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The Beast

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  220 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
One of the finest writers in the golden age of science fiction--and inventor of the intricatley plotted form of SF known as the "space opera"--offers the story of a flawed hero possessing almost superhuman strength. When his wife is kidnapped, war veteran Jim Pendrake embarks upon a search that takes him to a lost colony on the moon--and a secret, sinister society. ...more
Paperback, 207 pages
Published November 1st 1992 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 1943)
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Mar 01, 2011 Bryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, sf, fantasy
It's really too bad - some SF has not aged as gracefully as others. And sadly, when it comes to the A.E. van Vogt, the current status of his legacy is very under-appreciated.

This author used to be one of the big stars in the early pulp days. His works were often the wildest and most outlandish in a field distinguished by writers with amazing imaginations. A van Vogt story had a mysterious and compelling aura to it - something to be held in awe, and a guarantee of a good engaging read and a bizar
Apr 02, 2015 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, b-c
This fix-up was cobbled together by using three short stories that were originally published Astounding Science Fiction magazine:

"The Great Engine"- July 1943 (Chapters 1-5)
"The Changeling"- April 1944 (Chapters 5-11)
Linking material (Chapters 12-13)
"The Beast"- November 1943 (Chapters 14-31 and Epilogue)

Not one of his best efforts as far as a fix-up novel. The Great Engine part is a very good start. It would, perhaps have been a much better novel if he would have simply taken that and expanded
Jim Mcclanahan
Apr 24, 2013 Jim Mcclanahan rated it liked it
This "novel" is comprised of a cobbled together mix of three early stories (1943 and 1944) published under the current title in 1963. Just time enough passed to allow him to acknowledge the existence of East Germany, but not enough to spur him to clean up messy plot lines. In essence the story is about a man who stumbles over an alien engine and is changed by it in just about any way you could imagine: physically (He grows back a lost arm). Mentally: He is suddenly smarter by orders of ...more
Kathy  Petersen
My devotion to sci-fi movies, StarTrek, Stargate, Dr. Who, and such has never quite translated into reading the genre. But I keep trying.

The Beast is one of those that is so complicated if not convoluted that I'm not sure I know what happened. A highly intelligent Neanderthal, regrowth of severed limbs, strange transport and stranger engines, telepathic incidents, million-year-old Moon colonies ... I enjoyed the ride but I'm not sure where I went.

Post script
I then discovered through wandering i
Nov 24, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, I enjoyed reading it and the story was original and engaging. I raced through it keen to see what would happen next. A couple of downsides which really dated the book was the sexism (women need a drug to "equalize" them with men!) and much talk of East Germany and felt like it was still stuck in Nazism - it seems very outdated now but if you ignore those points all was good, it is Sci-Fi after all so it's not like all of it has to ring true.
Paul Adkin
Jun 21, 2014 Paul Adkin rated it did not like it
I first read this book when I was a young teen, and I am reading it again to satisfy a gnawing desire to recall what it was about. I thought it an interesting book, but I hardly remembered anything about the actual story other than, primarily it was strange, and had something to do with a one-armed man finding a doughnut shaped machine that regenerates his amputated arm... and that the story ended up on the Moon.
But now that I have returned to this Beast of a book the most uncanny thing about ou
Dec 21, 2012 Andrew rated it it was ok
This book is disappointing, I can't recommend it. It is very difficult to follow, the main character keeps getting knocked out and wakes up with amnesia over and over, also he has super powers, and it takes place in a version of the 1970s when man already has colonies on the moon and venus, but is still worried about the evil East Germans.

It is cobbled together from some shorter pieces and it reads that way. The hero, his relationships, even the danger are hard to take seriously. This novel is c
Victor Gibson
Apr 18, 2013 Victor Gibson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Despite my admiration for this author, and my liking for SF, I can't actually recommend this book. Indeed I have owned it for years but never before finished it I don't think. Maybe I bought it for the Chris Foss cover, which like many SF paperback covers from the 1970s does not seem to relate in any way to the content of the book.

It seems to be a story with multiple themes, some of them only marginally connected. I'm sure I'm not giving anything important away when I tell you that one plot line
Jul 08, 2014 Panagiotis rated it did not like it
Stay away. I made the huge mistake to read this novel (?), i feel that if i had spent the same amount of time just staring at my rooftop,it would had been much more productive.

The most chaotic book i have ever read. The plot is so messy, the dialogues rediculus, the development is so confusing, the heroes are completely uninteresting, i have never met a mess like that.

One out of five is fair, since if there was an option i would consider rating it with 0/5, however i liked the society of the moo
Nigel Williamson
Apr 26, 2009 Nigel Williamson rated it it was amazing
I have read this book several times, and, although I have enoyed it immensely over the years, I still don't get it - the various sub-plots bounce all over the shop, the characters appear and disappear at random (although there is generally some sort of explanation hidden in the text later on) and the bizarre premises tend to jar rather than unfold into a coherent storyline. All that said, I have had tremendous fun and satisfaction unravelling this book over the years, and I intend to go on doing ...more
I really wanted to enjoy this book more as there were quite a lot of concepts that seemed interesting. Unfortunately few of them were fleshed out or explored.

The book jumped around between plots so wildly that I even checked to see if I was reading the same book. It felt at times as though I was reading the plot for 2 or 3 different books all lumped into one.
Okay, I'll just assume that that mess made Big Oaf was a fun character at least. The old line about Poe comes to mind with Van Vogt: "3/5 of him genius and 2/5 sheer fudge." Still not sure how the engine ended up in Pendrake's back yard, but I suppose that was my fault for getting befuddled by all the rest of it (not A E's). :)
Shari Scott
So disappointing when a good story is ruined by unexplained plot points. I was left with so many questions that I thought about this story more than it's small amount of enjoyment warranted. To me this was a case of rushing a story for a deadline without really following through. Too bad.
Most strained of Van Vogt's mash ups but also most enteraining: traverse many an odd terrain and punctuated by many unbelievalbe 'black outs.' Very entertaining nonetheless.
Nathan Shumate
Honestly, I've never read a Van Vogt novel that I've really enjoyed. It's always too many underdeveloped ideas thrown into a mixmaster, layered with some truly bizarre gender politics.
Neil Davies
Feb 08, 2015 Neil Davies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't often read a whole book in one day, but I just couldn't put this one down. Hooked me from the start. Great storytelling.
Dec 25, 2012 Bruce rated it liked it
Very imaginative but kind of a jumble in terms of plot and themes. Reminiscent of some of P.K. Dick's less successful novels. Mostly an entertaining read, but with a few bog spots.
Oct 22, 2013 Larry rated it liked it
I guess A. E. Van Vogt is sort of a guilty pleasure for me. Takes me
back to being a middle-school aged kid with my nose in a cheap SF paperback.
Metaphorosis rated it liked it
Feb 11, 2012
Devon Deerface
Devon Deerface rated it really liked it
Jan 16, 2010
Dirk rated it liked it
Oct 20, 2012
Dan Venton
Dan Venton rated it liked it
Oct 27, 2010
Jane rated it really liked it
Apr 22, 2011
Truitt rated it liked it
Feb 01, 2014
Larry Mitchell
Larry Mitchell rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2012
Surf_rock rated it it was amazing
Sep 26, 2013
Dewayne rated it liked it
Jul 25, 2015
Al rated it liked it
Sep 24, 2015
Dale rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2010
Will rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2014
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Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded by some as one of the most popular and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century—the "Golden Age" of the genre.

van Vogt was born to Russian Mennonite family. Until he was four years old, van Vogt and his family spoke only a dialect of Low German in the home.

He began his writing career with 'true story' ro
More about A.E. van Vogt...

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