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The Voyage of the Space Beagle Paperback – June 8, 1992

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Paper Fiction (June 8, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0020259905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0020259909
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #507,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One of Van Vogt's most loved books, I have to admit that there was a certain thrill in here that was lacking in "The World of Null-A" probably because it's much less based in an unfamiliar philosophy, but at the same time it's much less complex. Still for straightforward authentic Golden Age SF it doesn't get much better than this. Basically you have four stories (it's all treated as one story but it's four separate situations) of the crew of the Space Beagle as they explore the vast reaches of space. Each is a little mini-adventure, two involve horrific aliens, one is a tad dopey and the last involves an alien so big that only in the Golden Age could you get away with it. Beyond the ideas the stories themselves are exciting, even if in the beginning the crew comes off as a bunch of total idiots (twice they bring the alien onto the ship! twice!) and they never really stop being self centered. Much of the book is seen through the eyes of Grosvenor, the new guy with the new science of Nexialism which is apparently a way to integrate all the sciences, among other things . . . unfortunately this means that the stories fall into a pattern where everyone has the wrong solutions to everything because they are self centered and can't see past their own disciplines until Grosvenor basically forcefeeds them the solution. But, as typical for novels from this period, you don't read them for the staggering charactizations but the ideas and Van Vogt writes like a madman here, cramming so many fanciful into each chapter and making you believe them that you find yourself devouring the book more than reading it, especially the bits with the aliens (the second alien was an obvious influence on the movie Alien, right down to it picking people off in the ship) which are genuinely frightening . . .Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950) is a standalone SF novel. The Space Beagle is a roving laboratory ship that is outward bound to another galaxy. Almost every human science is represented onboard the great ship, including one Nexialist. These scientists are searching for new and unusual data that they can use to evaluate and revise existing scientific theories.

In this novel, Ellott Grosvenor -- the Nexialist -- observes as the other scientists encounter a huge black cat-like animal on a previously unexplored planet. The creature is obviously intelligent, as is shown by its straight-forward, yet cautious, approach to the scientists. It even has manipulative tentacles around its neck.

Coeurl is hungry, but knows that it cannot directly attack the small strangers and survive. It acts friendly and later ambushes a lone individual among the ruins of the Builders. For the first time in weeks, it absorbs life sustaining id from the body. But its feeding is interrupted by the approach of a small flyer.

The strangers are suspicious of Coeurl after the body is found. Gregory Kent -- head of the chemistry department -- is very angry at the death of his friend Jarvey. He wants to terminate the creature immediately, but is overruled by Hal Morton, the expedition director.

The chemistry department analyses the remains and discovers a shortage of potassium. They prepare a soup of potassium suspended in an organic compound similar to its state within the human body and Kent presents a bowl filled with the substance to the alien creature. Before most of the department heads, Coeurl angrily dumps the contents of the bowl into Kent's face.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel is a collection of four novellas that were originally published independently in various pulp magazines from the 30's to the 50's. This book contains four tales about the adventures of the crew of a star ship named the Space Beagle that travels to the far reaches of our galaxy and beyond. The ship is filled with a wide range of scientist from every major discipline (physicists, astronomers, geologists, chemists, biologists, etc.) as well as soldiers. The main character, Elliot Grosvenor, represents a new science/philosophy of Nexialism. This is a discipline that supposedly brings together all other disciplines but additionally provides a mechanism for viewing the totality of problems (kind of what Scientology purports to be). The science/philosophy of Nexialism is actually fairly well developed and represents one of the strengths of this book in my view. There really isn't a great deal of exploration (or even much voyaging) in these tales, in spite of the title. In each of the stories the ship is assailed by some alien menace that must be defeated. In all cases the threats initially appeared overwhelming, but were then defeated relatively simply. Much of the text is taken up discussing the internal political dynamics of the ship and the maneuverings of individuals and factions. The main interest in this story is, in my opinion, primarily historical. There are many details of the movie `Alien' that are taken directly from one of the novellas in this series. There are definitely some imaginative ideas in this novel, but some of the physics is just nonsense. Overall this is a decent, but far from outstanding, book. This book is far less interesting than even the middlin' works of hard sci-fi greats such as Larry Niven or Arthur C. Clarke. It certainly does not merit some of the 5-star reviews given to it by other reviewers. It is a nice book to buy for $1 from a used book store, but I wouldn't recommend spending much more.
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