Literature: The Voyage of the Space Beagle
The Voyage of the Space Beagle
is a Science Fiction novel by A. E. van Vogt
. To be more precise, it is actually the compilation of several short stories that van Vogt had written for a magazine years before (including the first two he ever wrote). All the stories had in common the involvement of the Space Beagle
, an Earth starship sent to explore new areas of space, encountering ever more fantastic -and dangerous- alien lifeforms along the way.
Although obscure today, the stories were enormously influential; to the point that some of the creatures Vogt invented have been openly imitated, most notably the telepathic, cat-like Coeurl (which became a recurring monster in the Final Fantasy
series) and even the xenomorphs from Alien
might have been based on Vogt's work (he certainly believed so.)
A recurrent theme of the stories was that the ship's science officer gave a warning of danger, but was ignored and always ended up having to save the crew by himself.
Tropes in the stories:
- And I Must Scream: Ixtl's human victims are paralyzed with its eggs inside them, waiting for the hatchlings to eat their way out. The doctor extracts the eggs in time and the paralysis wears off.
- Cat Folk: The Coeurl.
- Eldritch Abomination: Ixtl.
- First Contact Team: The crew of the Beagle.
- Ignored Expert: The lone nexialist (a scientist whose specialty is nonspecialization) in the crew.
- Intelligent Gerbil: The Coeurl
- Meaningful Name: The title is an obvious reference to the S.S. Beagle, the ship whose voyage of exploration included Charles Darwin (and the story has a similar discovery-of-new-species theme.)
- Patchwork Story
- Time Abyss: The crew theorize that Ixtl is a creature from a previous incarnation of the universe, and had been drifting in space since before the Big Bang until it encountered the Beagle.
- Villain Protagonist: The encounter with Coeurl is told from its POV.