Talk:A. E. van Vogt

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Inspiration for Spock?[edit]

Isn't the Nexialist in The Voyage of the Space Beagle the inspiration for Spock on Star Trek? Shouldn't this be mentioned? Also, it's mentioned that several sci-fi films have used the idea of the carnivorous alien stalking the crew of the space ship; a mention of the names of these movies would allow searches on the movie title to find the van Vogt article, which would be good for van Vogt's fame. --

Elliot Grosvenor, the Nexialist in the Space Beagle, is very unlike Spock. He is not particularly logical, relying rather on a very wide ranging scientific knowledge gained by using advanced learning techniques including hypnotism. He also has little compunction in using his techniques to defend himself against the internal politics of the ship as much as against external threats, and, in the end, he uses those same techniques to manipulate the crew of the Space Beagle into doing what he thinks is the right thing (and of course since he is the hero, it is the right thing). He knows something about everything, especially human motivation and emotions, a matter on which Spock seems happy to admit ignorance. I really don't think that they have much in common. -- Derek Ross
Which is very interesting and accurate, but doesn't seem to address the question of whether Grosvenor was the inspiration for the character of Spock. This is a factual matter of what Roddenberry (or whoever) was thinking. Alan Nicoll 16:12, 9 October 2005 (UTC)


Also: Does anyone know how van Vogt's name is to be pronounced? This should go in the article. --

Vogt is pronounced as "vote." The "g" is silent. My encounters with this pronunciation include a pun, I think by Forry Ackerman, something about "he gets my Vogt for" a distinction; and visits to a few science fiction conventions where Van was introduced. -- Alan Nicoll
  • Ben Bova introduced me to Van Vogt at the WorldCon back in '76 and I *thought* he pronounced it "Vo" as in "go", but I could easily be wrong about this.... Hayford Peirce 19:11, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Come to think of it, the pun works even if you pronounce the "g." Alan Nicoll

General Semantics[edit]

I question the characterization of General Semantics presented here, especially in characterizing it as "fuzzy logic." Seems to me GS is fundamentally about avoiding bewitchment by language, as in confusing the map with the territory, and the person today with the person tomorrow. The null-A angle is a rejection of two-valued logic, which differs significantly from fuzzy logic. Alan Nicoll 22:48, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

And the current version seems to mischaracterize fuzzy logic. Does anyone know what Van Vogt actually said, so we can present his views as such? Dan 07:06, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Since the Null-A books are to some extent an exposition of General Semantics, there should be some wothwhile quotes in them. -- Derek Ross | Talk
In fact each chapter of Pawns of Null-A starts with a little snippet illustrating a point from the philosophy. -- Derek Ross | Talk 05:52, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Link suggestions[edit]

An automated Wikipedia link suggester has some possible wiki link suggestions for the A._E._van_Vogt article, and they have been placed on this page for your convenience.
Tip: Some people find it helpful if these suggestions are shown on this talk page, rather than on another page. To do this, just add {{User:LinkBot/suggestions/A._E._van_Vogt}} to this page. — LinkBot 10:34, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)


"all-encompassing systems of knowledge (akin to modern meta-systems)" -- If you follow that link, the article on Meta-systems is worthy in tone of Van Vogt, but it doesn't appear to describe the kind of General Semantics/Dianetics/"Nexialism"-type Theory of Everything in question. If there is a true connection, let's clarify it. -- Dell Adams 07:13, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Now I'm doing it too! Good grief! -- Dell Adams 07:18, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
 What were the dates of publication of Van's novels?
        --k d f


I removed some of the "criticism" of Vogt's writings but I see Antaeus Feldspar restored them.... anyone else want to chime in about this? I feel like given the genre and the period, it's a bit pedantic to list various scientific "mistakes" in old sci-fi novels. These stories are fanciful by nature, and it's a bit like saying that Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator violates the laws of physics, or that Teletubbies have no valid physiological explanation for their abdominal television implants. wikipediatrix 17:54, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I'd suggest that some note of the issues might be in order, but not to the extent that it currently is. Perhaps simply a note to the effect "As with many authors of the period, Van Vogt's works were meant to entertain and not educate. To that end, he permitted scientific errors to enter his stories when they would help his story."Shsilver 18:32, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
These are fairly large mistakes, however, and I don't think the genre and the period account entirely for that. I mean, can you honestly say that the two "Charlie" books or the Teletubbies actually fall into the same genre as van Vogt's science fiction and establish the standard by which they should all be judged? I fully support putting in notes to explain that perhaps those technical errors should be judged by a different standard due to the genre and period, but I can't support just removing them entirely and therefore making the choice for the reader that they're insignificant. -- Antaeus Feldspar 18:54, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Name me any science fiction book ever written (but especially in the 1940s-1960s) and one can pick out major glaring scientific flaws. Does this mean one should? Probably not. Most science fiction authors of his era do not have such a section in their article, and it seems rather unfair to single out Vogt. wikipediatrix 19:19, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
Whether it was fair or not (opinions differ), Knight's criticism of van Vogt's science and style was highly visible and influential at the time, so it's certainly worth mentioning, e.g., his later characterization of the magazine version of _The Worlds of Null-A_ as a pretentious, foolish, wildly complicated and self-contradictory magazine serial. Ahasuerus 04:43, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Also consider that while no one is likely to look on the "Charlie" books or the Teletubbies or most of the science fiction books you are counting as comparable as anything but entertainment, van Vogt gets credited for popularizing Non-Aristotelian logic through his writing (the famous "null-A" he wrote so much about). That sort of real-world influence is frequently accompanied in articles with criticism which may present reasons why assertions or implications from that source should be taken with caution; see the article on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for an example. -- Antaeus Feldspar 14:39, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

This whole section is poorly written, out-of-context, misleading, and void of citations! The Knight quote was regarding ONLY The World of Null-A, written at the start of his career. It maybe would fit on the novel's page (in context and cited) but definitely shouldn't be here. The scientific accuracy critiques are absolute drivel. M31/M33? Absolute zero for a spaceship traveling the speed of light?

A valid critique of his work would be on his portrayal of women and sexism, for example. I'm removing this stuff.


How about page 626 of "The S.F. Encycl." by Peter Nicholls (the 1979 edition), which, in the article on van Vogt states: "It was during these years that AEVV, along with Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein, and to a lesser extent Theodore Sturgeon, seemed nearly alone to create, by writing what Campbell wanted to publish, the first genuinely successful period of American sf...." Reader polls and surveys at the time also almost always put AEVV near the top. Hayford Peirce 16:10, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Luckily, we don't have to guess. An analysis of Analytical Laboratory data indicates that van Vogt was more popular than any other Golden Age author except Heinlein and Doc Smith. Ahasuerus 16:25, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Wow! I had no idea such an article existed. Perfect example of a guy with too much time on his hands, hehe.... Hayford Peirce 22:56, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
The reason I tagged it is because the phrasing seemed uncomfortably like what I'd read in the typical band-vanity page ("Their many fans would agree that Retching Lemur is one of the best bands of all time!") Of course I know that van Vogt did indeed have a quite significant following -- but any claim made for how significant, such as him being in the top three of the time, really should be backed up with more than the conditional that's there now about who fans "would have named". So, since we've got some better data now, perhaps it should get edited in? -- Antaeus Feldspar 01:47, 14 January 2006 (UTC)
Sure, we can do that. Keep in mind that his standing with the fans was very high in 1939-1943, but dropped precipitously at the end of WWII -- see the graph at the bottom of the linked page. Ahasuerus 02:05, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Lydia Bereginsky[edit]

Lydia Bereginsky's name was a link. I didn't think it necessary. If she is notable for something other than marrying Van Vogt, somebody please say so, and create a Wikipedia page about her. Mr Frosty 17:08, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Snipped "Golden Age" claim[edit]

I've taken out the line, "It was the cover story of the issue of Astounding which ushered in the Golden Age of science fiction. " For one, this is unsourced, and a pretty grand claim. For two, it's unclear what's doing in the ushering, the story, the cover, or the issue. Wasn't germane to the subject at hand. -- P L E A T H E R talk 00:30, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Never thought that the oft repeated assertion needed a cite, having read versions of the story for decades on end, but since such memories do have a tendency to fade, the need for a cite is not in doubt. The other issue by Pleather, about clarifying what was being ushered in, still needs to be better addressed. The minor modification doesn't seem to do much toward that end, so a bit more editing is needed. Ombudsman 03:24, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
The July 1939 magazine issue ushered in the Golden Age. The reason for the claim is that both Van Vogt and Asimov had their first published stories in this issue (and Van Vogt's was indeed the cover story). Heinlein's first story was published in the next issue, August 1939, Sturgeon shortly afterwards, and things took off from there. A cite confirming this should be easy to find. As to being germane, van Vogt is one of the authors whose work is characteristic of the Golden Age, so of course it's germane. -- Derek Ross | Talk 04:11, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
In fact it's all laid out and cited in our John W. Campbell article, so I just copied the citation in. That's better than deleting something which is common knowledge among serious SF fans. -- Derek Ross | Talk 05:23, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Empire of the Atom[edit]

Please add the following: Although Van Vogt has a gigantic reputation as an sf writer, it seems that he has been allowed to get away with what I would call "the Queen's award for plagiarism" - namely his story EMPIRE OF THE ATOM which was shamelessly derived from I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves.

Thanks to the writer/s of this article. -- (unsigned by Anon)

That's interesting. I haven't read Empire of the Atom but I'll watch out for it. However Graves himself shamelessly derived I, Claudius from Suetonius work, so van Vogt wasn't alone. Authors do that kind of thing, even good ones. -- Derek Ross | Talk 23:46, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

"Big Three"[edit]

Many fans of that era would have named van Vogt, Robert A. Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov as the three greatest science fiction writers.

A.C. Clarke, Heinlein and Asimov maybe. The statement should be revised. -- (Said User:OblioOblio who didn't bother to sign)

Clarke didn't publish until 1946 and wasn't considered a Big Three until maybe the '60s. VanVogt was early '40s Big Three. Hayford Peirce 18:14, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Picking the "Big Three" of SF is not easy. Heinlein will always be the Dean of SF and Asimov will always be there. The last spot is not easy to pick. Clarke is an obvious choice but Frank Herbert, Larry Niven and Frederik Pohl deserve consideration. WAB Houston 15:53, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Traditionally, the nickname "Dean of Science Fiction" belongs to Murray Leinster.Shsilver 16:11, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Frank Herbert does nto deserve consideration for mereley one novle or concept. While it was awe inspiring in complexity, it did little to promote science ficiton. -- wrote an editor who didn't bother to sign with ~~~~

I see the line has now been removed. Well, well, so be it. However as a matter of interest there is some objective research which backs the claim. Take a look at this extremely interesting article, originally published in Analog's 50th Anniversary issue, on the popularity of their authors between 1938 and 1976 which has been reproduced on the web. It indicates that, based purely on reader's letters to Astounding/Analog, the top three prior to 1973 were Heinlein, Smith and van Vogt. -- Derek Ross | Talk 21:03, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Three books[edit]

Don't know about a citation but the information about van Vogt's "textbooks" appears in a couple of places,, for one. If that's not good enough, I suppose the info will have to be removed. -- Derek Ross | Talk 01:49, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, that looks pretty good, why don't you put it in as a reference and footnote. Hayford Peirce 02:00, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
<Blush>, I'm never very confident about doing that. -- Derek Ross | Talk 02:01, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh, okay, I'll do it after dinner. Thanks for the pertinent info. Hayford Peirce 02:06, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

"Van Vogt" vs. "van Vogt"[edit]

Almost every instance of Van Vogt's name I've seen (I have most of his books, and many magazines with his works in them) has both V's capitalized. Therefore, I'm proposing that we move this article to "A. E. Van Vogt" and correct all instances of his name where the first V is not capitalized. Thoughts? ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 21:53, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, on page 627 of the Nicholls "The Science Fiction Encyclopedia", the article about Van Vogh, which calls him AEVV throughout, has a sentence that starts: "In his autobiographical Reflections of A.E. van Vogh (1975), AEVV uses the term...." The article on E. Mayne Hulls says she was married to A.E. van Vogh. Later in the same article there is a reference to Van Vogh. The article on John Campbell refers to A.E. van Vogh. What Nicholls is apparently doing is referring to the full name with a small "v" and to the last name alone (Van Vogh) with a capital "V". This makes sense, as most writing about Charles deGaulle uses a small "d" for his full name but a capital "D" when the name stands alone, as in "Churchill had lunch with DeGaulle and gave him a cigar." So, I think, the article's name should be left as it is. Hayford Peirce 22:26, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Also, you might want to check the ISFDB entry on AEVV at: Hayford Peirce 22:33, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Probably considered Original Research, but in dealing with his widow for a book recently, she was always van Vogt, including on the contracts. I'd say A.E. van Vogt is correct. Shsilver 01:30, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
That's good enough for me. Hayford Peirce 01:35, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Science Fiction Hall of Fame lists it as A.E. van Vogt, it was edited by Robert Silverberg FYI- Random Man

My copy of The Money Personality is published in 1972 (Parker Publishing Company, West Nyack, NJ ISBN 0-13-600676-0), NOT 1975 as listed. And his name is spelled A. E. van Vogt —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:01, August 29, 2007 (UTC)

No-Time Language Method[edit]

Is this the same A.E. Van Vogt who invented the "No-time" language method? I have used the German tapes and the method is quite remarkable. The following is from a language company:

(I won't mention the company name because my question is informational rather than trying to spam.)

"Developed by A.E. Van Vogt, the renowned writer and language expert, this unusual method uses no text or printed materials. Available in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili and Tagalog."
"These courses have been developed by A.E. Van Vogt, a well-known writer, language expert, and author of 46 books."

The reason it's important is obvious only if you're familiar with the method, and that is his extraordinary insight into the language-learning process. Steve Harnish (talk) 21:00, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Interesting! Well it's not exactly a common name, so chances are high that it's the same person. -- Derek Ross | Talk 21:23, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

No Biography @ All?[edit]

Would we not @ least like to know his schooling?Slarty2 (talk) 19:09, 23 July 2010 (UTC)


It's been a long time since I came across an article so full of errors, mis-spellings, awkward sentences, irrelevant facts, and unreferenced and fatuous statements. I've started the long process of clean-up but it's going to take a while. LyleHoward (talk) 23:59, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Three citations[edit]

I have three citations for “The story served as the inspiration for a number of science fiction movies.[citation needed]” in the ‘Early life and writings’ section, but none are definitive. Is this a good way (below) to arrange the citations with the quotes included or are these quotes better placed in the main body of the text, or left out?


  1. ^ (a) Pringle, David (1990) "The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction", Grafton Books, page 346.
    "This [The voyage of the Space Beagle] is the classic 'bug-eyed monster' novel, the unacknowledged inspiration for the film Alien and scores of similar"
    (b) Hughes, Aaron "Neglected Masters Book Review" retrieved 2010-09-09
    "The stories collected in The Voyage of the Space Beagle were perhaps the first to chronicle the adventures of the crew of a large, military-style starship exploring the universe, and doubtless influenced Gene Roddenberry strongly when he created Star Trek."
    "One of the Space Beagle stories purportedly inspired the movie Alien - the resemblance was great enough that van Vogt brought a lawsuit against the filmmakers, which reportedly settled for a $50,000 payment."
    (c) Walters, Trent "Oh, the Humanity of A.E. van Vogt's Monsters: Reorienting Critics and Readers to the van Vogt Method"retrieved 2010-09-09
    "... The Voyage Of The Space Beagle (1950), later inspired the original Star Trek series and the movie Alien."

Carey McCarthy (talk) 19:03, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

I'd put them in a note. You might also want to use: " 'Black Destroyer' has been cited as the inspiration for the movie Alien and its many sequels and imitations", which is from the NYT obit, 4 Feb 2000, by Gerry Jonas -- no page number available via the online index, unfortunately. Mike Christie (talk) 19:37, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I put the citations in as a 'Note' as you suggested (Note 1) -- the text of the Note has a blue background; is this ok?

Carey McCarthy (talk) 18:25, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

The blue background in the Note text has disappeared so I suppose that’s ok now. Carey McCarthy (talk) 18:30, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Yep. The background colour of Notes is the sort of thing that someone else works on behind the scenes. As long as it's consistent throughout Wikipedia and not too garish, everyone is happy. -- Derek Ross | Talk 20:38, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

New Heading?[edit]

The text below could maybe be added at the end of the ‘Recognition’ section or is it worth adding a new heading e.g. ‘Recent Perspectives’?


Writing in 1984 David Hartwell said[1]:

“No one has taken van Vogt seriously as a writer for a long time. Yet he has been read and still is. What no one seems to have notices is that van Vogt, more than any other single SF writer, is the conduit through which the energy of Gernsbackian, primitive wonder stories have been transmitted through the Campbellian age, when earlier styles of SF were otherwise rejected, and on into SF of the present.”

The literary critic Leslie A. Fiedler said something similar:[2]

”Van Vogt is a test case, … since an apology for or analysis of science fiction which fails to come to terms with his appeal and major importance, defends of defines the genre by falsifying it.”

Thus in the July 2010 edition of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine[3] the reviewer Paul Di Filippo can write of the book under review: “This post-apocalypse story reads like some oneiric combo of Andre Norton, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Rudy Rucker, and A.E. van Vogt." Here Di Filippo clearly assumes in the reader a knowledge of van Vogt. Perhaps reflecting Fiedler’s contention that one must “come to terms” with van Vogt’s “appeal and major importance,“ in 2009 [4] the veteran science fiction writer and critic Robert Silverberg devoted the whole of his regular column in a science fiction periodical to an assessment of van Vogt’s ‘’The World of Null-A’’, a text he first encountered “when I was a beginning reader of science fiction, some sixty years ago”.

  1. ^ Hartwell, David (1984) “Age of Wonders: Exploring the Worlds of Science Fiction”, New York, Walker, Page 131-132. ISBN 9780893661632
  2. ^ Fiedler, Leslie A. (1983) “The Criticism of Science Fiction”, Coordinates: Placing Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. George E. Slusser, Eric S. Rabkin, and Robert Scholes (Carbondale Southern Illinoois University Press, page 10-11. ISBN 9780809311057
  3. ^ Di Fillipo, Paul (2010) “On Books: Third World Worlds”, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Vol. 34 No. 7. Whole No. 413, July 2010
  4. ^ Silverberg, Robert (2009) "Reflections", Asimov’s Science Fiction, Vol. 33, Nos. 4 & 5. Whole Nos. 399 & 400, April/May 2009

Carey McCarthy (talk) 09:38, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

I have reworked the above draft (removed 'personal research') and added it to the end of the Critical Reception section.

Carey McCarthy (talk) 13:39, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

External Links Need Updating[edit]

The URLs for two of the websites linked to under the External Links section need to be updated. I would do this myself, but probably shouldn't due to possible conflict of interest -- I run one of them myself, while the other is run by someone else but is now hosted on the same domain.

1. - 'Icshi: the A.E. van Vogt information site'

This is the site I run. It used to be at but is now at Also, it is now called just "Sevagram" rather than "Icshi: the A.E. van Vogt information site."

2. - 'Weird Worlds of A. E. van Vogt: 1912–2000'

This site was created by Magnus Axelsson. It used to be at but is now hosted at This site is no longer being updated, and is now stored on my domain for archival purposes, thanks to the generosity and cooperation of the site's creator, Magnus Axelsson. This site remains an independent entity from the other topical sections on, and to all intents and purposes remains a separate website from my own site.

All links within the article itself that point to either of these websites needs to be updated as well.

By the way -- this is my first participation on Wikipedia, so if I have transgressed any of the editorial guidelines, please let me know before you throw me in the dungeon!

Isaac Walwyn (talk) 03:30, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Actually, you have not transgressed at all, but rather you have shown good judgment and honesty in recognizing and disclosing your conflict of interest. Thank you for that.
Now that one site is archived on the other, there is no need to have two external links to the same site, especially if the archived one already has citations in the article.
Based on that, I have removed one link from the external links section and updated the rest. ~Amatulić (talk) 06:46, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Violent Male (1992)[edit]

We list under Works: Nonfiction

This is six years after the latest science fiction mentioned here (one item) or listed in ISFDB (two 1986 items). Was this Report new material by AEVV?

In the {{infobox writer}} I have specified "1940–1986 (science fiction)" in order to finesse the point. If he was subsequently active for some time outside science fiction, however, this biography should at least make that clear in prose (and probably should give him a nonfiction infobox subject). At the moment we have in prose only work considered to be in progress mid-1980s but never delivered, great decline by mid-1990s with some 1995 cogency per Harlan Ellison, and death of Alzheimer's complications 2000.

--P64 (talk) 21:33, 25 March 2013 (UTC)