Alfred Elton van Vogt (April 26, 1912 – January 26, 2000) was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded as one of the most popular, influential, and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century: the Golden Age of the genre.
Van Vogt was born on a farm in Edenburg, a Russian Mennonite community east of Gretna, Manitoba, Canada. Until he was four years old, van Vogt and his family spoke only a dialect of Low German in the home. Van Vogt's father, a lawyer, moved his family several times and his son found these moves difficult, remarking in later life.
After starting his writing career by writing for true-confession style pulp magazines such as True Story, van Vogt decided to switch to writing something he enjoyed, science fiction. This happened after he casually picked up the August 1938 issue of Astounding Science Fiction from a newsstand and found the story "Who Goes There?" The story inspired him to write "Vault of the Beast", which he sent to the same magazine. It was rejected, but the rejection letter encouraged him to try again. He then sent in a new story called "The Black Destroyer," which was accepted. A rewritten version of "Vault of the Beast" would be published in 1940...
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