I have a great deal of affection towards The Voyage of the Space Beagle, by A.E. van Vogt. not really a novel, The Voyage… is a collection of four of van Vogt‘s short stories – four adventures experienced by the crew of an interstellar ship, The Space Beagle, in a mission to explore far-flung civilizations out there in the great beyond.
if the above sounds familiar, well, it should. though van Vogt envisioned his expedition as akin to Charles Darwin’s explorations (The Space Beagle is after all, named after Darwin’s ship, HMS Beagle); most of us recognize the mandate of the starship Enterprise: “to go where no man has gone before…”
the main character is Elliot Grosvenor, chief scientist and Nexialist; Nexialism is a new discipline based on a generalist and encompassing approach – Nexialism is seeing and understanding the whole, the gestalt, as it were. while Dr. Spock is not a Nexialist, his ultimate rational approach reminds me of Grosvenor‘s.