After civilization collapsed, a caste of "scientists" arose who operated the indestructible and eternally functioning machines and worshipped at the altars of the atomic gods. Society was a strange mix of the modern and the medieval, with armies marching on horseback into ancient spaceships, then flying to human colonies on other planets to wage war with swords and arrows. Then came the mutant Clane, with a twisted body and a brilliant mind, who not only recovered the lost science behind the ancient machines, but found that alien invaders, not human war, had reduced humanity to barbarism as a prelude to colonizing the Solar System. And they would return soon, unless Clane could stop them...For the first time, the entire Clane saga, told in the novels "Empire of the Atom" and "The Wizard of Linn", is complete in one volume. Plus the sweeping novel of interstellar adventure, "Mission of the Stars", and two additional short novels by a Grand Master of science fiction.
A. E. Van Vogt was one of the giants of the Golden Age of science fiction, when he, with his contemporaries Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, completely transformed the genre, leading it to a new level of maturity. His landmark novels Slan and The World of Null-A were two of the most influential SF novels of the 20th century, and were also two of the first SF novels to appear in hardcover from a major publisher. His ability to write complex wheels-within-wheels plots was often imitated, by writers as different as Philip K. Dick and Keith Laumer, but has never been equaled. In 1996 he received the Grand Master Nebula Award for a lifetime body of work from the Science Fiction Writers of America. He also was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and received a special award from the World Science Fiction Convention. Booklist has noted that ???Van Vogt created genuinely different aliens, endowed with extraordinary physical and mental powers as well as appetites, and the genre . . . has thrived on them since.???