I read this a few weeks before I started this blog, so it's not current reading exactly. Nonetheless, we all need to take a step back and take a look: SLAN HUNTER! On the front cover of this amazing book is an endorsement from Harlan Ellison which says something to the effect that AE Van Vogt was a grand master and that Slan was his masterpiece and now, "like a dream come true" Kevin Anderson takes us back to that "singular world," the world of Jommy Cross. Sorry for the clunky paraphrase, but I don't actually own my own copy of it--I borrowed it from the library and have since returned it. It was like a dream come true for me because I love Slan and Jommy Cross like almost nothing else in all fiction. Van Vogt's rich, decayed, scabrous 1940s-but-with-spaceflight world is unforgettable to anyone who has experienced it. Jommy's astounding powers and wild devices and vehicles thrill every time I read about them. Anderson (the same Kevin of the recent run of Dune novels with Brian Herbert), by finishing Van Vogt's last great work and doing it in a style that meshes almost seamlessly with the original novel, has given us something that I had thought impossible: not just a brand new AE Van Vogt novel but a worthy follow-up to the best of them all. If you haven't read Slan, stop what your doing right now and solve that problem. If you are more of a contemporary fiction reader and are worried about something that old being accessible to you, then quit worrying. Slan is as modern a tale as the newest thing published today and probably carries with it a lot of fresh new relevance in this age of politically-motivated hysteria about immigrants and alternative lifestyles. Then, after having read Slan, seek out and read immediately Anderson's sequel and experience what we long-time fans of Van Vogt could only have dreamt of before now: reading the real sequel back-to-back with the beloved original! I won't throw out any spoilers in case someone hasn't read Slan Hunter yet, but I will say that its ending--literally its final few paragraphs--freaking rocks out and makes one wonder if there might not be a third story someday.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008