The World of Null-A Summary
A. E. van Vogt

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The World of Null-A Summary

Van Vogt's attack on Aristotelianism dominates every part of The World of Null-A; its grand vision unifies the novel. Even so, the novel contains several of van Vogt's favorite motifs.

The World of Null-A has the unifying philosophy that Slan lacks, but it echoes Slan's concerns with morality, the tragedy of life, and the question of what constitutes a normal life. The followers of Null-A struggle toward an ill-defined moral life, but even Gosseyn learns to kill ruthlessly; he unhesitatingly kills two guards: "The guards were symbols, he decided bleakly, symbols of destruction." By calling the guards symbols, he refutes what they really were — unique men. The moral ambiguity is echoed in van Vogt's tragic vision: People tend to die meaningless deaths, often as unwitting pawns of others.

The idea of a "normal life" is a welldeveloped theme and is focused on the concept of self-identity. In his...

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