When I was 15 and 16, I read a lot of science fiction; Clifford D Simak, Robert Silverberg, Isaac Asimov etc… I don’t remember if I read A E Van Vogt but the name is certainly familiar. These days I rarely read science fiction, I found this book cheap in a book stall outside one of the metro stations in Tbilisi. It is a first edition (1974) but I’ve never been particularly interested in such matters (obviously I’d be happy to find a first edition of the first Harry Potter book or one of the Tolkien books, but purely for the financial potential). The story is about a rich young man, Steven Masters Jr, who is filled with ennui and joins a space expedition for a bit of excitement. He visits a habitable planet called Mittend, but goes wandering off from the rest of the crew. He finds some strange human like people, who upon seeing Steven, chase after him and when they catch him and touch him, his mind gets traded into the body of his ex butler, Mark Broehm, a 38-year-old bar waiter back on earth.
Steven Masters is not a nice person (Steven was ego incarnate) and has wronged many people in the past. The collective “Mother” mind of the alien planet is able to change him from one person’s body to another person’s, the people are connected by Steven having wronged them in the past. Steven is a womaniser and the book feels dated and misogynistic. I won’t be seeking out any more by this author.
My rating : 2.5 out of 5