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An Ode to A.E. Van Vogt

Author File Description
Arctic Wolf
File Details
Ruleset: TS Standard Rules
Map Size: Large
Playable Races: Some
Surface Levels: 2
Difficulty: Normal
An Ode to A.E. Van Vogt

July ,1939 is taken by students of Science Fiction to be the date when the Golden Age of Science Fiction was launched. One magazine did the launching, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, and one story, premiering on the cover, "Black Destroyer" was largely responsible. This story by A.E. Van Vogt was his very first published. In Isaac Asimov's own words 'it hit the science fiction community with all the force of a pile driver' and thus launched the Golden Age. (Incidentally Van's first science fiction story, VAULT OF THE BEAST was published shortly thereafter and caused a sensation all over again.)

But Van Vogt did more than usher in the Golden Era. He dominated the early years of classic Science Fiction blazing the trail out of the pulps and into the largest publishing houses of literature. His first novel SLAN literally created Science Fiction Fandom with SLANS ARE FANS fan clubs springing up all through the U.S. His Second Science fiction Novel THE WORLD OF NULL-A was so good that it became the the first Science Fiction post war novel to be published in by a major publisher in Hard Cover. It went on to win the Manuscripters Award for literary excellence.

But the seeds of Van Vogt's destruction within Sci fi circles were already being sown. Unfortunately for Van, his kind of science fiction did not sit well with the new intellectual elite that was beginning to populate the early science fiction movement. Hard Science Fiction was seen as the panacea of all that would be good in this new genre. Lengthy dissertations within the story outlining scientific principals were praised while authors who allowed their audience to fill in the details with their imagination were chastised. The head of this movement was Damon Knight. (In spite of my opinions he became a decent science fiction writer in his own right.) Joining him were James Blish, and Algis Budrys who relentlessly attacked Van Vogt's work. What better way to promote their own agenda than to attack the leading giant of Science Fiction. In Damon Knight's own words he described Van as not a science fiction giant, but a pygmy with a giant typewriter.

But Van published ever onward, much to the delight of his many fans year after year being voted as among the best in the field (at a time when Robert Heinlein was also publishing his best short fiction).

Then personal disaster struck. Van's wife became seriously ill, forcing him to retreat from science fiction. He became involved with dianetics in a desperate attempt to alleviate her illness. For several years Van and his wife fought a losing battle. Van did no writing in this period instead running a dianetics clinic in California desperately trying to find solace and comfort for his wife E.Mayne Hull. During this period L. Ron Hubbard twisted Dianetics into what would become the religion of Scientology. When Van refused to participate in this new evolution of Dianetics into something he abhorred he unwittingly aided Damon Knight in his cause. For Ron Hubbard had become a powerful force in science fiction and the new organization founded and headed by Damon Knight, The Science Fiction Writers of America. (SFWA)

This self appointed group took it upon itself to decide what was good and bad in Science Fiction. Robert Heinlein had become the undisputed premier writer of Hard Science Fiction in Van's absence, Damon Knight and the SFWA found it easy to dismiss Van Vogt's style of writing. He was just not wanted by the elite of the SFWA.

After ten years of selflessly trying to heal and comfort his wife, Van came back to Science Fiction at the behest of Frederick Pohl. But Damon Knight's religion of Hard Science fiction had taken hold. Damon Knight, through the SFWA, had elevated himself to a position of great power within the science fiction community and successfully thwarted any attempt to give Van his rightful due. Devotees of the Hard Science Fiction mantra ensured that only their kind of writing would be recognized for the new awards they themselves created. It is interesting to note that using his power and muscle in his new organization lavish praise was given to Damon Knight's own works including several major awards given to himself by himself through his bullying of the SFWA membership.

But strange things kept happening. In Europe where the SFWA held no sway, Van's books sold and sold. (He is still the best selling writer of Science fiction in Italy and France.) And publishers in America, more concerned with sales than awards, kept buying his stories. Unnoticed by the SFWA, Van's work was becoming part of the popular culture. Not that Damon and the SFWA would ever admit it or allow credit to be given. But Van's THE VOYAGE OF THE SPACE BEAGLE became the basis for Star Trek written 20 years earlier. DISCORD IN SCARLET an early Van story from 1940 became the basis for the movie phenomena ALIEN. And even Van's master short short story THE CARTHING bears striking resemblance to Stephen King's CHRISTINE. Science fiction television shows and movies like THE TWILIGHT ZONE and THE OUTER LIMITS sought out Van for ideas and storylines. These shows in particular are stylized after Van Vogt 's dreamlike unreality.

Unfortunately, Damon Knight had done his job well. Credit for Van Vogt would never given as long as Damon controlled the SFWA. Damon Knight did his job so well that I bet few of you have even heard of A.E. Van Vogt.

However, thankfully, one important Science fiction writer you have heard of, Harlan Ellison, never forgot the wonder of Van's stories. Single handedly he used his power to see that Van got his due. In 1996 Van was finally recognized as a Grand Master of Science Fiction. Interestingly this did not happen until after Damon Knight received his own Grandmaster award from the SFWA. Harlan Ellison's speech to the assembled members is famous for his chastisement of these cheap politics.

And here's the pity. You see, the panacea of Hard Science fiction was a trap. Science has progressed so fast that it is for all intent and purposes impossible to write a scientifically accurate story about space travel to the stars with warp engines. Einstein shot down Faster than Light travel and Stephen Hawkings has all but shot down time travel. So much of what was the setting for Hard science fiction is now impossible. That is why Science Fiction is disappearing from our landscape and being replaced by Fantasy. Check your local bookstore if you don't believe me.

But wait... that dreamlike quality that fills the fantasy novel. That's just the way Van wrote. I guess even now deep down everyone wants a Van Vogt.

This scenario pays homage to A.E. Van Vogt as well as to Science fiction in general. The heroes are all modeled after my favourite author's. They carry scrolls of their works which happen to be my favourites. It is my hope that some of you will take the time to find some of these stories and rediscover the wonder that classical science fiction can bring.

In the scenario you can play as Damon Knight or as A.E. Van Vogt in a one on one multiplayer battle.
I'm rooting for Van Vogt.

Please play the map leaders off with no customization.
Have fun.
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Arctic Wolf
File Author

Very sorry, I uploaded the second last revision by mistake. The correct file is uploaded now. If you were one of the first four downloads, you should download the file again.

Arctic Wolf
File Author
Enginerd has noted a problem with independent units, which are set to guarding, spontaneously beginning to wander and leave their goodies unguarded. The problem was caused by a bug in the way the nearby independent 'leader' heroes affect other independent units. This is probably why the 'leader' heroes were not included in the main game. Since this map uses 'leader' heroes almost exclusively the bug will crop up whenever an independent 'leader' hero wanders near any other independent units. The hero cause those units to 'fortify' which means they will start to wander even if set to guarding. A wandering 'fortified' unit will cause any nearby independent unit to also 'fortify'. I believe this behavior causes the units to clump together in effect 'fortifying' their ranks. The ability as far as I know was never intended to be left in the game, but has been reintroduced through the 'leader' heroes which seem to be preset as 'fortifying' units.

A new update has been made which will minimize the 'fortifying' effect to some degree.

At the time of the update 12 downloads were present.

[Edited on 11/01/08 @ 09:23 AM]

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