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Empire of the Atom is a science fiction novel by Canadian American writer A. E. van Vogt. It was first published in 1957 by Shasta Publishers in an edition of 2,000 copies. The novel is a fix-up of the first five of van Vogt's Gods stories which originally appeared in the magazine Astounding. The remaining Gods stories are collected in The Wizard of Linn. Author and critic James Blish
James Blish
observed that the plot of the Gods stories resembled that of Robert Graves' Claudius novels.[1] Author and critic Damon Knight
Damon Knight
said that the plot was "lifted almost bodily" from the plot of I, Claudius[2] A genealogy chart of the ruling family of the Empire of Linn is included.

Contents

1 Components 2 Plot 3 Reviews 4 Notes 5 Sources 6 External links

Components[edit] Van Vogt based Empire of the Atom largely on the plot of I, Claudius by Robert Graves, putting it into a science-fictional setting. The work was originally presented as five novelettes published in Astounding
Astounding
Science Fiction between May 1946 and December 1947.

“A Son Is Born” (May 1946) “Child of the Gods” (Aug 1946) “Hand of the Gods” (December 1946) “Home of the Gods” (April 1947) “The Barbarian” (December 1947)

Plot[edit] Some time, a little over 10,000 years from now, a noblewoman gives birth to a deformed child, a consequence of having been accidentally exposed to radiation from one of the temples of the Atom Gods. The baby is kept alive because one of the atom priests wants to conduct an experiment to see what will happen if the boy, unlike other mutant children, is given the full education of an atom priest. In his teens the mutant boy Clane helps his father win a war with Mars. He also continues his studies while his grandfather, who is Lord Leader, and his tutors protect him from the Machiavellian intrigues swirling around him, especially those of his grandmother Lydia. Reaching his majority, Clane turns his estate into a laboratory where he can test new inventions and machines that he has retrieved from the ruins of ancient cities and reactivated. When his grandfather dies, Clane becomes a target for assassination, but shortly thereafter Lady Lydia receives a vase containing the assassin’s ashes. Even a direct frontal assault by a militia fails against Clane and Lady Lydia is compelled to cease her attacks on him. A war between the Linnan Empire and rebels on Venus provides an opportunity for Clane to take an expedition to explore the ruins of an ancient city there. When the Venusians capture the Lord Advisor and thousands of his troops and prepare to hang them, Clane appears in their camp and displays the awesome power of the Atom Gods. With the war won, Clane returns to Earth with his findings. In spite of Clane’s warnings, the Linnan Empire is taken by surprise by an invasion of barbarians from Europa, the largest of Jupiter’s moons. The invaders kill the Lord Advisor and Clane must take command of the imperial forces. Disguised as a slave, Clane sneaks into his townhouse in the city of Linn and touches an artifact that he found on Venus. With the power it gives him he compels the barbarian chieftain, Czinczar, to surrender, but not before Czinczar shows him the body of an alien, one of a species that Czinczar believes caused the cataclysm that devastated human civilization thousands of years before. The Europan threat is vanquished, but now Clane has a new worry. The story continues and concludes in The Wizard of Linn. Reviews[edit] In 1956 Kirkus Reviews had this to say about the novel:

The year is 12,000 A.D. with a culture which makes gods of Uranium, Plutonium, Radium and Ecks and has temple scientists to guard them. The birth of a mutant, Clane, to the ruling family is attended by a crisis and the child, allowed to live in seclusion develops into a supernormal. He is responsible for Martian and Venusian victories, salvages the empire after a barbarian invasion and is ready to protect the system against a possible attack from outer space. A fantasy of future frontiers.[3]

Galaxy reviewer Floyd C. Gale faulted the novel for its odd internal contradictions, in particular a scene where "a fleet of spaceships makes a strafing run over the enemy, loosing flights of arrows from point-blank range."[4] Notes[edit]

^ Clute, John; Peter Nicholls (1995). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. p. 1269. ISBN 0-312-13486-X.  ^ Knight, Damon (March 1967) [First Edition 1956]. "Cosmic Jerrybuilder: A. E. Van Vogt". In Search of Wonder
In Search of Wonder
(2nd ed.). Advent. p. 62. ISBN 0-911682-15-5. OCLC 489853415. LCCN:67-4260. No serious effort has been made to efface the evidence – most of the names of principal characters are transparent disguises.... Van Vogt's Linn is Augustean Rome in almost every detail. (Even the coinage is in sesterces.)  ^ https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/a-e-van-vogt-2/empire-of-the-atom/ ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1957, p.116

Sources[edit]

Chalker, Jack L.; Mark Owings (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 594.  Contento, William G. "Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections". Retrieved 2008-04-23.  Tuck, Donald H. (1978). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 431. ISBN 0-911682-22-8. 

External links[edit]

Empire of the Atom title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Transgalactic: A Baen collection of A. E. Vogt stories, edited by Eric Flint and David Drake, which includes Empire of the Atom and The Wizard of Linn.

v t e

Works by A. E. van Vogt

Novels

The Book of Ptath The House That Stood Still The Voyage of the Space Beagle The Mixed Men The Universe Maker Planets for Sale The Mind Cage The War against the Rull The Beast Rogue Ship The Winged Man The Silkie Quest for the Future Children of Tomorrow The Battle of Forever The Darkness on Diamondia Future Glitter The Secret Galactics The Man with a Thousand Names Supermind The Anarchistic Colossus Renaissance Cosmic Encounter Il villaggio incantato Computerworld To Conquer Kiber

Series

Null-A

The World of Null-A The Pawns of Null-A Null-A Three

Slan

Slan Slan
Slan
Hunter - by Kevin J. Anderson

The Weapon Shops of Isher

The Weapon Makers The Weapon Shops of Isher

Clane

Empire of the Atom The Wizard of Linn

Collections

Out of the Unknown Masters of Time Destination: Universe! Away and Beyond The Twisted Men Monsters The Far-Out Worlds of A. E. van Vogt The Proxy Intelligence and Other Mind Benders M33 in Andromeda More Than Superhuman The Book of van Vogt Three Eyes of Evil and Earth's Last Fortress The Worlds of A. E. van Vogt The Gryb The Best of A. E. van Vogt The Universe Makers The Universe Makers and The Proxy Intelligence Pendulum Futures Past: The Best Short Fiction of A.E. Van Vogt Transfinite: The Essential A.E. van Vogt Transgalactic

Non-fiction

The Hypnotism Handbook with Charles Edward Cooke The Money Personality Reflections of A. E. Van Vogt: The Autobiography of a Science Fiction Giant A Report on the

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