Rogue Ship

Rogue Ship by Alfred Elton Van Vogt

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Recommended by Paul Cook as one of the most important SF novels.

175 pages, published in
Alfred Elton Van Vogt

A book by Alfred Elton Van Vogt

Alfred Elton Van Vogt Alfred Elton Van Vogt April 26, 1912 (Winnipeg, Canada) - January 26, 2000 (Los Angeles, USA). American science fiction writer, Grand Master. AE Van Vogt`s career in science fiction was far from easy. Born in 1912 in Canada into a family of naturalized Dutchmen (he finally settled in the United States only in 1944), A.E. Van Vogt tried many professions in his youth, until at the age of twenty he decided to connect his life with literature. But he went to artistic science fiction for another seven long years, honing the pen with literary day-to-day life in the form of love stories, commercial articles and scripts for the radio. But even then he was an ardent reader of specialized science fiction magazines that were beginning to come into fashion. The milestone year for him is 1939.

First, he starts a family (and his wife, Edna M.

Hall (1905 - 1975), is also a science fiction writer, in collaboration with whom some of his early works were written). Secon...

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Alfred Elton Van Vogt Alfred Elton Van Vogt April 26, 1912 (Winnipeg, Canada) - January 26, 2000 (Los Angeles, USA). American science fiction writer, Grand Master. AE Van Vogt`s career in science fiction was far from easy. Born in 1912 in Canada into a family of naturalized Dutchmen (he finally settled in the United States only in 1944), A.E. Van Vogt tried many professions in his youth, until at the age of twenty he decided to connect his life with literature. But he went to artistic science fiction for another seven long years, honing the pen with literary day-to-day life in the form of love stories, commercial articles and scripts for the radio. But even then he was an ardent reader of specialized science fiction magazines that were beginning to come into fashion. The milestone year for him is 1939. First, he starts a family (and his wife, Edna M. Hall (1905 - 1975), is also a science fiction writer, in collaboration with whom some of his early works were written). Secondly, A. E. Van Vogt makes his debut in the most prestigious science fiction magazine - "Estounding" Astounding - with the story "Black Destroyer" Black Destroyer (variant names "Black Predator" , "Black killer"). For the sake of fairness, we note that he was the first to write "The Crypt of the Beast", which the editor, however, turned for revision. The success came immediately, but it was fixed - and already forever - after the publication of the novel "Slen". Even this term itself, as a synonym for talent persecuted by the ordinary, was then entrenched in the spoken language, just as it happened with the word "robot", introduced in his time into circulation by K. Chapek. A.E. Van Vogt, together with R. Heinlein, T. Sturgeon, K. Simak, E. F. Russell, A. Asimov, Lee Brackett, A. Bester and other masters of the highest class, lays the foundations for that glorious period of American fiction, which rightly call it "golden age". It was in the 40s that the peak of his work occurred - 17 novels. In 1947, according to a poll of readers, he was recognized as the "most popular" science fiction in the United States. "Religious in the deepest sense of the word" (according to the famous critic S. Moskovts), A.E. Van Vogt has been looking for a positive beginning in Man all his life, starting with himself. The leitmotif of all his works: a person is able to achieve everything if he really makes an effort. This inescapable longing for the ideal and faith constantly pushes him to search for new doctrines and teachings for him, including in the field of pseudosciences and exotic knowledge. Ultimately, this turned out to be a creative breakdown for A.E. Van Vogt: being carried away by Ron Hubbard`s "dianetics", he practically abandoned writing, limiting himself to rewriting old stories. It is noteworthy that this is generally one of the features of his work: for example, from his first published story, The Black Destroyer, he subsequently built one of his best novels - The Journey of the Space Beagle (variant - The Journey of the Space Hound) (1950 ), from the story "Lost: Fifty Suns" (1952) turned "Mission to the Stars", and "Barbarian" (1947) was reworked into the dilogy "Empire of the Atom" ("Atomic Gods") and "Sorcerer Lynn" ("Wizard Lynn "). Moreover, some of the novels came out under different names! A new explosion of creative activity came in the early 60s. 1970 to 1973 for example, he releases six novels at once. All in all, A.E. Van Vogt wrote about fifty works. It is difficult to find a topic that this classic of American fiction would somehow not touch upon in his work: other forms of life, labyrinths of time, dizzying adventures in interstellar distances, "superman" and "superknowledge", the stormy life of the Intergalactic Empire, God as the hero of the story, an interesting interpretation of many problems of the universe, the evolution of society, certain specific sciences or systems of knowledge of the world. As an artist, he is fluent in the technology of writing, large and small forms, always focused on action, and not on describing the environment or the emotional experiences of the characters. But for a specific, logical mindset, his phrases are sometimes not specific enough, one feels understatement, creates the possibility of a non-uniform understanding of the expressed thoughts. His personal literary taste is fairy tales and the work of Thomas Wolfe. This is how he appears before us, this unique, always a little mysterious, but attractive A.E. Van Vogt. And apparently, one of the anthologies of the 70s is right: "Van Vogt remains the smartest and most compact American writer. Through an undeniable scientific culture, he managed to express not only daring, but also purely personal ideas." It is difficult to translate Van Vogt into Russian, firstly, because the tradition of his translation has not yet been developed (as in the case of Asimov, Sheckley, Clarke), and, secondly, because of the specific features of his prose. Quite often he writes in a dynamic style of newspaper reportage, in short chopped phrases, omitting descriptions of the environment, characterizing the characters, without going into any explanations about the social and technical specifics of the environment in which the heroes live. His heroes act - and their actions will eventually give the reader all the necessary information, explain incomprehensible terms and situations, reveal riddles ... but, perhaps, not completely. Something Van Vogt seems to be saving for himself, remembering that the story may develop into a novel, and the novel may require continuation. By virtue of the above peculiarities, a translator working with Van Vogt`s text is tempted to “finish writing” it, fill in the gaps with his own explanations and present the thing in Russian “smoothly”. But it will no longer be Van Vogt; such a free retelling will inevitably seem sluggish in comparison with the original text. Unfortunately, a similar attempt to translate Van Vogt`s text into Russian in his own words has already been carried out - I mean the story "Ultimatum" ("Lost: fifty suns"), published in 1990 in a collection with the same title. And as already mentioned, the translation turned out to be rather sluggish and protracted. There are no such additions in M. Nachmanson`s translation in the collection "When Time Has Going Mad", published in 1992 by the "Polytechnic" publishing house. Numerous titles were given to him by captious critics and no less discerning readers: "Balzac of fantastic literature"; the inventor of many phantasmagoric space monsters, a kind of "monster expert"; "the master of paradox", "playfully manipulating Space and Time", studying "the behavior of Matter as if it were a human being", etc. And at the same time, Alfred Van Vogt is a science fiction writer, around whose work there are endless disputes. For his opponents, it is "rationalized madness." For supporters - a "sample" of the genre. He also gets it for "far from the best style" (and the latter, as J. Buffon argued, is "this is the man himself"), for "substitution of scientific concepts" by the transcendent game of a bizarre mind, which often leads him to "incomprehensibility" and " contradictions ". So, the publication in 1945 of his novel "The World of Zero-A" caused such a stream of perplexed questions from readers who demanded clarification, "What is this novel about?" That was promised by J. Campbell himself to give an answer "in a few days ", which, alas, have dragged on until now. These allegations are not without foundation. He is undoubtedly a difficult writer, both in content and in form. But maybe that is why he loves his numerous admirers, who proudly call themselves "vogists"? Isn`t this looseness of mind, the pulsation of desperately bold, "crazy" (in the understanding of Niels Bohr) ideas that give charm to his works? And he explains the thematic confusion himself, and in a rather peculiar way: “When I get down to work, my initial ideas are sometimes so vague that it seems incredible that such a puny initial phantom eventually turns out to be a finished work ... include in the story I`m working on, all the thoughts wandering in my head at the moment. It often happened that they seemed to be out of place, but, on reflection, I always found the angle at which they could be use ... "because" the human brain resists the negative process of putting fresh thoughts in reserve. " Alfred Van Vogt: "You are entering a fairy-tale land of innumerable wonders. On the right is a vast and deep ocean of fiction, the mirror of which is dotted with numerous islands of bizarre delights. On the left is a jungle of conspiracy and intrigue so ingeniously intertwined that in recent years no one has been able to -Real to wade through them. It is hardly worth making a way through this thicket himself, or setting sail without an experienced pilot to sail through treacherous waters. Brave men have been well paid to get the precious stones hidden in the deserts. Be patient. The treasures you find will surely appear on the book market, sparkling with an attractive cover, and will cost you much less than organizing a trip for them yourself. " https://fantlab.ru/autor32 https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_van_Vogt