11 stories: Far Centaurus, The Monster, Dormant, Enchanted Village, A Can of Paint, Defense, The Rulers, "Dear Pen Pal", The Sound, The Search, and Postscript
[from the back cover] Null-A Revisited Shadow of The Follower What strange being was The Follower? That question plagued Gilbert Gosseyn all during his efforts to track down this galaxy-threatening entity. Wherever Gosseyn went, the shadow of The Follower fell across the trail. Even Gosseyn's NULL-A trained double brain could not cut through that darkness....
The Slans are a super-race, capable of mind-reading, and equipped with bodies many times more resistant to fatigue than ordinary mortals. But they live in constant fear of discovery, for the rewards are great if anyone should capture a Slan, dead or alive. Jommy Cross was their only hope. He alone had the secret of his father's invention; he alone was capable of proving that the Slans' knowledge could benefit mankind.<P><P> Hugo Award Winner
a compendium of short stories by one of science fiction's greatest masters
You could use the introduction of the TV show Star Trek to describe the voyage of the starship Space Beagle (new life, new worlds, new civilizations). You would have to combine at least two of the alien creatures faced by the crew of the Space Beagle to match the characteristics of the creature in the movie Alien (what has blood that eats through metal, incubates its young inside humans and can survive in deep space). Yet, this book was written decades before either of these shows. Voyage of the Space Beagle is a science fiction action adventure (taking on and of course defeating all those aliens), psychological thriller (our hero Grosvenor must somehow convince the Captain and crew of the ship that he knows how to defeat those aliens, despite working in a new and little known scientific specialty) and exploration of deep scientific mysteries (just how likely is it that a single ship will encounter a single super-intelligent, super-evil creature floating in the depths of intergalactic space?).
12,000 A.D. The Earth, after the atomic holocaust, had reverted to a strange kind of barbariam where men could build space ships, but could not communicate except by the most primitive means. Alien invaders had been sighted at the edge of the galaxy--but no one took action--they were too busy fighting among themselves, planning bigger spectacles for the arena, and engaging in petty intrigues to gain little real power. Only one man--a mutant--knew how to fight the aliens. But he could not count on the support of a single Earthman. He had to work along against a universe of enemies. But, if he failed, the Earth might be destroyed.
[from the back cover] "The classic novel of non-Aristotelian logic and the coming race of supermen Grandmaster A. E. van Vogt was one of the giants of the 1940s, the Golden Age of classic SF. Of his masterpieces, The World of Null-A is his most famous and most influential. It was the first major trade SF hardcover ever, in 1949, and has been in print in various editions ever since. The entire careers of Philip K. Dick, Keith Laumer, Alfred Bester, Charles Harness, and Philip Jose Farmer were created or influenced by The World of Null-A, and so it is required reading for anyone who wishes to know the canon of SF classics. It is the year 2650 and Earth has become a world of non-Aristotelianism, or Null-A. This is the story of Gilbert Gosseyn, who lives in that future world where the Games Machine, made up of twenty-five thousand electronic brains, sets the course of people's lives. Gosseyn isn't even sure of his own identity, but realizes he has some remarkable abilities and sets out to use them to discover who has made him a pawn in an interstellar plot."
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