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Icshi.net Update — October 26th, 2011

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As promised last week, Daniele Bitossi’s article rebutting Damon Knight’s criticisms of A.E. van Vogt is now online. As someone who never quite got around to reading Knight’s famous “Cosmic Jerrybuilder,” I found Daniele’s piece quite illuminating.

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10 responses »

  1. I definitely need to read the article! As you know (from an earlier comment of mine) I agree with some of Knight’s criticism — at least about The World of Null-A. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Just as a side-note: One of the reasons why I’ve never actually read Knight’s article is because the only truly “important” version of “Cosmic Jerrybuilder” was its original 1945 appearance in the Destiny’s Child fanzine. For years and years I’ve been searching for a copy, but this fanzine is insanely ultra-rare. I’ve never even seen a copy for sale. I’d also love to read van Vogt’s reply to Knight’s piece in a later issue of the same fanzine, but the odds of finding even one of these issues is highly improbable, much less two…

    Reply
  3. In one of the later editions of The World of Null-A has an introduction by Vogt responds which to Knight’s criticism — obviously it’s much later….

    Reply
  4. Yes, that introduction was added in 1970, a full 22 years after he actually made the changes he was discussing!

    Reply
  5. That introduction by van Vogt in the 1970 Berkley Medallion edition of the THE WORLD OF NULL-A should be published in every edition of the book. It is quite illuminating.

    Reply
  6. The Null-A novels were inspired by Alfred Korzybski’s “General Semantics” system. Did van Vogt ever meet Korzybski? What a fascinating meeting of minds that would have been!

    Reply
    • I’m pretty sure van Vogt never met Korzybski. However, Korzybski was aware of van Vogt’s Null-A novels, as at some point Korzybski was photographed reading the first in the series (World). I’ve never seen that photo myself, but would love to!

      Reply
      • I also would love to see that photograph. In fact, I contacted the Institute of General Semantics, asking if they had any such photo in their archives; they do not. I also contacted Bruce Kodish, a General Semantics expert and Korzybski biographer, about the photo; he has never seen it. I wonder if any such photo survives.

        Reply
        • Wow. I’m impressed! Commendable initiative there, Ross! It never even crossed my mind that such inquiries could be made. A shame, though, that they weren’t able to shed more light on this…

          Reply

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