“The Enchanted Village,” A. E. van Vogt, 1950

“The Enchanted Village,” A. E. van Vogt, 1950 – (Alternate title: “The Sands of Mars”)  The lone survivor of a ship crashed on Mars encounters a living city that tries to please him but is unsuited to his needs.  The music is oppressive and clamorous, the shower delivers an acid bath.  With each drop of water it provides, a bit of the city disintegrates.  The man tries to commit suicide, reasoning that his fate is sealed and there is no need for the city to destroy itself.  During the night, it seems the city adjusts.  The man wakes up to a delicious meal, violin music, and a proper bed temperature. He waddles off happily, unperturbed by his new snout and four-foot tail.

Comments:  Twist ending.  Read in Hot and Cold Running Cities.

Author: Wikipedia: “Alfred Elton van Vogt (April 26, 1912 – January 26, 2000) was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded as one of the most popular and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century: the ‘Golden Age‘ of the genre.”


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, cities/architecture/habitats, function/utility/skeumorphs, suicide, the body. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “The Enchanted Village,” A. E. van Vogt, 1950

  1. I have always loved Van Vogt’s work, and this was perhaps the earliest I had ever read. It’s good to think it is still out there to entrance (and horrify) new readers. Have you read, by any chance, any of Theodore Sturgeon’s work?

    • jennre says:

      Yes, I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of Sturgeon’s work. He’s a master and should be more widely read, in and out of the sf community. I only have a few of his stories on this site at the moment (“The Other Celia,” “Thunder and Roses,” “And Now the News,” “The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff,” and a few others), but I hope to include more. As for van Vogt’s “The Enchanted Village,” I think it’s an effective story and worth sharing, but “Black Destroyer” and “The Storm” are my personal favorites.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I have been looking for the title to this story for a very long time and a friend found your blog for me. I am so happy to have found the opportunity to revisit this life forming read from my childhood in the early 50’s.

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