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: The latest read was The World of null-A by A. E. Van Vogt. I did not enjoy this book but I must admit it was very inventive. I got this Ace paperback edition from the 1940s that has a strange introduction by Forrest Ackerman:

About the author:

The magic name of van Vogt conjures up a world of stimulating mental images to those familiar with his works, of which THE WORLD OF NULL-A, reprinted here, has been acclaimed a classic. For A.E. "slan" Vogt is the undisputed Idea Man of the futuristic field.

Canadian born, of Dutch descent, the author is now a transplanted Hollywoodite (although there are those among his legion of fans who secretly suspect his birthplace of being Mars, beyond the stars, or up ahead somewhere, say in the 25th Century).

Van Vogt always is years ahead with his concepts. Semantics, "totipotency", Batesystem vision restoratino, hypnotism, "similarization", dianetics, and "Nexialism", have all been grist for his mill.

Author of a dozen best-selling science-fiction books and dozens of short s-f stories, van Vogt has been repeatedly reprinted here and abroad, translated in French, German, and Italian, even recorded on Talking Records for the blind.

Van Vogt speaks fluently the universal languages of excitement and tension, action and invention.

Not terribly surprising that similarization and Nexialism were "grist for his mill", since those are just terms he made up to use in his novels!

[Comments] (1) Why Not The YES?: Recently I heard about a song-poem (this entry presumes your knowledge of song-poems!) called "Jimmy Carter Says YES". I bought the song (it's on a song-poem compilation album) and it's extremely funky. Here's the main theme:

Can our government be competent?
Jimmy Carter says YES. (2x)
Can our government be honest?
Jimmy Carter says YES. (2x)
Can our government be decent and open?
As the 39th president, he has spoken
YES. Jimmy Carter says YES.

This language seemed very familiar to me, because as it happens I just read Carter's 1975 campaign biography, Why Not the Best?. For the record I now present the Secret Origin Of "Jimmy Carter Says YES": it's cribbed from the book.

Here's the first few paragraphs of the first chapter, "Two Questions".

As we observe the two hundredth birthday of our nation, it is appropriate to ask ourselves two basic questions:

Can our government be honest, decent, open, fair, and compassionate?

Can our government be competent?

In the last chapter ("Those Two Questions Again"), Carter restates the first question and then says: "In my judgement, the answer to that question is a resounding YES[.]" Spoiler alert: the answer to the second question is also YES.

This explains a couple of the song's odd features, ie. the capitalization of "YES" and the fact that the rest of the lyrics don't measure up to the cribbed material ("statement of eruption"??).

Incidentally, Sumana and I also own an amazing album of presidential campaign songs, sung by Oscar Brand. One of the best songs on it is Carter's campaign song, also called "Why Not The Best?" It's a great slow country tune, and the last campaign song on that album to be an original song (ie. not a filk or reuse of an existing song).


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