Empire of the Atom

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Empire of the Atom
Empire of the atom.jpg
Dust-jacket of the first edition
Author A. E. van Vogt
Cover artist Malcolm Smith
Country United States
Language English
Series Gods
Genre science fiction novel
Publisher Shasta Publishers
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
OCLC 290721
Followed by The Wizard of Linn

Empire of the Atom is a science fiction novel by A. E. van Vogt. It was first published in 1957 by Shasta Publishers in an edition of 2,000 copies. The novel is a fix-up of the first five of van Vogt's Gods stories which originally appeared in the magazine Astounding. The remaining Gods stories are collected in The Wizard of Linn. Author and critic James Blish observed that the plot of the Gods stories resembled that of Robert Graves' Claudius novels.[1] Author and critic Damon Knight said that the plot was "lifted almost bodily" from the plot of I, Claudius[2] A genealogy chart of the ruling family of the Empire of Linn is included.


  • "A Son Is Born"
  • "Child of the Gods"
  • "Hand of the Gods"
  • "Home of the Gods"
  • "The Barbarian"

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel concerns adventures of a mutant genius in a barbaric future where spaceships and other forms of advanced technology are used without being understood, most knowledge having been destroyed in an atomic war with an alien species long before the opening of the story.


Galaxy reviewer Floyd C. Gale faulted the novel for its odd internal contradictions, in particular a scene where "a fleet of spaceships makes a strafing run over the enemy, loosing flights of arrows from point-blank range."[3]

Publication history[edit]

  • 1957, US, Shasta Publishers OCLC 290721, Pub date 1957, Hardback
  • 1957, US, Ace Books D-242 OCLC 4049107, Pub date 1957, Paperback, abridged, Ace Double with Space Station No. 1 by Frank Belknap Long
  • 1959, Germany, Zimmermann, Pub date 1959, Hardback, as Das Erbe des Atoms
  • 1959, Germany, Terra 95, Pub date 1959, Hardback, as Das Erbe des Atoms
  • 1963, Italy, La Tribuna SF B. C., Pub date 1963, Hardback, as L'impero dell'atomo, with The Wizard of Linn
  • 1966, US, Macfadden 60-267 OCLC 2302660, Pub date 1966, Paperback
  • 1968, France, Ed. Opta 'Classique SF' 11, Pub date 1968, Hardback, as L'empire de l'atome, with The Wizard of Linn


  1. ^ Clute, John; Peter Nicholls (1995). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. p. 1269. ISBN 0-312-13486-X. 
  2. ^ Knight, Damon (March 1967) [First Edition 1956]. "Cosmic Jerrybuilder: A. E. Van Vogt". In Search of Wonder (2nd ed.). Advent. p. 62. ISBN 0-911682-15-5. OCLC 489853415. LCCN:67-4260. No serious effort has been made to efface the evidence – most of the names of principal characters are transparent disguises.... Van Vogt's Linn is Augustean Rome in almost every detail. (Even the coinage is in sesterces.) 
  3. ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1957, p.116


External links[edit]