Sunday, September 27, 2009

A E van Vogt's "The Mixed Men" aka "Mission to the Stars" (collection, space opera): Annotated table of contents & review

Cover image of the short story collection, sometimes mislabeled a novel, titled The Mixed Men or Mission to the Stars by A E van VogtI've only read the online stories from this collection - 3 of the 5. Nowhere near the best of van Vogt, but readable. My rating is in brackets. In case I have a separate post on a specific story, link on title goes there.

Stories should generally be read in order; later stories assume the reader is familiar with events in earlier ones.

Table of contents.

  1. [ss] "Concealment" (B); download; Astounding, September 1943: An exploration battleship of Imperial Earth has located an unexpected civilization of "Dellian perfect robots" in Lesser Magellanic Cloud, bringing to fore the ancient mutual hatred of the two species.
  2. [novelette] "The Storm" (B); download; Astounding, October 1943: Long drawn human/robot wars now show promise to end amicably.
  3. [novelette] "The Mixed Men" (B); download; Astounding, January 1945: Of the 3 species of robots in Fifty Suns - Dellian, non-Dellian, & "Mixed Men" - Mixed Men are the least numerous & most competent; they've now declared a war on humanity.

    We'll eventually learn that non-Dellians aren't robots at all but humans, that humans & robots can interbreed(!) to produce "Mixed Men" children - so the future appears to be the next evolution of both humans & robots - the "Mixed Men".
  4. [novelette] "Lost: Fifty Suns"; original appearance was probably in this collection: Not read.
  5. "Is it true?": Looks like it appeared only in a few editions.

Fact sheet.

First published: 1952.
Credits: Some of the information here comes from Wikipedia & ISFDB.
A lot of covers of various editions of this book are available at The Weird Worlds of A E Van Vogt.
Relevant entries have been added to the list of stories from John Campbell's Astounding/Analog.
Related: Stories of A E van Vogt.


Anonymous said...

It is stated in the article that the non-Dellian robots are not robots, but humans. The Dellian robots are not robots, either. They are descendants of humans who used Dell's defective teleportation devise. They were called robots because of characteristic changes brought about by the devise. They gained strength and intelligence but lost creativity.