The Ceourl Award was founded in 1980 to recognize Canadian Science Fiction and for the first two years was presented for Lifetime Achievement only. The original nickname for the award was based on the similarity of the award and the creature feature in A.E. can Vogt’s story “Black Destroyer.” The name was changed to the Casper Award in its second year. In the award’s third year, a category for Outstanding Work in English was added to the award, with additional awards added in subsequent years. In 1991, the popular award’s name was changed to the Aurora Award. The awards are administered by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) and are voted on by members of the annual Canadian National Convention. Although the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented annually from 1980-1983, only three additional awards have been presented, most recently in 2013 to Robert J. Sawyer. The first award was presented to A.E. van Vogt at Canvention 1 in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the weekend of March 7-9.
Alfred Vogt was born on April 26, 1912 in Edenburg, Manitoba, Canada. During the early years of his life, his family moved around Western Canada, never settling down long enough to have roots. The stock market crash of 1929 killed van Vogt’s chances of attending college and he began to work a series of odd jobs, including work as a farmhand, a truck driver, and for the Canadian census bureau. While working these jobs, he began to publish anonymously and pseudonymously in the “true confessions” genre.
Around 1930, he moved back to Winnipeg, where he continued to write pseudonymously, as well as selling advertising space in newspapers. During this time, he wrote radio dramas for the local station. He also began to play with his name, adding the middle name Elton and the van to become Alfred Elton van Vogt and eventually A.E. van Vogt.
A.E. (Alfred Elton) van Vogt was born on April 26, 1912 and died on January 26, 2000.
Van Vogt began publishing science fiction with “The Black Destroyer,” the first of four stories which became his novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle. His other major works include Slan, The Weapon Shops of Isher, and The World of Ā.
In 1966 his story “Research Alpha,” co-written with James Schmitz, was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novella. In 1996 his “The Mixed Men” and The World of Ā were both nominated for Retro Hugo Awards. That same year he received a Worldcon Special Convention Award for his six decades in science fiction. He finally won a Retro Hugo in 2017 for the novel Slan. His The Weapon Shops of Isher received a Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 2005. He received a Forry Award in 1972 and an Aurora Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1980. In 1996, he was named an SFWA Grand Master and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
“War of Nerves was incorporated into van Vogt’s fix-up novel, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, the last of the four stories published (although set after the first story in the novel). It originally appeared in Other Worlds magazine in the May 1950 issue, edited by Raymond Palmer, the only one of the four not to appear in Astounding. The original story has been reprinted in van Vogt’s collections Monsters, The Best of A.E. van Vogt, and Transfinite: The Essential A.E. van Vogt. Monsters has also been published under the title The Blal. The story has been translated into French and twice into Italian.
“War of the Nerves” describes a telepathic attack on the Space Beagle by a previously unknown race, the Riim. The attack, which comes out of nowhere, results in the crew becoming either incapacitated or allowing their pent up emotions free. The scientists on board take sides in a civil war between factions and the military men begin looking for an excuse to let their hostility towards the scientists loose.