Title: The War Against the Rull
Author: A. E. van Vogt
Genre: Science Fiction
Why did you get this book? In my early days I liked van Vogts science fiction. I bought this book in June 1979.
Did you enjoy the book? Yes. This is part of my project to revisit some of the first science fiction authors I read.
Was the author new to you? No. I have a fair few of his books.
Would you read something by this author again? Have done and will do again.
Are you keeping it or passing it on? I am keeping it.
Anything else? This novel is based of a series of stories that first appeared in Astounding Science Fiction. It consists of six connected tales about an interstellar conflict between humans and the Rull. The two species are fairly evenly balanced technologically – the Rull have a more mature technology while the humans are more innovative. The humans are losing ground. Our hero Trevor Jamieson is head of the Science Department searching for advances that will give humans the edge in the war. The stories tell of two of his discoveries that should help humans get that edge. Jamiesons first and most prominent discovery is of a race of sentient beings who are telepaths. Unique in the galaxy because they are able to communicate with non telepaths. Our heroes problem is that these creatures are hiding the fact that they are sentient and are violently hostile to the human setlers on their planet. Jamieson manages to convince a captured juvinile to cooperate. The tales in this book were originally written in the between 1940 and 1950. They have aged surprisingly well all things considered. Computers are pretty much unknown – he mentions a paper tape teletypewriter. The vanishingly small role women have in the book seems archaic. When his eight year old son is to participate in one of the cultures growing up rituals – he has to be out alone all night – his concerned wife phones him. His response is:
“How about you going out and doing some shopping? That’ll take your mind off him for the rest of the afternoon anyway. Spend -” he made a quick calculation, took another look at her face, and revised the initial figure upward – “what you like. On yourself. Now goodbye, and don’t worry.”
Number of pages: 156
Total pages for the year: 4725