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Classic science fiction author A.E. Van Vogt wrote the great golden-age novel SLAN, published in Astounding Magazine in 1940 and revised in book form in 1951. The story is about a mutant race of telepathic humans, called "slans," who are in hiding and being hunted down by normal humans who fear them. The opening chapter of SLAN has the young slan boy Jommy Cross on the run with his mother as slan hunters chase after them; she lets herself get gunned down so her boy can get away and fend for himself on the mean streets. That's one of the most gripping opening scenes in all of classic science fiction. I very much enjoyed the novel when I read it in college. Van Vogt also produced many other thought-provoking works, including THE WORLD OF NULL-A and THE WEAPON SHOPS OF ISHER.

With his brain-twisting plots, political machinations, and wheels-within-wheels schemes, Van Vogt was definitely a precursor to Frank Herbert's great work. He died in 2000 at the age of 88 after struggling for many years with Alzheimer's Disease. His widow Lydia was a special guest at the 2006 DragonCon, and she graciously attended the 40th Anniversary of Dune party.

In 1984, Van Vogt decided to do a sequel to his greatest novel SLAN, and he sold the book to editor David Hartwell at Tor Books. He began work on it and managed to produce an outline and about a hundred pages of draft manuscript before his Alzheimers progressed to the point where he could no longer work. Since that time, no one has touched the manuscript.

Lydia Van Vogt contacted me through a mutual friend and asked if I would look at the partially finished manuscript and consider completing her husband's last work. I remembered liking the original book very much, and after I looked at the material she sent, I agreed. We sold the novel, SLAN HUNTER, to David Hartwell, the editor who had bought it from Van Vogt more than twenty years ago. Tor Books -- our DUNE publisher -- will print it.

This is much shorter than a DUNE novel and full of adventure. In the meantime, while you wait for HUNTERS, I recommend that you read the original SLAN. You'll enjoy it.


Kevin with Lydia van Vogt

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