On and on Coeurl prowled So began Van Vogt s first published story, and so begins this novel The saga of the Space Beagle, mankind s first effort to reach another galaxy And what strange life forms are encountered


10 thoughts on “The Voyage of the Space Beagle

  1. Adrian Adrian says:

    I read quite a few van Vogt books as a teenager I remember saving up my pocket money, getting a 2 6 postal order and sending for the next book I wanted from Panther books from their list of books in the back of the book I had just read The excitement of waiting for the next van Vogt or Doc Smith or Asimov to arrive was stupendous.Anyway this was one of the books I m sure I read during those halcyon days of sunshine, hours to read and endless time ahead.This book has a typical van Vogt feel a I read quite a few van Vogt books as a teenager I remember saving up my pocket money, getting a 2 6 postal order and sending for the next book I wanted from Panther books from their list of books in the back of the book I had just read The excitement of waiting for the next van Vogt or Doc Smith or Asimov to arrive was stupendous.Anyway this was one of the books I m sure I read during those halcyon days of sunshine, hours to read and endless time ahead.This book has a typical van Vogt feel about, a classic SF Space Opera with some great characters , a great story and a timeless feel Yes its a relatively simple story, a large number of earthmen travelling the universe looking for life and new discoveries The crew, made up of representatives from all the sciences and the military, are full of the petty jealousies that all ambitious people have The hero is a young scientist from a relatively new science of Nexialism, which looks at the sum of all the sciences, hoping that whole knowledge is larger that the sum of all the constituent parts The trouble is, he is the only representative from his science aboard the spaceship and is far far younger than all the other heads of departments and so is seen as not worth bothering with.As the adventures and scrapes the crew get into as they traverse the universe getandserious his star begins to shine as he uses Nexialism to solve their problems A romp across the galaxy with a great underlying story of classic sci fi, that makes me want to readfrom this era A very solid 4 stars


  2. Dirk Grobbelaar Dirk Grobbelaar says:

    An exploration vessel with a crew complement of almost one thousand wandering between the stars cue some music No, wait a minute, it s not the Enterprise It s the Space Beagle When was this written then Well, the individual parts that make up this novel were published between 1939 and 1952 This is quite a famous little novel, even though current opinion about it is somewhat divided Some of the assumptions in this book are rather na ve, such as allowing a foreign organism into an enclose An exploration vessel with a crew complement of almost one thousand wandering between the stars cue some music No, wait a minute, it s not the Enterprise It s the Space Beagle When was this written then Well, the individual parts that make up this novel were published between 1939 and 1952 This is quite a famous little novel, even though current opinion about it is somewhat divided Some of the assumptions in this book are rather na ve, such as allowing a foreign organism into an enclosed system spaceship without any concern over contamination or disease Perhaps it s merely anachronistic this novel is, after all, from the golden age of Science Fiction However, if you look at the story with eyes unbiased by 60 years of Science Fiction history and evolution, you should be suitably impressed The Discord in Scarlet storyline is especially memorable A vicious and supernaturally powerful alien steals aboard the human ship it lays eggs inside its hosts the hapless humans it hides in the miles long system of air conditioning it is bent on survival at all cost Sound familiar It should 20th Century Fox eventually settled out of court, although in all fairness it may have been coincidence after all The novel also coined the phrase Nexialism, which is basically a consolidated approach to problem solving, by applying approaches from different sciences Or, the holistic whole istic according to the novel approach The Anabis sequence contains some startling ideas, such as the teleportation of entire planets to create artificial systems We are so used to high concept SF these days that it s somewhat hard to imagine what folk would have experienced when reading this in the 1940s when the sequence was first published as M33 in Andromeda, Astounding, 1943.Needless to say, the Voyage of the Space Beagle has influenced the field of Science Fiction and pop culture to a momentous extent Whether you like the novel or not, there is no denying its impact Van Vogt s alien creatures have even made it into Dungeons Dragons and Final Fantasy, albeit in slightly altered forms The novel carries its years pretty well, all things considered, and despite the fact that the Space Beagle still sports a mail chute A true classic


  3. Jim Jim says:

    July2016 I m rereading this for the Evolution of Science Fiction group read here title makes it obvious, but this is an exploration of strange new creatures not much of strange new worlds, though Still, I can see the roots of Star Trek Less obvious is the exploration of a variety of human ideas through a new science called Nexialism, the science of learning many sciences how to synthesize them A science that turns out polymaths, I suppose El July2016 I m rereading this for the Evolution of Science Fiction group read here title makes it obvious, but this is an exploration of strange new creatures not much of strange new worlds, though Still, I can see the roots of Star Trek Less obvious is the exploration of a variety of human ideas through a new science called Nexialism, the science of learning many sciences how to synthesize them A science that turns out polymaths, I suppose Elliott Grosvenor is the department of one on the Beagle There is also the issue of a crew all male chemically neutered living together for years.This was originally 4 short stories, not 3 Thanks to Buck for the TOC My old 1950s copy doesn t have one in it, but it reads very well as a novel now, so I m not listing it as short stories.Black Destroyer 1939, chapters 1 to 6 is about the Coeurl, one of the last creatures alive on a dying planet War of Nerves 1950, chapters 9 to 12 is about alien mind control which didn t do much for me It was the weakest story in the collection, IMO.Discord in Scarlet 1939, chapters 13 to 21 might well be the basis for the movie Alien with a bit of the first monster thrown in M33 in Andromeda 1943, chapters 22 to 28 was one of the most interesting in several ways The monster was quite imaginative Grosvenor really struts his stuff.I don t disagree with anything I wrote in my earlier review below, but I think I underrated the book badly While much of the science isn t well explained, it s certainly not as magical as so much was during this time period Both Star Trek the Alien movies seem to have grown out of this pioneering work I wouldn t be surprised if others got their inspiration from it On top of all that, it s still highly readable so many decades later I almost feel bad only giving it 4 stars Highly recommended for anyone into the evolution of SF Van Vogt was certainly one of the giants.Old review 2008 Last read 2000 3 stars Van Vogt collected three short stories together into a novel It reads well, though As you d suspect, the Space Beagle is an exploratory space ship that runs into several different first contact scenarios One is a very interesting failure to communicate The other two have a lot in common extreme power, immortality, war stagnation All have a lot of action are tied together by a new breed of scientist, one who ties together the various specialties There is a strong theme of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing among the various scientific specialties Very well done


  4. Jamie Jamie says:

    Space is deadly Deadly fun I see comparisons to Star Trek, which I think hold to some extent But unlike the Enterprise, the Space Beagle is first and foremost a vessel of scientific research van Vogt digs deeper than your typical golden age sci fi adventure pulps, plumbing a wide range of scientific disciplines in dissecting the deadly wonders encountered by the Space Beagle.I found the narrative, settings and situations the crew gets into very compelling van Vogt has a flair for creating un Space is deadly Deadly fun I see comparisons to Star Trek, which I think hold to some extent But unlike the Enterprise, the Space Beagle is first and foremost a vessel of scientific research van Vogt digs deeper than your typical golden age sci fi adventure pulps, plumbing a wide range of scientific disciplines in dissecting the deadly wonders encountered by the Space Beagle.I found the narrative, settings and situations the crew gets into very compelling van Vogt has a flair for creating unusual situations and dynamics, which don t always fit together as expected However, these get weighed down with dialogue of the scientists hypothesizing as they examine the dangers they face With every one we hear the musings of the biologist, the chemist, the historian, etc, before some course of action is chosen, by committee vote So, just like Star Trek if the Enterprise was crewed only by Vulcans


  5. J.G. Keely J.G. Keely says:

    Written in 1939, The Voyage of the Space Beagle reads like the prototype for Star Trek A multinational crew of scientists and the military embark on a ten year mission to explore the galaxy, seeking out new aliens and almost being killed by them they even have shields.Grosvenor, our protagonist, is in many ways reminiscent of Mr Spock both are awkward, intelligent men mistrusted by their emotional shipmates because of their cool rationality He also shares the standard characteristics of V Written in 1939, The Voyage of the Space Beagle reads like the prototype for Star Trek A multinational crew of scientists and the military embark on a ten year mission to explore the galaxy, seeking out new aliens and almost being killed by them they even have shields.Grosvenor, our protagonist, is in many ways reminiscent of Mr Spock both are awkward, intelligent men mistrusted by their emotional shipmates because of their cool rationality He also shares the standard characteristics of Van Vogt s heroes he is a master of a superscience unknown to other men, capable of predicting them and controlling them through crystals and hypnotism.As in Slan, Van Vogt is not above resolving plot conflicts through convenient introductions of supertech, but here, those resolutions are often secondary to the protagonist s interpersonal relationships and moral quandries While in Slan, the hero lives an isolated life, working against invisible enemies, Grosvenor is constantly embroiled in social interaction.At first, I found the character intriguing, a portrait of a strange, off putting man trying to survive in close quarters on the long mission Early on, we see him making many small, manipulative moves, reading and weighing those around him.Eventually, Van Vogt gives in to the sci fi author s vice of overexplaining, and reveals that Grosvenor is acting this way because he is a student of a new, unproven science, a superscience that combines all the other sciences and relies on hypnotic sleep learning Soon, the majority of his thoughts revolve around philosophical discussions of how this science came about and what its purpose is, and his actions are chiefly to promote it when he isn t saving the stubborn crew from certain death.No matter how many times Grosvenor s new science proves him right, he always finds himself struggling to convince anyone around him to believe him There are some amusing asides about how this happens, psychologically, since no man aboard is in a position to double check Grosvenor s unique methods, and his assuredness makes others resentful.But he still manages to overcome did we ever doubt a series of unconnected episodes, again, evoking Star Trek or other monster of the week serials The first plot parallels the film Alien, and so does the third the others are familiar to any sci fi fan.Though this series of related short stories means that the book has less of a grand arc, it also allows the author to explore a number of different themes and styles, while the less differentiated Slan tends to drag on a bit I ve noticed that, for a lot of authors, especially pulp authors, their short story collections are muchthoughtful and complex than their novels.That being said, it also often makes for a rather swift, neat ending, and we have the same here For all that the final story builds, its resolution is rather abrupt It seems that Van Vogt was able to produce greater depth by relying on psychological interaction, but once the interpersonal conflicts are resolved, the huge, galaxy threatening problems that caused them are mere afterthoughts.Van Vogt hardly overcomes his limitations, but he is able to mitigate them with deeper character exploration andvariance in plotting As usual, he demonstrates a vivid, creative mind, combining many concepts to create his stories, but his science is shaky, his writing sometimes inelegant, and so he can t be said to outstrip earlier authors like Verne or Huxley


  6. Manny Manny says:

    I read this undistinguished piece of space opera when I was about 15 I can t say that I was a terribly discerning reader in those days basically I read any SF I got my hands on, and enjoyed most of it but there was one episode that managed to shock even my unreflective teenage self I don t remember all the details, but it went something like this The eponymous ship is several million light years from home when it s attacked by a mysterious disembodied entity It turns out that the aggress I read this undistinguished piece of space opera when I was about 15 I can t say that I was a terribly discerning reader in those days basically I read any SF I got my hands on, and enjoyed most of it but there was one episode that managed to shock even my unreflective teenage self I don t remember all the details, but it went something like this The eponymous ship is several million light years from home when it s attacked by a mysterious disembodied entity It turns out that the aggressor is a huge, non sentient creature that has grown to fill its entire galaxy Well we can t have disembodied, galactic sized aliens attacking human spacecraft, can we Besides, suppose it followed us back to our own galaxy It is a little hard to see what you could do to defeat a foe as large as this one, but word impossible doesn t feature in our intrepid heroes dictionary Truth to tell, their dictionary also lacked many other words, vocabulary not being A.E van Vogt s greatest strength, but let s not get diverted They have a problem, and they re darn well going to solve it So they build self replicating nuclear missile factories, presumably equipped with their own faster than light drives so that they can spread quickly enough, and soon the creature s galaxy is filled with robot missile bases One push of the button, and poof the giant enemy has been eradicated As far as I can recall, van Vogt does it straight, without the least hint of irony Well, there s early 1950s America for you Something s changed, hasn t it


  7. Derek Derek says:

    Let me see if I understand these explorers are the product of a galactic civilization, with atomic foundries to transmute base metals into super substances, the ability to transverse and leave the galaxy itself, to reignite stars and relocate planetsand their interoffice mail system is based on pneumatic tubes There s a tremendous subtext at play throughout the entire work In addition to the obvious fight the phenomenally dangerous monster plot lines, there are meditations on Oswald Spengle Let me see if I understand these explorers are the product of a galactic civilization, with atomic foundries to transmute base metals into super substances, the ability to transverse and leave the galaxy itself, to reignite stars and relocate planetsand their interoffice mail system is based on pneumatic tubes There s a tremendous subtext at play throughout the entire work In addition to the obvious fight the phenomenally dangerous monster plot lines, there are meditations on Oswald Spengler s model of civilization particularly the analogy of seasons and on the interaction of politics, command structure, and specialization of knowledge.Of course, van Vogt has thoughts on all this He seems obsessed with thought systems, and invests tremendously into his invented Nexialism science and Spengler s model, which finds application in the strangest of places I personally did not find the Nexialism discussions interesting, as its use appeared limited to making Elliot Grosvenor look awesome compared to the boring specialist scientists


  8. Simon Simon says:

    To van Vogt, the universe is a violent place and teaming with life The Space Beagle is a scientific exploration ship sent out from Earth to go where no man has gone before and study all that it finds The alien beings that are encountered are invariably hostile or if they aren t their efforts to communicate their friendship inadvertedly cause much harm.The book has an episodic nature that arises from the fact that it was forged from four seperate short stories that he reworked into one story T To van Vogt, the universe is a violent place and teaming with life The Space Beagle is a scientific exploration ship sent out from Earth to go where no man has gone before and study all that it finds The alien beings that are encountered are invariably hostile or if they aren t their efforts to communicate their friendship inadvertedly cause much harm.The book has an episodic nature that arises from the fact that it was forged from four seperate short stories that he reworked into one story The narrative is mainly from the perspective of Elliot Grosvenor, who is is the lone representative on the ship of his particular scientific field Nexialism The science of whole ism, an integrated approach to all the different scientific fields Grosvenor, and his new science generally, is initially looked down upon by the other scientists and the meta story that unifies the book describes the politics on board and how he gradually overcomes prejudice to gain acceptance amoung his peers.The book is heavy on science and ideas, pretty visionary for it s time altough some has innevitably dated Once particular scientific notion that is often called upon to help them overcome an alien menace is the cyclic theory of civilization and one wonders if this is quite an old fashioned notion by today s standards The depiction of the alien creatures is deeply imaginative and the excitement and tension of the book never lets up One might be inclined to criticise the book for it s fairly flat depiction of characters but to my mind this shouldn t detract from the fact that read as SF, it ticks every box If you re not ordinarilly a fan of SF, this is probably not going to convert you But if you are, you could do far worse than reading this outstanding work of SF


  9. Nandakishore Varma Nandakishore Varma says:

    One of the earliest SF novels I read, even before Asimov At the time, I felt it was fantastic However, the sheen has reduced over the years.This book is an episodic novel, based on the spaceship Space Beagle s journey of exploration maybe inspired by Darwin and the H.M.S Beagle , and deals with many exotic species I remember one living in empty space But my clearest memory is about Nexialism , where knowledge from one area of expertise is used in another area, a sort of stringing toge One of the earliest SF novels I read, even before Asimov At the time, I felt it was fantastic However, the sheen has reduced over the years.This book is an episodic novel, based on the spaceship Space Beagle s journey of exploration maybe inspired by Darwin and the H.M.S Beagle , and deals with many exotic species I remember one living in empty space But my clearest memory is about Nexialism , where knowledge from one area of expertise is used in another area, a sort of stringing together science The name stayed in the mind because of its similarity to Naxalism , the name for Leftist Extremist philosophy in India at that time


  10. Stefan Stefan says:

    I always hate to write about these venerable SF classics, because very frequently I end up being disappointed by them I know that I can t hold genre fiction from the 1950 s up to the same standards as current day genre fiction, but Well, hold on Actually, I can and I am Maybe I just feel guilty about pointing out the various flaws, especially because back in the day, this was cutting edge stuff Sure, it s filled with cardboard characters almost all male of course that either talk about I always hate to write about these venerable SF classics, because very frequently I end up being disappointed by them I know that I can t hold genre fiction from the 1950 s up to the same standards as current day genre fiction, but Well, hold on Actually, I can and I am Maybe I just feel guilty about pointing out the various flaws, especially because back in the day, this was cutting edge stuff Sure, it s filled with cardboard characters almost all male of course that either talk about science, fight off alien menaces, or do both simultaneously Sure, some of the cutting edge science is now verging on the ridiculous early in the novel, one of the scientists dictates a report and then runs it over to the steganography department to have it transcribed Some of it is a bit unfortunate naming the most commonly used weapons vibrators was just plain distracting But there are also a lot of ideas here that were really innovative and exciting at the time.In the end, I try to read these novels with an open mind, trying to muster admiration for them by keeping their place in the canon in mind while trying to ignore the distractions.So This is an episodic novel it really feels like 4 separate novella s sharing the same characters The 4 stories are incredibly similar even down to the length about 50 pages each The Space Beagle is basically a giant inter galactic spaceship filled with a bunch of scientists from nearly every known discipline and one new oneabout this later They are on a voyage heading out of our galaxy and on the way to the galaxy next door Along the way, they encounter 4 different alien life forms one per story who all pose a threat to the expedition Some of these aliens are pretty nifty the telepathic bird people were very cool Others areboring the lay their eggs inside human tummies variety Invariably, the aliens are defeated by Elliot Grosvenor, the ship s only representative of Nexialism, a relatively new science branch that is initially described in very vague terms but in the end turns out to be something like a simultaneous insight in every other science branch, achieved by hypnotic machine learning brain programming with tapes in the vein of CJ Cherryh s Union folks but less evil Grosvenor is initially ridiculed, shunned and or ignored, but time and again turns out to be the ship s savior.My favorite aspect of the novel was the sometimes ethically questionable methods Grosvenor uses to push through his will It adds a nice greyness to the black and white quality of the other characters good scientist versus evil scientist politics Grosvenor does good things, but he sometimes accomplishes them by hypnotizing entire sections of the ship to make them do his bidding or by killing the last or only representative of an alien race In this sense, the novel reminded me of George RR Martin s Tuf Voyaging about another loner who is posed with moral dilemmas I just realize Tuf Voyaging is also an episodic novel Hm However, none of the characters in this novel come anywhere close to the depth and charm Martin used to draw Haviland Tuf, one of my favorite SF characters of all time.In the end, I would only recommend The Voyage of the Space Beagle to people who have an interest in the history of the genre and are willing to overlook some of the flaws common in older genre fiction