IN TIMES TO COME
Once in a while this little department has something to announce, something over and above the usual indication of what's up for next month. This is one of the onces.
George Smith and Ted Sturgeon were visiting out at the house the other evening. I'd just gotten, and brought home still unread, a manuscript of a novel I'd been expecting. After considerable and varied discussion, I read the first few pages of that yarn aloud about 11 p.m. just before going to bed - so I thought. It's a van Vogt novel. You know van Vogt's trick of putting fishhooks in the first few paragraphs - they go in easily, but you can't back out; you have to go all the way through. "Slan" started that way. This one did - with interest, fervor and zeal. Well and securely hooked, we passed pages down the line. I finished the yarn about 5 a.m., with Sturgeon and Smith a few pages behind.
Of course, such things are matters of personal taste, and the way things appeal to your own personality, so I can't make any binding promises beyond this one; there are going to be great and long-enduring arguments as to whether "Slan" or this new novel - one hundred thousand words - is the better. The three who have read it so far are fairly well agreed; "Slan" was a good story, but van Vogt's learned more about writing since then. This one is something like a 550 volt A.C. power line; it looks innocent, but once you get hold of it you can't let go till somebody shuts off the power.
This is fair and sufficient warning. It will appear in the August, September and October 1945 Astoundings. You have time to make certain of those numbers. Due to paper shortages, newsstands are inadequately supplied, a fact we regret but can't help. Even if you have to go to the extreme of actually doing what you've been sort of meaning to for years - entering your subscription - I'd advise it. Van Vogt's got a story. I think most of you know me well enough to know I'm not given to extravagant and unmerited advance encomiums.
This is one of the super-stories. THE EDITOR