Planets for Sale
credited to E. Mayne Hull
Novel   (Fix-Up) 1954 50,000 words
  • This is a fix-up novel van Vogt wrote based on the Artur Blord stories credited to E. Mayne Hull. All but 1943's "The Invisibility Gambit" (originally titled "Abdication") were used — this story was separate, having no bearing on the main events of the other stories (it shows Blord's "retirement" and as such is the last in the series even though it was the first to be written). As is the case with fix-up novels, each story has undergone substantial revision and new linking material has been written to better bridge the stories. And, contrary to information elsewhere, van Vogt did not merely stick one Blord story after another, but in fact rewrote each story extensively and created a fair amount of linking material.

  • The first hardback edition was credited to Hull alone. For the paperback editions van Vogt was more or less forced by the publisher to add his name as co-author to ensure reasonable sales. For its last few printings, Hull's name was removed altogether.

  • At the moment, I cannot with any great certainty pinpoint most instances of where one story ends within the novel and when the next begins. The stories were rewritten to varying degrees to create the novel, so the identification of linking material between stories is a difficult task — most of the story/chapter divisions given in the table below are estimates only. I later intend to compare the original stories with the book for a more accurate and detailed description.

Part of the
Artur Blord Series
1 —     Planets for Sale 1954
2 —     "The Invisibility Gambit" 1943

Planets for Sale is a novel based on five of the six original Blord stories (see below for full list).

There is a further story entitled "The Invisibility Gambit." Although this was the first story in the series to be published, it is separate from the rest of Blord's adventures, showing his retirement. As such, it was not included in Planets for Sale.

Original Stories:
"Competition" 1943
"The Debt" 1943
"The Contract" 1944
"Enter the Professor" 1945
"Bankruptcy Proceedings" 1946
"The Invisibility Gambit" 1943
Based On
"Competition" 1943
"The Debt" 1943
"The Contract" 1944
"Enter the Professor" 1945
"Bankruptcy Proceedings" 1946
Section Source
Chapters 1-4 "Competition"
Chapters 5-9 "The Debt"
Chapters 10-17 "The Contract"
Chapters 18-21 "Enter the Professor"
Chapters 22-? "Bankruptcy Proceedings"
Chapters ?-36 linking material?
Included In
A Van Vogt Omnibus 1967
1954 Frederick Fell
hardback code: ? 192 pages $2.75

cover artist: unknown

Dust Jacket Flap 1

Dust Jacket Flap 2

Copyright Page

Title Page


Board (Front)

Board (Spine)

First edition

This edition was credited to E. Mayne Hull alone.

The dusk jacket interior contains some biographical details about Hull, including some items of interesting information that I've never come across anywhere else.

Cover & other images: Walwyn Data: Walwyn
1965 Book Company of America
paperback 13 014 171 pages $0.50

cover art by
Albert Nuetzell

Back Cover & Spine

Starting with this edition, both van Vogt and Hull were credited as co-authors in order to increase sales.

Albert Nuetzell, brother to the writer and editor Charles Nuetzell, also did the cover for the 1969 edition of Out of the Unknown. (Charles owned and ran the Book Company of America.)

Cover & other images: Walwyn Data: Walwyn
1970 November Tempo
paperback 05356 184 pages $0.75

cover art by
Paul Lehr

First Tempo printing.

Cover image: Walwyn Data: Walwyn
1976 Tempo
paperback 12127 184 pages $1.25

cover art by
Paul Lehr

Second Tempo printing.

Date unknown. Based on the price and serial number, 1976 is my best guess

Cover image: ISFDB Data: Master of Null-A
1978 April Panther
paperback 0-586-04760-3 191 pages £0.75

cover art by
Chris Foss


First British edition.

First Panther printing.

Month from Master of Null-A.

By this time, Hull's name was removed from the by-line altogether.

Oddly, this novel first appeared in Britain as part of an omnibus volume (apparently using the plates of an American edition). This Panther edition was its first solo publication in the UK.

Cover & other images: ISFDB, other Data: ISFDB
1979 Panther
paperback 0-586-04760-3 191 pages £0.85

cover art by
Chris Foss


Second Panther printing.

Cover & other images: ISFDB, other Data: ISFDB