by A. E. van Vogt

In the 1940s, the Golden Age of science fiction flowered in the magazine Astounding. Editor John W. Campbell, Jr., discovered and promoted great new writers such as A.E. van Vogt, whose novel Slan was one of the works of the era.

Slan is the story of Jommy Cross, the orphan mutant outcast from a future society prejudiced against mutants, or slans. Throughout the forties and into the fifties, Slan was considered the single most important SF novel, the one great book that everyone had to read. Today it remains a monument to pulp SF adventure, filled with constant action and a cornucopia of ideas.

Jommy Cross is a slan, a genetically bred superhuman whose race was created to aid humanity but is now despised by normal humans. Slans are usually shot on sight, but that doesn’t stop Jommy’s mother from bringing him to see the world capital of Centropolis, the seat of power for Earth’s dictator, Kier Gray. But on their latest trip to Centropolis, the two slans are discovered, and Jommy’s mother is killed. Jommy, only nine years old, unwittingly becomes caught up in a plot to undermine Gray, who may be more sympathetic to slans than the public suspects.

The nonstop action and root-for-the-underdog plot has made Slan a science fiction favorite.

First Published: 1946

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