|Name:||A. E. van Vogt|
|Birth Day:||April 26, 1912|
|Death Date:||January 26, 2000(2000-01-26) (aged 87)
Los Angeles, California, US
|Birth Place:||Manitoba, Canada, Canada|
As per our current Database, A. E. van Vogt died on January 26, 2000(2000-01-26) (aged 87)
Los Angeles, California, US.
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Alfred Vogt (both "Elton" and "van" were added much later) was born on April 26, 1912 on his grandparents' farm in Edenburg, Manitoba, a tiny (and now defunct) Russian Mennonite community east of Gretna, Manitoba, Canada in the Mennonite West Reserve. He was the third of six children born to Heinrich "Henry" Vogt and Aganetha "Agnes" Vogt (née Buhr), both of whom were themselves born in Manitoba, but who grew up in heavily immigrant communities. Until age four, van Vogt and his family spoke only Plautdietsch at home.
By 1938, van Vogt decided to switch to writing science fiction, a genre he enjoyed reading. He was inspired by the August 1938 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, which he picked up at a newsstand. John W. Campbell's novelette "Who Goes There?" (later adapted into The Thing from Another World and The Thing) inspired van Vogt to write "Vault of the Beast", which he submitted to that same magazine. Campbell, who edited Astounding (and had written the story under a pseudonym), sent van Vogt a rejection letter, but one which encouraged van Vogt to try again. Van Vogt sent another story, entitled "Black Destroyer", which was accepted. A revised version of "Vault of the Beast" would be published in 1940.
Van Vogt's first SF publication was inspired by The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin. "The Black Destroyer" was published in July 1939 by John W. Campbell in Astounding Science Fiction, the centennial year of Darwin's journal. It featured a fierce, carnivorous alien, the coeurl, stalking the crew of an exploration spaceship, and served as the inspiration for multiple science fiction movies, including Alien (1979).
Also in 1939, still living in Winnipeg, van Vogt married Edna Mayne Hull, a fellow Manitoban. Hull, who had previously worked as a private secretary, would act as van Vogt's typist, and be credited with writing several SF stories of her own throughout the early 1940s.
The outbreak of World War II in September 1939 caused a change in van Vogt's circumstances. Ineligible for military service due to his poor eyesight, he accepted a clerking job with the Canadian Department of National Defence. This necessitated a move back to Ottawa, where he and his wife would stay for the next year and a half.
Others saw van Vogt's talent from his first story, and in May 1941, van Vogt decided to become a full-time writer, quitting his job at the Canadian Department of National Defence. Freed from the necessity of living in Ottawa, he and his wife lived for a time in the Gatineau region of Quebec before moving to Toronto in the fall of 1941.
In November 1944, van Vogt and Hull moved to Hollywood; van Vogt would spend the rest of his life in California. He had been using the name "A. E. van Vogt" in his public life for several years, and as part of the process of obtaining American citizenship in 1945 he finally and formally changed his legal name from Alfred Vogt to Alfred Elton van Vogt. To his friends in the California science fiction community, he was known as "Van".
He subsequently wrote a novel merging these overarching themes, The World of Ā, originally serialized in Astounding in 1945. Ā (often rendered as Null-A), or non-Aristotelian logic, refers to the capacity for, and practice of, using intuitive, inductive reasoning (compare fuzzy logic), rather than reflexive, or conditioned, deductive reasoning. The novel recounts the adventures of an individual living in an apparent Utopia, where those with superior brainpower make up the ruling class... though all is not as it seems. A sequel, The Players of Ā (later re-titled The Pawns of Null-A) was serialized in 1948–49.
Critical opinion about the quality of van Vogt's work is sharply divided. An early and articulate critic was Damon Knight. In a 1945 chapter-long essay reprinted in In Search of Wonder, entitled "Cosmic Jerrybuilder: A. E. van Vogt", Knight described van Vogt as "no giant; he is a pygmy who has learned to operate an overgrown typewriter". Knight described The World of Null-A as "one of the worst allegedly adult science fiction stories ever published". Concerning van Vogt's writing, Knight said:
In 1946, van Vogt and his first wife, Edna Mayne Hull, were Guests of Honor at the fourth World Science Fiction Convention.
In 1950, van Vogt was briefly appointed as head of L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics operation in California. Van Vogt had first met Hubbard in 1945, and became interested in his Dianetics theories, which were published shortly thereafter. Dianetics was the secular precursor to Hubbard's Church of Scientology; van Vogt would have no association with Scientology, as he did not approve of its mysticism.
Although Van Vogt averaged a new book title every ten months from 1951 to 1961, none of them were new stories; they were all fix-ups, collections of previously published stories, expansions of previously published short stories to novel length, or republications of previous books under new titles—all based on story material written and originally published between 1939 and 1950. Examples include The Weapon Shops of Isher (1951), The Mixed Men (1952), The War Against the Rull (1959), and the two "Clane" novels, Empire of the Atom (1957) and The Wizard of Linn (1962), which were inspired (like Asimov's Foundation series) by Roman imperial history; specifically, as Damon Knight wrote, the plot of Empire of the Atom was "lifted almost bodily" from that of Robert Graves' I, Claudius. (Also, one non-fiction work, The Hypnotism Handbook, appeared in 1956, though it had apparently been written much earlier.)
After more than a decade of running their Dianetics center, Hull and van Vogt closed it in 1961. Nevertheless, van Vogt maintained his association with the overall organization and was still president of the Californian Association of Dianetic Auditors into the 1980s.
Though the constant re-packaging of his older work meant that he had never really been away from the book publishing world, van Vogt had not published any wholly new fiction for almost 12 years when he decided to return to writing in 1962. He did not return immediately to science fiction, however, but instead wrote the only mainstream, non-sf novel of his career.
From 1963 through the mid-1980s, van Vogt once again published new material on a regular basis, though fix-ups and reworked material also appeared relatively often. His later novels included fix-ups such as The Beast (also known as Moonbeast) (1963), Rogue Ship (1965), Quest for the Future (1970) and Supermind (1977). He also wrote novels by expanding previously published short stories; works of this type include The Darkness on Diamondia (1972) and Future Glitter (also known as Tyranopolis; 1973).
The works of van Vogt were translated into French by the surrealist Boris Vian (The World of Null-A as Le Monde des Å in 1958), and van Vogt's works were "viewed as great literature of the surrealist school". In addition, Slan was published in French, translated by Jean Rosenthal, under the title À la poursuite des Slans, as part of the paperback series 'Editions J'ai Lu: Romans-Texte Integral' in 1973, this edition also listing the following works by van Vogt as having been published in French as part of this series: Le Monde des Å, La faune de l'espace, Les joueurs du Å, L'empire de l'atome, Le sorcier de Linn, Les armureries d'Isher, Les fabricants d'armes, and Le livre de Ptath.
Knight also expressed misgivings about van Vogt's politics. He noted that van Vogt's stories almost invariably present absolute monarchy in a favorable light. In 1974, Knight retracted some of his criticism after finding out about Vogt's writing down his dreams as a part of his working methods:
Van Vogt's first wife, Edna Mayne Hull, died in 1975. Van Vogt married Lydia Bereginsky in 1979; they remained together until his death.
When the 1979 film Alien appeared, it was noted that the plot closely matched the plots of both Black Destroyer and Discord in Scarlet, both published in Astounding magazine in 1939, and then later published in the 1950 book Voyage of the Space Beagle. Van Vogt sued the production company for plagiarism, and eventually collected an out-of-court settlement of $50,000 from 20th Century Fox.
In 1980, van Vogt received a "Casper Award" (precursor to the Canadian Prix Aurora Awards) for Lifetime Achievement.
In increasingly frail health, van Vogt published his final short story in 1986.
The Science Fiction Writers of America named him its 14th Grand Master in 1995 (presented 1996). Also in 1996, van Vogt received a Special Award from the World Science Fiction Convention "for six decades of golden age science fiction". That same year, he was inducted as an inaugural member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
The Science Fiction Writers of America named him its 14th Grand Master in 1995 (presented 1996). Great controversy within SFWA accompanied its long wait in bestowing its highest honor (limited to living writers, no more than one annually). Writing an obituary of van Vogt, Robert J. Sawyer, a fellow Canadian writer of science fiction, remarked:
In 1996, van Vogt received a Special Award from the World Science Fiction Convention "for six decades of golden age science fiction". That same year, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted him in its inaugural class of two deceased and two living persons, along with writer Jack Williamson (also living) and editors Hugo Gernsback and John W. Campbell.
Van Vogt still has his critics. For example, Darrell Schweitzer writing to The New York Review of Science Fiction in 1999 quoted a passage from the original van Vogt novelette "The Mixed Men", which he was then reading, and remarked:
Harlan Ellison was more explicit in 1999 introduction to Futures Past: The Best Short Fiction of A. E. van Vogt:
On January 26, 2000, A. E. van Vogt died in Los Angeles from Alzheimer's disease. He was survived by his second wife, the former Lydia Bereginsky.
Currently, A. E. van Vogt is 110 years, 5 months and 11 days old. A. E. van Vogt will celebrate 111th birthday on a Wednesday 26th of April 2023.
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