Thursday, March 29, 2007

World of Null-A

I just read the World of Null-A by A. E. Van Vogt. The book, published in 1948, is Van Vogt's attempt to integrate the philosophy of Alfred Korzybski into science fiction. Korzybski developed General Semantics as a response to the flaws he perceived in Aristotelian logic, the logic most people use without knowing anything about it.

The World of Null-A works as an entertaining science fiction book, but fails as an endorsement of General Semantics. The reason for this seems simple, a book of fiction cannot preach too much or it risks alienating its audience. The book works better in today's world because of the easy access to information. Hopefully, this book will stimulate those who read it to seek out more information on General Semantics. I'm not attempting to conver anyone, but broadening one's horizons is never a bad thing.

The book is well written, but a little campy at times, no surpise given the publication date. The ideas in it our stimulating and fit well with the story, which moves quickly. I won't tell you too much, no spoilers here, but I suggest all fans of Science Fiction should give this book a chance.

For a better understanding of General Semantics, you can attempt the humongous book that is Korzybski's 'Science and Sanity', or you can check out the very accessible 'Quantum Psychology' by Robert Anton Wilson.

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