The Undercover Aliens
Copyright 1950 by
A. E. Van Vogt
I first read this in 1973 and most recently on the 2nd November 2010
Originally published as "The House On The Hill".
Allison Stevens was once a marine but is now a lawyer in the small
town of Alimante. He is caught up in a shadowy conspiracy that
involves his client, Arthur Tannahill, owner of the ancient
house that stands upon a hill in Alimante. Tannahill is also a very rich man,
owner of much of California.
Allison uncovers a brutal society of Incan or possibly Mayan
cultists. Not just that, but these Mayans (or Incans)
turn out to have needle guns, spaceships
They also have a remarkably beautiful lady, Mistra, with
whom our manly hero is immediately infatuated.
There's a whole planet in the balance and somehow the risk of
atomic war must be averted.
Our Allison leaps bravely into battle, one man against
massive odds. He's going for gold: for immortality and
of course, for the girl.
Of course, he does have the support of an alien
intelligence in this endeavour. I find that often helps.
First off, it's not "The Weaponshops Of Isher".
It's not that good. However it has a rather
dated charm and for the technophiles amongst us, it stirs a
nostaglia early in the novel as our hero receives an
What I always found odd about Van Vogt is his
depiction of his characters emotions. Sometimes
it's brilliantly on the button, but most
of the time I'm lost at how he assumes someone would
feel such a way at such a time. Where I would expect
"angry at being hit over the head and shocked at the
surprise attack", Van Vogt would certainly write
"shocked at being hit over the head and
angry at the surprise attack", not perhaps a big difference,
but enough to jar (and of course that's why he is sometimes
Loaded on the 23rd March 2011.