Gray Lensman

Gray Lensman is a science fiction novel by American writer E. E. Smith. It was first published in book form in 1951 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 5,096 copies. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1939. Gray Lensman is the fourth (originally the second) book in the Lensman series and the second to focus on the adventures of Lensman Kimball Kinnison.

Gray Lensman
Gray lensman
Dust-jacket from the first edition.[1] The picture was taken from the cover of Astounding Science-Fiction, October 1939, in which the first episode of the serialized story originally appeared.
AuthorEdward E. Smith, Ph.D.
IllustratorRic Binkley
Cover artistHubert Rogers
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesLensman series
GenreScience fiction
PublisherFantasy Press
Publication date
1951
Media typePrint (Hardback)
Pages306
OCLC1051169
Preceded byGalactic Patrol 
Followed bySecond Stage Lensmen 

Plot synopsis

The action in Gray Lensman picks up immediately where Galactic Patrol left off, in the middle of the battle to destroy Helmuth's Main Base and, it is hoped, fully end the threat of Boskone. After the base falls, Kinnison finds some clues that lead him to think that Helmuth was perhaps not the head of Boskone after all. The clues lead Kinnison to mount an expedition aboard the newly constructed super-dreadnought Dauntless, into the Second Galaxy where he thinks the true head of Boskone might reside. The Dauntless locates a planet under attack and comes to its aid, destroying the Boskonian forces and discovering that the entire planet is capable of going "free" (that is, inertialess, the method used in the Lensman books to achieve interstellar and intergalactic space travel). The Lensman returns to the First Galaxy with the space-faring planet and its grateful residents.

Kinnison decides that since the Patrol is not yet strong enough to attack the Second Galaxy militarily, he will follow leads to the upper levels of Boskone through the traffic in the illegal drug thionite.

The novel then follows Kinnison as he tries to infiltrate the Boskonian drug network. Along the way, Kinnison learns something else new: as a Second Stage Lensman he no longer needs his Lens to do Lensman things such as read minds or communicate telepathically, although he works better while wearing it. Kinnison suffers some setbacks, and has to assume different identities, eventually one requiring him to drink and use drugs. Even though he tries to drink while actually letting the people around him empty the bottles, and uses the least harmful drug he can, it still takes him a while to get over their effects. Eventually he uncovers the information he was looking for: the name and the location of Jalte, the boss of all Boskonian drug traffic in the First Galaxy.

There is a minor interlude in which the Delgonian Overlords seem to have returned. Because he had fought the Overlords before, Kinnison is asked to lead the expedition to hunt them down, and the reptilian Worsel comes along. The Delgonians are dispatched in fairly short order, but only after the loss of many good men. Kinnison agonizes over the casualties that they suffered because, although he and Worsel were mentally strong enough to resist the Overlords, his men were not.

Realizing that the Patrol will need new and much more powerful weapons before it can take on Boskone in the Second Galaxy, Kinnison convenes 50 of the greatest scientists in the galaxy to work on new weapon-development projects. The weapon they invent, whose theory requires the development of a wholly new mathematics, is called a "negasphere", composed of something combining the attributes of antimatter and negative matter. It totally consumes absolutely anything it touches, in mutual annihilation. They plan to make a negasphere of planetary dimensions and use it against the leaders of Boskone.

Kinnison infiltrates Jalte's base and gets the information he had been hoping for since his trip to the Second Galaxy: the location of the leaders of Boskone, a group made up of members of a race called the Eich. He and Worsel set out on what amounts to an almost suicide mission to infiltrate Jarnevon, the homeworld of the Eich. Kinnison is captured and tortured. Unknown to the Eich, Worsel is hiding close by and finds a way to rescue Kinnison, and they get away. Infected by something that requires the Patrol doctors to amputate all four limbs, blinded, and tortured almost to death, Kinnison is nonetheless saved, but he will most likely be a basket case.

Earlier in the book, a Posenian physician called "Phillips" was financed by the Patrol to try to develop a way to allow higher beings to regenerate body parts in the same way that lower animals (starfish, flatworms, salamanders, etc.) can. When Kinnison was injured, Phillips was ready to try his procedure on humans. It works and Kinnison is brought back to full health. During his convalescence Clarissa MacDougall is again his nurse, and their love grows stronger.

He then leads an expedition to destroy Jalte's base, using the negasphere. He continues to the Boskonian home ground in the Second Galaxy, to destroy their fleet and then the Eich's home base using a "nutcracker"—a pair of planets with diametrically opposed velocities, released to crush Jarnevon between them. And so pass the Eich and the Council of Boskone. It is thought that finally the long struggle is finished and Civilization is triumphant.

Kinnison and MacDougall make plans to get married and the book ends with them walking off, hand in hand, into a bright and happy future.

Reception

Groff Conklin gave the novel's first edition a scathing review in Galaxy, describing it as a "primitive artifact" which "simply gives [me] alternate waves of incredulous laughter and dull, acid boredom."[2] P. Schuyler Miller reviewed the novel favorably, saying "Whatever [Smith's] yarns have, Gray Lensman has more of, in greater abundance and variety, than any of the rest."[3] One newspaper reviewer described it as "Science fiction of the highest calibre."[4]

References

  1. ^ Locke, George (1978). Science Fiction First Editions. London: Ferret Fantasy, Ltd. p. 51.
  2. ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf," Galaxy Science Fiction, March 1952, p.84.
  3. ^ "The Reference Library", Astounding Science Fiction, June 1952, pp.164–65
  4. ^ "Science Fiction Tops," Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, December 9, 1961, p.15

Sources

External links

Analog Science Fiction and Fact

Analog Science Fiction and Fact is an American science-fiction magazine published under various titles since 1930. Originally titled Astounding Stories of Super-Science, the first issue was dated January 1930, published by William Clayton, and edited by Harry Bates. Clayton went bankrupt in 1933 and the magazine was sold to Street & Smith. The new editor was F. Orlin Tremaine, who soon made Astounding the leading magazine in the nascent pulp science fiction field, publishing well-regarded stories such as Jack Williamson's Legion of Space and John W. Campbell's "Twilight". At the end of 1937, Campbell took over editorial duties under Tremaine's supervision, and the following year Tremaine was let go, giving Campbell more independence. Over the next few years Campbell published many stories that became classics in the field, including Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, A.E. van Vogt's Slan, and several novels and stories by Robert A. Heinlein. The period beginning with Campbell's editorship is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction.

By 1950, new competition had appeared from Galaxy Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Campbell's interest in some pseudo-science topics, such as dianetics (an early version of scientology), alienated some of his regular writers, and Astounding was no longer regarded as the leader of the field, though it did continue to publish popular and influential stories: Hal Clement's novel Mission of Gravity appeared in 1953, and Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" appeared the following year. In 1960, Campbell changed the title of the magazine to Analog Science Fiction & Fact; he had long wanted to get rid of the word "Astounding" in the title, which he felt was too sensational. At about the same time Street & Smith sold the magazine to Condé Nast. Campbell remained as editor until his death in 1971.

Ben Bova took over from 1972 to 1978, and the character of the magazine changed noticeably, since Bova was willing to publish fiction that included sexual content and profanity. Bova published stories such as Frederik Pohl's "The Gold at the Starbow's End", which was nominated for both a Hugo and Nebula Award, and Joe Haldeman's "Hero", the first story in the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning "Forever War" sequence; Pohl had been unable to sell to Campbell, and "Hero" had been rejected by Campbell as unsuitable for the magazine. Bova won five consecutive Hugo Awards for his editing of Analog.

Bova was followed by Stanley Schmidt, who continued to publish many of the same authors who had been contributing for years; the result was some criticism of the magazine as stagnant and dull, though Schmidt was initially successful in maintaining circulation. The title was sold to Davis Publications in 1980, then to Dell Magazines in 1992. Crosstown Publications acquired Dell in 1996 and remains the publisher. Schmidt continued to edit the magazine until 2012, when he was replaced by Trevor Quachri.

E. E. Smith

Edward Elmer Smith (May 2, 1890 – August 31, 1965), better known by his pen name E. E. "Doc" Smith, was an American food engineer (specializing in doughnut and pastry mixes) and science-fiction author, best known for the Lensman and Skylark series. He is sometimes called the father of space opera.

E. E. Smith bibliography

This is complete bibliography by American space opera author E. E. Smith.

Because he died in 1965, the works of E.E. Smith are now public domain in countries where the term of copyright lasts 50 years after the death of the author, or less; generally this does not include works first published posthumously. Works first published before 1923, are also public domain in the United States. Additionally, a number of the author's works have become public domain in the United States due to non-renewal of copyright.

Fantasy Press

Fantasy Press was an American publishing house specialising in fantasy and science fiction titles. Established in 1946 by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach in Reading, Pennsylvania, it was most notable for publishing the works of authors such as Robert A. Heinlein and E. E. Smith. One of its more notable offerings was the Lensman series.

Among its books was Of Worlds Beyond: The Science of Science Fiction Writing (1947), which was the first book about modern SF and contained essays by John W. Campbell, Jr., Robert A. Heinlein, A. E. van Vogt and others.

Galactic Patrol

The Galactic Patrol was an intergalactic organization in the Lensman science fiction series written by E. E. Smith. It was also the title of the third book in the series.

Galactic Patrol (novel)

Galactic Patrol is a science fiction novel by American author E. E. Smith. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1937. The stories in this volume were the first parts written of the original Lensman saga. It was later published in book form in 1950 by Fantasy Press. Although portions of Triplanetary were written earlier, they were not originally part of the Lensman story and were only later revised to connect them to the rest of the series. First Lensman was written later to bridge the events in Triplanetary to those in Galactic Patrol.

Galaxies in fiction

Galaxies other than the Milky Way are popular settings for creators of science fiction, particularly those working with broad-scale space opera settings. Among the most common settings are the Andromeda Galaxy, the Magellanic Clouds, and the Triangulum Galaxy, all part of the Local Group close to the Milky Way, and in the cases of Andromeda and Triangulum the Local Group's two largest other galaxies. The difficulties involved in crossing the immense distances between galaxies are often overlooked in this type of science fiction.

Gharlane of Eddore (pen name)

David G. Potter (April 3, 1947 – June 13, 2001) was a computer technician at California State University, Sacramento who was widely known for acerbic, scathingly humorous and knowledgeable postings to Usenet science fiction newsgroups. He assumed the name of Gharlane of Eddore as a Usenet pseudonym for Usenet postings and carefully guarded his true identity for many years before his death. He is best known for authoring the Lensman FAQ and voluminous Usenet postings. He died on June 13, 2001 following a heart attack.

Gnome Press

Gnome Press was an American small-press publishing company primarily known for publishing many science fiction classics. Gnome was one of the most eminent of the fan publishers of SF, producing 86 titles in its lifespan — many considered classic works of SF and Fantasy today. Gnome was important in the transitional period between Genre SF as a magazine phenomenon and its arrival in mass-market book publishing, but proved too underfunded to make the leap from fan-based publishing to the professional level. The company existed for just over a decade, ultimately failing due to inability to compete with major publishers who also started to publish science fiction. In its heyday, Gnome published many of the major SF authors, and in some cases, as with Robert E. Howard's Conan series (published in six books from 1950 – 1955) and Isaac Asimov's Foundation series (published in three books from 1951 – 1953), was responsible for the manner in which their stories were collected into book form.

Hugo Award for Best Novel

The Hugo Award for Best Novel is one of the Hugo Awards given each year for science fiction or fantasy stories published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. The novel award is available for works of fiction of 40,000 words or more; awards are also given out in the short story, novelette, and novella categories. The Hugo Awards have been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing".The Hugo Award for Best Novel has been awarded annually by the World Science Fiction Society since 1953, except in 1954 and 1957. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for 50, 75, or 100 years prior. Retro Hugos may only be awarded for years in which a World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, was hosted, but no awards were originally given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been given for novels for 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1951, and 1954.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. The novels on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of stories that can be nominated. The 1953, 1955, and 1958 awards did not include any recognition of runner-up novels, but since 1959 all final candidates have been recorded. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held in August or early September, and are held in a different city around the world each year.During the 70 nomination years, 145 authors have had works nominated; 48 of these have won, including co-authors, ties, and Retro Hugos. One translator has been noted along with the author whose works he translated. Robert A. Heinlein has received the most Hugos for Best Novel as well as the most nominations, with six wins (including two Retro Hugos) and twelve nominations. Lois McMaster Bujold has received four Hugos on ten nominations; the only other authors to win more than twice are Isaac Asimov (including one Retro Hugo), N. K. Jemisin, Connie Willis, and Vernor Vinge, who have each won three times. Nine other authors have won the award twice. The next-most nominations by a winning author are held by Robert J. Sawyer and Larry Niven, who have been nominated nine and eight times, respectively, and each have only won once, while Robert Silverberg has the greatest number of nominations without winning at nine. Three authors have won the award in consecutive years: Orson Scott Card (1986, 1987), Lois McMaster Bujold (1991, 1992), and N. K. Jemisin (2016, 2017, and 2018).

Hyperspace

Hyperspace is a superluminal method of traveling used in science fiction. It is typically described as an alternative "sub-region" of space co-existing with our own universe which may be entered using an energy field or other device. As seen in most fiction hyperspace is most succinctly described as a "somewhere else" within which the laws of general and special relativity decidedly do not apply – especially with respect to the speed of light being the cosmic speed limit. Entering and exiting said "elsewhere" thus directly enables travel near or faster than the speed of light – almost universally with the aid of extremely advanced technology.

"Through hyper-space, that unimagineable region that was neither space nor time, matter nor energy, something nor nothing, one could traverse the length of the Galaxy in the interval between two neighboring instants of time."Astronomical distances and the impossibility of faster-than-light travel pose a challenge to most science-fiction authors. They can be dealt with in several ways: accept them as such (hibernation, slow boats, generation ships, time dilation – the crew will perceive the distance as much shorter and thus flight time will be short from their perspective), find a way to move faster than light (warp drive), "fold" space to achieve instantaneous translation (e.g. the Dune universe's Holtzman effect), access some sort of shortcut (wormholes), utilize a closed timelike curve (e.g. Stross' Singularity Sky), or sidestep the problem in an alternate space: hyperspace, with spacecraft able to use hyperspace sometimes said to have a hyperdrive.

Detailed descriptions of the mechanisms of hyperspace travel are often provided in stories using the plot device, sometimes incorporating some actual physics such as relativity or string theory.

Authors may develop alternative names for hyperspace in their works, such as the Immaterium (used in Warhammer 40,000), Z space in Animorphs, or "Underspace" (U-space), commonly referred to in the works of Neal Asher.

Lensman (disambiguation)

Lensman is a science fiction book series by Edward Elmer Smith.

First Lensman, the second novel of the series, published in 1950

Gray Lensman, the fourth book in the series, published in 1951Lensman may also refer to:

Lensman: Secret of The Lens, an anime movie based on the Lensman novels

Galactic Patrol Lensman, an anime television series based on the Lensman novels

Backstage Lensman, a short story parody of the Lensman series by Randall Garrett, first written in 1949

Lensman microscope, designed by Rick Dickinson

Lensman (game), a game based on the Lensman novels

Lensman series

The Lensman series is a series of science fiction novels by American author Edward Elmer "Doc" Smith. It was a runner-up for the 1966 Hugo award for Best All-Time Series (the winner was the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov).

List of science fiction novels

This is a list of science fiction novels, novel series, and collections of linked short stories. It includes modern novels, as well as novels written before the term "science fiction" was in common use. This list includes novels not marketed as SF but still considered to be substantially science fiction in content by some critics, such as Nineteen Eighty Four. As such, it is an inclusive list, not an exclusive list based on other factors such as level of notability or literary quality. Books are listed in alphabetical order by title, ignoring the leading articles "A", "An", and "The". Novel series are alphabetical by author-designated name or, if there is none, the title of the first novel in the series or some other reasonable designation.

Second Stage Lensmen

Second Stage Lensmen is a science fiction novel by author Edward E. Smith. It was first published in book form in 1953 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 4,934 copies. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding beginning in 1941. Second Stage Lensmen is the fifth volume in the Lensman series, and the last to feature Kimball Kinnison as the most powerful Lensman in the service of the Galactic Patrol. Second Stage Lensmen also features the first female Lensman, Clarissa MacDougall. The story mainly focuses upon the exploits of the "Second Stage" Lensmen: those who have gone through the advanced Arisian training Kinnison underwent in Galactic Patrol. These four superior Lensmen, Kinnison, Worsel, Tregonsee, and Nadreck, are armed with mental powers allowing them to control the minds of others and see, hear, and feel without using their physical senses (the "sense of perception"). This elite cadre allows Civilization to tip the balance against Boskone as Second Stage Lensmen abilities are ideally suited to spying and information gathering.

Space marine

The space marine, an archetype of military science fiction, is a kind of soldier that operates in outer space or on alien worlds. Historical marines fulfill multiple roles: ship defence, landing parties, and general-purpose high-mobility land deployments that operate within a fixed distance of shore. By analogy, hypothetical space marines would defend spaceships, land on planets and moons, and satisfy rapid-deployment needs throughout space.

Star Wars sources and analogues

The Star Wars science fiction media franchise is acknowledged to have been inspired by many sources. These include southern and eastern Asian religions, Qigong, philosophy, classical mythology, Roman history, Zoroastrianism, parts of the Abrahamic religions, Confucianism, Shintō and Taoism, and countless cinematic precursors. Creator George Lucas stated "Most of the spiritual reality in the movie[s] is based on a synthesis of all religions. A synthesis through history; the way man has perceived the unknown and the great mystery and tried to deal with that or dealing with it".It is also speculated that Star Wars also takes inspirations from pre-Roman Celtic folklore (Arthurian legends are post-Roman, set around the third century AD).Lucas has also said that chivalry, knighthood, paladinism and related institutions in feudal societies inspired some concepts in the Star Wars movies, most notably the Jedi Knights. The work of the mythologist Joseph Campbell, especially his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, directly influenced Lucas, and is what drove him to create the "modern myth" of Star Wars. The natural flow of energy known as the Force is believed to have originated from the concept of qi/chi/ki, "the all-pervading vital energy of the universe".

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, The History Channel premiered a two-hour event covering the entire Star Wars saga entitled Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed. Featuring interviews from the likes of Stephen Colbert, Newt Gingrich, Nancy Pelosi, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Peter Jackson, acclaimed scholars and others, the program delved further into the Heroic Epic concept and the influences of mythology and other motifs that were important in making Star Wars. Subjects include sins of the father and redeeming the father, coming of age, exiting the ordinary world and others.

The History of Civilization

The History of Civilization is a boxed set of science fiction novels by author Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.. It contains the six novels of Smith's Lensman series. The set was published in 1961 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 75 copies. Each volume was printed from the original Fantasy Press plates, but with a new title page giving the name of the set. They were bound in red half-leather, numbered and signed by Smith.

Wolf–Lundmark–Melotte

The Wolf–Lundmark–Melotte (WLM) is an irregular galaxy discovered in 1909 by Max Wolf, located on the outer edges of the Local Group. The discovery of the nature of the galaxy was accredited to Knut Lundmark and Philibert Jacques Melotte in 1926. It is in the constellation Cetus.

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