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First published in four instalments in the September-December issues of Astounding Science Fiction , this smoothly-written and ambitious first novel with its action-oriented, science-minded, Big-Ideas-About-The-Evolutionary-Future-of-Humanity theme, its dramatic story line involving an incredibly intense and long-lasting manhunt, wild careening all over the solar system, much grim violence and some pretty intense man-woman confrontations, is a quintessential golden-age masterpiece that has captivated readers young and old ever since its first publication.
Slightly modified for its publication in book form in and then again in , SLAN has remained one of the best-known science-fiction novels of all time. The text below is the final version published by Simon and Schuster in hard-cover format in We have included here the interesting graphics by Schneeman that appeared in the original September-December issues of Astounding Science Fiction. Her fear as they walked hurriedly along the street was a quiet, swift pulsation that throbbed from her mind to his.
A hundred other thoughts beat against his mind, from the crowds that swarmed by on either side, and from inside the buildings they passed. Jommy, if the worst happens, you know what to do. Easy to advise, Jommy thought, and hid the thought from her. But there were thoughts that had to be kept back. It was new and exciting, as well. He felt excited each time he came into the heart of Centropolis from the quiet suburb where they lived.
The great parks, the miles of skyscrapers, the tumult of the throngs always seemed even more wonderful than his imagination had pictured them—but then size was to be expected of the capital of the world. Here was the seat of the government. Here, somewhere, lived Kier Gray, absolute dictator of the entire planet. Long ago—hundreds of years before—the slans had held Centropolis during their brief period of ascendancy. Can you sense things over a distance yet? The steady wave of vagueness that washed from the crowds pressing all around grew into a swirl of mind clamor.
And the order is to shoot them on sight. They try to capture them and then examine them. Their internal organs are different from ours, you know, and on their heads are—" "Jommy, can you feel them, about a block behind us?
In a big car! Waiting for reinforcements to close in on us from in front. Can you catch their thoughts, Jommy?
No matter how hard he reached out with his mind and strained and perspired with his trying. That was where her mature powers surpassed his precocious instincts. She could span distances and disentangle remote vibrations into coherent pictures. It was terrible to be little and helpless and young and inexperienced, when their life demanded the strength of maturity, the alertness of slan adulthood.
You live for one thing only: to make it possible for slans to live normal lives. Good luck, Jommy. The fear was gone. A soothing tranquility flowed from her brain, quieting his jumping nerves, slowing the pounding of his two hearts. As Jommy slipped into the shelter made by a man and a woman walking past them, he had a glimpse of men bearing down on the tall figure of his mother, looking very ordinary and very human in her slacks and pink blouse, and with her hair caught up in a tightly knotted scarf.
The men, dressed in civilian clothes, were crossing the street, their faces dark with an expression of an unpleasant duty that had to be done. The thought of that unpleasantness, the hatred that went with it, was a shadow in their minds that leaped out at Jommy.
It puzzled him even in this moment when he was concentrating on escape. Why was it necessary that he should die? He and this wonderful, sensitive, intelligent mother of his! It was all terribly wrong. A car, glittering like a long jewel in the sun, flashed up to the curb. Stop that boy! He felt the bewildering mildness of their thoughts. And then he had rounded the corner and was racing along Capital Avenue.
A car was pulling away from the curb. His feet pattered with mad speed. His abnormally strong fingers caught at the rear bumper. He pulled himself aboard and hung on as the car swung into the maze of traffic and began to gather speed. From somewhere behind came the thought: "Good luck, Jommy. Too many people paused in the street and stared at the little boy clinging so precariously to the shining bumper.
Jommy felt the intensity of their gazes, the thoughts that whipped into their minds and brought jerky, shrill shouts to their lips. Mists of thought followed him then, of people who ran into public booths and telephoned the police about a boy caught on a bumper. Jommy squirmed, and his eyes waited for a patrol car to swing in behind and flag the speeding auto to a halt. Two brain vibrations poured out at him.
As he caught those thoughts, Jommy shuddered, and half lowered himself toward the pavement, prepared to let go. He looked down, then dizzily pulled himself back into place. Reluctantly, his mind fumbled into contact again with the brains of the men in the car. The thoughts of the driver were concentrated on his task of maneuvering the machine. The man thought once, flashingly, of a gun carried in a shoulder holster. His name was Sam Enders, and he was the chauffeur and bodyguard of the man beside him—John Petty, chief of the secret police of the all-powerful Kier Gray.
The notorious slan hunter sat relaxed, indifferent to the speed of the car, his mind geared to a slow, meditative mood. Extraordinary mind!
Impossible to read anything in it but a blur of surface pulsations. Yet it was different. Overtones came through that told of a remorseless character, a highly trained and brilliant brain. And yet he had the gist. A slan girl named Kathleen Layton was to be killed so that Kier Gray might be undermined. The red light that flashed on is the general alarm.
The car slackened infinitesimally as he reached to the far end of the switchboard; and Jommy, who had worked his way precariously to one end of the bumper, waited desperately for a chance to leap clear.
His eyes, peering ahead over the fender, saw only the long, bleak line of pavement, unrelieved by grass boulevards, hard and forbidding. To leap would be to smash himself against concrete.
Cross was killed ten minutes ago at the comer of Main and Capital. The boy leaped to the bumper of a car, which drove away rapidly, witnesses report. The car decelerated with a speed that crushed Jommy hard against the rear end. He tore himself free of the intense pressure and, just before the car stopped, lowered himself to the pavement. His feet jerked him into a run. He darted past an old woman, who clutched at him, avarice in her mind. And then he was on a vacant lot, beyond which towered a long series of blackened brick and concrete buildings, the beginning of the wholesale and factory district.
A thought leaped after him from the car, viciously: "Enders, do you realize that we left Capital and Main ten minutes ago? That boy— There he is! Shoot him, you fool! Almost he saw the man take aim, so clear was the mental impression that bridged the hundred and fifty feet between them.
Jommy ducked sideways as the gun went off with a dull plop. He had the faintest awareness of a blow, and then he had scrambled up some steps into an open doorway, into a great, dark-lit warehouse.
Concentrate every police car and get the soldiers out to—" How blurred everything was becoming! Jommy stumbled through a dim world, conscious only that, in spite of his tireless muscles, a man could run at least twice as fast as his best speed would carry him. The vast warehouse was a dull light-world of looming box shapes, and floors that stretched into the remote semidarkness. Twice the tranquil thoughts of men moving boxes somewhere to his left impinged on his mind.
Far ahead, and to his right, he saw a bright opening, a door. He bore in that direction. He reached the door, amazed at his weariness. Something damp and sticky was clinging to his side, and his muscles felt stiff. His mind felt slow and unwieldy. He paused and peered out of the door. He was staring into a street vastly different from Capital Avenue.
It was a dingy street of cracked pavement, the opposite side lined with houses that had been built of plastic a hundred or more years before. Made of virtually unbreakable materials, their imperishable colors basically as fresh and bright as on the day of construction, they nevertheless showed the marks of time. Lawns were ill-tended, and piles of debris lay around. The street was apparently deserted. A vague whisper of thought crept forth from the dingy buildings.
Jommv lowered himself over the edge of the warehouse platform and dropped to the hard concrete of the street below.
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Jul 10, Minutes Buy. At the time of his death in , van Vogt left a partial draft and an outline for the sequel to his most famous novel, Slan. Now the story is completed by Anderson and is sure to be one of the most popular SF novels of the year. Slans are a race of superior mutants, smarter and stronger than homo sapiens and able to read minds. Thousands of years in the future on Earth, the Slan Wars are over, and the slans were largely wiped out, but people still fear and distrust them.
Slan is a science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer A. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction September—December It was subsequently published in hardcover in by Arkham House , in an edition of 4, copies. Slans are evolved humans, named after their alleged creator, Samuel Lann. They have the psychic abilities to read minds and are super-intelligent. They possess near limitless stamina, "nerves of steel," and superior strength and speed.
First published in four instalments in the September-December issues of Astounding Science Fiction , this smoothly-written and ambitious first novel with its action-oriented, science-minded, Big-Ideas-About-The-Evolutionary-Future-of-Humanity theme, its dramatic story line involving an incredibly intense and long-lasting manhunt, wild careening all over the solar system, much grim violence and some pretty intense man-woman confrontations, is a quintessential golden-age masterpiece that has captivated readers young and old ever since its first publication. Slightly modified for its publication in book form in and then again in , SLAN has remained one of the best-known science-fiction novels of all time. The text below is the final version published by Simon and Schuster in hard-cover format in We have included here the interesting graphics by Schneeman that appeared in the original September-December issues of Astounding Science Fiction. Her fear as they walked hurriedly along the street was a quiet, swift pulsation that throbbed from her mind to his.