Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Voyage of the Space Beagle-A.E. Van Vogt

The Voyage of the Space Beagle
A.E. Van Vogt
Tor, Jul 2008, $14.95
ISBN: 9780765320773

The crew of the Space Beagle encounters a strange species the Coeurl on this forbidden planet. The creature looks like a cat with large tentacles. The Coeurl concludes these are outsiders from another star system on a scientific expeditions; it knows scientist are brilliant idiots, who cannot kill especially an intriguing beast like it. However, the space travelers quickly conclude they are in danger when they realize this enigmatic beast “eats” the soul of humans for sustenance. Nexialist Elliot Grosveneur, ignored through months of the journey by those who have no idea what his specialty means as he has none being a nexus connecting generalist, chief chemist Gregory Kent, and expedition leader Hal Morton realize they face a dangerous monster.

Above is the first of four alien encounter adventures that the multi disciplined scientific expedition of the crew of the Space Beagle face. All are dangerous meetings in which Dr. Grosveneur plays a key role. The reprint from 1950s magazines showcases A.E. Vogt’s unique ability to combine outer space action with cerebral prevalent social theories; in this case the debate over Oswald Spengler’s cyclical rise and fall like seasons of empires/cultures in his 1920s DECLINE OF THE WEST seems so timely, but it is difficult to grasp the nuances of the debate. Still readers will want to join the crew of the SPACE BEAGLE as they go where mankind has never been before encountering strange species, not all friendly; and will search the net for information on Spengler and Nexialism.

Harriet Klausner

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