FORGOTTEN BOOKS #227: THE BOOK OF PTATH (aka, TWO HUNDRED MILLION A.D.) By A. E. Van Vogt

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Back in 1943, when A. E. Van Vogt was just beginning his career as a science fiction writer, Van Vogt wrote a fantasy story for Unknown Worlds. The setting was a depleted planet Earth 200 million years in the future (with the same tone as Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth stories). Ptath, summoned from a previous time line, arrives in this future with an impaired memory. Through trickery, Ptath is manipulated into disarming several of the guardian spells that keep the forces of Evil at bay. Ptath, like many of Van Vogt’s characters, operates with fragmentary information and has to figure out what the Truth is. Even in this early work, plenty of Van Vogtian plot and character devices are at work. You can see the signs of Van Vogt’s future greatness in The Book of Ptath.

13 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #227: THE BOOK OF PTATH (aka, TWO HUNDRED MILLION A.D.) By A. E. Van Vogt

  1. George Kelley

    Jeff, like most prolific SF writers, A. E. Van Vogt’s work is wildly uneven. Much of Van Vogt’s best writing can be found in his short story collections or his “fix-up” novels. You might try VOYAGE OF THE SPACE BEAGLE.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, any of Van Vogt’s short story collections would also be good places to start. His “The Black Destroyer” inspired the ALIEN movies.

      Reply
  2. Steve Oerkfitz

    Read a lot of Van Vogt as a teenager back in the 60′s. tried rereading Slan a couple years back and couldn’t get thru it. Just so badly written.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Rick, Van Vogt’s NULL-A books caused a sensation in the SF world when they appeared. John C. Wright wrote a sequel which I own.

      Reply
  3. The Right Reverend Cap'n Bob Napier

    I’m in Slan-Apa, though the theme of the group isn’t Van Vogt or even skiffy. New members always welcome.

    Reply
  4. Ashley Grayson

    Nice to see your item about The Book of Ptath by A. E. van Vogt. We’ve just released the first e-book edition on the Apple iBookstore, Kindle and Nook. Nice job of collecting some of the covers from past paper editions.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Ashley, thanks for the heads-up on the ebook version of THE BOOK OF PTATH! I hope you release more of A. E. Van Vogt as ebooks.

      Reply

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