Book Review: Slan by A. E. van Vogt


Van Vogt is an author I was unfamiliar with growing up. I read the book Slan because of the nudging of a friend. He recommended the book because he thought A. E. van Vogt was one of the most under appreciated authors in science fiction history.

I’m inclined to agree.

This book was fantastic.

There were parts of Slan that felt dated. Certainly the lingo used and the manner of speaking in dialogue. The main part that hit me as dated was how Kathleen, the female tendriled slan, is used in the book.

Slan is about a society in the far future where a supposed war had broken out between humans and advanced humans called slans. As a result, there are slans who live as humans, hiding in plain sight, but humans are afraid of these advanced humanoids. Slans possess terrifying powers to read minds, and the main character Jommy uses his intellect to get creative with technology to advance this ability.

Jommy is originally introduced as a child, and the book follows him and Kathleen as they grow up separated and try to survive in this world of oppression.

By far the best aspect of this book is how any twists and turns the story takes. One chapter Jommy is living with Granny trying to survive on the streets. The next chapter, he is plotting how to steal a starship. It’s fantastic.

Of note is a fantastic ending, and a perfect bow to the story at the end.

If you like older science fiction, especially the works of Asimov or Heinlein, I would recommend Slan to you.

You might like some of my other book reviews:

Book Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Book Review: Dying of the Light by George R. R. Martin

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Or maybe my work on writing:

Writing Philosophical Science Fiction

Is Writing Every Day Necessary?

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