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A.E. van Vogt (Canada, U.S.A., 4/26/1912- 2000) A(lfred) E(lton)

A. E. van Vogt passed away on January 26th, 2000. For more, visit Locus Online.

A.E. van Vogt was born on April 26, 1912 in the house of his mother's parents. The little farm was in Manitoba, south of Winnipeg, Canada.

His first science fiction story was inspired by John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?" [August 1938 Astounding Science Fiction]. It later was adapted for film as "The Thing From Outer Space". Campbell returned his first story, "Vault of the Beast", for rewriting. His second story, "Black Destroyer", made the cover of the July 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and won first place in the reader voting for July. It was also patterned after "Who Goes There?"

On May 9, 1939, he married Edna Mayne Hull who was also a professional writer. When WWII began, Van Vogt was turned down by his local draft board for poor vision. However, he was able to get a job working for the Department of National Defense. In the evenings, he wrote Slan and sold it for $835. It was a tremendous success.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1944, he met a writer, Richard Sale, at a Simon and Schuster party. Richard worked directly on the typewriter and had much free time as a result. Van Vogt then found he could do at least half of his writing directly on the typewriter, instead of writing longhand and transcribing.

Los Angeles was the hub of all kinds of religions, cults and sciences. He was very impressed after reading Science and Sanity, an introduction to non-Aristotelian systems and General Semantics by Alfred Korzybsky. van Vogt used these theories to create The World of Null-A, starting in August, 1945 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. It was a tremendous success, and also very controversial. Some readers didn't understand what the story was all about and began to explore general semantics and Korzybski for answers. In 1948 he wrote the much awaited sequel, The Players of A.

van Vogt had met L. Ron Hubbard in 1945. Early in 1950, Hubbard began calling from New Jersey and even sending money, trying to get him interested. To put a stop to it, he finally accepted. At the same time an article appeared in the May, 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. It was Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Healing by L. Ron Hubbard. Dianetics was to influence both him and his wife for many years.

In 1957, The Mind Cage was written, consciously. It was also his first attempt to look objectively at the violent male. Then he wrote The Expendables that was published in the September 1963 issue of Worlds of If magazine. A note on the front cover, shown at the left, claimed that it was van Vogt's first new story in 14 years. In the early 70's, Van Vogt ended his involvement with Dianetics.

In 1975, Reflections of A.E. van Vogt, an autobiography, was published. It was also the year his wife, Mayne, died. He later married again. van Vogt is still living in the Los Angeles area.

More info: http://www.mmedia.is/vanvogt/


Last Revised: November 2005.