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The Lensman series is a serial science fiction space opera by E. E. Smith. The series is significant because it was the first set of science fiction novels conceived as a series.[citation needed] Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Classic pulp space opera cover, with the usual cliché elements. ... Gray Lensman in Astounding Oct. ...

It was also the original source which introduced many innovative concepts into science fiction, and a variety of ideas newly introduced in the series later were taken and used to solve non-fictional problems. In this sense the series was ground-breaking and defined an entire genre. It was a runner-up for the Hugo award for best All-Time Series.[1] The 2005 Hugo Award with base designed by Deb Kosiba. ...



The 1948 Fantasy Press edition of Triplanetary

The ultimate expression of the "super-science" sub-genre of science fiction, the Lensman series was so innovative and successful at the time of its first publication that it was widely imitated, setting the themes followed by most of what later became known as the "space opera" sub-genre. As a result, to a modern reader it may seem rather dated or clichéd. The modern reader may also feel that it is filled with sexist and racist stereotypes. The series's prose style has also been described as "overly ornate" by modern readers unused to the old pulp style. Image File history File links Triplanetary. ... Image File history File links Triplanetary. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Fantasy Press was an American publishing house specialising in fantasy and science fiction titles. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Sexism is discrimination between people based on their Sex rather than their individual merits. ... This box:      Racism has many definitions, the most common and widely accepted is that members of one race are intrinsically superior or inferior to members of other races. ... This article is about inexpensive fiction magazines. ...

However, Dr. Smith wrote most of his best work between 1928 and 1954, well before the antiracist and feminist movements of the 1960s. He portrays powerful intelligent women, operating in traditional roles, rather than hackneyed maidens in distress. Minorities in his stories are not discriminated against, but rather are "out of sight and out of mind." He describes alien races sympathetically, by the standards of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, showing that true camaraderie is independent of species, shape, and metabolism. Finally, despite its faults, the reader cannot help but notice the evident enthusiasm and enjoyment which Smith had for his subject matter. Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... Feminism is a social theory and political movement primarily informed and motivated by the experience of women. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ... A poster for The Perils of Pauline (1914). ... The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known as the World Depression. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The 1950s decade refers to the years 1950 to 1959 inclusive. ...

It is worth noting as well that Smith himself parodies the worst examples of the genre in the series, as one of the characters temporarily adopts the identity of a writer in order to disguise himself and produces a novel (later acclaimed as one of that writer's "best") featuring "Qadgop the Mercotan."

The complete series of books, in internal sequence, consists of:

  1. Triplanetary
  2. First Lensman
  3. Galactic Patrol
  4. Gray Lensman
  5. Second Stage Lensmen
  6. Children of the Lens
Gray Lensman in Astounding
Gray Lensman in Astounding

Originally the series consisted of the final four novels published between 1937 and 1948 in the magazine Astounding Stories. However, in 1948, at the suggestion of Lloyd Arthur Eshbach (publisher of the original editions of the Lensman books as part of the Fantasy Press imprint), Smith rewrote his 1934 story Triplanetary, originally published in Amazing Stories, to fit in with the Lensman series. First Lensman was written in 1950 to act as a link between Triplanetary and Galactic Patrol and finally, in the years up to 1954, Smith revised the rest of the series to remove inconsistencies between the original Lensman chronology and Triplanetary.[2] E. E. Smith, Grey Lensman (part of the Lensman series) in Astounding, Oct 1939 This is a magazine cover. ... E. E. Smith, Grey Lensman (part of the Lensman series) in Astounding, Oct 1939 This is a magazine cover. ... Astounding Stories was a seminal science fiction magazine founded in 1930. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Lloyd Arthur Eshbach (Palm, Pennsylvania June 20, 1910 - Myerstown, Pennsylvania October 29, 2003) was an American science fiction author and publisher. ... Amazing Stories magazine, sometimes retitled Amazing Science Fiction, began in April 1926, becoming the first science fiction magazine and one of the pioneers of science fiction in the United States. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Using the same fictional universe, but not concerning the central plot, he also wrote the Vortex Blaster stories, including "Storm Cloud on Deka" and "The Vortex Blaster Makes War" for Astonishing Stories in 1942. These stories and later additions were collected and published by Gnome Press as The Vortex Blaster in 1960 and later reprinted by Pyramid Books as Masters of the Vortex in 1968. Gnome Press was a US small-press publishing company primarily known for being the first to publish Isaac Asimovs Foundation Trilogy, and for bringing Robert E. Howards Conan the Barbarian stories back from pulp obscurity. ... Pyramid Books was a paperback publishing company, founded in 1949 by Alfred R. Plaine and Matthew Huttner. ...

Reading the series in order of publication avoids plot spoilers introduced in the ret-con version of Triplanetary and First Lensman: Galactic Patrol, Gray Lensman, Second Stage Lensmen, Children of the Lens, Triplanetary, First Lensman. The foreword Smith added to each also contains plot spoilers. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

The Vortex Blaster stories contain no plot spoilers. Chronologically they seem to fall between Second Stage Lensman and Children of the Lens. Specifically, "Storm Cloud on Deka" (chapter 4 of The Vortex Blaster) refers to "the fall of the Council of Boskone”, yet "the far flung empire of Boskone" is mentioned in "Vegian Justice" (chapter 16), indicating that Boskone has not yet been utterly vanquished. Spoiler could refer to Plot spoiling: a document, review, or comment which discloses plot details of a book, play, or film. ...

On July 14, 1965, Smith gave written permission to William B. Ellern to continue the Lensman series, which led to the publishing of "Moon Prospector" in 1966, New Lensman in 1975, and Triplanetary Agent in 1978. Many consider Ellern's work unequal to Smith's, but he took care to remain within the boundaries of Smith's series. Year 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. ... William B. Ellern (born November 30, 1933) is a science fiction author, who in July 1965 asked for, and received, permission from E. E. Smith to extend the Lensman series of novels. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Three additional Lensmen novels that feature the alien Second-Stage Lensmen (known as the Second-Stage Lensman Trilogy) were written by David Kyle, published in paperback between 1980 and 1983, and reissued in 2004: David Kyle is a New York-based fan since the earliest days of organized science fiction fandom. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

  • The Dragon Lensman (Worsel, the legendary Velantian dragon)
  • Lensman from Rigel (Tregonsee, the enigmatic alien from the system of the blue-white star Rigel)
  • Z-Lensman (Nadreck the Palainian, strangest of the three non-human Second Stage Lensmen)
  • A fourth novel, which was to have told the story of the Red Lensman, was discussed, but never completed.

The events in these books take place between Second-Stage Lensmen and Children of the Lens, and refer to events and characters in Vortex Blaster.

Kyle was a close friend and confidante of Smith, and (with the oversight and approval of Smith's daughter, Verna Trestrail) intended his novels to evoke the style of the original series. However, Kyle's writing style is quite different, and his books stray well outside the limits Smith set: for example, portraying sentient digital computers and female Lensmen.

In 1984, an anime movie titled SF New Age Lensman (SF新世紀レンズマン, SF Shinseiki Renzuman) was released in Japan. It was released in North America by Streamline Pictures in 1990. The movie is not faithful to the series, with nearly the only points of similarity being the names of some of the characters, the generic "Good versus Evil" struggle and outer-space setting, and the Lens itself which possesses characteristics distinctly different from those given for it in the novels. This article is about the year. ... “Animé” redirects here. ... North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Other appearances

There is also a Japanese anime TV series and movie, see Lensman (anime). “Animé” redirects here. ... Lensman is an anime TV series and movie based on the Lensman novels by E. E. Smith. ...

This anime spawned a comic series published by Eternity Comics, and also another comic, published by Malibu Comics.

With Smith's knowledge, the parody "Backstage Lensman" was written by Randall Garrett in 1949. Garrett also referred to the Lensmen in his Lord Darcy stories, in which similar lenses are the badges of the King's Messengers, invented by the wizard Sir Edward Elmer (a reference to Smith himself). Backstage Lensman is short story by Randall Garrett, a parody or pastiche of the Lensman series of E.E. Doc Smith. ... Randall Garrett (December 16, 1927 - December 31, 1987) was an American science fiction and fantasy author. ... Lord Darcy is a detective in an alternate history, created by Randall Garrett. ...

In addition, the Lensmen appear in Robert A. Heinlein's Number of the Beast and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, which make reference to a "Lensman Ted Smith" who interacts directly with Heinlein characters such as Lazarus Long and Hilda Burroughs. In Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy, the X-corps (Exotic Corps) is mentioned, with Col. Richard Baslim being a detached member. This is an obvious nod to the unattached Gray Lensmen. Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of hard science fiction. ... The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1980. ... Spoiler warning: Lazarus Long is a fictional character featured in a number of science fiction novels by Robert A. Heinlein. ... Hilda Burroughs, ne Hilda Corners, nicknamed Sharpie or Sharp Corners, is one of the two female lead characters in Robert A. Heinleins novel The Number of the Beast. ... Cover: 1987 Del Rey paperback Citizen of the Galaxy is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1957. ...

In the DC Comics universe, the Green Lantern Corps bears many parallels to the Lensmen, although its principal creators deny any connection (later creators, however, would introduce Green Lanterns named Arisia and Eddore as an homage). The original computer-graphics game Spacewar! was inspired by the Lensman series. Comparisons have also been made between the Arisians and Eddorians of Smith's universe with both George Lucas's Star Wars galaxy (an early draft of the Star Wars script refers to the light side of the Force as "Arisian") and the Vorlons and Shadows of Babylon 5. The GURPS role-playing game includes a source book describing how to conduct a role-playing campaign set in the Lensman universe. DC Comics is an American comic book and related media company. ... The fictional Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force featured in DC Comics, particularly series featuring the superhero Green Lantern, Earth’s member of the group. ... Spacewar! is one of the earliest video games for a digital computer. ... This article is about the series. ... The Force is a binding, ubiquitous power that is the object of the Jedi and Sith monastic orders in the Star Wars universe. ... The Vorlons are an advanced ancient race from the science fiction series Babylon 5. ... The Shadows are an ancient alien species in the science fiction television series Babylon 5. ... Babylon 5 is an epic American science fiction television series created, produced, and largely written by J. Michael Straczynski. ... The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, commonly known as GURPS, is a role-playing game system designed to adapt to any imaginary gaming environment. ...

Plot synopsis

The series opens in Triplanetary, two billion years before the present time. The universe has few life-forms, except for the elder race of our galaxy, the Arisians, and few planets besides their native world. The Arisians, a peaceful race native to this universe, are already at this time ancient, and have forgone physical needs in preference for contemplative mental power which they have developed and refined to an exceedingly high degree. Contemplation comes from the latin root for temple, and means to enter an open or consecrated place. ...

Into this universe, from an alien space-time continuum, come the Eddorians, a dictatorial, power-hungry race. They have been attracted to this universe by the observation that our galaxy and a sister galaxy (later to be named Lundmark's Nebula; still later, called the Second Galaxy) are passing through each other. According to an astronomical theory current at the time of writing (prior to the rehabilitation of the nebula hypothesis), this will result in the formation of billions of planets and the development of life upon them. Dominance over these life forms offers the Eddorians an opportunity to satisfy their lust for power. In special relativity and general relativity, time and three-dimensional space are treated together as a single four-dimensional pseudo-Riemannian manifold called spacetime. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

The Eddorians have developed mental powers almost equal to those of the Arisians, but rely instead for the most part on physical power, exercised on their behalf by a hierarchy of underling races. They see the many races in the universe, with which the Arisians were intending to build a peaceful civilization, as fodder for their power-drive.

The Arisians, foreseeing the invasion of our universe by the Eddorians, begin a covert breeding program on every world that can produce intelligent life, with the aim of producing a means to eventually destroy the Eddorian race. This they cannot do by mental power alone, and they decide that much time is needed (during which Eddore must be kept ignorant of their plans), and new races must be developed which will better be able to breach the Eddorians' mental powers than they are. The new races, having done so, will naturally be better guardians of civilization than the Arisians can be, and so the Arisians' role in the universe will be ended. Triplanetary incorporates the early history of that breeding program on Earth, illustrated with the lives of several warriors and soldiers, from ancient times through to the discovery of the first interstellar space drive. It adds an additional short novel (originally published with the Triplanetary name) which is transitional to the novel First Lensman.

The second book, First Lensman, concerns the formation of the Galactic Patrol, and the first Lens, given to First Lensman Virgil Samms on "Tellus" (Earth). The Arisians, through the scientist Bergenholm, make it known that if Samms, the head of the Triplanetary Service which administers law enforcement to Tellus, Mars, and Venus, visits their planetary system, he will be given the tool he needs to build the patrol he dreams of. That tool is the Lens. The Arisians further promise him that no entity unworthy of the Lens will ever be permitted to wear it, but that he will have to discover for himself most of its abilities. The Galactic Patrol was an intergalactic organization in the Lensman science fiction series written by E. E. Smith. ...

The Lens is a form of "pseudo-life," created by the Arisians who understand life and life-force in a way no other race yet does. It gives its wearer a variety of mental capabilities, including those needed to enforce the law on alien planets and to bridge the communication gap between different life-forms. Thus it can provide mind-reading and telepathic abilities while connected (directly or indirectly) to the skin of its user. A mind-reading device, it allows its owner to perceive inner motives, to recognize lies, and to communicate perfectly in any language to any living being, however low its native intelligence may be. Telepathy from the Greek τηλε, tele, distant, and πάθεια, patheia, feeling, is the supposed ability to communicate information from one mind to another, and is one form of extra-sensory perception or anomalous cognition. ...

The Lens is described as an ellipsoidal assembly of small, cloudy jewels, imbued with a shifting polychromatic light. It is "fitted" on Arisia, and it cannot be worn by anyone other than its owner. In the event that an entity to whom the Lens is not fitted tries to wear one, the pseudo-life properties of the Lens will interfere so strongly with the other being's life that it will quickly kill the being trying to wear it. Shortly after the owner's death, the lens sublimates and vanishes into nothingness. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Sublimation of an element or substance is a conversion between the solid and the gas phases with no intermediate liquid stage. ...

Thus equipped, Virgil Samms visits races in other star systems, recruiting the best of them to become Lensmen, thus making the Galactic Patrol truly galactic in scope. The Galactic Patrol, as it emerges, maintains a service academy on several planets. It accepts only the top few percent of applicants. Of millions of initial entrants, only a hundred or so at the top of a planet's graduating class are ever sent to Arisia to receive Lenses.

The Arisians fit Lenses only to the most deserving of those individuals. The qualities required of Lensmen include intelligence, utter incorruptibility, a high drive to succeed, and the highest drive to fight evil. Other individuals who try to obtain Lenses, but who are assessed by the Arisians as morally deficient, simply never return from Arisia. The Arisians otherwise maintain a highly distant profile and refuse to talk to other beings, stating that they have given civilization the tool it needs to bring about a good future, and that people should otherwise not have reason to contact them.

The first woman sent to Arisia is returned without a Lens, being told "Women's minds and Lenses don't fit. There's a sex-based incompatibility." She is also told that only one woman will ever become a Lensman.

A significant subplot is usurpation of normal political processes by Lensmen. The Lensmen are totally honest, honorable, uncompromising, and can read minds. Given the nature of the Lens and the Lensmen, dishonest politicians hate and fear them. A subplot is a series of connected actions within a work of narrative that function separately from the main plot. ...

The rest of the series is a series of revelations. Although initially believed to be mere interstellar pirates ("Boskonians") and criminals smuggling weapons and drugs ("zwilniks"), the enemy prove to be organized into a rival civilization based on selfish and ruthless struggles for power.

A continuing, multigenerational war is required to trace the Boskonian leaders and subject races to ever-higher echelons of what Lensmen and their followers continue to call "Boskone." Other than the Arisians, only a few individuals will ever know the real nature of the war being covertly fought, and even then only a handful, the so-called "Children of the Lens," will ever eventually come to know of Eddore. This is because, in the Arisians' projection (their "Visualization of the Cosmic All," an ability much like that of Laplace's demon, which is an interpolation into the ret-con version of the series, inconsistent with the original[3]), revealing the existence and purpose of the breeding program to the developing races would cripple them with inferiority complexes. Their minds would then not be able to contribute sufficiently to the tremendous forces needed in the final attack on Eddore. In the history of science, Laplaces demon is a hypothetical demon envisioned in 1814 by Pierre-Simon Laplace such that if it knew the precise location and momentum of every atom in the universe then it could use Newtons laws to reveal the entire course of cosmic events... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Centuries pass, and eventually the final generations of the breeding program are born. A single individual is born, on each of four planets, who realises the limits of his initial training and perceives the need to return to Arisia to seek more. Through "second stage" training, these four Lensmen gain additional powers such as the ability to slay by mental force alone; the "sense of perception", a type of clairvoyance combining the stereotypical power of "X-ray vision" with telescopic and microscopic vision; to control minds undetectably; to perfectly split attention in order to perform multiple tasks with simultaneous focus on each; and to better integrate their minds for superior thinking. Clairvoyance, from 17th century French Clair meaning clear and voyant meaning seeing, is a term used to describe the transference of information about an object, location or physical event through means other than the 5 traditional senses (See Psi). ...

The series contains some of the largest-scale space battles ever written. Entire worlds are destroyed (see "Super-Science Weapons", below), whilst some weapons are powerful enough to warp space itself. Huge fleets of spaceships fight bloody wars of attrition. Alien races of two galaxies sort themselves into the allied, Lens-bearing adherents of "Civilization" and the enemy races of "Boskone."

As the breeding program reaches its ultimate conclusion, Kimball Kinnison, the brown-haired, gray-eyed second-stage Lensman of Earth, finally marries the most advanced product of the complementary breeding program, Clarrissa MacDougall, a beautiful, curvaceous, red-haired nurse, who eventually becomes the first human female to receive her own Lens. Their children, a boy and two pairs of fraternal-twin sisters, grow up to be the five Children of the Lens. In their breeding, "almost every strain of weakness in humanity is finally removed." They are born already possessing the powers taught to second-stage Lensmen, with mental abilities from birth that are difficult to imagine. They are the only beings of Civilization ever to see Arisia as it truly is, and the only individuals developed over all the existence of billions of years able finally to penetrate the Eddorians' defense screens.

Undergoing advanced training, they are described as "third stage" Lensmen, transcending humanity with mental scope and perceptions impossible for any normal person to begin to comprehend. Although newly adult, they are now expected to be more competent than the Arisians, and to develop their own techniques and abilities "about which we [the Arisians] know nothing." The key discovery comes when they try mind-merging, which they have not tried since before their various third-stage trainings, and discover that this is completely changed. No longer are they simply five beings in mental contact as before. Now they discover they can merge their minds into a hive-mind, to effectively form one mental entity, a being with incalculable abilities called the Unit. The Arisians call this the "most nearly perfect creation the universe has ever seen," and state that they, who created it, are themselves almost entirely ignorant of almost all its higher powers. A hive mind (sometimes spelled hivemind) is a form of collective consciousness strongly exhibiting traits of conformity and groupthink. ...

The Children of the Lens, with the mental power of unknown millions of Lensmen of the Galactic Patrol (around a hundred a year from each planet, millions of settled planets, decades of graduates), turn out to constitute the Arisians' intended means to destroy Eddore and make the universe safe for their progeny species. The Galactic Patrol, summoned to work together in this way for the first time in its existence, contains billions of beings who in total can generate immense mental force. The Children of the Lens add not only their own tremendous mental force to this (as do the Arisians), but as the Unit gather and focus all this power onto one tiny point of the Eddorians' shields. Thus attacked with this incalculable strength and precision, the Eddorians' strongest shields are finally, after billions of years, destroyed, and the Eddorians with them.

The Arisians, with their child races successful and safe, remove themselves from the Cosmos in order to leave the Children of the Lens uninhibited in their future as the new guardians of Civilization. Although to human eyes the Children of the Lens age and die, they in fact will live immense lifetimes (as the Arisians themselves did) and, it is foreseen, be successful in their role.

Unresolved plot elements

An unresolved plot element at the end of the series concerns the marriages of the Children of the Lens, as the young man and his sisters have not found anyone interesting. Several passages in Children of the Lens appear to imply that an incestuous group-marriage between the young man and his four sisters will result in a race of Homo Superior, most notably:

...each of the Kinnison girls knew it would be a physical and psychological impossibility for her to become even mildly interested in any man not at least her father's equal. They each had dreamed of a man who would be her own equal, physically and mentally, but it had not yet occurred to any of them that one such man already existed.

--Children of the Lens, p. 72 (chapter 7)

It seems likely that Smith could not state this openly, given the strong censorship present in magazine fiction of the era.

The Arisians who engineered the breeding program tell the Children of the Lens that they form a successor race to the Arisians themselves as guardians of Civilization, and indicate that the Children will have descendants. This, too, is consistent with the Children of the Lens inbreeding.

Robert A. Heinlein apparently referred to this inbreeding when he wrote:

The Lensman novel was left unfinished; there was to have been at least a seventh volume. As always, Doc had worked it out in great detail but never (so far as I know) wrote it down... because it was unpublishable — then. But he told me the ending, orally and in private. I shan't repeat it; it is not my story. Possibly somewhere there is a manuscript — I hope so! All I will say is that the ending develops by inescapable logic from clues in Children of the Lens.

--Robert A. Heinlein, "Larger than Life", Expanded Universe p. 499

Despite strenuous searches of Smith's effects, no trace of a seventh manuscript has been found, so a definitive answer to this question may never be known.

What Heinlein seems only to hint at is made explicit by Ron Ellik and Bill Evans in their encyclopedia of Smith's works:

The Children of the Lens were in essence not Homo Sapiens, and it is implied that in maturity Christopher Kinnison would mate with all four of his sisters.

--Ron Ellik and Bill Evans, The Universes of E.E. Smith, p. 164; entry for "sex"

The Foreword and Epilogue of Children of the Lens make reference to a new threat to civilization of such scope as to necessitate the development, by the Children of the Lens or their descendants, of yet another replacement series of guardians. The time-scale for this development is suggested to be sufficiently long that even the publicly-known details of the battles that destroyed Eddore and Eddorian civilization have faded from memory, and possibly that the original Children, even with their extended lifetimes, might have passed away.

The sex-based bias of the Lens is never fully explained, but the hints provided suggest that the genesis is at least a little more than early/mid-20th-Century sexism. Smith seems to have believed that men and women were "equal, but different," and that the nurturing instinct of what would at the time be considered a mentally healthy woman was inconsistent with the attitudes of most Lensmen, and hence with possession of a Lens. This is the suggestion given Virgilia Samms when she goes to be fitted for a Lens; the fact also remains that she was a much more effective operative for the Triplanetary Service without a Lens. Not addressed is the issue of whether this the sex-based bias extends to the non-human races of civilization; though the Palainian that Virgil Samms encounters on Pluto was not a "female" in the human sense, he thinks of it as "she" and believes that she would be qualified for a Lens if she cared to go to Arisia (her expressed disinterest/fear might be the Palainian expression of the incompatibility). "Red" Lensman Clarrissa MacDougall feared meeting the Arisians because they had become so mentally advanced that they had totally detached themselves from emotions, including anything like the emotion of Love.

In continuation of this thought, Smith suggested in the novels [4] that the equality of the sexes was one of the major favorable factors distinguishing Civilization from Boskonia, which grew out of the utter sexlessness of the Eddorians. Much is made -- in one of the more melodramatic elements of this melodramatic series -- of "Gray Roger's" interest in "sexual research" involving Cleo Marsden; while in context (and probably in the original Triplanetary novella before being retconned into the Lensman Universe) it appears to be a fairly stereotypical pulp scene of sexual domination, in the larger picture it comes to represent the Eddorian's fundamental misunderstanding of this aspect of Human -- and Arisian -- existence. It is stated that in Kalonian culture, women were completely subjugated; and that the Kalonian operatives attempting to subvert Lyranian civilization "despised" the Lyranian females, but were being directed to by their Ploorian and Eddorian superiors in order to see if the Lyranians could achieve the goal of a completely genderless subject race for Eddore.

In summary, possession of "a mind stable at the first level of stress," with three key terms ("stable," "first level," and "stress") not rigorously defined in the context of Lens qualification, appears to be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for Lens qualification. Since these factors are not defined, individual readers can try to determine gender-based disqualifying factors to their own satisfaction, or accept the Smith mythos and/or that the books remain a product of the societal context in which they were written. The fact that this difference might also be resolved in a sequel is suggested in the final chapter of Children of the Lens, styled "The Power of Love."

Planets and Places

The Lensman series takes place over a vast sweep of space and upon many different worlds. These include the following:

  • Aldebaran I — Occupied by the Wheelmen (who are never stated to be a native species), this is the scene of Kimball Kinnison's first major injury requiring hospitalization, which leads to his meeting of Clarrissa MacDougall.
  • Aldebaran II — One of the first human-settled planets, scene of several of Kimball Kinnison's adventures.
  • Arisia – One of the most ancient worlds of our universe, originally Earthlike, inhabited by the Arisian Elders.
  • Chickladoria - A planet with a native humanoid species possessing pink skin pigmentation and triangular eyes. Frequent references are made to the fact that they consider clothing optional.
  • Delgon (Velantia II) - Located in the same system as Velantia, Delgon is home to the soul-devouring Overlords, bred by the Eddorian Gharlane to prey on the Velantians of Velantia III.
  • Eddore – A world inhabited by malevolent creatures from another space-time plenum. It is implied — though never stated — that the physical laws of the native plenum of Eddore were grossly different from those of the Lensmen's universe; that the atmosphere was composed of elements that were different from those of our universe (though how they survived the transition from their native space-time to the Lensmen's universe is never explained). The Eddorians themselves were physically similar to various lower Earthly life-forms, reproducing by fission but by a process more similar to budding than to cell division, except that each being's memories were preserved in toto. The Eddorians were highly competitive, extremely long-lived, and almost impossible to kill by any mechanism known to their own science by the time they decided to unify and search for planets in other universes to subjugate.
  • Jarnevon - A world in Lundmark's Nebula, home of the Eich and their infamous "Council of Boskone," the first Eddorian puppet state to penetrate the First Galaxy. Destroyed at the end of Gray Lensman by being crushed between two free planets with opposite intrinsic velocities, inerted just prior to the points of impact.
  • Kalonia - A Lundmark's Nebula planet with a humanoid native race marked by cut-steel-blue pigmentation. As hard as their pigmentation suggested, individually they were the most able executives under the sway of Eddore. The agents of Boskone in the First Galaxy, though reporting to Boskone, were typically from Kalonia despite its independent status as a center of Boskonian operations. Discovered by Kim and Christopher Kinnison during Children of the Lens, its conquest was alluded to but never chronicled.
  • Klovia - The first planet in Lundmark's Nebula to join Civilization. The heavily fortified home of the Children of the Lens.
  • Lundmark's Nebula - The "Second Galaxy," which collided with the "Milky Way" or "First Galaxy" 2 billion years ago, leading to the large populations of planets nurtured by Arisia and discovered by Eddore. Home of the Eddorians, the Ploorans, and the major races of their empire, including the Eich, the Thralians, and the Kalonians. Historical Note: Knut Lundmark was an early 20th-Century Swedish astronomer. It is possible that Lundmark's Nebula is intended to refer to the Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte Galaxy, though Lundmark made numerous other contributions to the study of other galaxies.
  • Lyrane II - Home of a matriarchal civilization. Its dominant beings are women (or, highly humanoid females) who retain their nearly non-sentient males only for breeding purposes (similar to Larry Niven's Kzinti). They refer to themselves with the neuter pronoun "it". Lyranian women possess powerful minds, capable of telepathy and of slaying by mental force.
  • Medon - Originally located in Lundmark's Nebula, Medon was moved to the First Galaxy by its technologically-advanced natives with the assistance of the Galactic Patrol. Its people contributed extremely efficient electric insulators and conductors, as well as advanced surgical knowledge that enabled the development of regeneration technology.
  • Nevia - The amphibious Nevians invented the first crude inertialess drives appearing in the series. They warred on the Triplanetary League, but eventually joined Civilization when they realized that humanity was as advanced as their own species.
  • Nth Space - An alternate dimension, accessed by hyper-spatial tube, where all matter is tachyonic, moving faster than light. Ploor and Ploor's sun were destroyed by planets transported from Nth Space.
  • Onlo (Thrallis IX) - See Thrale below.
  • Palain VII – An extremely cold planet and home world of Second Stage Lensman Nadreck. Like all ultra-cold planets in Smith's cosmogony, the inhabitants require a metabolic extension "into the fourth dimension" in order to survive the liquid-helium temperatures of their planetary surface. Smith suggested, with little elaboration, a twelve-point scale used to describe intelligent (and possibly other) species; on this scale, humans were classified as "AAAAAAAAAAAA" and Palanians as "ZZZZZZZZZZZZ." It is stated that a Palanian colony had existed on Pluto for millennia before the events of First Lensman, suggesting that the Palanians may have had the first inertialess drive in the First Galaxy. Within the Second Stage Lensmen, Nadreck's ultra-caution counterbalanced Kinnison's occasional near-recklessness, and it is suggested that, were the Palanians less cautious, their species rather than humanity would have given birth to the Third-Stage Lensmen.
  • Ploor - The first-tier planet of Eddorian puppets and the only one with direct knowledge of the Eddorians. The leaders of Jarnevon, Kalonia, and Thrale were, unknown to the bulk of their populations or to most of Civilization, under the direct control of Ploor. Since Ploor was a planet of a highly variable sun, its inhabitants were forced to morph their bodies on a precise annual cycle, though none of their manifestations were even remotely human (their winter form was ZZZZ+, or nearly Palainian). The planet — and its sun — were destroyed by planet-sized projectiles from the "Nth Space" dimension, with intrinsic velocity greater than the speed of light.
  • Rigel IV – A superhot, high-gravity world, Home of Second Stage Lensman Tregonsee.
  • Tellus - or, Earth. Home to the humans, including the Kinnison and Samms lines.
  • Thrale (Thrallis II) - The capital of the Boskonian Thrale-Onlonian Empire, in Lundmark's Nebula. The inhabitants were "independently" evolved humans, like those of Klovia and many other worlds, ultimately traceable back to Arisian life-spores permeating space at the time of the Coalescence.
  • Trenco – A planet where a major fraction of the atmosphere condenses each night and evaporates each day, giving rise to exceptionally violent weather. The planet's plant life yields the illicit psychotropic thionite.
  • Valeria - A high-gravity planet where natural diamonds formed in great quantity, settled by Tellurian Dutchmen who developed immense strength in response to the natural stresses of their planet, making them ideal space marines.
  • Velantia III – Home of an intelligent, winged, reptilian species, of which Second Stage Lensman Worsel is a member.

Klovia is an Earth-like world in Lundmarks Nebula, the Second Galaxy in E. E. Smiths Lensman series. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte (WLM) galaxy is an irregular galaxy discovered in 1909 by Max Wolf, and is located on the outer edges of the local group. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Kzin (plural Kzinti) are a fictional, very warlike and bloodthirsty race of Felinoid aliens in Larry Nivens Known Space series. ... In biology, regeneration is an organisms ability to replace body parts. ... A tachyon (from the Greek (takhús), meaning swift, fast) is any hypothetical particle that travels at superluminal velocity. ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ... Panspermia is a proven process (based on the principles of Biology, Microbiology, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, and assumption that life existed already in the universe) that explains how all life in the universe and/or solar system comes from a seed of life. ...


Hyper-spatial Tube: A "tunnel" through hyperspace, allowing galactic distances to be traversed in minutes, as well as allowing access to other universes. Objects and people from different origin points meeting each other in the tube pass through each other rather than interacting. The artificial, ultra-dense material "dureum" is an exception; it is therefore used to create objects and weapons (axes, clubs, knives) capable of interacting with anything and anyone in a tube. Originally invented by the Eddorians and used for their explorations of other universes prior to their arrival in the Lensman universe, it was given to the Boskonian subject races, and was eventually discovered and copied by the Patrol. It has points in common with the modern idea of wormholes to link distant points in space. Scene from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope depicting the inside of the Millenium Falcon when entering hyperspace. ... Wormholes are a postulated method, within the general theory of relativity, of moving from one point in space to another without crossing the space between. ...

Inertialessness: Spaceships are able to vastly exceed the speed of light by eliminating the inertia of their mass. When the "inertialess drive" (which does not actually provide propulsion) is turned on, the "free" (inertialess) ship instantly attains a velocity at which the force of the ship's propulsion jets is matched by friction of the medium through which it travels (such as widely scattered hydrogen molecules in the vacuum of space), avoiding the Einsteinian light-speed limit on normal (inert) matter, and so attaining a speed of about 90 parsecs per hour. The vacuum of Intergalactic space is even more rarefied, and the speed there is about 100,000 parsecs per hour. An inertialess drive unit is called a "Bergenholm" after the scientist who improved and perfected the original inertialess drive. The speed of light in vacuum is an important physical constant denoted by the letter c for constant or the Latin word celeritas meaning swiftness.[1] It is the speed of all electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, in a vacuum. ... This article is about inertia as it applies to local motion. ... For other uses, see Friction (disambiguation). ... The interstellar medium (or ISM) is the name astronomers give to the tenuous gas and dust that pervade interstellar space. ... A parsec is the distance from the Earth to an astronomical object which has a parallax angle of one arcsecond. ... Intergalactic space is the physical space between galaxies. ...

Conservation of momentum is maintained; when the inertialess drive generator is switched off, the spacecraft's original velocity is restored. If a ship has traveled a great distance, inert maneuvering will be required in order to match velocity relative to the local planet or moon. There are similar velocity-matching difficulties with ships docking in space, and in transferring "free" passengers from one ship to another. In physics, a conservation law states that a particular measurable property of an isolated physical system does not change as the system evolves. ...

Inertialess drive generators small enough for a single person are used by Galactic Patrol staff. Patrol members can travel downward within tall buildings, via drop shafts, by falling while inertialess. Some armored spacesuits have individual inertialess drives installed. Apollo 15 space suit A spacesuit is a complex system of garments, equipment, and environmental systems designed to keep a person alive and comfortable in the harsh environment of outer space. ...

The inertialess drive has advantages as a science-fictional device because, it is said, it cannot be demonstrated that removing inertia from mass is impossible. However, Larry Niven in his short story "ARM" suggests that a field reducing inertia in matter would in effect cause time to pass faster within the field, because with reduced inertia all movements are speeded up; in the Niven story this includes mechanical motion, movements of molecules (and thus metabolic processes) and even sub-atomic particles such as photons. Alastair Reynolds describes similar consequences of partial neutralisation of inertia in "Redemption Ark", including dizziness, increased heart rate (due to blood weighing less), and physical damage. In his universe, this places a practical limit of 5-10x on the reduction of inertia. However, this depends on whether an inertialess drive actually removes inertia from all the objects within its sphere of influence, or whether it just appears to from the perspective of an external observer. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Alastair Reynolds (born in 1966 in Barry, South Wales) is a Welsh science fiction author. ... // Pre-syncope is a sensation of feeling faint. ...

Robert A. Heinlein also used an inertialess drive in Methuselah's Children, where the device was compact enough to carry in an attaché case; in his case, faster-than-light travel was not achieved, but the whole inertialess ship acted as a large solar sail and was propelled by light pressure to almost the speed of light. Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of hard science fiction. ... Methuselahs Children is a 1941 science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein. ... Solar sails (also called light sails or photon sails, especially when they use light sources other than the Sun) are a proposed form of spacecraft propulsion using large membrane mirrors. ...

Screens: Spaceships are protected by several layers of defensive force field "screens", including the innermost and strongest "wall shield." Smaller vehicles and even spacesuits can carry screens of lesser power. In science fiction and fantasy literature, a force field is a physical barrier made up of energy to protect a person or object from attacks or intrusions. ...

Spaceships: The smallest are called "speedsters" or "flitters" and carry only the pilot, or a very small crew. They are generally used for scouting or covert missions. Larger military ships have designations equivalent to early-twentieth-century surface naval vessels: Destroyers, cruisers, dreadnaughts (battleships), superdreadnaughts. In addition, there are "maulers", which are are huge, slow-moving vessels so powerful they can attack planetary bases. Slower ships are spherical; faster ones have teardrop shapes; the fastest of all are the "ultrafast" cigar-shaped speeders and later (Dauntless-class) superdreadnaughts. USS McFaul underway in the Atlantic Ocean. ... USS Port Royal (CG-73), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser (really an uprated guided missile destroyer), launched in 1992. ... This article is about a battleship as a type of warship. ...

Thought Screens: In a universe where many alien races have powerful telepathic abilities, and even mind control is possible, thought screens can be a valuable asset. They are proof against penetration by even a second-stage Lensman's mind. The Children of the Lens are able to bypass or even, if necessary, penetrate any non-Eddorian thought screen, and in the final battle the Unit and the collected Lensmen penetrate even Eddorian thought screens. Telepathy, from the Greek τῆλε, tele, remote; and πάθεια, patheia, to be effected by, describes the hypothetical transfer of information on thoughts or feelings between individuals by means other than the five classical senses. ... Mind control (or thought control) has the premise that an outside source can control an individuals thinking, behavior or consciousness (either directly or more subtly). ...

Ultra-wave: Vibrations in the "sub-ether," used for interstellar "radio" communications and detection. Ultra-wave travels at about 19 billion times the speed of light. The use dates from the time of the latter part of Triplanetary. Sean Barrett, in the GURPS Lensman game, has suggested that ultra-waves form the basis for the so-called "vacuum tubes" used in the series. Ultrawaves are a fictional type of energy wave propagating in the sub-ether (also called sub-space) in E. E. Smiths Lensman series. ... In the description of the interaction between elementary particles in quantum field theory, a virtual particle is a temporary elementary particle, used to describe an intermediate stage in the interaction. ...

Power production: Prior to the extended version of the novella Triplanetary for book publication, no out-of-the-ordinary power technologies are described; however interplanetary travel with the ship sizes and capabilities implied requires terawatt power sources, so we can infer some version of nuclear fission or fusion power. After the advent of the Nevians and through the rest of Triplanetary, the primary power source for spaceships and planetary installations is the controlled matter-to-energy conversion of "allotropic iron", an allotrope of iron which appears to be a dense, viscous, red liquid at room temperature. An induced nuclear fission event. ... The deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion reaction is considered the most promising for producing fusion power. ... Allotropy (Gr. ...

By the time of First Lensman, allotropic iron is replaced by an unnamed form of atomic power. Uranium is mentioned, but not explicitly as an energy source; it is a vital ingredient in the Bergenholm, however. It can be inferred that a total-conversion engine is used throughout that book, and the remainder of the series. It is noted that power production generates radiation that can be detected by other ships at a considerable distance and cannot be perfectly screened. Stealth ships for covert missions can be fitted with large diesel generating sets, capable of powering the Bergenholm and providing limited drive power for short periods, so that the atomics can be shut down for sensitive parts of the mission. This article is about the fuel. ...

Atomic-power units appear to have a minimum feasible size which prevents their use on installations smaller than a spaceship. The Bergenholms and drivers fitted to personal space armour are powered by electrical accumulators, which despite their portable size have capacities of many myriawatt-hours and whose charging load represents a significant drain on the power stations of a less technologically advanced planet such as Delgon. Accumulator ...

By the time of Galactic Patrol and the later novels of the series, no further developments of power technology have been described, but the power systems' capacities are clearly based on refinements of total-conversion technology; early in Gray Lensman, the Dauntless is described as using "30 pounds per hour" of power while inertialess and running at full thrust. Using E = mc2, this works out to 400 trillion (4×1014) watts of power (or, in terms of its destructive potential, 100 kilotons TNT equivalent per second). With the advent of Medonian electrical systems following the penetration into the Second Galaxy, by the end of the series usable power on-board had been increased by another factor of 1000. A megaton or megatonne is a unit of mass equal to 1,000,000 metric tons, i. ...

Some time prior to the start of Galactic Patrol, the Boskonians had developed a method of using their on-board power systems as exciters to gather power from "cosmic energy" sources with an amplification factor of a million times the exciter power. The Galactic Patrol, capturing this technology during Kimball Kinnison's first major assignment, not only reverse engineered it for routine use, but also developed shields and screens to block enemy systems from drawing the power, and upgraded the power systems for their "Mauler" class of attack vessels to defeat systems reliant on cosmic-energy collection. Reverse engineering (RE) is the process of taking something (a device, an electrical component, a software program, etc. ...

Spaceship drive: The Bergenholm nullifies the inertia of a spaceship, but does not of itself provide any driving force. Driving projectors, or "jets", are reaction engines, using as reaction mass nascent fourth-order particles or corpuscles which are formed, inert, in the inertialess projector, by the conversion of some form of energy into matter. The process produces, as by-products, a certain amount of heat and a considerable amount of light. This light, shining through the highly tenuous gas formed of the ejected particles, produces a "flare" which makes a speeding spaceship one of the most beautiful spectacles known to man, but also makes it visually detectable at long range. Stealth ships therefore make use of "flare baffles" to prevent the escape of the light; the disadvantage is that, because the waste energy cannot escape from the projector in the usual way, it must be dissipated to prevent overheating, so baffles are only fitted when absolutely required.

Information processing: Computing technology as we understand it is practically unknown, being limited to slide rules, adding machines, and punched card tabulating machines. A "computer" is not a calculating machine but an intelligent being performing calculations by brain power with the assistance of the abovementioned limited aids. Large concentrations of computing power, as required by the C3 system of the Patrol Grand Fleet flagship Directrix, are implemented using squadrons of Rigellians, a naturally telepathic species, in mental communication with each other. A typical 10 inch student slide rule (Pickett N902-T simplex trig). ... adding machine Older adding machine. ... Before the advent of electronic computers, data processing was performed using electromechanical devices called unit record equipment, electric accounting machines (EAM) or tabulating machines. ... The military science term command, control, and communications or C3 designates a telecommunications network used by the command hierarchy for the command and control of a military force. ...


The science fiction sub-genre of "super-science" is nowhere more apparent in the Lensman series than in its (sometimes literally) world-shaking weapons. Image File history File links Acap. ...

Space-axe: Used against opponents protected by personal defensive screens and thus immune to blasters. A space-axe has an axe blade on one side and a needle-sharp spike on the other. Later their deadliness was augmented by being inlaid with, or even entirely composed of, ultra-dense dureum (see "Hyper-spatial Tube" above).

Blaster: In First Lensman, the standard blaster pistol was the Lewiston. The main sequence of the series uses the DeLameter, a raygun so powerful it doesn't merely kill; it can atomize its target and reduce to smoking ruin the wall behind. The aperture of the DeLameter can be opened so as to emit a wide and comparatively less powerful cone of destruction, or narrowed so as to emit a pencil-thin and extremely intense beam. // Rayguns are a type of directed-energy weapon. ...

Semi-Portable: The Lensman universe equivalent of a heavy machine gun: A large beam weapon designed to be carried by more than one man, projecting a beam powerful enough to overcome personal defense screens (mounted on an individual's space armor), which cannot be penetrated by DeLameters or other hand blasters. Small enough to be used in a spaceship corridor, and held down with magnetic clamps.

Macro Beam: These ship-mounted beams can vaporize any matter in moments. Only screens can provide any defense. After the invention of primary beams, macro beams were referred to as "secondaries."

Primary Beam: These became the primary weaponry of the warships of space. A beam projector is so massively overloaded that it burns out almost instantly while emitting a beam much more intense than is otherwise possible. Invented as a dying act of desperation by a Boskonian vessel — on which it killed each gun crew using the technique — it was adapted in more controlled form by the Galactic Patrol, using highly-shielded primary projectors whose spent emitters were ejected like massive shell-cases.

Duodec: In Galactic Patrol, the superior screens of a Boskonian ship are overcome with the power of the atomic explosive duodecaplylatomate, described as "the quintessence of atomic destruction", whose power is considerably greater than a nuclear explosion as produced by current real-world technology. However, its properties as regards handling and detonation appear more similar to those of a chemical explosive than to the complex detonation arrangements of a nuclear bomb. Duodec is also used by the Boskonians to self-destruct their bases to prevent capture, by Kinnison to destroy Menjo Bleeko's mining complex on Lonabar, and in many other situations calling for an extremely powerful explosive.

Allotropic iron torpedo: The primary power source for Nevian spaceships in Triplanetary is the controlled matter-to-energy conversion of "allotropic iron", an allotrope of iron which is a dense, viscous, red liquid at room temperature. In conventional chemistry, allotropes are substances with the same atomic composition but different molecular arrangements. Thus, phosphorus occurs in the allotropes white phosphorus and red phosphorus; however, these transformations are purely chemical, not nuclear. Smith's fictional allotropic iron can be made to undergo nuclear conversion as a power source, analogous to the nuclear conversion of the catalyzed copper fuel rods of The Skylark of Space. Allotropic iron can also be "sensitized" so as to undergo uncontrolled matter-to-energy conversion under a suitable stimulus, thus producing an extremely powerful explosive. A torpedo carrying a sensitized allotropic iron charge is detonated on Nevia in Triplanetary with devastating results. In later times duodec is the atomic explosive of choice, perhaps due to its apparent greater ease of handling. Triplanetary was a science fiction board wargame published by Game Designers Workshop in 1973. ... Allotropy (Gr. ... General Name, symbol, number phosphorus, P, 15 Chemical series nonmetals Group, period, block 15, 3, p Appearance waxy white/ red/ black/ colorless Standard atomic weight 30. ... This article is about the chemical element. ... General Name, Symbol, Number phosphorus, P, 15 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 15, 3, p Appearance waxy white/ red/ black/ colorless Atomic mass 30. ... The Skylark of Space is one of the earliest novels of interstellar travel. ...

Negasphere: A sphere of "negative matter" first created in Gray Lensman. In some respects its properties resemble antimatter; if brought into contact with normal matter mutual annihilation results, releasing an enormous flood of energy. But it differs from antimatter in that it absorbs light so that it is utterly black; and tractor and pressor beams have reversed effects. Perhaps a negasphere is better described as having properties of both negative matter and negative energy. The negasphere is an expression of the original Dirac Sea conception of antimatter by Paul A. M. Dirac as a "hole" in space which has been evacuated of normal matter (this is of course a gross conceptual simplification of Dirac's ideas). Negative energy can refer to several concepts: Energy in any system below an arbitrarily defined level (called reference level, ground state, or zero level). ... The Dirac sea is a theoretical model of the vacuum as an infinite sea of particles possessing negative energy. ... For other senses of this term, see antimatter (disambiguation). ... Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, OM, FRS (IPA: [dɪræk]) (August 8, 1902 – October 20, 1984) was a British theoretical physicist and a founder of the field of quantum physics. ...

Free Planet: An entire planet is rendered inertialess. If fitted with massive power plants and screens, it can be used as a mobile fortress with enough power to easily brush off attacks by mere spaceships. Or if properly positioned and inerted, it can be used to crush an enemy planet.

Nutcracker: In Gray Lensman, two "free planets" (see above) with opposing inert velocities were positioned on either side of an enemy planet. Simultaneously inerted, they crushed the other planet between them; such approach will crush even a "free" planet.

Sunbeam: In Second Stage Lensman, an entire solar system is converted to a vacuum tube, with asteroids and planets as grids and plates, to focus nearly the entire output of the sun into a beam capable of melting the surface of a planet in seconds. Thus it is a defense against attack by "free" planets, which are rendered inert when their Bergenholms (inertialess drive units) are destroyed. GURPS Lensman suggests the Sunbeam is an ultrawave vacuum tube rather than a normal one. Structure of a vacuum tube diode Structure of a vacuum tube triode In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube, or (outside North America) thermionic valve or just valve, is a device used to amplify, switch or modify a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ...

Nth-Space Planet: The ultimate material weapon in the Lensman series. Also called a "Super-Nutcracker". In Children of the Lens, an expedition travels to "Nth Space," another space-time continuum where physical laws are different and all matter moves faster than light. There a planet is rendered "free" (see "Free Planet" above) and moved via hyper-spatial tube into our universe. The planet is then moved close into an enemy stellar system and inerted. The result is so violent that the Nth-Space planet launched against Ploor's sun makes it go supernova, still radiating the energy of 550 million Suns several years later. It was so powerful, in fact, that there was a theoretical possibility that its mass would be "some higher order of infinity" and that the entire universe would coalesce around it in zero time (rather like an instantaneous Big Crunch). Fortunately, Mentor of Arisia assured Kit Kinnison that "operators would come into effect to prevent such an occurrence", and that untoward events would be limited to a radius of ten or fifteen parsecs. During the Battle of Ploor, an Nth-Space planet was launched against Ploor; a second planet was launched into Ploor's sun, to destroy Ploor's remaining military forces in the area. Multiwavelength X-ray image of the remnant of Keplers Supernova, SN 1604. ... Sol redirects here. ... This article is about the cosmological theory. ... A parsec is the distance from the Earth to an astronomical object which has a parallax angle of one arcsecond. ...


  • Barrett, Sean (1994). GURPS Lensman. Austin: Steve Jackson Games. ISBN 1-55634-283-7. 
  • Ellik, Ron and Bill Evans (1966). The Universes of E.E. Smith. Chicago: Advent:Publishers. ISBN 0911682031. 
  • Sanders, Joe (1986). E.E. "Doc" Smith (Starmont Reader's Guide 24). Starmont House. ISBN 0-916732-73-8. 
  • Heinlein, Robert (1980). Expanded Universe. New York: Ace Books. ISBN 0-441-21888-1. 
  1. ^ http://www.locusmag.com/SFAwards/Db/Hugo1966.html
  2. ^ E.g., Astounding September 1937 p. 34 vs. Galactic Patrol p. 42.
  3. ^ Cp. Astounding November 1937 p. 147 with the first book edition of Galactic Patrol, p. 135.
  4. ^ citation needed

Astounding Stories was a seminal science fiction magazine founded in 1930. ... The Galactic Patrol was an intergalactic organization in the Lensman science fiction series written by E. E. Smith. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Space Shake: the Lensman Anime web site! (237 words)
A dying lensman tranfers his lens to a young boy named Kim.
Lensman, the anime, is based on Doc E. Smith's sci-fi novels.
The movie(SF Shinseiki Lensman) was made in 1984.
deseretnews.com - Movie review: Lensman | Deseret Morning News Web edition (381 words)
"Lensman" is the story of young Kimball Kinnison, who we meet as he is preparing to leave his father's farm and take off with a burly half-Chewbacca/half-Han Solo character called Buskirk.
During the battle, a "Lensman" is fatally wounded, but before he dies he passes on his "lens," which looks like a blue watch that automatically attaches itself to Kim's wrist.
On the whole, "Lensman," rated PG for violence and profanity, is strictly for animation buffs.
  More results at FactBites »



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