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Encyclopedia > The Skylark of Space

The Skylark of Space is one of the earliest novels of interstellar travel. Published in 1928 by Chemical Engineer Edward Elmer Smith (E.E. "Doc" Smith) it describes the accidental discovery of the mechanism for interstellar flight in a Government Laboratory in Washington, D. C. Interstellar space travel is unmanned or manned travel between stars, though the term usually denotes the latter. ... 1928 was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... E. E. Smith, also Edward Elmer Smith, Ph. ...

To quote the discussion of it on the author's page:

"The beginning of the story, The Skylark of Space, describes in relative detail the protagonist's research into separation of platinum group residues, subsequent experiments involving electrolysis and the discovery of a process evocative of cold fusion (over fifty years before Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann). He describes a nuclear process yielding large amounts of energy and producing only negligible radioactive waste - which then goes on to form the basis of the adventures in the Skylark books. Smith's general description of the process of discovery is highly evocative of Röntgen's descriptions of his discovery of the X-ray." Charles Bennett examines three cold fusion test cells at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA Cold fusion is a name for any nuclear fusion reaction that occurs well below the temperature required for thermonuclear reactions (which occur at millions of degrees Celsius). ... Stanley Pons was a chemist at University of Utah who, while working with Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton, announced the discovery of cold fusion on March 23, 1989. ... Martin Fleischmann (1927-) is a chemist at the University of Southampton who, while working with Stanley Pons of University of Utah, announced the discovery of cold fusion on March 23, 1989. ... In the NATO phonetic alphabet, X-ray represents the letter X. An X-ray picture (radiograph) taken by Röntgen An X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength approximately in the range of 5 pm to 10 nanometers (corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 PHz...

This process is proven to be capable of directly powering a space drive; later discoveries reveal that the process operates by generation of and manipulation of gravity fields, suggesting that the drive is an early fictional development of the space warp concept.

Finding that his government laboratory coworkers do not believe him, Dr. Richard Seaton acquires rights to his discovery from the government and commercializes it with the aid of his friend, millionaire inventor Martin Crane. A former colleague, Dr. Marc "Blackie" Duquesne, joins with unscrupulous corporate gangsters to try to steal it. The resulting personalized conflict causes difficulty for both the characters and ultimately the entire world as Seaton and Duquesne discover more new alien societies and develop new and more complex technical capabilities.

The Skylark of Space was the first of a series which continued through 4 books -- Skylark Three and Skylark of Valeron written during the 1930s, and Skylark Duquesne, written much later in 1963. The entire series describes battles they fight with each other and with evil aliens, on progressively larger scales across the cosmos, before deciding that space is certainly large enough for both of them to live as they choose. // Events and trends The 1930s were spent struggling for a solution to the global depression. ... 1963 was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ...

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