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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

The Book Of Ptath

Copyright 1947 by A. E. Van Vogt

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Mediocre (2/5)

I first read this in 1970 and most recently on the 26th October 2002

One moment it's 1944 and Peter Holroyd, American army captain is dying in a tank, struck by a bomb, in the midst of World War II.

The next moment, he awakens in the body of Ptath, the one-time ruler of the single continent, Gonwonlane, of a far future Earth.

Ptath is a being of potentially god-like power, but he's been out of action for a few hundred years and has yet to reclaim his full powers.

In his absence his evil consort (oh, I just love writing that, "evil consort" indeed) Ineznia has imprisoned his other consort, the sweet and lovely L'onee, in a damp and dark dungeon and has seized the reins of power to rule this world.

Ineznia is conspiring to trick the somewhat-disoriented Ptath into transferring his amazing powers to Ineznia rather than himself. L'onee even while imprisoned, and at risk to her own precious life, tries bravely to warn Ptath of the danger he is in. However, Ineznia's plan is cunning indeed and may already have forestalled such an attempt.

Ptath, Ineznia and L'onee plot and struggle against each other, wielding their telepathic powers, taking possession of the living and the dead, teleporting their bodies through space in a desperate fight of good against evil.

Will Peter Holyroyd, in the superhuman body of Ptath, survive to regain the crown and the kingdom? Read this book to find out.

A. E. Van Vogt is I suppose an appalling writer, but (much like the Velvet Underground) had such great ideas and so much to say, that the sometimes-embarrassing delivery really doesn't matter. His books imbue a sense of wonder and complexity, of levels of reality beyond this mundane world. Whew, that was a bit over the top, but Van Vogt still gets me with his writing. This is novel is a minor Van Vogt classic and makes me think more of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars. To get a better idea of what was so special about him, read "Slan", "The Voyage Of The Space Beagle" or "The Weapon Shops of Isher".

Loaded on the 31st October 2002.
Cover of The Book Of Ptath