A. E. van Vogt

A. E. van Vogt
Van Vogt about 1963
Van Vogt about 1963
BornAlfred Vogt
(1912-04-26)April 26, 1912
Edenburg, near Gretna, Manitoba, Canada
DiedJanuary 26, 2000(2000-01-26) (aged 87)
Los Angeles, California, US
Period1939–1986 (science fiction)
GenreScience fiction
Literary movementGolden Age of Science Fiction


Alfred Elton van Vogt (t/; April 26, 1912 – January 26, 2000) was a Canadian-born science fiction author. His fragmented, bizarre narrative style influenced later science fiction writers, notably Philip K. Dick. He is one of the most popular and influential practitioners of science fiction in the mid-twentieth century, the genre's so-called Golden Age, and one of the most complex.[1]

Early life

Alfred Vogt (both "Elton" and "van" were added much later) was born on April 26, 1912 on his grandparents' farm in Edenburg, Manitoba, a tiny (and now defunct) Russian Mennonite community east of Gretna, Manitoba, Canada in the Mennonite West Reserve. He was the third of six children born to Heinrich "Henry" Vogt and Aganetha "Agnes" Vogt (née Buhr), both of whom were themselves born in Manitoba, but who grew up in heavily immigrant communities. Until age four, van Vogt and his family spoke only a dialect of Dutch at home.[2]

For the first dozen or so years of his life, van Vogt's father, Henry Vogt, a lawyer, moved his family several times within western Canada, alighting successively in Neville, Saskatchewan; Morden, Manitoba; and finally Winnipeg, Manitoba. Alfred Vogt found these moves difficult, later remarking:

Childhood was a terrible period for me. I was like a ship without anchor being swept along through darkness in a storm. Again and again I sought shelter, only to be forced out of it by something new.[2]

By the 1920s, living in Winnipeg, father Henry worked as an agent for a steamship company, but the stock market crash of 1929 proved financially disastrous, and the family could not afford to send Alfred to college. During his teen years, Alfred worked as a farmhand and a truck driver, and by the age of 19, he was working in Ottawa for the Canadian census bureau. He began his writing career with stories in the true confession style of pulp magazines such as True Story. Most of these stories were published anonymously, with the first-person narratives allegedly being written by people (often women) in extraordinary, emotional, and life-changing circumstances.

After a year in Ottawa, he moved back to Winnipeg, where he sold newspaper advertising space and continued to write. While continuing to pen melodramatic "true confessions" stories through 1937, he also began writing short radio dramas for local radio station CKY, as well as conducting interviews published in trade magazines. He added the middle name "Elton" at some point in the mid-1930s, and at least one confessional story (1937's "To Be His Keeper") was sold to the Toronto Star, who misspelled his name "Alfred Alton Bogt" in the byline.[3] Shortly thereafter, he added the "van" to his surname, and from that point forward he used the name "A. E. van Vogt" both personally and professionally.

Other Languages
aragonés: A. E. van Vogt
български: Алфред ван Вогт
čeština: A. E. van Vogt
español: A. E. van Vogt
français: A. E. van Vogt
한국어: A. E. 밴보트
Bahasa Indonesia: A. E. van Vogt
italiano: A. E. van Vogt
Nederlands: A.E. van Vogt
português: A. E. van Vogt
română: A. E. van Vogt
српски / srpski: А. Е. ван Воукт
svenska: A.E. van Vogt
українська: Альфред ван Вогт