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The classic novel of non-Aristotelian logic and the coming race of supermenScience Fiction Grandmaster A. E. van Vogt was one of the giants of the 1940s, the Golden Age of classic SF. Of his masterpieces, The World of Null-A is his most famous and most influential. Published in 1949 it was the first major trade SF hardcover, and has been in print in various editions ever sThe classic novel of non-Aristotelian logic and the coming race of supermenScience Fiction Grandmaster A. E. van Vogt was one of the giants of the 1940s, the Golden Age of classic SF. Of his masterpieces, The World of Null-A is his most famous and most influential. Published in 1949 it was the first major trade SF hardcover, and has been in print in various editions ever since. The entire careers of Philip K. Dick, Keith Laumer, Alfred Bester, Charles Harness, and Philip Jose Farmer were created or influenced by The World of Null-A, and so it is required reading for anyone who wishes to know the canon of SF classics.It is the year 2650 and Earth has become a world of non-Aristotelianism, or Null-A. This is the story of Gilbert Gosseyn, who lives in that future world where the Games Machine, made up of twenty-five thousand electronic brains, sets the course of people's lives. Gosseyn isn't even sure of his own identity, but realizes he has some remarkable abilities and sets out to use them to discover who has made him a pawn in an interstellar plot....

Title : o mundo de zero a
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13118704
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 173 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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o mundo de zero a Reviews

  • Manny
    2018-11-19 04:25

    An extremely strange occurrence. Many years ago, when I was in my early teens, I read A.E. van Vogt's World of Null-A, which is about as good as most of A.E. van Vogt's oeuvre - that is to say, not very good at all. I was however struck by his preface, where he boasted that this novel, all by itself, had more or less established the French SF market. Even at age 14, I was puzzled. Why?Much later, I discovered that van Vogt's unimpressive book had in fact been translated by Boris Vian, author of the immortal L'Ecume des Jours, and a friend of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Perhaps some Vian scholar has found out why he did it (money trouble?) and if so I would be interested to hear the story! Whatever the explanation, this is one of those very rare occurrences where the translation is better than the original - the writing is perfectly OK, and even goodish in places. Since the original plot was in fact quite interesting (A.E. van Vogt always had ideas, he just couldn't write them down), the final result is a decent piece of work, and my 35 year old curiosity about how this could have been such a success was finally satisfied.Vian had a wicked sense of humour, and loved teasing people. It's little short of miraculous that Sartre, at least according to what I've read, wasn't offended by the "Jean-Sol Partre" character in L'Ecume des Jours and appreciated the joke. I have this fantasy of Vian giving his translation of van Vogt to some lion of the French literary world as a Christmas present, just to see how they would react. "Here you are, Albert, I thought you would like it!" "Oh, thank you, it's... ah... quite different from the things I usually read, but I'm sure I will!" Probably never happened though :)_________________________________For people (I am a typical example of the species) who require at least one bit of useless trivia each day, I will reveal that this book is referenced in Georges Perec's La Disparition, under a transparent pseudonym. Page 220 of the French edition:Un roman? Anton Voyl n'avait-il pas dit un jour qu'un roman donnait la solution? Un flot brouillon, tourbouillonant d'imaginations s'imposa soudain à lui: Moby Dick? Malcolm Lowry? La Saga du Non-A, par Van Vogt?La Saga du Non-A... geddit?

  • Stephen
    2018-11-02 22:09

    4.0 stars. One of the better novels by A. E. Van Vogt and certainly one of his most famous. Big ideas, cool concepts and a fast paced plot. Above average science fiction from the Golden Age. Nominee: Retro Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction novel.

  • Charles Dee Mitchell
    2018-11-12 21:28

    Science fiction writer A. E. van Vogt liked big ideas. In the 1950's he became head of fellow sf writer L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics Institute, the secular precursor to the Church of Scientology. When Hubbard's institute failed within a year, van Vogt and his wife formed their own institute and kept it going for the entire decade.Earlier, the big idea that captivated van Vogt was the Gerneral Semantics program of the Polish count Alfred Korzybski, a program defined in the count's 800 page self - published book Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics.(1933). This was a grand system intended to make people think more clearly, reach better decisions, and create a better world. Much of General Semantics seems like common sense, but the insistence on its "science" is shaky and always prompted as many detractors as followers. Van Vogt was enthusiastically among the latter. Martin Gardner is among those who dismiss the enterprise as "pseudo-science," but there is a still an Institute of General Semantics in Chicago. Of course there is also an International Center of Theosophy, and London is home to the Swedenborg Foundation. Sorry to sound dismissive but I am.True Believer van Vogt used Kozybski's ideas as the underlying philosophy of his breakthrough novel The World of Null A and two sequels, one of which has only been published in France. (Van Vogt, while not as popular as Jerry Lewis, is highly regarded in France.) The story originally appeared serialized in 1945 in Astounding Stories and was published, in hardback and to general acclaim, in 1948. Van Vogt revised the novel again and wrote a new introduction in 1980."Null A" is shorthand for non-Aristotelian, and in his 1980 introduction van Vogt lays out how integral Korsybki's ideas are to the novel. I will have to take his word for it. The novel reads like a dated sf adventure story involving an intergalactic plot to take over the Sol System. Our hero, Gilbert Gosseyn has lost his identity but is somehow central to the saving the earth. Clunky prose does nothing to help the storytelling. In his introduction, van Vogt makes a statement that is either poorly phrased or breathtaking in its hubris:I cannot at the moment recall a novel written prior to Null-A that had a deeper meaning than that which showed on the surface.A. E. van Vogt earned Grand Master status from the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1996, but his reputation has always had significant detractors. Damon Knight wrote a blistering evaluation of van Vogt in the 1950's that some say finished his career. Other writers, like Harlan Ellison and Philip K. Dick, write about how significant van Vogt was to the own, early immersion in science fiction. Perhaps today van Vogt is of "historical interest only," but I will not make so sweeping a judgment based on this one book. I am certain he earned his Grand Master status, but I am not tempted to delve deeper into his work.

  • Manny
    2018-11-11 22:08

    An extremely strange occurrence. Many years ago, when I was in my early teens, I read A.E. van Vogt's World of Null-A, which is about as good as most of A.E. van Vogt's oeuvre - that is to say, not very good at all. I was however struck by his preface, where he boasted that this novel, all by itself, had more or less established the French SF market. Even at age 14, I was puzzled. Why?Much later, I discovered that van Vogt's unimpressive book had in fact been translated by Boris Vian, author of the immortal L'Ecume des Jours, and a friend of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Perhaps some Vian scholar has found out why he did it (money trouble?) and if so I would be interested to hear the story! Whatever the explanation, this is one of those very rare occurrences where the translation is better than the original - the writing is perfectly OK, and even goodish in places. Since the original plot was in fact quite interesting (A.E. van Vogt always had ideas, he just couldn't write them down), the final result is a decent piece of work, and my 35 year old curiosity about how this could have been such a success was finally satisfied.Vian had a wicked sense of humour, and loved teasing people. It's little short of miraculous that Sartre, at least according to what I've read, wasn't offended by the "Jean-Sol Partre" character in L'Ecume des Jours and appreciated the joke. I have this fantasy of Vian giving his translation of van Vogt to some lion of the French literary world as a Christmas present, just to see how they would react. "Here you are, Albert, I thought you would like it!" "Oh, thank you, it's... ah... quite different from the things I usually read, but I'm sure I will!" Probably never happened though :)

  • Denis
    2018-11-10 01:21

    I've read this three times now. Every time I do, it feels like I'm reading it for the first time. So weird, yet I really like it. It is such a strange book; like reading a standard classic from a parallel universe. "Is this what a great novel is like in your world?" In mine it's all wrong; sloppy disjointed, illogical, but if you put yourself in that other world (van's world), it is a master piece of scifi literature.It is inspired by the pseudoscience work "Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics" (1933) by Alfred Korzybski' of the theory of General Semantics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General...Van Vogt does not bog the story down on theory, but rather merely uses the system as a vehicle to anchor his story to, the same way PKD used 'Game Theory' for his 1955 novel "Solar Lottery".I love this novel. I really do. And Players of Null-A, its sequel, for some reason, is even better. Really.

  • Sue Burke
    2018-11-02 02:16

    This novel, written in 1945, shows its age. This goes beyond imagining Venus as a damp forest of huge trees, or that people in the year 2650 will still be placing personal ads in paper newspapers. The world itself is smaller, pretty much all white men, in a conformist society. The science itself, such as what can be done with atomic power or plastics, gets stretched beyond all possibility.Still, A.E. van Vogt is famous for ideas, and he has one that powers this novel: What if a highly rational non-Aristotelian philosophy guided the behavior of the best men and women of their time? Unfortunately, van Vogt doesn’t explain this philosophy in great depth. It seems to compel the protagonist to act without a lot of forethought or long-term goals.Van Voght has more ideas: a computer game that decides the participants’ futures, a “legal holiday” during which no laws are enforced, a minor kind of immortality, a huge galactic war that aims to conquer Venus and Earth....The plot involves a man trying to find out who he is. Eventually he finds out. In the process a lot of people die.This book is considered a classic, possibly one of van Vogt’s best, and it’s worth reading if only to watch ideas whiz past like scenery on a highway. There’s nice countryside out there, but the man at the wheel of the car isn’t about to slow down. He also won’t ask for directions, so the trip gets a bit lost toward the end. This is how we used to travel in science fiction. Serious fans will find the trip worth their while, but if you’re new to the genre, don’t start here.By the way, how about the cover art on the 1948 edition? Wow.

  • Buck Ward
    2018-10-28 01:11

    This is a very strange book. I had read that it influenced some of the great science fiction writers of the golden age, including Philip K Dick. I guess I can believe it. It's very dickian. At times it is disjointed, confusing, even incomprehensible. I attribute that to the authorship of van Vogt. It could have been much better written. There is virtually no character development, and the motivations and loyalties of the characters is confusing.The World of Null-A. Null-A means non-Aristotelian, but it's never clear what it is. Is it a philosophy? A religion? An alternate view of reality? Null-A flowed through this novel, but it has virtually no impact on the story. The novel could have been virtually the same if Null-A had never been mentioned. I had read that van Vogt was into dianetics with L. Ron Hubbard, who later founded the church of Scientology. I thought maybe Null-A had something to do with that. I still don't know.

  • Drew Perron
    2018-11-02 01:31

    Tell me if this sounds like a modern-day young adult novel:In the City of the Machine, the Games take place. For a month, there are no laws and no police, as the participants in the Games make their way through dozens of tests of their mental abilities. Success in the Games unlocks a good life. Those who make it through the first week are guaranteed well-paying jobs, and the further you go, the better it gets. But only the winners get the ultimate prize - going to the mysterious planet Venus.Perfect YA dystopia, right? Only it's a utopia, or a world becoming one, published in a serious philosophical science fiction novel from 1948. It's a novel that doesn't really manage to accomplish any of its serious, Change The World goals, but does some fascinating, forward-thinking things seemingly by complete accident.In terms of its failures, number one is probably the fact that this "let me tell you about how the world should be run" novel doesn't really manage to actually explain the philosophy of null-A (or non-Aristotleanism) in a meaningful way at any point. The story itself literally skips over chances to explain it in detail - there's one point where the main character literally has to demonstrate that he understands null-A, and the narrative just tells us that he finished in about twenty minutes. And it doesn't come out meaningfully in the story - I understood that it involved abstraction, favoring spectrums of meaning over simple binaries, and understanding that every thing in the universe was different from every other thing, but I didn't get any sense of how these ideas worked together, or how they were supposed to allow people to reprogram their brains into unifying the logical side and the emotional side. My copy has a preface, added decades after publication, that makes some of this clear - the idea that identity is memory, and that every observer experiences something different - but it's explained in a rather muddled, roundabout way, and we don't get to see this as a coherent philosophy, let alone one that could uplift humanity.As an aside, I looked up General Semantics, and it does seem to have been a meaningful thing back in the day that influenced later philosophical and scientific thought. (It certainly cleared up ideas I'd seen mentioned in other SF novels.) But this book kind of assumes that you can take those principles and stop there - that you just need this one "don't be like Aristotle" realization, and that automatically opens up the truths of the universe to you. It doesn't realize that there are a lot of philosophies that might be described as "non-Aristotlean" - especially, you know, outside of Western culture (and especially when (view spoiler)[galactic empires (hide spoiler)] get mixed in).The book's more interesting parts, though, are in the story itself. Gilbert Gosseyn is a is the standard Two-Fisted Man Who Is Driven By Philosophy And Purpose, not too far from one of Heinlein's. But he's constantly put in situations where this isn't enough; where his finely-trained mind is shown to be flawed or undeveloped, where he's captured and then freed by the actions of others, where he's driving purposefully towards a goal and then stopped and shown that that goal wasn't worth accomplishing. It's a remarkably forward-thinking way to frame a protagonist, and I have to wonder if it was part of the philosophy the author was trying to express. Similarly, the world is a utopian ideal - but the plot is centered on the exact weaknesses such a world would have, and its vulnerability to (view spoiler)[subversion from outside (hide spoiler)]. It feels more like the YA novels I spoke of at the beginning, that use a certain philosophy as a backdrop for a story, rather than using the story as a backdrop to talk about how awesome the philosophy is. I don't think it's intentional, but there it is, all the same.It's a weird book. It was never going to be the culture-changer it claims to be, but it has its fans - people who have done "memory is identity" stories better and more thoughtfully than he did, and expanded upon these ideas interestingly, themselves creating the kind of change in attitudes that the author of this novel couldn't. That seems worthwhile to me.

  • Christy
    2018-10-28 00:25

    The World of Null-A is a mixed bag. All too frequently I found myself having to stop and re-read sections to figure out basic plot points (and this was generally because of a basic lack of clarity in key scenes, not because of a particularly advanced concept) and found it difficult to integrate the two major drives of the book, one toward political thriller regarding interplanetary and galactic war and one toward speculation about human and social evolution. These two drives are definitely related through the basic plot, but they do not feel related; it is a major shift to go from one element of the novel to the other as one is focused on the protagonist, Gosseyn, and his attempts to discover who he is and to survive the warfare and politicking going on around him, and the other deals with the larger picture of null-A society (based on non-Aristotelian, non-Newtonian, and non-Euclidian logic), Venus and its null-A inhabitants, and the politics of the galactic community. This is really a shame, too, because the novel does contain some interesting speculation about the future evolution of the human species as well as human society (not to mention some fast-paced adventure sequences which make it great fun to read at times). Van Vogt lays out the potential future of mankind in Gosseyn's description of the overall situation:"We...have witnessed a greedy interstellar empire trying to take over another planetary system, in spite of the disapproval of a purely Aristotelian league. It's all very childish and murderous, an extreme example of how neurotic a civilization can become when i fails to develop a method for integrating the human part of man's mind with the animal part. All their thousands of years of additional scientific development have been wasted in the effort to achieve size and power when all they needed was to learn to cooperate" (169).What's more, van Vogt provides a model for how this cooperation would work in the Venusian null-A society, which is described as an "ultimate democracy": "There is no president of Venus, no council, no ruling group. Everything is voluntary; every man lives to himself alone, and yet conjoins with others to see that the necessary work is done. But people can choose their own work. You might say, suppose everybody decided to enter the same profession. That doesn't happen. The population is composed of responsible citizens who make a careful study of the entire work-to-be-done situation before they choose their jobs" (67).This description provides an interesting counter to Edward Bellamy's description of a utopian society in Looking Backward, which is designed and maintained from the top down, through government regulation (authoritarian), rather than from the bottom up, through the decision-making processes of a group of responsible individuals (anarchist). It's too bad that van Vogt does not develop this society and its implications further. Null-A society is clearly meant to be seen as utopian and as achievable, but the novel is more political thriller (a la The Bourne Identity) than utopian novel or political novel (with a coherent argument to be made).

  • Jim
    2018-10-31 22:20

    The book brings back to me the 1950s. Names like Eldred Crang and Hari Seldon (this from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series), Intergalactic wars. Highly advanced devices with tubes like an old Emerson TV set. Planets in our solar system that could sustain life. Take, for instance, this description of Venus:Gosseyn said, "Doctor, what is Venus like -- the cities, I mean?"The doctor rolled his head sideways to look at Gosseyn, but did not move his body."Oh, much like earth cities, but suited to the perpetually mild climate. Because of the high clouds, it never gets too hot. And it never rains except in the mountains. But every night on the great verdant plains, there's a heavy dew. And UI mean heavy enough to look after all the luxuriant growth...."One of the side-effects of space exploration is the death of dreams of life on the Moon, on Mars, and on Venus. As a teeneager, I loved A E Van Vogt, and I loved novels like The World of Null-A, Slan, The Empire of the Atom, and The War Against the Rull. I do plan to re-read more of him, because I could see the young me at every turn, following the story with rapt attention and belief.Now the belief is gone, but what remains is a well written and conceived story. The fact that I could never quite believe, however, does remove a star or two from my rating. No matter. I am rediscovering myself and rather enjoy the experience.

  • Jason
    2018-11-19 00:24

    Continuing this year in my exploration of classic SF I thought I would take a look at a famous novel by van Vogt. It turns out that van Vogt was a Canadian from a Mennonite community in Manitoba. He was an amazingly prolific author who moved to LA right after the war. There he became quite interested in the concepts of General Semantics or non-Aristotelian logic (Null-A). I'm no logician but from what I understand Aristotelian logic assumes binary states for a statement (e.g. The dog is a collie). Null-A logic assumes there are three or more values for every statement. This can all get highly semantic and we are here to review a book so...van Vogt popularized these concepts in a series of Null-A books of which The World of Null-A was the first. In the year 2650 humans live in a vast and comforting utopian society. Individuals train to think in a non-Aristotelian pattern so that they may compete in the Game which is run by an immense machine. Those that succeed will advance to higher positions in life and the best will be allowed to go live on Venus where all is idyllic. The hero, Gilbert Gosseyn (pronounce it "go sane"), appears to be a man trying to follow this path. He attempts to enter the Game but finds himself caught up in a vast conspiracy where his identity is suspect and where ultimately he may hold the balance of power for the entire universe.The novel is complex but entirely readable. Even though the book is from the 1940's there are some really compelling SF situations that make for an interesting novel.

  • Иван Величков
    2018-10-26 22:06

    Много любим автор и един от най-добрите от старата генерация в личната ми ранг листа. Книгата разгръща една космическа опера в която разликите между планетните общества се базират изцяло на етични различия, преминали в цялостни социални структури и правещи разбирателството между културите, макар да са човеци, в пъти по-невъзможно от това между хора и друга раса.Джилбърт Госейн разбира, че някой му е насадил фалшиво минало, но не знае с каква цел. Докато се опитва да открие себе си се оказва замесен в мащабна междупланетна конспирация, чиято цел е присъединяване на слънчевата система към определена междугалактическа фракция. За да се изпълни схемата, обаче трябва да се извърши геноцид над заселниците на Венера, защото идейният им строй не може да работи при външна експанзия. Госейн е единственият неизвестен фактор, който може да спре нашествието.Романът (а и продължението му) повдига десетки етично-философски въпроси, като започнем от човек, личност и възприемане на околния свят и стигнем до междудържавни, междупланетни и междугалактически отношения.Много силно препоръчвам произведението в частност и автора като цяло на всички любители на жанра. Ван Вогт е изпреварил времето си с поне 20 години, задълбавайки сериозно в социалната фантастика под приключенско-научната маска на произведенията си.Голям.

  • R.
    2018-10-26 01:35

    He began to think of the necessity of making a determined effort to escape. But not yet. Funny, to feel that so strongly. To know that learning about himself was more important than anything else. (pgs. 45-46)Picked this book up at the local library because PKD kept namedropping it throughout The Last Interview and Other Conversations. It's easy to see why he gave nods to it - it has got the shifting realities, shifting bodies, shifting body-realities and the requisite femme fatale. But...throughout...I kept commenting to myself "Hmmm...that sounds familiar" and "What th'...that's really familiar" etcetera. So, I looked the author up on Wikipedia and was surprised but not surprised to learn that, yes, he had a hand in the early development of Dianetics.The "games" are too easily seen as the Dianetics auditing process and, well, there's other things. No need to go into it here. Everybody thinks Scientology is a joke, anyways, when, really, it's got some good ideas once you get beyond the controversy, the celebrities. There was a curious psychological law that protected men with purposes from those who had none. (pg. 198)

  • Sean
    2018-11-05 22:14

    This book really seems to polarise peoples opinions of it. I found it after seeing it discussed online as one of the most important 20th century scifi books. This book and its author inspired some of the greatest scifi writers of the 2nd half of last century, notably Philip K. Dick. Although the technology ideas in the book are now extremely dated, the overall story is fascinating and I found myself glued to it. The writing style can be confusing and the author doesn't bother to explain every detail presented during the course of the story but I did find it extremely readable and enjoyable. Although I will freely admit that I am still pretty confused about exactly what non-Aristotelian (null-A) logic/philosophy is.

  • Peter Kazmaier
    2018-11-01 02:33

    I had a hard time deciding between two stars and three stars for this novel. In the end, I decided on two stars. I found the definition of non-Aristotelian (Null-A) thought an ill-defined and incoherent concept. From my perspective Null-A seemed to imbue the adherents with super-human mental acuity completely disconnected from "integrating animal (thalamus) and human (cortex) parts of the brain.In the Foreword the author tried to shed some light on Null-A. He says: "In World, we have the Null-A (non-Aristotelian) man, who thinks gradational scale, not black and white—without, however, becoming a rebel or cynic, or a conspirator, in any current meaning of the term." I was hoping after reading the book I would understand what A. E. van Vogt meant.

  • Aaron Bellamy
    2018-11-01 01:20

    The World of Null-a is a fascinating and strange book. The style is somewhat matter of fact, very much in line with its many contemporary pulp bretheren. The main character, Gosseyn, doesn't really drive the story so much as the story just happens to him. He almost comes across as a kind of Mr. Magoo character, stumbling around in a world that he believes to understand, but doens't. But there is a delightful quality to the dangers and adventures he happens through. I found myself feeling a sense of wonder, not unlike reading my first fanatasy and science fiction tales as a kid. It didn't really matter that I didn't know what was going on, because Gosseyn didn't know what was going on either. At the end, yeah, it bothered me. There's a moment where Gosseyn suddenly seems to 'get it', but I was still in the dark. - - -But let me back up a bit here: the edition I read has a forward by the author essentially defending the novel's merits. He boasts grandly (and unjustly?) about its importance. After I finished the novel, I had to go back and reread this forward, which opened the door to a little more digging. In fact, the history of this book's reception is more dramatic and interesting than the book itself! While the book is a fun, almost comic pulp adventure, its reception rumpled some heady feathers. Without revealing too much, I'll say that some of the most important writers of the time absolutely hated the book, while many writers just then coming of age may have been shaped by it. I can't say whether everyone will enjoy it or not, it's a crap shoot, but I don't think any lover of science fiction antiquity and history can justly do without reading it.

  • Derek
    2018-11-15 05:29

    Oddly, there's a cover quote from The New Yorker on this edition--"Fine for addicts of science fiction". This is not actually an endorsement or compliment.At some point of this rocket-powered sled ride I started wondering: would a background in (van Vogt's version of) General Semantics make this novel more comprehensible? The characters, and indeed most of the story, doesn't seem to make conventional sense, and things sort of happen because they need to push Gosseyn into the events of the next chapter, and working backwards I found it difficult to rationalize each stage of the process ("Okay, why did they not kill him now that they have the chance? Why are they allowing him to develop his powers? Why was the second body located on Venus? How is any of this the best way to combat an invasion?"). It is entirely possible that the story is just moving too damn fast and I couldn't keep up.

  • prcardi
    2018-10-25 02:15

    Storyline: 3/5Characters: 2/5Writing Style: 1/5World: 5/5This was my first A.E. van Vogt experience. I can see why Philip K. Dick was inspired by the mysterious, incoherent ideas of Null-A. I can also see why Damon Knight named it "one of the worst allegedly adult science fiction stories ever published." The two are not mutually exclusive. I was initially enchanted by what Null-A meant and the world crafted by Vogt. I was thereafter continually frustrated and pained by the writing and development. Null-A might be the most ambitious idea I've encountered in science fiction, and Vogt, perhaps, writes with the least clarity of any author I've read. I'd give this more credit had Vogt been the originator of general semantics or had he been successful in explicating it through the medium of the novel.Reminds me of (view spoiler)[ The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (hide spoiler)]

  • Scott
    2018-11-10 23:19

    I read this one for an SF reading group I'm in, and didn't particularly enjoy it and will probably not read van Vogt again. Sure, it's a fun, crazy ride - but I don't take much away from it. The writing is unremarkable. The misogyny is tired. The unknowable characters are just ridiculous by the end. I recommend this one for true SF nerds only.I've seen a lot of complaints about the incomprehensible plot: but in some ways I feel that's intensional (and maybe the one thing I enjoy about this book): life is immense and cannot be reduced to convenient, conventional human logic to be made sense of. Sometimes life doesn't make sense. (Now let's move on and read something worthwhile.)

  • Bruce
    2018-11-09 03:26

    A whirlwind of a read. I read this on the recommendation of a friend, and because of a superb short story by van Vogt called "The Weapons Shop." It illustrates very well the price an author pays for writing a true page-turner. The action never lets up in The World of Null-A, but Van Vogt's penchant for cliffhangers at the end of each chapter obstruct the achievement of a cohesive structure with which to effectively dramatize the very interesting ideas he's exploring.

  • Ike Oglesby
    2018-11-11 02:10

    This is the book that hooked me on Sci-Fi. I was enthralled and fascinated by the cover (Ace paperbacks), the characters, the plot and, most importantly, by the ideas of science fiction. I have been reading them ever since. Thanks Mr Van vogt.

  • John
    2018-11-18 03:35

    1981 grade A-Series book NA1

  • David
    2018-11-12 05:36

    I can tell how this guy was a big influence on Philip K. Dick, but the bizareness of his ideas is upstaged by the lack of his skill in storytelling.

  • Alexander
    2018-10-22 21:36

    A snippet of van Vogtian prose poetry: “The crowd was a soulless woman; it reared up on its toes and stared mindlessly at those who were feasting on the destroyed symbol of a world’s sanity” (197).No, that isn’t Google Translate rendering some swatch of Serbo-Croat pulp fiction into the mother tongue. It is in fact canonical Golden Age SF that would’ve made a young, pre-Scientology L-Ron Hubbard’s ballsack tense up in envy.Van Vogt’s half-baked avatars converse like malware’d chatbots, plonk across the page like bootleg action-figures in a bad stop-motion short, victims of Douche Ex Machina plotting so cloddish, the whole mess could have been spun by a teenage Infowars zealot as a creative writing exercise assigned by their court-appointed therapist to help them model human relationships. It is really that impressively awful.And yet...the baffling interplanetary hi-jinx, doppelgangers and triplegangers, “game room”-driven career counseling (orchestrated by a malcontent AI), and bonkers Ubermensch fantasies (riffing on Korzybskian General Semantics and Non-Aristotelian Logics) all combine in their odd and flailing ways to beguile the reader.First serialized in 1945, the impact of Null-A was enormous. A solid 60% of Philip K. Dick’s literary genome is unabashedly van Vogtian, including all the recessive genes that retard both oeuvres -- though I for one wouldn’t want to inhabit the shiz-out-of-luck parallel universe where these artisanal sci-fi turds were never bestowed upon civilization. Where would American literature be without these booming dookie howitzers of genre awesomeness?

  • Dominick
    2018-11-15 21:35

    Well, this is a pretty crazy book. Its plot is amazingly disjointed, with Van Vogt introducing and abandoning enough plot threads for at least a trilogy. Our protagonist, Gosseyn ("Go sane"--yes, that is deliberate), discovers that he is not who he thinks he is, and that his memories have been altered; that he is somehow caught up in a plot to overthrow the Null-A (that is, anti-Aristotelean) philosophical principles that govern his world; that an intergalactic empire (folk from which appear in exactly one chapter, late in the book); that he has multiple bodies into which his consciousness transfers when one body dies; and that instantaneous travel between two points is made possible by the two brains (!) he has some how been given. All this--plus more--in under 200 pages. It is at points almost hallucinatory, like a fever dream fairy tale (e.g. the sequence in which Gosseyn, after being shot dead, wakes up in an empty house on Venus, and wanders about it like Belle's father from "Beauty and the Beast"). It ultimately does not make a lot of sense, but it sure is a page-turner.

  • Rafael Ontivero
    2018-11-02 21:25

    No está nada mal para ser una obra de los años treinta, de hecho apenas se nota que haya envejecido si no es por algún detalle suelto. Siempre me había mostrado reticente a leerla no sé bien por qué sentimiento irracional...

  • Jim Davis
    2018-10-28 00:27

    I'm surprised it took me so long to getting around to reading much by A. E. Van Vogt (I was born in 1947). I've read bits and pieces over the years and never felt very stongly about his writing one way or the other. But now being retired with more time on my hands I've trying to read the classic SF authors in more depth. The van Vogt novels that I remember enjoying in the past where the Weapon Shops novels which is surprising in retrospect since they are very libertarian and I tend towards a mild liberalism. The World of Null-A also appears libertarian if not anarchist in nature. Unfortunately this only seems to be workable if people have a whole lot of training in Null-A thinking (which is actually van Vogt's version of Korzybski's General Semantics philosophy). Actually I found the numerous story plots very interesting on their own and almost found the Null-A aspect distracting. I actually went out and researched a little about General Semantics to see if it would help my understanding of the novel. The result was that I felt that van Vogt was doing a poor job of describing this mode of thinking and it wasn't just my own denseness that kept me from absorbing much about Null-A thinking from just reading the novel. This is a fast moving novel that introduces a huge amount of plot elements that range from the dominance of Earth society and politics by the philosophy of Null-A, with dissidents in revolt against it then leaping to other planets, with war between Earth and Venus and finally an intergalactic empire that also wants to conquer Earth. All of these plot elements are used to show how the central figure uses Null-A thinking to deal with these individual problems in a positive way while simultaneously suffering from a partial amnesia that he is also trying to resolve. I enjoyed it just enough to eventually move on to the other books in the series.

  • Simon
    2018-11-20 22:27

    Right from the outset this is a mind-bending, roller coaster ride of twists and turns. Don't expect detailed world building and character development, that is not what Van Vogt is all about. He is instead concerned with exploring his crazy ideas and plot twists.In the opening chapter we discover that the protagonist, Gilbert Gosseyn, is not who he thinks he is as his memories are proven false. Gosseyn (and the reader) are then thrown into a state of confusion which lasts throughout the book. A little later Gosseyn is killed, only to awaken in the next chapter in a brand new copy of his body, on Venus. But all this makes sense, as far as the author is concerned, because he is trying to make clear his point that our identity is our memories, whether true or false, whether everything else is changes or not."Null-A" stands for Non-Aristotelian and this book describes a world in which this new pholosophy and logic have superceded the Aristotelian philosophy and logic that dominates our thinking today. Those who have best integrated this way of thinking into their lives go on to do all the important jobs in society and the cream of the crop go on to live in a utopian society on Venus populated with like minded people. All this is coming under threat however as forces of the old Aristotelian order are attempting a coup, seeking to overthrow this new order. Somehow Gosseyn is in the middle of all this and is the key to stopping it but he doesn't know how and appears to be a mere pawn in someone elses game.As the author states in the last sentence of chapter 14: "It was all quite incomprehensible.". Yes, that sums it up quite succinctly. Van Vogt just flies off the handle a little too much here, the plot developments just too crazy and unbelievable but it's still quite an enjoyable read.

  • Jeff
    2018-11-09 00:08

    [from my book lover's journal; review probably written a month or two after reading]I thought, "Maybe it was just Slan that sucked; it was his first book after all." But it wasn't—in my opinion Van Vogt sucks. Some dude at an online SF site claimed that VeeVee's "stories don't seem to have any logic, but somehow they work"—i give that reviewer half credit because not only do the stories seem to have no logic, they actually don't have any logic. Unless you think that the need for action is a sufficiently logical justification to [insert action here] in your stories. As with Slan, nothing but automatons acting out whatever VeeVee thinks will entertain, excite, engross.[almost 20 years later and all i can say about myself is, "Sheesh! what a dick."]

  • Rachael
    2018-11-08 01:06

    The quality of the ideas far exceeds the plot--a world in the far future governed non-Aristotelian logic (not really explained, but hinted at with phrases like "the word is not the thing, the map is not the territory") and a Games Machine. But these ideas are not developed, instead some fellow who doesn't know who he is has to battle an intergalactic gang trying to destroy this null-A paradise. I was given little reason to care, and only gave the book the second star because the germ at the beginning was so intriguing.