A. E. Van Vogt
Slan Cover

An adventure novel, but a good one


My first Van Vogt, and I think it was a good choice.

Now, as many have pointed out, a certain amount of dream logic infects a Van Vogt novel, which can lead to some strange illogicalities in the narrative, for example: why hide a secret rocketship port in the *middle* of a city? Why don't the tendrilless slans just use the human police to kill Cross?

In terms of the text itself, sometimes things are too thinly explained, and sometimes too much (Cross's father's discovery really isn't that interesting to be honest). The same for the narrative: sometimes some things are too densely layered, and at others there's a dearth of explanation.

However, in terms of pace, the novel is a victory--it moves fast and flows nicely (for the most).

The protagonist John Thomas "Jommy" Cross, while a prodigious genius, has his weaknesses and humilities, and is forced to learn from his experiences (he's no immaculate Mary Sue), so we care for his and his people's fate.

It can thrill and even shock (I won't spoil it, but that moment, you'll know when, really was shocking).

But what really gets you are the *twists*, which Van Vogt hides well and brings in competently, even if one or two are a little beyond the pale.

I suspect Sturgeon wrote More Than Human in part as an answer to Slan, but I honestly prefer the latter even though I admired the philosophical strength of the former.