1. Preface

Unlike the other plot summaries on this website, my treatment of Slan is as an in-depth study of every aspect of the novel. Although it's a fairly short in length, Slan is perhaps van Vogt's most complex work, with a rich but tangled backdrop to the story, and the book requires multiple readings to fully absorb. Slanology is meant to be read as a supplement to the novel, not as a replacement. It sets out to "untangle" the story's background and present it in an easily-consulted form, to enhance your understanding of this fascinating and influential novel.

Apart from a detailed plot summary, this study also includes a timeline, sections discussing the various aspects of slan anatomy, history, and telepathic abilities, and encyclopedia-style entries for the characters, places, and gadgets that appear in the story.

And for those interested in the novel's history, a special section is also included that compares the 5 different versions of Slan that have appeared over the years.

To make things easier for those wishes to study Slan on their own, the easily-obtained Berkley printings of the novel are used for page references throughout this study, citing the source for each item of information presented.

Slanology is a perfect companion to the novel, a valuable reference for van Vogt fans or for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of this important piece of science fiction's history.

Explanatory Note

Slanology was originally sold as a PDF booklet on Booklocker.com from June 17th 2007 to March 25th 2009. Sales were negligible (but greatly appreciated!), but I wrote it so people could read it, so after a couple of years I discontinued selling it on Booklocker and offered it as a free download. This study has been now been updated with minor corrections, revisions, and additions, and converted into a series of HTML pages for greater accessibility. The original PDF file can still be downloaded here for those of you who are interested. Also, for purely personal nostalgic reasons, I've uploaded a snapshot of the booklet's page on Booklocker as it appeared when it was still for sale.