— Harlan Ellison
In recognition of van Vogt receiving the Grand Master designation in 1996, in The Nebula Awards Vol. 31, as quoted in SF Authors Remember A.E. van Vogt (2000) http://www.sfrevu.com/ISSUES/2000/ARTICLES/20000128-03.htm#SF%20Authors%20Remeber%20A.E.%20van%20Vogt
Context: Even the brightest star shines dimly when observed-from too far away. And human memory is notoriously unreliable. And we live in ugly times when all respect for that which has gone before suffers crib death beneath the weight of youthful arrogance and ignorance. But a great nobility has at last, been recognized and lauded. Someone less charitable than I might suggest the honor could have been better appreciated had it not been so tardy, naming its race with a foe that blots joy and destroys short-term memory. But I sing the Talent Electric, and like aft the dark smudges of history, everything but the honor and die achievement remains for the myth-makers.
Alfred E. van Vogt has been awarded the Grand Master trophy of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He is not the to first person to receive this singular accolade…given only to those whose right to possess it is beyond argument or mitigation.
Were we in 1946 or even 1956, van Vogt would have already been able to hold the award aloft. Had SFWA existed then and had the greatest living sf authors been polled as to who was the most fecund, the most intriguing, the mast innovative the most influential of their number, Isaac and Arthur and Cyril and Hank Kuttner and Ron Hubbard would all have pointed to the same man, and Bob Heinlein would've given him a thumbs-up. Van Vogt was the pinnacle, the source of power and ideas; the writer to beat. Because he embodied in his astonishing novels and assorted stories what we always say is of prime importance to us in this genre-the much vaunted Sense of Wonder.
Van Vogt was the wellspring of wonder. … That's how important he was. … And then came the dark years during which the man was shamefully agented and overlooked; and even the brightest star loses its piercing light if observed through the thickening mists of time and flawed memory.
Now it is lifetimes later, and the great award has, at last, been presented. To some, less charitable than I, something could be said about a day late and a dollar short, but not I. I am here to sing the Talent Electric, and it is better now than never. He is the Grand Master, A. E. can Vogt, weaver of a thousand ideas per plot-line, creator of alien thoughts and impossible dreams that rival the best ever built by our kind.
This dear, gentlemanly writer whose stories can still kill you with a concept or warm you with a character, now joins the special pantheon.