"To Be His Keeper"
Short Fiction 1937 1,199 words

Description

A manipulative hypochondriac writer reunites with his estranged wife.

  • The full text of this story is currently available online, by permission of Lydia van Vogt and the Ashley Greyson Literary Agency.

  • In his 1975 autobiography Reflections of A.E. van Vogt he alludes to a story published in the Toronto Star Weekly as an example of how difficult it was to spell his name right in the byline. (Interestingly enough, Astounding twice made this mistake even after having printed over two dozen of his stories: 1943's "The Beast" where he was credited as on the story's title page as A.B. van Vogt, and 1947's "Home of the Gods" where he was credited on the front cover as E.A. van Vogt on the cover.) In this instance he recalled the credit as being something like "A. Ban Bogt." The story's title was not mentioned, and, although clearly belonging to the pre-SF work he wrote in the 1930s, there was no information on when it appeared. In all likelihood, van Vogt himself simply no longer remembered these facts and it is doubtful whether he retained copies of any of these pre-SF stories.

  • In November of 2002 well-known Canadian van Vogt enthusiast George Gilbert searched through the Toronto Star archives and found the story in section 6 of the January 9th, 1937 issue. Running at 1,911 words and entitled "To Be His Keeper," it was credited to "Alfred Alton Bogt."

  • Although the story is a prime example of the slick, melodramatic "everyday life" genre, it nonetheless shows some typically van Vogtian elements. His early work adhered rigidly to the writing methods suggested by John Gallishaw, and this story is a fine example of that. It also displays the typical van Vogtian theme — best exemplified in The World of Null-A — of people who are dominated by their emotions to their own detriment.

  • In all likelihood this story was never reprinted.

English
Toronto Star Weekly newspaper
1937 January
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(no cover art)

First appearance

1 illustration by
Fred Scott

 Illustration image: George Gilbert Data: George Gilbert