Very strange book this one by van Vogt. It starts well and intrigues you, despite the taste of teen novel, then it gets stuck. While the plot runs too fast, the narrative becomes boring and it’s awfully easy to get distracted and then lose the thread, given the rapid pace of events. While the characters and their actions at the beginning seemed absolutely credible, then they tend to become too “easy” in the central part of the book, losing all their plausibility and touching absurdity.
The touch of a great author, however, is seen in the way he tells the story: the style, the words capture you. But the story itself seems naive, like those of young adult novels, but unsuitable for the latter given the complex issues dealt in it.
Maybe the 60 years passed since its publication are the cause of this apparent naivety. Moreover, the combination of spaceships with telephone booths is a bit funny. But since the beginning it is not so difficult to accept this retro vibe in the scope of science fiction, the problems are others.
I will not go into the details of the plot, not to spoil the reading of the book. I will just say that there is a certain approximation in the concatenation of the facts, which at times are simply summarized by giving improbable and forced excuses to justify the action going to a certain direction.
What really saves the novel and inspired me to give it at least 3 stars is the ending. I’m not talking about the final chapter (which is terribly far-fetched), but just the last page, even the last sentences, outlining a plot twist that allows closing the story with a bang.
Slan (Kindle ebook) on Amazon.com.