E. E. Smith, also Edward Elmer Smith, Ph.D., E.E. "Doc" Smith, Doc Smith, "Skylark" Smith, (1890 - 1965) was a PhD and a Chemical Engineer. He worked in the food industry for much of his adult life and was an early science fiction author who wrote the Lensman series and the Skylark series, among others. He is sometimes referred to as the "father of Space Opera."
Smith’s novels are generally considered to be the classic space operas and he is sometimes called the “first nova” of twentieth century science fiction.
Dr. Smith expressed a preference for inventing fictional technologies that were not strictly impossible (so far as the science of the day was aware) but highly unlikely.
E. E. Smith was a Chemical Engineer in Washington DC when, in 1915, a next-door neighbor suggested that he turn his speculations about space travel into a science fiction novel. Smith at first demurred, saying that the story would be a failure without romantic content and that he did not feel comfortable writing that himself. His neighbor's wife suggested that she would be willing to take care of those details if he wrote the larger framework. Smith set to the task.
They finished the book Skylark of Space in 1919. It would be eight years before it was published as a serial in Amazing Stories. Smith actually lost money on the venture; since the $125 he was paid by Amazing Stories didn't cover the cost of the postage he had spent sending the manuscript to dozens of uninterested publishers over the years.
Skylark was an immense success and Smith devoted much time over the next 40 years to writing novels. His stories involve huge contests fought with fearsome and rapidly evolving technology between the spirited forces of good and democracy against the many-layered cabals of evil. His name has become closely associated with the space opera genre, and his work has greatly influenced modern science fiction — print, movies and video games.
When the Inter-Planetary Corporation's crack liner Arcturus took off on a routine flight to Mars, it turned out to be the beginning of a most unexpected and long voyage. Attacked by a mysterious spaceship, the liner crash-landed on Ganymede. The survivors first had to master that world's primeval terrors, then construct a new spacecraft, and finally, find a way to deal with the warring intelligences of the Jovian system. Spacehounds can do all these things, given time, resources, and freedom from attack.
Masters of Space tells of the high-powered exploratory ship Perseus. When her extravagantly versatile and brilliant crew of Naval and scientific experts encounter the Omans, a race of super-strong extra-helpful servant humanoids, events unfold that could destroy mankind, or give it a huge step up its evolutionary advance. The uniformly naked and cheerful Omans live on an inexplicable planet with a crust lavishly veined with the highly-radioactive raw material used to produce spaceship fuel. Workplace politics complicate the survey leader's plans, and the relationships between the ultra-delectable women officers and their super-handsome male counterparts provide many subplots. A long-dormant battle is rejoined, and the future of humanity hangs in the balance as the extra-aggressive Stretts make an appearance. Just for good measure, there are also some experiments in gene therapy, and a typical E. E. Smith weapon of apocalyptic destruction.
One reviewer wrote: “A thrilling Space Opera by a master of the genre! Smith's Last and Greatest Saga! “
The novel begins with the accidental discovery, in a Government laboratory in Washington D. C., of a form of clean nuclear power. Our hero, Dr. Richard Seaton, uses this power to build first a flying belt and then an interstellar spaceship. He later discovers that the process operates by generation and manipulation of gravity fields.
When his government coworkers do not believe him, 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 DuQuesne, joins with the unscrupulous World Steel Corporation to try to steal Seaton's invention. The resulting conflict escalates, as Seaton and Duquesne develop greater and greater technical capabilities and enlist more and more powerful alien races as allies..
Triplanetary was first serialized in Amazing Stories in 1934. After the Lensman series became popular, Smith took his Triplanetary story and turned it into the first of the Lensman series, using it as a prequel to give the back story for the protagonists in the Lensmen series. He added 6 new chapters, doubling it in size and it's really a different book from the serialized novel, being published 14 years after the first. The novel covers several episodes in an eons-long eugenics project of the super-intelligences of the Arisia. This alien race is breeding two genetic lines to become the ultimate weapon in Arisia's cosmic war with their arch enemy, the Eddore.
3b. TRIPLANETARY - Lensman Series #1.
Triplanetary, the story that helped launch the Lensmen Series. A brainy man and heroic woman fight against ruthless space pirates for life and love. From the atomic age in Atlantis to a world remote in space and time, two incredible ancient races, the Arisians and the Eddorians, are in the midst of an interstellar war with Earth as the prize. The Arisians, using advanced mental technology, have foreseen the invasion of their galaxy by the corrupt and evil Eddorians, so they begin a breeding program on every planet in their universe. Their goal...to produce super warriors who can hold off the invading Eddorians.
When the Inter-Planetary Corporation's (IPC) crack liner “IPV Arcturus” took off on a routine flight to Mars, it turned out to be the beginning of a unexpected and long voyage. There had been too many reports of errors in ship's flight positions from the Check Stations and brilliant physicist Dr. Percival (“Steve”) Stevens is aboard the Arcturus on a fact-finding mission to find out what's really happening, and hopefully save the honor of the brave pilots of the space-liner Arcturus from the desk-jockeys' in the Check Stations implications of imprecision - the nastiest insult you could cast at a ships pilot. He and the pilots are right, it was the Check Stations that were out of position, not the ships. But that's cold consolation because before the Arcturus reaches Mars it's attacked by a small, mysterious, globe shaped spaceship.
6. Subspace Survivors - A team of space travelers are caught in a subspace accident which, up to now, no one has ever survived. But some of the survivors of the Procyon are not ordinary travelers. Their psi abilities allow them to see things before they happen. But will it be enough? This story first appeared in the July 1960 issue of the magazine Astounding.
8. The Vortex Blaster (10th Short Story in The Librivox Science Fiction Collection 017)
9. The Galaxy Primes - They were four of the greatest minds in the Universe: Two men, two women, lost in an experimental spaceship billions of parsecs from home. And as they mentally charted the Cosmos to find their way back to earth, their own loves and hates were as startling as the worlds they encountered.
10. First Lensman - The Secret Planet.. No human had ever landed on the hidden planet of Arisia. A mysterious space barrier turned back both men and ships. Then the word came to Earth, "Go to Arisia!", Virgil Samms of the Galactic Patrol went--and came back with the Lens, the strange device that gave its wearer powers no man had ever possessed before. Samms knew the price of that power would be high. But even he had no idea of the ultimate cost, and the weird destiny waiting for the First Lensman.
First Lensman is the sequel to Triplanetary, and the second book of E.E. "Doc" Smith's classic Lensman series.
11. Lord Tedric - Time is the strangest of all mysteries. Relatively unimportant events, almost unnoticed as they occur, may, in hundreds of years, result in Ultimate Catastrophe. On Time Track Number One, that was the immutable result. But on Time Track Number Two there was one little event that could be used to avert it—the presence of a naked woman in public. So, Skandos One removed the clothing from the Lady Rhoann and after one look, Lord Tedric did the rest!
12. Tedric - This is a wonderful combination of far future science fiction with Conan like sword and sorcery; lots of blood, gore, honor and evil. The immensely powerful hero, Tedric, is a man's man who refuses to accept the cruel human sacrifices demanded by the 'god' Sarpedion and is set on destroying him. To do this he needs some secrets of metallurgy that future social scientists are willing to give him. He manages to overcome all obstacles until of course he meets the dazzlingly lovely Lady Rhoaan who stops him cold.
And there is a great sequel to this story which will be added to the catalog in the near future. It is called Lord Tedric [see # 11 above]
13. Masters of Space- The Masters had ruled all space with an unconquerable iron fist. But the Masters were gone. And this new, young race who came now to take their place—could they hope to defeat the ancient Enemy of All?
From Huffduffer - Blue Tyson:
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