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Slan (Slan #1)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  2,149 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Jommy Cross is a slan, a genetically bred superhuman whose race was created to aid humanity but is now despised by "normal" humans. Slans are usually shot on sight, but that doesn't stop Jommy's mother from bringing him to see the world capital of Centropolis, the seat of power for Earth's dictator, Kier Gray. But on their latest trip to Centropolis, the two slans are disc ...more
Hardcover, #2145, 176 pages
Published March 1978 by Nelson Doubleday / SFBC (first published 1940)
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In Slan, Van Vogt (say: 'vote') combines a number of popular sci fi themes, some intriguing, others silly, to create a work that is interesting and influential, if sometimes ill-conceived.

The political tone of the work, focused on dictators, secret police, and shadowy struggles for power mark this as one of the earlier Dystopian works. Slan is a decade before 1984, though Brave New World and It Can't Happen Here are earlier.

Van Vogt's Dystopia is much more fantastical than most of the genre, rel
I really liked van Vogt when I was younger & it's only been a few years since I read The Voyage of the Space Beagle which I gave 3 stars. I've heard this held up to be one of his better books, but never got around to it. He writes space opera, which has some almost magical fixing & plenty of convenience to the plot, but it's fun. This wasn't.

The biggest problem was that he tried to cover too much territory in too short a time. From evolution to revolution, racism, mob psychology, fantas
1.5 to 2.0 stars. While certainly an important "classic" science fiction story and worth while for gaining an understanding of the evolution of the science ficiton novel featuring the "superhuman" I did not really enjoy the novel. I am glad I read it and it was in the neighborhood of okay, but can not recommend it.
Dirk Grobbelaar
Golden Age Science Fiction goodness. I can see from other reviews that not everybody enjoyed this, but I really enjoy Van Vogt, his stories tend to twist and turn and venture off into unexpected territory. The logical next step is almost never what happens. Slan has had a massive influence on the genre, as seen in Marvel Comics' X-men and the writings of Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Slan actually deals with a rather complicated theme, but in an almost simplistic fashion ...more
(Going on memory here but I just wanted to put my thoughts down before I gave this book away.)

This book is an expansion of an earlier short story/novella that Van Vogt published in one of the famous sci-fi mags of the early 20th century. I don't know how much revision there was or how much time elapsed between each version but to me it felt apparent at about the half-way point, where there's a break of several years. I'd enjoyed the first half, with the young protagonist on the run and discoveri
“I don't like human beings. I don't like you.” There's a reason why this author is considered legendary. I had the opportunity to read his other SF classic, The World of Null-A, last year, and found the same misleading plot, underdog characters, and massive scope. Of course, something isn't adding up if a far-future society still feels like the mid-40's, but prognostication to the last detail isn't the sole goal of speculative fiction. I can't help but feeling that if more present-day writers co ...more
Luke Devenish
Huzzah! Let's toss our tendrils with glee - I've just read my first ever mutant/super-race novel. This is also my first sampling of Mr Von Vogt. (It won't be my last.) Do you know, if you squint your eyes ever-so-slightly while reading this story, you could almost believe it was the X-Men? Me thinks that little franchise owes a big debt of gratitude to Slan - something I've not yet bothered to confirm, but who knows, perhaps I'm right? In my current born-again-newbie's excursion through the worl ...more
The concept of this book is 'old hat,' but, of course, that's now, nearly seventy years later. I see the legacy of Slan in many books and films I've read, and the main fear of the humans, being superseded by a genetically engineered race, the Slan, is one that lurches ever closer to our reality, now.

The main thing I dislike about the book is the dialogue. Too often even some of the humans sound all too much like Star Trek's Data imitating Spock. I suppose this is meant, especially for the Slan,
[written in my book lover's journal; possibly a couple months after reading it]
Aghast that people acclaim Van Vogt at all, in any way, even a little bit. "Jommy"?! for fvck's sake "Vee Vee," think of something that actually smacks of a futurity -- the 1950s in 2100 and to write an entire book as if not ONE of the true Slans would vary from all others and not ONE human would, that implies that they can NOT. This opinion of sentient beings annoys me more than any other i can think of presently.
Greg of A2
As I say in my Goodreads "about me" section, this was one of the first Sci-Fi novels I ever read. It made a strong impact on me as I was in high school and hadn't read an adult novel before. I still recall the emotional intensity that follows the main character and there was a theme of prejudice and subjugation running through it as humanity breaks down into humans and genetically created Slans (some with tendrils and some without). I intend on acquiring a copy one of these days and re-reading i ...more
Aug 26, 2009 Viridian5 rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: science-fiction
Today I finished Slan by A.E.van Vogt and hated it. I just finished it as a personal pride thing. I think there were maybe 10 fiction books in my entire life I absolutely couldn't stand to finish.

It's considered one of the classics of science fiction, originally published in 1940, thought to be an inspiration for The X-Men, but even if I try to set my modernity aside it sucks. It has cardboard characters I took no interest in or liking to, a truly useless ingenue, mutants who aren't all that dif
"Slan" is A. E. van Vogt's first novel. It was published in book form in 1946 by Arkham House, but the story originally appeared in the pages of Astounding Magazine in 1940. It was a highly rated classic of Science Fiction for more than 25 years after it originally appeared, but today it is often forgotten along with many of the early classics. In 1949 it was tied for 4th on the Arkham Survey of 'Basic SF Titles'. It ranked 2nd on the Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll in 1952, 5th, in 1956, and 3r ...more
Jared Millet
I've read lots of classic SF, but now, at last, I've found the missing link between Isaac Asimov and E.E. Smith, the transition stage between thoughtful, character driven science fiction and the Atomic! Age! of Super! Science! Van Vogt's prose is just far enough on the clunky side of pulp to make it jarring to modern ears, but the main thing that might hold a modern reader back from this book is that so many of the ideas Vogt introduces have since passed into the realm of cliche. If you put the ...more
Harold Ogle
Slan is classic space opera, with many of the trappings of Smith's Lensman series: atomic energy, disintegrator weapons, laconically logical protagonists, fast action, nearly effortless interplanetary travel, creatures with domineering psychic powers..

I was struck, reading this, how one of my favorite books, Moran's The Long Run, is largely an homage (if not an actual retelling) of this novel. Slan doesn't have the time travel, but a lot of the other details are strikingly similar. (view spoiler
Kevin J Mackey
I have a few books in my "must-read classic Science Fiction" groupings - this is the #1. It may well be my favorite science fiction book.

The science in the book, given it was written in 1940, may now be dated. The storytelling isn't. When I first read it, I enjoyed that so much of the action had already taken place. We, the readers are - as were the main characters - left struggling with the aftermath. Even in my teens I believed this was a worthy way to tell a story. The reader is, along with
Neil Sato
Each chapter was different than the pre-ceeding. The character development was visceral, real, it was as if it wasn't third person; like I could see from the eyes of the character. This is one of the few books I have ever read that creates a sense of emotional connection with the events occurring where there is an urgency of reading everything. The plot twists are hard to see coming and seems completely random yet the story flows.

Finishing reading this book was the biggest disappointment because
I checked Slan out of the library as a teenager. I loved it and bought my own copy a few years later and reread it several times while in my twenties. I read hundreds of books since - most I don't remember at all. But I can still easily bring back the world of Slan and feel the terror of the young protagonist. That makes it a classic, as far as I'm concerned.
It's dated now, sure it is, but when I read it, I was just a kid and it was a great influence on me. As a bright kid growing up in Deliverance where an IQ over 80 is seen as suspect, it was easy for me to identify with Jommy Cross, who thought himself the only Slan left.

My father was an avid reader of Science Fiction in his teens and twenties and our house had a whole bookcase full of editions of Astounding (later Analog) Science Fiction. And so, in 1967, I read this in a 27 year old edition of
Roddy Williams
Classic Pulp Fiction from one of the masters of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. I have to confess that ‘Slan’ has to be my all-time favourite Science Fiction novel if only for the fact that it is probably the one book which got me hooked on SF back in the early Nineteen Seventies.
AE Van Vogt, partly due to the quality of his later work and his involvement with Dianetics and the Scientology movement was, to a certain extent discredited by the SF community. Thus he was never really given the c
In one of his most successful science fiction novels, Van Vogt has imagined a race called Slans as evolved humans, named after their alleged creator, Samuel Lann. They have the psychic abilities to read minds and are super-intelligent. They possess near limitless stamina, "nerves of steel," and superior strength and speed. When Slans are ill or seriously injured, they go into a healing trance automatically. Thus they are yet another variation on the "super man" that so appealed to Van Vogt and i ...more
Wow. For a 1951 publication, this book is intense. Yes, the science is pretty laughable. But everything else about it is pretty cool. It's about these superpeople, or slans, that live amongst the humans. They are incredibly strong, fast, smart, and they can read minds. Humans hate them and are always trying to kill them. The main character is an orphan, both his parents killed by humans. He lives on alone, inventing awesome stuff, hiding from a different race of slans that can't read minds. The ...more
Jeremy Kohlman
An entertaining read. Lots of interesting ideas on mind reading/ESP. It was a little hokey how the main character, Jommy Cross, just happened to be the MOST intelligent person ever, and therefore everything just happened to work out in his favor at every turn.

That said, it's a great novel about mind reading, racism (or specism), and conspiracy theory. An excellent twist at the end, as well.

Recommended as a fun, entertaining read.
Matteo Pellegrini

Una donna cammina svelta per le strade affollate di una metropoli terrestre del futuro, tenendo per mano il figlio. A un tratto avverte telepaticamente il ragazzo che per lei non c'è più scampo, e lo incita a fuggire. Mentre il figlio scappa, sente che la madre viene uccisa da coloro che li stavano inseguendo... Così iniziano le avventure di Jommy Cross, uno Slan con le antenne che si trova improvvisamente a dover sopravvivere in un mondo che ha decretato la morte per tutti quelli della sua razz

john heller
Forty years later

I was fortunate enough to read this book forty years ago. it was one of my favorites and have not read our since. I purchased a new kindle fire HDX and looked it up on Amazon. and just like forty years ago it it's still a great book.
Peter Tieryas
Very interesting, especially given when it was written. Fast paced entertaining read. Wanted more by the end.
Pulp SF writer A.E. Van Vogt was always a short story writer; although he published several novels, the vast majority of them are "fix-ups" --- a term coined by Van Vogt to describe a group of stories revised to include some connecting material and presented as a novel. The result is that most of his novels read like a book of short stories, except that the original stories are generally better.

SLAN, for all its weaknesses, is the closest Van Vogt came to writing an actual novel (and yes, this o
Peter Dunn
While it hasn’t quite stood the test of time, and it is blighted by SF’s perennial curse of having many one dimensional characters, you can see how it struck a chord with the emerging SF subculture and why they empathised with and touted the idea that “Fans are Slans”. I wonder though who they associated the tendrilless Slans with?

While the writing and story feel a bit dated now it does through up a couple of major plot surprises, including the aforementioned tendrilless Slans and a significant
Paul Parsons
Published in 1946 and hailed as a pillar of science fiction. Van Vogt is grouped with the likes of Asimov, E.E. "Doc" Smith, Sprague de Camp, and Robert A. Heinlein. The Slan are a people with telepathic abilities and because they are different, are marked for extermination by the humans in charge of this futuristic Earth. Told largely through the eyes of an adolescent Slan destined for leadership, this tale of space travel and human conflict has twists and turns ahead of its time with an ending ...more
Rich Meyer
This is one of the classic science fiction/space opera novels that pretty much everyone read back in the day. It was a tad dated then and now, but it's an enjoyable read.

The story is set in the future, with Jommy Cross being one of the last of the super race known as Slans. Slans are persecuted and killed on sight by humans, who are threatened by the Slans, who they believe to be manufactured by machines and which have telepathic abilities. Also in the mix are a subrace of the Slans, that don't
A classic space opera ahead of its time.
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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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