Masters of Time
Novel 1942 34,000 words
Alternate Titles

Recruiting Station     (1942, etc.)

Earth's Last Fortress     (1960)

  • Not to be confused with the omnibus of the same title, which contains this novel.

  • This is yet another of van Vogt's works that have a bewildering array of alternate titles and a complicated publishing history.

Included In
Earth's Last Fortress 1977
Masters of Time 1950
The Three Eyes of Evil & Earth's Last Fortress 1973
Transfinite: The Essential A.E. van Vogt 2003
English
Recruiting Station (alternate title)
Astounding Science Fiction magazine
1942 March Street & Smith
bedsheet Vol 29, No 1 132 pages $0.25

cover art by
Hubert Rogers

First appearance

6 illustrations by
Hubert Rogers

Cover image: ISFDB
Illustration images: Lledó
Data: Walwyn
Recruiting Station (alternate title)
Omnibus of Science Fiction anthology
edited by Groff Conklin 1952, etc.

This anthology was abridged in 1954 as Strange Adventures in Science Fiction. Van Vogt's novel was included in this edition.

It was abridged again as Science Fiction Omnibus, published by Berkley in 1956 and reprinted in 1963. Van Vogt's novel was left out of this edition.

Data: ISFDB
Recruiting Station (alternate title)
Strange Adventures in Science Fiction anthology
edited by Groff Conklin
1954 Grayson & Grayson
hardback code: ? 238 pages 9/6

cover artist: unknown

This is an abridged edition of Omnibus of Science Fiction (1952). Van Vogt's novel was included in this edition.

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB
Earth's Last Fortress (alternate title)
1960 April Ace Double
paperback D-431 114 pages $0.35

cover art by
Ed Emshwiller

Date from Master of Null-A.

Published with Lost in Space by George O. Smith

Cover image: Walwyn Data: Walwyn
1967 February Macfadden
paperback 50-334 128 pages $0.50

cover artist: unknown

First Macfadden printing.

First solo publication.

Cover image: Walwyn Data: Walwyn
1969 June Macfadden
paperback 60-406 128 pages $0.60

cover art by
Jack Faragasso

Second Macfadden printing.

The publisher seems to count the June 1969 American and Canadian printings as a single printing. Although this is contrary to common practice, I've followed suit in order to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Cover image: Walwyn Data: Walwyn
1969 June Macfadden
paperback 60-406 128 pages C$0.60

cover art by
Jack Faragasso

Second Macfadden printing.

Canadian printing.

The publisher seems to count the June 1969 American and Canadian printings as a single printing. Although this is contrary to common practice, I've followed suit in order to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB
1974 February Manor
paperback 75520 128 pages $0.75

cover artist: unknown

First Manor printing.

(Third printing, if you include Macfadden editions.)

Part of Manor's rather striking set of "bichromatic" editions:

My own copy of this edition of Masters of Time is in pretty rough shape, which is why I've used the image from the ISFDB. My copy was purchased at a used book store, and it just goes to show that some people do more than just read their books. Whoever owned it before apparently used it as a coaster for their beverage. (In my more charitable moments I envision them having to put down their cup in a hurry... though I still can't imagine what be would urgent enough for them to be absent-minded enough to do such a thing, while having the crisis still not-quite-urgent-enough that the cup would have just been dropped to the floor.) My only consolation is that even in mint condition, the cover still would've looked like garbage. Red and lime-puke green indeed!

I've found books in far worse condition, though — I have a copy of D.F. Jones' Colossus and the Crab that, when I found it in a used book store in Texas, had a strip of bacon stuck between pages 78 & 79. Somebody had used their breakfast as a bookmark!

Cover image: ISFDB Data: Walwyn
1975 Manor
paperback 532-95417 128 pages $0.95

cover art by
Bruce Pennington

Second Manor printing.

(Fourth printing, if you include Macfadden editions.)

The "cover design" is credited to Tony Destefano (like with many other Manor books), but the painting is Pennington's. This was discovered by means of what fellow van Vogt fan Michael humorously termed callipygian taxonomy.

This cover art originally appeared on the 1973 NEL edition of Frank Herbert's novel Whipping Star — hence, presumably, the profusion of stars and whips in the painting.

(Image courtesy of ISFDB.)

Cover image: Walwyn Data: Walwyn
Recruiting Station (alternate title)
Mercenaries of Tomorrow anthology
edited by Poul Anderson & Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh
1985 November Critic's Choice
paperback 0-931773-41-5 372 pages $2.95

cover artist: unknown

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB