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The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. Van…

The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950)

by A. E. Van Vogt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Voyage of the Space Beagle

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Recently added byprivate library, althaeria, kidmd2, profcobra, Dvdvnr, DavidClemens, Sam.Prince, cosmicnimrod
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    Earth Factor X by A. E. Van Vogt (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Another Van Vogt masterpiece.

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» See also 35 mentions

English (13)  German (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
[The Voyage of the Space Beagle] by A. E. Van Vogt
Science fiction from 1950. I have recently read [The World of Null-A] by Van Vogt which had been published two years earlier and I had not been impressed; it was a number of shorter stories cobbled together into a novel which proved to be fairly incoherent. A similar approach had been taken with The Space Beagle, but obviously lessons had been learnt because it is a great success. Two interplanetary magazine stories from 1939, one from 1943 and one from 1950 are linked with an overarching story of the voyage of the Space Beagle. It is the first intergalactic expedition taking 1000 men of different professional fields in search of whatever lies out there. The men who have all been chemically altered to stop their sex drive are nevertheless competing on an interdepartmental basis, with the chemists and the mathematicians in the forefront, both trying to establish their control over the mission. In each of the stories this faction fighting crew face four life and death struggles with alien life forms, but it is Elliott Grosvenor of the newly formed Nexial department who is the only man who can analyse the problems effectively.

The four stories are all excellent, each one setting the crew against formidable odds. In the story formerly known as The Black Destroyer a large cat like creature (a coeurl) is encountered on a ruined planet and behaves in a neutral way when accosted, however it has an alien intelligence and it is hungry for living flesh, The crew take it on board the Space Beagle with disastrous results. In the War of Nerves members of the crew suffer hallucinations and they are pinpointed as coming from a nearby planet. Grosvenor realises that the only way of fighting the menace is to mind-meld with the alien race. Discord in Scarlet is a prototype story that predates “The Alien” films. A super powerful alien creature who can change its molecular structure tricks its way aboard the spaceship in its search for living material into which it will plant its eggs. Ixtl is the creature which appears to be indestructible, selecting its victims and carrying them off to the ship’s hold to foster its offspring. In the final story M33 in Andromeda the crew face an entire galaxy that has been taken over by a dominant life form which needs to expand.

In both The Black Destroyer and Discord in Scarlet, Van Vogt tells some of the story from the aliens point of view, inviting his readers to feel the hunger and desire of the Coeurl and Ixtl. This has the effect of lessening the mystery and perhaps the tension, but effectively ratchets up the horror and desperation facing the crew. Most of the action takes place on board the spaceship. War of Nerves strikes me as quite an original story and with the mind-melding aspect; Van Vogt is again able to describe an alien presence. The overarching story of the interdepartmental faction fighting develops into all out war in the final story and is a bigger threat to the mission than the alien menace. Grosvenor’s Nexial Department (there are only four of them) are intent in forging an holistic approach and Van Vogt’s big idea is that lives will be in danger if people do not work together. It is an effective way of binding the stories together with the same characters appearing in each story, learning or not learning from previous experiences.

This is excellent 1950’s science fiction, with enough science to make the stories plausible and enough psychology to make them believable. There is very little evidence of sexism with all the characters being men (apart from the obvious) and these men have left their sex drive back on earth. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and so 5 stars for the genre. ( )
  baswood | Feb 1, 2018 |
A disappointing novel cobbled together from several short stories with to much soft science and softer philosophy to be entertaining. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
I love me some coeurl ! ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Classic, by a master, but somehow didn't quite click" with me. And since I read it pre-goodreads, I didn't pay enough attention to say more." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
A. E. Van Vogtprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caldwell,ClydeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Csernus, TiborCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daly, GerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meltzoff, StanleyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
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Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
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To Ford McCormack
First words
On and on Coeurl prowled.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Variant Titles: The Voyage of the Space Beagle and Mission:Interplanetary
Publisher's editors
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765320770, Paperback)

One of the great original classics of modern SF returns!

An all-time classic space saga, The Voyage of the Space Beagle is one of the pinnacles of Golden Age SF, an influence on generations of stories. An episodic novel filled with surprises and provocative ideas, this is the story of a great exploration ship sent out into the unknown reaches of space on a long mission of discovery. They encounter several terrifying alien species, including the Ix, who lay their eggs in human bodies, which then devour the humans from within when they hatch. This is one of the most entertaining and gripping stories in all of classic SF.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A great exploration ship sent out into the unknown reaches of space on a long mission of discovery encounters several terrifying alien species, including the Ix, who lay their eggs in human bodies. Their young then devour the humans from within when they hatch.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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