van Vogt's first novel. It was published in book form in 1946 by Arkham House, but the story originally appeared in the pages of Astounding Magazine in 1940. It was a highly rated classic of Science Fiction for more than 25 years after it originally appeared, but today it is often forgotten along with many of the early classics. In 1949 it was tied for 4th on the Arkham Survey of 'Basic SF Titles'. It ranked 2nd on the Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll in 1952, 5th, in 1956, and 3rd in 1966.

It is the story of a mutant race of humanity (Slan) who are stronger, smarter, and are telepathic. In the story we are told that the name Slan is derived from Samuel Lann who is purported to be the creator of the race. At the start, the Slan are hunted by humanity to be destroyed, and through the course of events we learn the history of the race, as well as the truth behind the crimes of which they are accused.

The story is told through the eyes of two of the Slan. The first is Jommy Cross who is nine years old when the story commences, and who is becomes isolated from any other Slan when his mother is captured. The second Slan is Kathleen Layton, who is a prisoner of the government and being held for observation.

This is an excellent book, which holds up well 60+ years later. It is fast paced, and definitely worth reading.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By "phyed-rautha" on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Slan is a great exemple of practically a perfect simple-plot , one-hero , sci-fi story.
Now , before you're clicking "not helpfull" , you have to understand that you are used to a writing style that has taken over the sci-fi scene in the 40's and 50's. A style led by John w.Campbell , and writers like Asimov , Clarck and Heinlin. Those people decided for you what sci-fi should be. Generally , they were right , most of the writers at that time had lower standards for sci-fi stories.
But not Van Vogt. Allthough his style is'nt compatible with "Campbellian" standards , his writing has a different magic. Enormous scope , fantastic imagination , and very special lead charecters , are only part of something that I cannot put into words , and flows free in his works.
You should not judge "Slan" by today's standards , instead , give it a chance and enjoy the magic of the early style science fiction.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By The Old Philosopher on February 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a classic Sci-Fi novel it reads pretty good. Much of the futuristic speculative science is not yet either obsolete nor proven impossible 60 years later. Some of the high-tech foreseen by Vogt includes genetic engineering that was used to modify natural mutant humans for various reasons. There is a war between the one class of mutant/gene-altered people and normal people. The gene-altered mutants have taken over Mars and are launching a major space war on the 5 billion normal humans on Earth. The Martians have thousands of huge and heavily armed space ships that earth science, for some reason, has not developed. There are some psychic mind reading mutants who are hated by everyone, but they secretly control the Earth government. Our hero finds abandoned underground machine shops left by the mutants, and single-handedly builds a space ship much more capable than anything the Martians can manage. He also finds time to build a fortress disguised as a farm defended by an array of super beam weapons, and lots of other unique stuff all in abut 3 years. In the end he finds true love and the book ends with the Martian attack still imminent. The portrayal of racial hate of mutants by normal humans appears to reflect the 1940s racial attitudes and irrational hatreds that were much in contention during W.W.II. Its still fun reading for an entertaining afternoon if you don't mind that he just quit without tying up the many lose ends, or even resolving the pending war.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hexanova on February 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I would actually rate this 3.5 stars, but that's not a choice. In this 1940 A.E. van Vogt work, he paints a portrait of Earth approximately 1500 years in the future with great effectiveness. Instead of delving into the technobable that weights down today's books, he jumps into character developement, descripions of prejudice, and heightened paranoia. Why? Because Earth is populate by normal humans...and slans. Slans are humans that have telepathic ability, and no mind (except another slan's) is quiet to them. Normal humans have been methodically hunting down and killing slans out of fear and paranoia. The story revolves around Jommy Cross and his fight to survive childhood and fight against human oppression.
I thought the narrative was gripping and the explaination of the way a telepath thinks, quite ahead of its time. The science is lacking, but let's face it...the story is 60 years old! But the fundamental storytelling is there. One complaint: van Vogt seemed to lose his way at the end. The further into the book...the more the ends started to become unraveled. I got the feeling that the book just sort of ended, and I wanted more.
But, this is a solid SF Golden Age book that stands up well with time. If you're into the classics, this is a must read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ian Fowler on January 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Centuries in the future, a new mutation has appeared in the human species. Known as the slans, this mutant group is physically stronger, smarter, and telekinetic via the tendrils that grow out of their hair. They are also hunted down and killed on sight by the dictatorship of Keir Gray. It seems, in the deep murky past, that the slans attempted to conquer the human race, and war began. But slans still live among humans, hiding in plain sight. One such slan is John Thomas "Jommy" Cross, who, after watching his parents' murder as a boy, is taken in by a greedy old woman, as he bides his time until he such time when he claim the inherited knowledge left by his father. Another slan is Kathleen Layton, a ostensible science project in the custody of Keir Gray himself, but in fact a pawn in the chess game of the Gray dictatorship.

A.E. Van Vogt's "Slan" is a historical piece of science fiction. It's easy to trace numerous concepts back to "Slan" (e.g. Marvel Comics "X-Men"). It is also an interesting allegory on human nature and the theme of "Man's inhumanity to man." It's probably no coincidence that this book was published in 1946, when WW II was over, and the genocide that it entailed was known. However, much like its contemporaries, "Slan" frequently falls victim to the conventions of science fiction of the time, and so a reader will almost certainly feel star-crossed.

Initially, Van Vogt starts his novel on a thrill, as Jommy is on the run from the humans. Images of a boy of nine running for his life, surrounded by hatred and greed and fear are chilling and gripping. Alternatively, Kathleen's observations of an attempted coup against Gray, and Gray's violent response, while perhaps not so frenzied as a chase, are however just as engrossing.
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Slan: A Novel
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