Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Battle of Forever


I have a pile of books to be read.  I'm pretty sure lots of people who like to read do to.  After reading Grave I decided to re-read The Battle of Forever by A. E. van Vogt.  He is one of my favourite  authors, with his short story the Black Destroyer being the classic that arguably marked the beginning of SFs golden era, and also inspired the Alien film series.

My worry that the The Battle of Forever wouldn't stand up to a re-read was unfounded, and while I could criticize the way the story was told, doing so is not really my thing.  What I will say is that the story kept me engaged and wanting to continue reading, something that a lot of other books do not.

The plot is a combination of the heroes journey, a quest and rebirth, by using a naive character as the central protagonist who is a master of philosophy.

This device allows van Vogt to pit an intelligent but, gullible character against aliens who, if not exactly evil, clearly do not have the best interests of humans at heart.  This is in many way classic science fiction, in that the story is about big ideas and discussing a future where travel amongst the stars is possible.

I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one day, an event that is so rare nowadays as to call attention to itself, but also an indicator that the novel is short or as I prefer to think of it, tightly written with no flab.

With regard to my own writing, I'm still adapting to the demands of running a clinic three days week, which is considerably more tiring than just doing two days.  I've been progressing my second novel, but have realized that I really need to up my game when describing the aliens, because of stuff I've been watching and reading in the meantime.  However, progress remains slow, and realistically if I could do more I would, so I just have to be patient with myself.

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