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Title: Nexialism, Null-A and A. E. van Vogt

Nexialism, Null-A and A. E. van Vogt
Presentation Outline
  • Personal Biography
  • Professional Writing Career
  • Influences and Interest in General Semantics
  • Publication History Null-A Books
  • Story Summary The Voyage of the Space Beagle
  • Publication History The Voyage of the Space
  • Nexialism and General Semantics
  • Nexialism in Action
  • Influences on and Developments of Nexialism
  • Conclusion

Personal Biography 1
  • A. E. (Alfred Elton) van Vogt (pronounced vote)
    was born to parents of Dutch origin, around 10am,
    26 April 1912, at his maternal grandparents
    farm, Gretna, Manitoba, Canada.
  • Early upbringing was in Neville, a small town in
    Saskatchewan. Then he moved to Morden, Manitoba
    (when he was 10), then Winnipeg, Manitoba (when
    he was 14), back to Morden, back to Winnipeg,
    then to Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

Personal Biography 2
  • Got a job in Ottawa working on the 1931 Canadian
    census, for ten months.
  • Went back to Winnipeg and starting writing
    stories in the public library.
  • Married Edna Mayne Hull on 9 May 1939, after he
    had written his first two science fiction stories.

Personal Biography 3
  • Worked for the Department of National Defence,
    late 19391941. Resigned to become a full-time
  • Entered the United States, 7 Nov 1944, and moved
    to Los Angeles, California.
  • In 1950 was approached by L. Ron Hubbard to
    become involved in Dianetics. Became an auditor,
    but left around 1961, when Dianetics turned into
    Scientology. Mayne stayed on as an auditor for
    another 10 years or so.
  • Edna Mayne Hull died 20 January 1975.

Personal Biography 4
  • Married Lydia I. Brayman on 6 October 1979.
  • A. E. van Vogt died 26 Jan 2000.

Powerful figures learn they are pawns, and pawns
become major players. Victims become heroes in a
blink of an eye, and bring invincible villains
low. The world of every man is constantly
recreated in a new image with every turn in the
labyrinth of life. Joe Rico, Transfinite The
Essential A.E. Van Vogt
Professional Writing Career 1
  • Van Vogts stories are for thinking readers H. L.
  • First exposure to science fiction was at age
    eleven, in the pages of an old British Chum
    annual, which a friend loaned him.
  • When I was fourteen, I picked up on the
    newsstand the November 1926 issue of Amazing
    Stories...I took it home and read it, and I must
    have read every issue published while we were in
    Winnipeg that first time. (Reflections, p30-31)?

Professional Writing Career 2
  • During the first time I was Ottawa 1931, I
    took a course from the Palmer Institute of
    Authorship. It was entitled English and
    Self-Expression...It was a course in advanced
    English. (Reflections, p37)?
  • Used the books The Only Two Ways to Write a Story
    by John Gallishaw and Narrative Technique by
    Thomas H. Uzzell to further his writing education.

Professional Writing Career 3
  • Sold his first story I Lived in the Streets,
    published as No One to Blame But Herself, to
    True Story magazine in 1931-32. Received 110. He
    was 20-years-old.
  • Won 1,000 prize in a True Story magazine monthly
    competition, for the 7,000-word story entitled
    The Miracle in My Life.
  • Worked as a trade papers representative, wrote
    radio plays (beginning in 1934) and slick
    confessional stories, and took the advanced
    course in writing from Writers Digest.

Professional Writing Career 4
  • day, in 1938, I went into McKnights Drug
    Store in Winnipeg, near where I lived, and
    causally picked up a copy of Astounding
    Science-Fiction. (Reflections, p46)? July
  • He was inspired by Don A Stuart's 'Who Goes
    There?' to contact the editor John W. Campbell
    with a story idea.
  • Stopped writing confessional stories in 1939 and
    devoted himself to science fiction.

Professional Writing Career 5
  • His second science fiction story written, Black
    Destroyer, published in the July issue of
    Astounding Science-Fiction, 1939. Also containing
    stories by Isaac Asimov and C. L. Moore, this
    issue is considered to have started the Golden
    Age of science fiction.

Professional Life 6
  • His first science fiction story written, Vault
    of the Beast, published in the August issue of
    Astounding Science-Fiction, 1940.
  • While I was up in the Gatineau 1941, in a
    rented cottage in Farm Point, Quebec, Campbell
    wrote and said, I would like to contract you to
    write for Astounding... (Reflections, p65)
  • ...during that period I lived a very ascetic
    existence, because in order to produce what I was
    producing approx 300,000 published words per
    year, I worked from the time I got up usually
    9am until about eleven oclock at night, every
    day, seven days a week, for years. (Reflections,

Professional Writing Career 7
  • His first novel, Slan, published by Arkham House
    (hardcover) in 1946.
  • In 1980, Van was the first recipient of Canada's
    Prix Aurora Award, for Lifetime Achievement.
  • Published over 45 books.
  • Last novel, Null-A Three, publ. 1984.
  • Awarded SFWA Grand Master Award, 27 April 1996.

A E van Vogt's Popularity
  • Results of analysis of 'The Analytical
    Laboratory', 1938-1976 (a monthly reader's poll
    in Astounding Science Fiction, renamed Analog in
  • 1) Anson MacDonald (10 stories)
  • 2) Robert A Heinlein (25)
  • 3) E E 'Doc' Smith (13)
  • 4) Jerry Pournelle (11)
  • 5) A E van Vogt (59)

Influences 1
  • From the age of thirteen to the age of twenty I
    mustve read from two hundred to five hundred
    books a year...In history, I was fascinated by
    the Napoleonic era, by the Julius Caesar-Augustan
    age of Rome, Italy of the Renaissance, the King
    Richard the Lionheart period of Britain and
    Europe, and ancient Egypt. (Reflections, p109)
  • A. Merritt, Max Brand (one of the pseudonyms of
    Frederick Faust), Fred MacIsaac, Don A Stuart
    (the pseudonym of John W. Campbell), E.E. Smith,
    E. Phillips Oppenheimer, John Dickson Carr, Edgar
    Wallace, Frank L. Packard (the Gray Seal
    stories), and Rafael Sabatini.

Influences 2
  • I read Balzac, Dickens, Jane Austen, Arnold
    Bennett, George Moore, and other 19th century
    novelists of England and Europe...I read hundreds
    of plays most of Shaw, Ibsen, and Moliere, some
    of the Greek ancients. (Reflections, p108)
  • Sir James Jeans on the universe Edward Wiggam on
    the mind the series of books with titles like
    The Wonderful World of Coal, or The Wonderful
    World of the Atom The ABC of Relativity.
  • Also, J.B.S. Haldane, Arthur Eddington, Alfred
    Korzybski, Oswald Spengler, Alfred North

Interest in General Semantics 1
  • For my second semantics-orientated novel, The
    Players of Null-A, I wrote a twenty-two paragraph
    explanation of GS, and used one paragraph as the
    heading of each chapter. The summation took three
    weeks to do. When it was out of the way, I had
    essentially completed my eight-year study of
    general semantics. (The Semantics of
    Twenty-First Century Science, Best, p103)
  • General Semantics is a systematic approach to
    reality... (Best, p101)?

Interest in General Semantics 2
  • He was loaned a copy of Science and Sanity
    sometime before he left Canada for the USA. Given
    that The Players of Null-A was published in 1948,
    and assuming a one- or two-year writing and
    publication period, van Vogt probably commenced
    his study of GS around 1938-39.
  • Some years ago I wrote two science-fiction
    novels The World of Null-A and The Players of
    Null-A in which, in thousands and thousands of
    paragraphs, I employed the various GS recommended
    usages for rectifying what might be called the
    shortcomings of English. (Best, p101)

Interest in General Semantics 3
  • My GS training stayed with me even though I had
    turned to other things. In talking to people I
    would automatically hold up two sets of two
    fingers to indicate quotations. I used dates...I
    indexed...I was careful not to label people or
    things. I noticed when I was referring to the
    object (the territory)then I pointedand when to
    the word that described it (map or symbol). I
    differentiated the rituals in which most of us
    engage in some areas from the individual himself.
    And I was nearly always aware of self-reflexive
    sentences. Etc. Pretty precise. Sometimes
    irritating to other people. (Best, 104) my

Interest in General Semantics 4
  • An implication of general semantics is that
    words that contain assumptions that are only
    partially true interfere with reasoning at
    sub-awareness levels. (Best, p110)
  • The mind needs signals to indicate insistently
    that our universe is an incredibly dynamic
    complex. (Best, p115)
  • ...GS was a system, an orderly way of looking at
    the world that prescribed, essentially, being
    acutely aware of the symbols that man used to
    describe said world and think about it. (Best,

Interest in General Semantics 5
  • What is reality? General Semantics may not bring
    you any closer to a positive answer. But it is a
    systematic approach, a series of methods that, as
    a starter, may restrain you from jumping to hasty
    conclusions about people and the world we live
    in. (Best, p118)
  • If you are a person who notices the sometimes
    tiresome behaviour patterns of individuals, a
    picture of me as a systemizer should at this
    stage have taken firm form in your mind. (Best,

Other SF Writers Interested in GS
  • Harlan Ellison
  • Frank Herbert
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Samuel Delany
  • Henry Kuttner
  • Alexei Panshin
  • Robert Heinlein
  • L. Ron Hubbard
  • Robert Anton Wilson
  • Philip K. Dick
  • Poul Anderson
  • John Varley

The science fiction 'What if' as a variation of
the three questions of GS 1) What do you
mean? 2) How do you know? 3) What have you left
Publication History Null-A Books
  • The World of Null-A First published in
    Astounding Science Fiction in 1945 (August to
    October issues), and in book form (hc) by Simon
    Schuster in 1948.
  • The Players of Null-A First published in
    Astounding Science Fiction in 1948 (October to
    December) and 1949 (January), and in book form
    (pb) by Ace Books, as The Pawns of Null-A, in
  • Null-A Three first published, as a limited
    edition, in 1984, by Editions Jai Lu in France
    and the Morrison, Raven-Hill Company of
    Berkshire, England and Beverley Hills,
    California. Then published in 1985 by Sphere

The Voyage of the Space Beagle
  • The novel is a science fiction version of
    Darwins voyage around the world on the HMS
    Beagle. In this case, the space ship is
    journeying around and beyond the galaxy and
    features a new type of scientist, a Nexialist.
    The adventures related in the novel concern
    encounters with various creatures, some of whom
    are in direct conflict with the ship and its crew
    and one, a race of bird-like telepathic
    creatures, which accidently attacks the ship when
    trying to communicate with it. The novel features
    the actions of the one Nexialist on board,
    Elliott Grosvenor, as he tries to help the crew
    deal with these problems, deal with the conflicts
    between various factions, and demonstrate to the
    specialist scientists in the crew how valuable
    the science and practise of Nexialism is.

Publication History Space Beagle 1
  • Black Destroyer, Astounding Science Fiction,
    July 1939 Chapters One to Six. Nexialist Elliott
    Grosvenor was not in the original story..
  • War of Nerves. Other Worlds, 1950. Chapters
    Nine to Twelve.

Publication History Space Beagle 2
  • Discord in Scarlet, Astounding Science Fiction,
    December 1939 Chapters Thirteen to Twenty-One.
    Ixtls quest to implant eggs in crew members was
    duplicated in the Aliens franchise, and van Vogt
    received an out of court settlement (reportedly
    50,000). Again, Grosvenor was not in the
    original story.
  • M 33 in Andromeda, Astounding Science-Fiction,
    1943 Chapters Twenty-Two to Twenty-Eight.

Publication History Space Beagle 3
  • Published by Panther Books, in 1959, as a
    fix-up novel, which is made up of previously
    published short stories with added material, such
    as transitions. He added approx 30,000 words in
    this process.
  • Is seen by some as a precursor to the Star Trek

Gosseyn and Grosvenor
  • Both are examples of van Vogt's theme of the
  • Names start with the same letter.
  • Gosseyn (Go-sane).
  • Grosvenor (contains governor, as in a leader
    and a self-regulating mechanism).
  • Gosseyn has null-a training and a second brain
    that gives him psychic-type powers.
  • Grosvenor only has his nexialist training, plus
    the teaching instruments of the Nexialist

Definitions of Nexialism 1
  • ... Nexialism? Whats that?
  • Applied whole-ism, said
    Grosvenor, and stepped across the threshold.
    (p37, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, Panther
    Books, 1977)
  • At the Nexial Foundation we teach that behind
    all the grosser aspects of any science there is
    an intricate tie-up with other sciences... (p44)
  • Nexialism is the science of joining in an orderly
    fashion the knowledge of one field of learning
    with that of other fields. It provides techniques
    for speeding up the processes of learning
    knowledge and of using effectively what has been
    learned. (p51)

Definitions of Nexialism 2
  • ...Nexialism is a tremendous new approach to
    learning and association... (p55)
  • I refer to the science of Nexialism, which has
    its own mathematics, and is a method of training
    designed to bridge the gap between facts that are
    related but separated, for instance, by being
    contained in the brainpans of two individuals.
    Nexialism joins. It seeks to unify apparent
    irrelations and its scope is so great that the
    data of an entire galaxy is not too complicated
    for it to cast into a recognizable design. (M
    33, p143) my underlining

Nexial Techniques
  • Hypnosis (usually with gas equipment)?
  • Psychotherapy
  • Miniature transmission equipment
  • Encephalo-adjuster (direct stimulation of brain
  • Musical tone instrument that stimulates the brain

Nexialism General Semantics
  • Since there are many sciences, it is obvious
    that I cannot in a short article give examples
    from them all. So I asked a group of people to
    whom I had given a talk on GS to ask me test
    questions. My preliminary statement to them was
    that a GS analysis could probably be made of the
    terminology of any science. (Best, p115. A
    possible Nexialism approach at joining

GS Principles and Techniques
  • Dating.
  • Delayed Evaluating.
  • Et Cetera (Etc.).
  • Hyphens.
  • Indexing.
  • Logical Fate.
  • Multiordinality.
  • Multi-valued Orientation.
  • Quotes.
  • Self-reflexiveness.
  • Structure, Relations, Order.
  • Structural Differential.
  • Time-binding.
  • The map is not the territory.
  • The map doesn't cover all the territory.
  • The map is self-reflexive.
  • The word isn't the thing.
  • Extensional/Intensional.
  • Non-Allness.
  • Non-Elementalism.
  • Non-Identity.
  • Organism-as-a-Whole-in-Environments.
  • Over-/Under-/Un-Defined Words.

Nexialism in Action Coeurl 1
  • We have enough evidence now, he Grosvenor
    dictated into the recorder, to make what we
    Nexialists call a Statement of Direction. (p21)
  • Grosvenor made no reply. His part in the incident
    was finished. He had recognized an emotional
    crisis, and he had spoken the necessary words in
    the right tone of peremptory command. The fact
    that those who had obeyed him now questioned his
    authority to give the command was unimportant.
    The crisis was over. (p22-23)

Nexialism in Action Coeurl 2
  • The suggestion Space Madness irritated
    Grosvenor. It was a meaningless phrase, still
    current after all these years of space travel.
    The fact that men had gone insane in space from
    loneliness, fear, and tension did not make a
    special sickness of it. There were certain
    emotional dangers on a long voyage like thisthey
    were among the reasons he had been put on
    boardbut insanity from loneliness was not likely
    to be one of them. (p29)

Nexialism in Action Coeurl 3
  • I know something of metallurgy, he said. (p33)
  • He appreciated the forcefulness and the purpose
    of the attack that was about to be made. He could
    even imagine that it might be successful. But it
    would be a hit-or-miss success, not actually
    successful. The affair was being handled on the
    basis of an old, old system of organizing men and
    their knowledge. Most irritating was the fact
    that he could only stand by and be negatively
    critical. (p35-36)

Nexialism in Action Coeurl 4
  • What Morton wanted was integration of many
    sciences, which was what Nexialism was for...The
    trouble with what the scientists had agreed on
    was that it was not thorough enough. A number of
    specialists had pooled their knowledge on a
    fairly superficial level. Each had briefly
    outlined his ideas to people who were not trained
    to grasp the wealth of associations behind each
    notion. And so the attack plan lacked unity.
  • It struck Grosvenor that the end result might
    well be death for people who had inflexible ways
    of dealing with unusual danger. (p41) Outside
    Context Problems

Nexialism in Action Riim
  • How could you influence anothers mind? By
    changing his assumptions. How could you alter
    anothers actions? By changing his basic beliefs,
    his emotional certainties...In the history of
    life, few thinking beings had done anything
    illogicalwithin their own frame of reference. If
    the frame was falsely based, if the assumptions
    were untrue to reality, then the individuals
    automatic logic could lead them to disastrous
    conclusions. (p89)
  • It is unwise for birdsor mento live too
    specialised an existence... (p92)

Nexialism in Action Ixtl 1
  • He Morton said, Recently, I have personally
    come to feel that the science of Nexialism may
    have a new approach to offer to the solution of
    problems. Since it is the whole-istic approach of
    life, carried to the nth degree, it may help us
    to a quick decision at a time when a quick
    decision is important... (p109)

Nexialism in Action Ixtl 2
  • But there was another factor in this developing
    situation the conviction and hopes that men had.
    Only an actual event would change the minds of
    some people. When their ideas were altered by
    realityand then onlythey would be emotionally
    ready for more drastic solutions.
  • It seemed to Grosvenor that he was
    learning slowly but surely how to influence men.
    It was not enough to have information and
    knowledge, not enough to be right. Men had to be
    persuaded and convinced. (p133)

Nexialism in Action The Anabis 1
  • Unfortunately, men who had knowledge of only one
    or two sciences might not be able, or even
    willing, to comprehend the potentialities of the
    deadliest danger that had ever confronted all the
    life of the entire intergalactic universe. The
    solution itself might become the centre of a
    violent controversy. (p161)

Nexialism in Action The Anabis 2
  • ...But the fact is that people who are wrapped
    up in pleasure, excitement, or ambition are
    easily controlled. I didnt devise the tactics
    Id use. Theyve been around for centuries. But
    historical attempts to analyse them just didn't
    get to the roots of the process. Until recently
    the relation of physiology to psychology was on a
    fairly theoretical basis. Nexial training reduced
    it to definite techniques. (p179)

Nexialism in Action The Anabis 3
  • A baby is conditioned when it learns to walk,
    move its arms, speak. Why not extend the
    conditioning to hypnotism, chemical responses,
    the effects of food? It was possible hundreds of
    years ago. It would prevent a lot of disease,
    heartache, and the kind of catastrophe that
    derives from misunderstanding of ones own body
    and mind. (p183)

Nexialism in Action The Anabis 4
  • The problems that Nexialism confronts are whole
    problems. Man has divided life and matter into
    separate compartments of knowledge and being.
    And, even though he sometimes uses words which
    indicate his awareness of the wholeness of
    nature, he continues to behave as if the one,
    changing universe had many separately functioning
    parts. The techniques we will discuss
    tonight...will show how this disparity between
    reality and mans behaviour can be overcome.

Nexialism and GS Concepts 1
  • Changing assumptions of the Riim relate to a
    basic formulation found in general semantics
    i.e., sometimes the behaviours of individuals are
    based on assumptions which are false when
    compared to facts. War of Nerves, and The
    Voyage of the Space Beagle touch on additional
    concerns of general semanticists how we know
    what we know, logic, and a proper order of
    abstractions (what we perceive, the proper
    stages of how we perceive and the labels given to
    our perceptions)...
  • continued next slide

Nexialism and GS Concepts 2
  • ...Non-allness (we cannot know all that there
    is to know about a given person, place or thing)
    is very much part of general semanticist
    theorizing, but, van Vogt may have contradicted
    this formulation when later in the novel
    Grosvenor seems to know all that there is for
    humans to know at the moment, which is one way
    that Nexialism is defined. Alfred Korzybskis
    general semantics theories of human communicating
    also include the idea that unsane
    individuals...have the ability to correct their
    false assumptions and become sane, if they
    correct errors in their abstracting and labelling
    processes. (Icon, p37-38)

Possible Influences on and Developments of
  • General Systems Theory
  • International Society for the System Sciences
  • Institute of Nexialism (ION),
  • The Nexial Institute,
  • Paper Theory Theory An Introduction to
  • Cybernetics and Second-Order Cybernetics
  • Ken Wilbur's Integral Theory (AQAL All
    Quadrants, All Lines)?

  • Van Vogts stories emphasized that only smart and
    well disciplined Homo sapiens can survive on
    earth and move us to interstellar space
    conditions. (Icon, p45)
  • The undisputed idea man of the futuristic field.
  • Forrest J. Ackerman

Bibliography 1
  • Drake, H. L. A. E. van Vogt Science Fantasys
    Icon. Lancaster, Inc, 2001.
  • Kodish, Susan Presby and Kodish, Bruce I. Drive
    Yourself Sane Using the Uncommon Sense of
    General Semantics. Pasadena Extension
    Publishing, 2001.
  • Van Vogt, A. E. M 33 in Andromeda. New York
    Paperback Library, 1971.
  • Van Vogt, A. E. My Life Was My Best Science
    Fiction Story. Fantastic Lives Autobiographical
    Essays by Notable Science Fiction Writers. Martin
    H. Greenberg, ed. Carbondale Southern Illinois
    University Press, 1981.

Biography 2
  • Van Vogt, A. E. Reflections of A. E. van Vogt.
    Lakemount Fictioneer Books, 1975.
  • Van Vogt, A. E. The Best of A. E. van Vogt.
    Intro. Barry N. Malzberg. Markham Pocket Books,
  • Van Vogt, A. E. The Voyage of the Space Beagle.
    St Albans Panther Books, 1977.
  • Van Vogt, A. E. Transfinite The Essential A.E.
    Van Vogt. Ed. Joe Rico and Rick Katze.
    Framingham The NESFA Press, 2003.

Bibliography 3
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