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A.E. van Vogt

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A.E. van Vogt, 1912 - 2000

Golden Age SF writer A.E. van Vogt died Wednesday, January 26 of complications of pneumonia. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for the last decade.

Van Vogt was born in Canada and moved to the US in 1944, by which time he was well-established as one of John W. Campbell's stable of 'Golden Age' writers for Astounding Science-Fiction (along with Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, etc.). His first SF story, ''Black Destroyer'' (1939), remained one of his most popular, and has been cited as a source for the film Alien; it formed the first part of his novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle (a 'fix-up' novel, composed of previously published parts; a term van Vogt first used).

Other famous works included Slan (book publication 1946), a tale of a mutant race of super-humans; The Weapon Shops of Isher (1951), about a libertarian counter force to an imperial world government; and The World of Null-A (1948), which developed recomplicated themes of non-Aristotlian logic.

Van Vogt married E. Mayne Hull in 1939, and they wrote several stories together in the 1940s. Van Vogt and Hull were co-Guests of Honor at the fourth World Science Fiction Convention, in 1946. Hull stopped writing in 1950, as both she and van Vogt became involved in Dianetics, L. Ron Hubbard's ''science of mental health'' that was the basis for Scientology. Van Vogt remained mostly silent for a decade until resuming in the 1960s, though less prolifically and successfully than before. Hull died in 1975.

In 1980 Van Vogt received a Casper Award (precursor to the Canadian Aurora Awards) for Lifetime Achievement. In 1996 he received three career honors: the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) named him a Grand Master, the World Science Fiction Convention in Anaheim, California, gave him a Special Award ''for six decades of golden age science fiction'', and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame included him among its initial four inductees. He is survived by his second wife, Lydia.

SFWA reports that services for Mr. van Vogt will be held at 10 a.m. Monday Jan. 31 at Callanan Mortuary, 1301 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027. Flowers may be sent to this address.

(Thu 27 Jan 2000, updated Fri 28 Jan)

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