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Slan

(Slan #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  3,912 ratings  ·  304 reviews
In the 1940s, the Golden Age of science fiction flowered in the magazine Astounding. Editor John W. Campbell, Jr., discovered and promoted great new writers such as A.E. van Vogt, whose novel Slan was one of the works of the era.

Slan is the story of Jommy Cross, the orphan mutant outcast from a future society prejudiced against mutants, or slans. Throughout the forties and
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 15th 1998 by Orb Books (first published September 1940)
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Bradley
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
How do I properly describe a novel that uses (incorrectly) atomic energy, but also addressing the fact that it was published in 1940?

Well, it's been 76 years since it came out, and its and integral part of the Campbellian SF revolution that said that we can have great Science in Science Fiction, but of course our understanding of these things change as we learn more, so I'm perfectly willing to let a lot of that slide. Still. The fact that it's 1940 when it was published, and he was talking abou
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Dirk Grobbelaar
Golden Age Science Fiction goodness. I can see from other reviews that not everybody enjoyed this, but I really enjoy Van Vogt, his stories tend to twist and turn and venture off into unexpected territory. The logical next step is almost never what happens. Slan has had a massive influence on the genre, as seen in Marvel Comics' X-men and the writings of Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Slan actually deals with a rather complicated theme, but in an almost simplistic fashion ...more
Carlex
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Three and half stars.

Slan is poorly written but I enjoyed the reading (well, my reviews are also poorly written ;-)

As a lot of classics this novel could seem a bit silly to the current reader: the female characters, some aspects of the plot, and of course the state of the art of science knowledge...

However Slan has good ideas, for example when the author imagines a society in which some humans have superpowers (telepathy, intelligence, strength, etc) but at the same time they must hide and prote
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Jim
May 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1audio, scifi, 2fiction
I really liked van Vogt when I was younger & it's only been a few years since I read The Voyage of the Space Beagle which I gave 3 stars. I've heard this held up to be one of his better books, but never got around to it. He writes space opera, which has some almost magical fixing & plenty of convenience to the plot, but it's fun. This wasn't.

The biggest problem was that he tried to cover too much territory in too short a time. From evolution to revolution, racism, mob psychology, fantas
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Stephen
1.5 to 2.0 stars. While certainly an important "classic" science fiction story and worth while for gaining an understanding of the evolution of the science ficiton novel featuring the "superhuman" I did not really enjoy the novel. I am glad I read it and it was in the neighborhood of okay, but can not recommend it.
J.G. Keely
In Slan, Van Vogt (say: 'vote') combines a number of popular sci fi themes, some intriguing, others silly, to create a work that is interesting and influential, if sometimes ill-conceived.

The political tone of the work, focused on dictators, secret police, and shadowy struggles for power mark this as one of the earlier Dystopian works. Slan is a decade before 1984, though Brave New World and It Can't Happen Here are earlier.

Van Vogt's Dystopia is much more fantastical than most of the genre, rel
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the gift
later addition: just read interesting crit work on intersections of surrealist and sf work/theory mostly in france in early 20th to mid century, of which van vogt was greatly admired. he translates well. his plots are confused on purpose, plots against baudelairian 19th century realism, plots linked to the new novel as well. not enough on r-g and friends for me, but intellectually different way of looking at this work...

first review: i am greatly surprised by how enjoyable this is. as sf it migh
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Jared Millet
I've read lots of classic SF, but now, at last, I've found the missing link between Isaac Asimov and E.E. Smith, the transition stage between thoughtful, character driven science fiction and the Atomic! Age! of Super! Science! Van Vogt's prose is just far enough on the clunky side of pulp to make it jarring to modern ears, but the main thing that might hold a modern reader back from this book is that so many of the ideas Vogt introduces have since passed into the realm of cliche. If you put the ...more
terpkristin
Meh. The book broached some interesting topics but didn't actually resolve anything about the complicated issues. It ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger, but I'm not interested enough to keep going.
AndrewP
I read a couple of books by this author way back in my youth and have no recollection what they were like. This one came up a book club read so it was a good opportunity to revisit.

The main theme of this book is the prejudices towards a slightly different race of humans, a prejudice that goes in both direction incidentally. There is some nostalgic hand wave science typical of the era, but other than that the book does not seem dated at all. The majority of the story holds up very well although
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Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott
Jan 18, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(Going on memory here but I just wanted to put my thoughts down before I gave this book away.)

This book is an expansion of an earlier short story/novella that Van Vogt published in one of the famous sci-fi mags of the early 20th century. I don't know how much revision there was or how much time elapsed between each version but to me it felt apparent at about the half-way point, where there's a break of several years. I'd enjoyed the first half, with the young protagonist on the run and discoveri
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Иван Величков
Поредният емблематичен роман от ван Вогт, който е надскочил съвремието си. Макар да не блести със стил, Слен е положил темелите на цял поджанр във фантастиката, чиито плодове, като X-Men и цялото творчество на Сандърсън, берем и днес.

Писана преди повече от 75 години, книгата се опитва да побере десетки идеи в малкия си обем, което направо пръска повествованието по шевовете. Засяга нетрадиционни за времето си теми като расизъм, психология на тълпата, еволюция, революция и дори се опитва да вкара,
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Oleksandr Zholud
This is a classic SF novel, originally published as a series in 1940. It won Retro-Hugo for 1941 that can be an indicator of its importance for the SF genre.

The novel is short, easy to read and is definitely the product of its time, with for example women thinking chiefly about romance and being out of political power, the prerogative of men. It follows the life of Jommy Cross, starting from the murder by police of his mother when he was only nine. He is the Slan, a homo superior, whom homo sapi
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Rob
I'm forgoing my usual format because I don't have a lot to say on this book. I've long since known that most classic sci-fi just isn't for me, and sadly this one was no different.

I found this book had a few interesting ideas, but little else to hold my interest. I felt the characters were very thin and uninteresting and the plot seemed disjointed at times. Overall, just not really my type of story.
Rob
Oct 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
The concept of this book is 'old hat,' but, of course, that's now, nearly seventy years later. I see the legacy of Slan in many books and films I've read, and the main fear of the humans, being superseded by a genetically engineered race, the Slan, is one that lurches ever closer to our reality, now.

The main thing I dislike about the book is the dialogue. Too often even some of the humans sound all too much like Star Trek's Data imitating Spock. I suppose this is meant, especially for the Slan,
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Simon
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I love these old SF classics that are jammed full of ideas, action and vision. This is no exception. Paper thin characters and light on world building it may be but one can't help forgiving it because of it's fast pace and brevity. This is full of Van Vogt's far fetched notions and mind bending plot developments that one will have come to expect if one has read any of his other works.

My main disappointment was the suddenness of the ending which left the story feeling unfinished. There being no p
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Jeff
Jan 27, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
[written in my book lover's journal; possibly a couple months after reading it]
Aghast that people acclaim Van Vogt at all, in any way, even a little bit. "Jommy"?! for fvck's sake "Vee Vee," think of something that actually smacks of a futurity -- the 1950s in 2100 and to write an entire book as if not ONE of the true Slans would vary from all others and not ONE human would, that implies that they can NOT. This opinion of sentient beings annoys me more than any other i can think of presently.
[10
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Roddy Williams
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Classic Pulp Fiction from one of the masters of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. I have to confess that ‘Slan’ has to be my all-time favourite Science Fiction novel if only for the fact that it is probably the one book which got me hooked on SF back in the early Nineteen Seventies.
AE Van Vogt, partly due to the quality of his later work and his involvement with Dianetics and the Scientology movement was, to a certain extent discredited by the SF community. Thus he was never really given the c
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Sandra
Sep 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
Take a drink every time the word Slan is used to make this book enjoyable. Also, Jommy is a dumb name.
Dave Packard
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audible, kindle, laser
I’m sure that this book was revolutionary in its day, but today it is just dated, and the writing style leaves a lot to be desired. The author has to exposit the entire wrap up in the last few pages which I always dislike.
Luke Devenish
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Huzzah! Let's toss our tendrils with glee - I've just read my first ever mutant/super-race novel. This is also my first sampling of Mr Von Vogt. (It won't be my last.) Do you know, if you squint your eyes ever-so-slightly while reading this story, you could almost believe it was the X-Men? Me thinks that little franchise owes a big debt of gratitude to Slan - something I've not yet bothered to confirm, but who knows, perhaps I'm right? In my current born-again-newbie's excursion through the worl ...more
Viridian5
Aug 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: science-fiction
Today I finished Slan by A.E.van Vogt and hated it. I just finished it as a personal pride thing. I think there were maybe 10 fiction books in my entire life I absolutely couldn't stand to finish.

It's considered one of the classics of science fiction, originally published in 1940, thought to be an inspiration for The X-Men, but even if I try to set my modernity aside it sucks. It has cardboard characters I took no interest in or liking to, a truly useless ingenue, mutants who aren't all that dif
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Jakk Makk
Jan 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
Ever wonder what the term forced means? "They're following us Jommy," her brain telegraphed, "they're not sure, but they suspect, we've risked once too often coming into the capitol. Though I did hope that this time I could show you the old Slan way of getting into the catacombs where your Father's secret is hidden." People just don't speak this way, but apparently Slan live only to make it from one plot point to another, info-dumping things everyone in their culture already knows, like some gal ...more
Gregory
As I say in my Goodreads "about me" section, this was the very first science fiction novel that I ever read (thanks to a teacher). It made a strong impact on me as I was in high school and I hadn't read an adult novel before. I still recall the emotional intensity that follows the main character and there was a theme of prejudice and subjugation running through it as humanity breaks down into humans and genetically created Slans (some with tendrils and some without). I intend on acquiring a copy ...more
Stephen Richter
Okay it was written for the market to get published in in a SF magazine in the 1940s. Some declare it a masterpiece or some ground breaking work. I feel it gets to much credit for the inspiration of the mutant X-men, while I think the concept goes back to Homer. How is not Achilles not the first X-Man ? I am sure others can argue the concept is even more ancient. Still it was short, the tale progressed at break neck speed and the last few pages explained all.
I think Vogt had a bad Granny.
Peter Tieryas
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, especially given when it was written. Fast paced entertaining read. Wanted more by the end.
Gary Fisher
We've come a long way since 1940

I remember reading and enjoying this novel in my early teens. Back then the stilted dialog, handwaving "science" explanations, & "Guess what?, I own a Thesaurus" prose didn't bother me.

Not to mention the "Tom Swift & his wonderful phallic car/plane/spaceship" plot point. Made of unobtainium no less.

Today the story seems trite, but at the time it was written it was breaking new ground in speculation of the capabilities of the mind.

This was about the time
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Sara
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
La trama sembrava promettente: in un ipotetico futuro la Terra è abitata dagli Slan, esseri telepatici, dalla mente geniale, naturalmente odiati e perseguitati dagli uomini. L'inizio della storia non era neanche niente male, c'erano il piccolo Cross dal cuore d'oro, la tremenda vecchietta, Kathleen...i primi tre quarti della storia me li sono bevuti d'un fiato. Se poi l'autore non avesse messo tutti quei “... anni dopo” sarebbe anche potuto essere un bel romanzo.

Poi a un certo punto non si capis
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Jen
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-laser
Meh
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Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded by some as one of the most popular and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century—the "Golden Age" of the genre.

van Vogt was born to Russian Mennonite family. Until he was four years old, van Vogt and his family spoke only a dialect of Low German in the home.

He began his writing career with 'true story' ro
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Other books in the series

Slan (2 books)
  • Slan Hunter (Slan, #2)