Compiling a coherent and usable bibliography of van Vogt's literary output presents unique difficulties. The sheer complexity and confusion produced by the plethora of alternate titles and revisions is by itself enough to make anyone throw up their hands in resignation. And yet it is this complexity that warrants trying to untangle it all for the benefit of the general van Vogt reader.
Tellingly, over ten years after I released my first attempt, this new bibliography the Sevagram Index finally begins to approach the goals I started out with. It's taken years of accumulated familiarity with the massive amount of data to properly sort it all out, and up until now I lacked the technical skills to present the bibliography as anything other than a PDF file. But utilizing the wonderous flexibility of XML and XSLT, I believe I've finally succeeded in creating the framework necessary to do the project justice. Although the current state of the Index still leaves much to be desired — lack of search functionality, etc. — it will be far easier to continue improving and expanding it over the months and years to come.
For the Sevagram Index, I more or less recreated my bibliography from scratch, while still retaining key information garnered during my many years of research to date. I've also added numerous items not present in any previous version of my bibliography — such as all anthology appearances and omnibus reprints — with even more items to be added at some future date as time permits (for instance, I plan on creating pages listing all of the introductions and prefaces van Vogt wrote for various books, as well as various interviews he gave).
My primary resource is the superb Internet Speculative Fiction Database. This site provides often first-hand information on innumerable printings, as well as cover scans for various editions. Ironically, I was completely ignorant of this tremendous resource until just a few years ago, and it has dramatically improved my ability to find solid information on numerous editions.
My secondary resource is the standard bibliography of van Vogt's works, A.E. van Vogt: Master of Null-A by Phil Stephensen-Payne and Ian Covell. Its sheer scope and depth ensures that it remains an invaluable resource that I still consult on an almost daily basis.
My third (yet most important) resource is the actual books and magazines themselves. Unless I have solid reasons for doing otherwise, first-hand information takes precedence over any other information sources. However, owing to their limited availability I haven't been able to draw upon such information as often as I would like. First-hand information sent in by site visitors is always welcome, even if it's to confirm information already present.
Over the years, van Vogt's works appeared under a staggering number of alternate titles. This confusion places a tremendous burden on readers and bibliographers alike. In order to simplify matters, I've employed some universal rules in my own bibliography:
- All appearances of a work appear under a single main entry, regardless of which title was used for any specific printing. Exceptions are made for books which appeared under a different title with differing contents as well. (For example, even though The Far-Out Worlds of A.E. van Vogt and The Worlds of A.E. van Vogt share 12 of the same stories, I list Worlds separately since it contains 3 additional stories and has a new title.)
- A single "official" title has been chosen based on which title was most commonly used. In the event of a tie between two common titles, I have chosen the most recent one. (For example: even though the book appeared under each title 3 times, the collection which was originally published under the title The Book of van Vogt is listed under Lost: Fifty Suns since that was its most recent title.)
- Printings which appeared under an alternate title are clearly marked. (For example, see this printing of the collection Monsters under the title The Blal.)
Van Vogt had an almost infamous need to incessantly tinker with his stories. When creating a bibliography of his works, accounting for revisions adds a further layer of complication to an already difficult task.
I've done my best to thoroughly cover each revision, but I'm simply not aware of them all. I'll continue to add further information about each instance as I learn more. The efforts of fellow van Vogt readers is always a tremendous help in this regard; just drop me an email and I'll be sure to update the entry in question.
(It's worth mentioning that virtually all of his works which first appeared in a magazine were later revised to some extent for book publication. Usually these were purely stylistic changes — minor changes to punctuation, paragraph length, section breaks, reworked phrases, and the removal of inconsequential sentences. These minor changes had no discernable impact on the plot or characters. Generally speaking, I do not count these types of minor stylistic changes as constituting a new version of the work.)
At the moment, only a few entries feature any non-English printings. Among the few entries which currently list foreign editions are works that were published first in a foreign language, such as Computerworld, or only in a foreign language, such as The People of the Wide Sands. Also, as a test of sorts to see what a regular entry would look like, I included all known foreign editions for Pendulum.
The small number of foreign editions currently included is due to time constrains and the scarcity of reliable information. To start with, my main focus was getting the English-language core of the bibliography up before I started worrying about other languages. I plan to steadily add more foreign editions as time permits and as further information becomes available. Fellow van Vogt readers around the world are invited to lend a helping hand in this regard.
Covers & Illustrations
To make things much easier for site visitors, the old Covers and Illustrations sections are now incorporated directly into the bibliography itself. You will no longer have to jump from the Storysource PDF to the Covers section just to see the cover for any specific printing — covers and other scans are accessible from within the same table as the information for that printing.
And unlike the old version of this site, I now include cover images and illustrations that I did not scan myself. Since choosing to do this, I now have cover images for the vast majority of printings of van Vogt's works. All scan sources are clearly shown for each printing, along with a link to that site where applicable.
Most of my images are drawn from the ISFDB. This site is such a tremendous boon since the person adding information to the database will often scan the edition they're listing. This makes the ISFDB a very reliable source for cover scans.
I've also drawn images from a wide variety of sources, including other van Vogt websites from around the world.
For some images, I downloaded them so many years ago that I've either lost track of their source or the site is no longer available. And for some sources, the scanner prefers to remain uncredited. In these cases, the source is listed as "Other."
Whenever possible, I've made scans from my own collection of books and magazines. Since this is a time-consuming process, I currently have plans to re-do many of my scans at a much higher quality at some future date. I also have many editions that I never even got around to scanning for the old site. Watch the Updates page for the appearance of new scans.