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The Voyage of the Space Beagle
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The Voyage of the Space Beagle

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  2,074 ratings  ·  98 reviews
*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!
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1939)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
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 naïve, such as allowing a foreign organism into an enclose ...more
Keely
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
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Simon
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
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Derek
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 planets...and 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
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Manny
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 ...more
Nancy Oakes
I have just started reading old, classic science fiction. I have an old pretty well beat up 1970 version (so old that it still has an ad for Kent cigarettes in the middle of it). I also have a thing for really cool sci-fi cover art, so when I'm buying these things, I look for the cover art to see if it's entertaining. I was surprised to find out, was very likely the basis for one of my favorite movies ever, Alien. It is divided up into four stories, all of them tied together by the fact that the ...more
Stefan
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
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Philipp
Fun! I mean, look at that name!

It's 4 short-stories with the same main character and the same spaceship woven into one book. The main guy seems to be the proto-Spock - a guy trained in a new science called Nexialism, some kind of "all-sciences-into-one" with hints of individualism/libertarianism with a healthy dose of what science-fiction in the 50s was like (electronic telepathy, mind-controlling, funky big machines etc).

Each story is about the crew encountering an unknown, but superior alien o
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Jim
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 ...more
Jared Millet
Slan is certainly Van Vogt’s best-remembered novel, but I’ve got to admit that I enjoyed this one an awful lot more. Slan had non-stop whiz-bang action and enough big-concept SF ideas to make your head explode, but the hero was too powerful and the author was clearly making up the story as he went along. Space Beagle’s hero, on the other hand, starts off as a complete underdog – on a starship full of military personnel and scientific departments competing for power and position, Eliot Grosveno ...more
James
One of my favorites among the many novels of Van Vogt I have read is this classic. The story, like that told in The World of Null-A, has as its protagonist a superhero. In this case it is a genius scientist who is a Nexialist (one skilled in the science of joining together in an orderly fashion the knowledge of one field of learning with that of other fields). As a Nexialist, Dr. Elliott Grosvenor, is continually endeavoring to unite the disparate, sometimes warring, factions of scientists on th ...more
Timothy Boyd
Great classic SiFi. The four adventures of the crew were originally short stories published in digest and rewritten into book form. One of the stories is the basis for the movie Alien and the entire book is obviously the germ of the idea for Star Trek. The Main character is Spock to a large degree. Nice easy and entertaining read. Recommended
Nate
incredibly lame pulpy science fiction. more of a collection of short stories loosely stitched together than a novel. i got through the first quarter before jumping ship. a catlike alien who can manipulate electrical impulses takes over a ship crewed by the dumbest humans in space and wreaks havoc. they keep calling the alien "pussy" and the word is used at least 100 times within the first 50 pages. this sort of nonsense plays out better in a roger corman or lloyd kaufman film. maybe it was a "cl ...more
John Desmarais
This book has been on my "to read" list for longer than Goodreads has existed - but for some reason kept getting pushed back (usually in favor of more recent novels). Prior to reading it I read many reviews on Goodreads and other review site, and the reviews were all over the place - from people who loved it to people who absolutely despised it. I think I have a pretty good feel for why those who hated it did so: Old novels, particularly old science-fiction novels, read very differently from mod ...more
Trekscribbler
Recently, I picked up a book from SciFi author Alfred Bester that made me aware of particular run of what were being termed ‘SciFi Masterworks.’ I did a quick Google search, and – after reviewing the lists of titles and authors that were part of the series – I realized that there were quite a few of them I had either never read or never even heard of. (I’ve mentioned before that I’m not what you would classify as a ‘long-time’ reader; I started reading fairly voraciously about twenty years ago, ...more
Roger Bailey
The science is outdated and probably was inaccurate even at the time of writing and the writing style is of the pulp magazine variety. That is, don't expect this book to win any major literary prizes. It was, however, a rip roaring good old fashion science fiction story. It was written before the genre of science fiction had quite matured and it does not have the sophistication that later science fiction gained, but at the same time it was more sophisticated than later things like Star Wars, for ...more
W. Lawrence
TVotSB was one of my first science fiction novels. My father read to me when I was younger -Heinlein, Asimov, Niven- and then he read me a portion of this short novel and handed it to me at the climax of the first story. I've re-read it in my teens, my twenties, and recently in my --uhmmmm, well my age isn't important here.

Perhaps I am romanticizing, but I always loved this book and there is a cleverness to it that permeates to this day. And given the year when he began writing these stories, th
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Matteo Pellegrini
Se volete scoprire il vero ispiratore di Alien e gli altri film della serie originata da Ridley Scott, questa è la migliore occasione. L'astronave Beagle (battezzata come il brigantino di Darwin) parte per una lunga crociera scientifica e conduce una stupefacente partita di caccia grossa fra mostruosi e intelligenti esemplari di una terrificante fauna galattica. Ogni sezione del romanzo è dedicata a un mostro sempre più potente e spaventoso: il felino Coeurl, gli alati Riim, il misterioso Ixtl
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Emily
Space Beagle is a fun and sometimes exciting read, particularly if you love classic space opera. It shows its age in terms of technological foresight. But the "office politics" among Van Vogt's hero-scientists, who generally fail to achieve a Platonic ideal of scholarly collaboration even as aliens try to slaughter them, is as real as yesterday.
John (Taloni) Taloni
Good, but dated.

This book contains several classic stories. Most notable is the inspiration for Alien, when the Space Beagle encounters Ixtl, an incredibly powerful alien which nearly takes over a thousand-man ship singlehandedly.

And when I say thousand-man, I mean it. This ship has an all male crew. Every alien race they encounter menaces the ship, most deliberately. Vogt is enamored of Nexialism, a system of knowledge integration that carries features of the General Semantics philosophy that h
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Pamela Lloyd
I read this when I was still a kid and I loved the fact that the hero was a scientist whose "specialization" was generalization. He was the one who saw the whole picture, instead of just a narrow slice.
Jon
I think I know where some of Gene Roddenberry's ideas for Star Trek came from now..
Lorelei
A classic, still a lot of fun. It has borne the test of time better than many.
Jay
"Voyage of the Space Beagle" ("VOSB") is one of the seminal works of early "hard" science fiction by this master. Although the "science" in the work might be considered "quaint," by today's standards, its influence on the genre and later television and film can't be understated. One of the aliens - named Coeurl - even shows up in a couple of video game. Such is the impact of this book.

VSOB is really a compilation of four related, not-so-short stories - 3 written in 1939 and 1 written in 1943 an
...more
Josh Ang
This classic SF novel tracks the intergalactic expeditions of the exploration spacecraft, Space Beagle. Along the way, the crew battle an intelligent cat-like predator with all the trappings of a scheming human consciousness, an amorphous male red monster with cylindrical body that kidnap members of the all-male crew to lay its spawn in (which gender study majors may knock themselves over with allusions to the male appropriation of the female womb in a very homoerotic act of procreation), and a ...more
Cameron
This is a soft 4 stars - on the content and writing I would only give it 3 stars, but due to the ideas and flashes of brilliance and the story's importance in the history step it up a notch.

This is truly a Golden Age of SF masterwork. It is the most readable and most coherent Van Vogt I have read and the ideas have been plundered mercilessly by later SF writers and script writers. Also some of the ideas clearly expressed in this book regarding the scientist in a very humanist environment are ver
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Rich Meyer
I've never gotten around to finishing this book before, even though I've enjoyed a lot of van Vogt's writing. The last time I tried to read it was about ten years ago and I ended up losing my copy of the paperback.

The book is a compilation/re-write of five short stories. I had read the comic book version of the first, "Black Destroyer" before. I had also heard that this book was the "inspiration" for the movies It! The Terror from Beyond Space and Alien, but while some scenes in both can be sai
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Clay
Pop culture is often dismissed as simply low culture – in contrast to the high art of opera or classical music or abstract expressionism. And there’s good reason: As long-ago scifi author Theodore Sturgeon once pointed out, “Ninety percent of everything is trash.”

A simple tour through the cable channels, or spin of the radio dial, will prove Sturgeon right, and in the mass of modern pop culture it’s much harder to filter out the signal from the noise. In classical music, for example, the bad sym
...more
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Beveridge
A. E. van Vogt, The Voyage of the Space Beagle (Astounding, 1950)

The cover of the ebook trumpets this as "the novel that inspired Alien." And, to be fair, van Vogt sued Ridley Scott and co. and won. Okay, you can see the resemblances to the film if you turn your head and squint just right... but that Beagle did more than influence (roughly) the folks who developed the film is, in the final analysis, hogwash.

Voyage of the Space Beagle (the ship named, of course, after Darwin's home for a number o
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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
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