Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A E van Vogt's "M 33 in Andromeda" (short story, space opera, free): Smart humans vs galactic-scale monster

One of the illustrations accompanying the original publication in Astounding, August 1943, of short story M 33 in Andromeda by A E van VogtAccording to Wikipedia, title of this story is wrong: "M33 is in constellation Triangulum; M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, is in Andromeda."

Also, according to Wikipedia, it's one of the stories in author's fix-up novel, "Voyage of the Space Beagle".

Note this is a juvenile story; don't be too critical or logical. But it did appeal to heart - in a fun, mindless way.

Story summary.

Anabis, a galactic scale alien creature in the form of mist that surrounds worlds & interstellar void of its galaxy, feeds on the "life force" of animals - it's satiated when an animal dies! It doesn't directly do any killings though - it just ensures conditions where there will be killings. That is why it has turned every habitable world in its galaxy to a jungle world - because such worlds have "prolific life-&-death cycles"!

Now human exploration battleship, Space Beagle, is approaching its home galaxy, & Anabis sees a new food source - in the galaxy where the ship came from. Only there are too many galaxies in the general direction the ship is approaching from.

So we see a war of nerves between humans in the ship & Anabis - reveal location of human home galaxy, please. Because it's a van Vogt story, humans will, of course, not only win but see to it that Anabis is destroyed.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, August 1943.
Download full text as part of the scans of Astounding issue where it originally appeared.
Rating: B.
Among the stories from John Campbell's Astounding/Analog.
Part of the author's "Space Beagle" series.
Related: Stories of A E van Vogt.


Larry said...

Ha, i'd never noticed that mistake till now,and being an amateur astronomer I should have!
I have read Voyage of the Space Beagle,great stuff (part of it is very like the movie Alien,so much so vogt tried to sue the filmmakers!)
Wouldn't say it was juvennile tho!

Tinkoo said...

"Juvenile": At what age did you first read the story? I think I could have given it to my 10 year old nephew, only if he were comfortable with English (which he's not).

Interesting thing is: van Vogt is able to make work the stories that would quickly fall apart in the hands of most authors!

Larry said...

Tinkoo, I read it last year, aged 42(the book that is, not the story)

Tinkoo said...

Well - it shows different people can look at the same story differently:(

How long have you been reading sf, by the way? I got introduced to genre just about 3 years back, & may be I still think a bit like outsider?