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The World of Null-A Paperback – October 25, 2002
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“A. E. Van Vogt's early stories broke like claps of thunder through the science fiction field. Such novels as Slan, The Weapon Shops of Isher, and The World of Null-A, all were written with invention, dramatic impact, and a sense of breathless wonder that won him instant popularity” ―Jack Williamson
“After more than half a century I can still recall the impact of his early stories.” ―Arthur C. Clarke
“Interplanetary skullduggery in the year 2650. Gilbert Gosseyn has a pretty startling time of it before he gets to the root of things. Fine for addicts of science-fiction” ―The New Yorker
“One of those once-in-a-decade classics” ―John W. Campbell
“A. E. van Vogt was one of the first genre writers ever to publish an actual science fiction book, at a time when science fiction as a commercial publishing category did not yet exist, and almost all SF writers--even later giants such as Robert A. Heinlein--were able to publish novels only as serials in science fiction magazines. It's indicative of the prestige and popularity that van Vogt could claim at the time that he was one of the first authors to whom publishers would turn when taking the first tentative steps toward establishing science fiction as a viable publishing category. . . . Nobody, possibly with the exception of the Bester of The Stars My Destination, ever claim close to matching van Vogt for headlong, breakneck pacing, or for the electric, crackling paranoid tension with which he was capable of suffusing his work.” ―Gardner Dozois
About the Author
A. E. Van Vogt was a SFWA Grand Master. He was born in Canada and moved to the U.S. in 1944, by which time he was well-established as one of John W. Campbell's stable of writers for Astounding Science-Fiction. He lived in Los Angeles, California and died in 2000.
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Top Customer Reviews
At first a humble and unwitting pawn, Gilbert is quickly promoted as he progresses through the ranks in unorthodox and interesting ways.
In addition to the great pulp-style sci-fi story, A.E. Van Vogt adds a lot of interesting semantic theory by beginning each chapter with a quote for Alfred Korzybski's work SCIENCE AND SANITY. "The Map is not the territory it represents" is one of the shorter, and most easily understood. They get progressively more challenging, mirroring Gilbert's story. The Korzybski excepts are worth the price of the book alone. If you're interested in a good old sci-fi tale with conspiracies, space battle and other planets, as well as some thing which actually challenges your own mental processes, check it out.
The core of the story is set in the year 2650, and is told from the point of view of Gilbert Gosseyn, who discovers very early on that all his memories are not real. He is being used as a pawn in a struggle for power.
The story of Gosseyn is interesting and the reader does want to find out what happens to him, but there are problems with the story as well. Key to the plot is the philosophy of Null-A (non-Aristotelianism), which is never clearly defined and thus can easily leave the reader confused. This is the first of three books in this series, so perhaps this problem will be resolved in the other books.
For my tastes, "Slan" was a better example of van Vogt's work. In addition, his Isher series is easier to follow as well. The other two books in the Null-A series are: "The Players of Null-A" and "Null-A Three".
In this novel, Gilbert Gosseyn has traveled to the city of the Machine to participate in the annual Games. Joining the local self-protection group, his identity is challenged by a resident of his home town. A lie detector confirms that he is not Gilbert Gosseyn, but states that his true identity is not known within his mind.
Ejected by the hotel staff into the crime filled night, Gilbert is bewildered by these events. Without any warning, a young woman runs into him and almost knocks them both off their feet. The woman claims to be pursued by two men, but Gilbert doesn't see them.
Teresa Clark tells him that she has been evicted from her boarding house and lacks a place to spend the night. Gilbert finds them a vacant lot and they settle down amidst the bushes. During their discussion, various things she says and does contradict her story. The next day, he learns that she is actually Patricia Hardie, the woman that he had believed to be his dead wife.
In this story, Gilbert meets various members of a group that has taken over the government of Earth and Venus. Patricia's father is the President of Earth. Thorson is the personal representative of the leader of the Greatest Empire. Elred Crang is the commander of the local Greatest Empire forces and John Prescott is his vice-commander. Dr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this in the early sixties. Was like visiting an old friend...
Great story, thought provoking and very well written!
The World of A takes place in the year 2650 Ad. It is a Utopia who's leader are selected by a ominiscient Machine, whose people are semantically, trained , protected against war... Read morePublished 1 month ago by A Roger Zelazny Fan
Outstanding series...4 books, 2 authors...highly recommend if you like sci fi.Published 1 month ago by Lou J.
Well written story. So glad that I have discovered this author!Published 6 months ago by Vince Cvijanovic
I read this Hugo Award winner based upon the fact that John C. Wright and other Scifi writers were heavily influenced by it. John C. Read morePublished 8 months ago by mobiusklien
Coming back to reread this 45 years later, there are definitely wince inducing moments - esp the grotesque chauvinism and the naïf libertarianism - but still a novel of brilliant... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mr. Philip Malthus
This is a good SF book written many years ago. I first read it in high school back in the '70's. This book is well-written and very avante garde for the time period it was first... Read morePublished 9 months ago by GKH
I had read this as a child and didn't really understand it. Now as an adult I think I understand it and now I realize that I didn't like the ending. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mary Ann Galvin