Lensmen Trilogy is Next Big Thing

If you have never readthe Lensmen series by E .Doc Smith then find a copy somewhere and have ago.  That work, written back in theThirties set the standard for space opera that has now become the standard forgreat movie making.  It gave me greatpleasure when I read them back forty years ago.

What was mostimpressive for a novel was the sheer pace and visual grandeur maintainedthroughout.  When Star Wars first cameout, it evoked my best memories of E Doc Smith’ work as a few years earlier,Star Trek had caught the wonder of it all.

We are going to have atrilogy, and possibly another after that. A new generation will learn of the universe of the Lensmen.

A couple of months agoa specialist stated that everything can be done today on the screen.  The Lensmen will need all of it and more asit imagines swirls of stars and battling starships.

Star Wars was inspiredby the Lensmen, now perhaps the Lensmen can be inspired by Star Wars.  Before Star Wars, it was impossible toexplain the appeal of science fiction to the uninitiated.  After Star Wars blew everyone off their seatsit stopped been ridiculed.  Today Lensmenthe trilogy is everyone’s entertainment.

JANUARY 07, 2011
The internet movie database has the Lensmen movie listed assometime in 2011 I am thinking it will get delayed to a Mayrelease in 2012 to load up the special effects.

Lensmen was the biggest of the space opera books in classicscience fiction

Writer J. Michael Straczynski said in2009 he's finished his second draft for Lensmen, and producer Ron Howard andUniversal are happy with it. He said it'll be verycharacter-based, typical of Howard's work, and yet the special effects willbe cutting edge. And it'll keep the massive scale of the original novels, asmuch as possible:

I think it really does create that world and what's cool about it isall the character stuff that's in there now. It's just the sheer scope andscale of it, which is what the Doc Smith books were always about to me to alarge extent; the scale was insane. We found ways to really dramatize that.

My best case hope - Lord of the Ring moviesin space mixed with the fourth season Babylon 5 Shadow War with an Avatar effectsbudget.

And he describes one crucial sequence:

Case in point, this is a very small example from the script, take thisas being emblematic of the scale of the whole thing: you've got these twofleets battling it out, you've seen it a hundred times before. But now, withinthat massive fleet battle you have two ships locked on with gravity (lances?)firing at each other, they're linked together like scorpions in abottle tied with a string, by the gravity beams. Inside that, you have the crewof one ship in EVA suits with armor coming out to try and board the other ship.They send their people out to stop them, so we have hand-to-hand combat.

Forget Avatar,Lensman Is The Next Big Thing

Published: 2009-06-2504:31:12

J. Michael Straczynskiwas the Ronald D. Moore of the 90s. As the mind behind Babylon 5 he broke new ground on televisionand in science fiction. He’s since gone on tomainstream, Hollywood film success as the writer of Clint Eastwood’s Oscarnominated filmChangeling and JMS is now a heavily sought afterscreenwriter. That doesn’t mean he’s forgotten his sciencefiction roots.

Among the many projects on his plate, Straczynski is working on an adaptationof the classic “Lensman”stories of E.E. "Doc" Smith. Smith was oneof the earliest godfathers of science fiction. His work was first published inthe thirties and went on to inspire many of genre’s most legendary authors anda lot of the science fiction you spend your time watching now. The Lensmanseries is complex beyond all reason, a sprawling, epic story which takesfollows a group of human beings who travel beyond space and dimension in a faroff future to serve as guardians of the universe.

Boiling the Lensman series down into a script is no small feat, but apparentlyit’s a feat JMS has already accomplished. He recently appeared on the Babylon Podcast where herevealed that, “the second draft is in. Everyone is very happy with it, andwe'll now see where that goes.”

As for who decides where it goes from here, lastwe heard Ron Howard and Universal were behind the project. JMSconfirms that they’re still behind it saying, “We're looking to do new thingswith effects, and of course with Ron Howard involved it's always going to becharacter-oriented, so we combine what you can do with effects these days witha really strong character story.” Sounds like the film is a lot farther along thanit was back then, when they were still trying to secure the rights necessaryfor making the film. Since JMS has written a script and turned it in, I suspectthat means they now have the rights to make it. If they like what he did, thisthing may actually move ahead.

If it does move ahead, if this thing actually gets made, we’re talking spaceopera on a scale not seen in anything since Star Wars. The scope of Lensman ishuge. Talking about the size of it all, JMS tells the BabCast, “I think itreally does create that world and what's cool about it is all the characterstuff that's in there now. It's just the sheer scope and scale of it, which iswhat the Doc Smith books were always about to me to a large extent; the scalewas insane. We found ways to really dramatize that.”

Then he goes on to give us a taste of just what he’s written. Says Straczynski,“Case in point, this is a very small example from the script, take this as beingemblematic of the scale of the whole thing: you've got these two fleetsbattling it out, you've seen it a hundred times before. But now, within thatmassive fleet battle you have two ships locked on with gravity (lances?) firingat each other, they're linked together like scorpions in a bottle tied with astring, by the gravity beams. Inside that, you have the crew of one ship in EVAsuits with armor coming out to try and board the other ship. They send theirpeople out to stop them, so we have hand-to-hand combat.” In Smith’s bookswarriors use very vicious weapons called “space-axes” in hand to hand combat.Imagine armored attackers flinging themselves into cold of space ready to ripeach other to shreds.

JMS is one hell of a writer. I have every confidence that he’s pulled thisscript off, and if he’s pulled it off, and if Ron Howard does this thing right,then when finally seen onscreen there’s a very good chance that Lensman will blow our minds. Right now everyone’s focused on Avatar butif Lensman succeeds then a couple of years ago we’ll be talking aboutthis in precisely the same way as the next big thing. 

Lensman series
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1948 FantasyPressedition of Triplanetary

The Lensman series is a serial sciencefiction space opera by EdwardElmer "Doc" Smith. It was a runner-up for the Hugo award forbest All-Time Series. The winner was the Foundationseries by Isaac Asimov [1].

The series was published in magazines, before being collected andreworked into the better-known series of books. The complete series in internalsequence and their original publication dates are:

Triplanetary (4 parts, January–April1934, Amazing Stories)
First Lensman (1950, Fantasy Press)
Galactic Patrol (6 parts, September1937-February 1938, Astounding Stories)
GrayLensman (4 parts, October 1939-January 1940, Astounding Stories)
Second Stage Lensmen (4 parts, November1941-February 1942, Astounding Stories)
Children of the Lens (4 parts,November 1947-February 1948, Astounding Stories)

Originally, the series consisted of the final four novels publishedbetween 1937 and 1948 in the magazine Astounding Stories. However, in 1948, at thesuggestion of Lloyd Arthur Eshbach (publisher of theoriginal editions of the Lensman books as part of the Fantasy Pressimprint), Smith rewrote his 1934 story Triplanetary, originally publishedin Amazing Stories, to fit in with the Lensman series. FirstLensman was written in 1950 to act as a linkbetween Triplanetary and Galactic Patrol and finally, inthe years up to 1954, Smith revised the rest of the series to removeinconsistencies between the original Lensman chronology and Triplanetary.[2]

[edit]Plot synopsis

The series opens in Triplanetary, two billion years before thepresent time. The universe has few life-forms, except for the elder race of ourgalaxy, the Arisians and few planets besides their native world. TheArisians, a peaceful race native to this universe, are already ancient at thistime and have forgone physical needs in preference for contemplative mentalpower which they have developed and refined to an exceedingly high degree. Theunderlying assumption (based on then-accepted theories of stellarevolution) is that, while stars are common, planetary formation is veryrare. Thus there are comparatively very few planets in the universe.

Into this universe, from an alien space-time continuum,the Eddorians come, a dictatorial, power-hungry race. They have beenattracted to this universe by the observation that our galaxy and a sistergalaxy (later to be named Lundmark's Nebula, still later called theSecond Galaxy) are passing through each other. According to an astronomicaltheory current at the time of writing Triplanetary called the tidal theory (theprimary theory prior to the rehabilitation of the nebular hypothesis), this will result in aunique galactic formation of billions of planets and thus the development oflife upon them. Dominance over these life forms would offer the Eddorians anopportunity to satisfy their lust for power and control.

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

The Arisians, detecting the invasion of our universe by the Eddorians,recognize their rapacious, intractable nature. So they try to hide theirexistence from the Eddorians and then begin a covert breeding program on everyworld that can produce intelligent life, with the aim of producing a means toeventually destroy the Eddorian race. This they grasp that they cannot do bymental power alone, and they decide that much time is needed (during whichEddore must be kept ignorant of their plans) and new races must be developedwhich will better be able to breach the Eddorians' mental powers than theythemselves are. The new races, having done so, will naturally be betterguardians of civilization than the Arisians can be, and so the Arisians' rolein the universe will be ended.

Triplanetary incorporates the early history of that breedingprogram on Earth, illustrated with the lives of several warriors and soldiers,from ancient times to the discovery of the first interstellar space drive. Itadds an additional short novel (originally published withthe Triplanetary name) which is transitional to the novel FirstLensman.

The second book, First Lensman, concerns the early formation ofthe Galactic Patrol and the first Lens, given toFirst Lensman Virgil Samms of "Tellus" (Earth). Samms is one side ofthe vast Arisian breeding program which will produce Clarissa MacDougal, thefemale half of the penultimate result of their breeding program. Moreover,along with Roderick Kinnison (a member of the other side, which will producethe male half), they are natural leaders as they are supremely intelligent,forceful, and capable. The Arisians, through the scientist Bergenholm (actuallyan Arisian entity appearing as a human, and who "invented" theinterstellar drive), make it known that if Samms, the head of the TriplanetaryService which administers law enforcement to Tellus, Mars and Venus, visits theArisian planetary system—and only if he visits the Arisian system—he will begiven the tool he needs to build the Patrol he dreams of. That tool isthe Lens. The Arisians further promise him that no entity unworthy of theLens will ever be permitted to wear it, but that he and his successors willhave to discover for themselves most of its abilities. They otherwise maintaina highly distant profile and refuse to talk to other beings, stating that theyhave given civilization the tool it needs to bring about a good future and thatpeople should otherwise not have reason to contact them.

The Lens is a form of "pseudo-life," created by the Arisianswho understand life and life-force in a way no other race does. It givesits wearer a variety of mental capabilities, including those needed to enforcethe law on alien planets and to bridge the communication gap between differentlife-forms. Thus, it can provide mind-reading and telepathic abilitieswhile connected directly or indirectly to the skin of its user. It cannot beworn by anyone other than its owner, will kill any other wearer, and sublimates shortly after the owner'sdeath. Virgilia Samms, Virgil Samms's daughter, is later told that there is agender difference that renders the Lens more compatible with male minds andthat only one woman will ever become a Lensman.

Using the Lens as a means to test quality and identify the very fewexceptional individuals able to help him, Virgil Samms visits races in otherstar systems, recruiting the best of them and forming a Galactic Patrol of exceptionalindividuals from a wide range of species. Their opponents in turn arediscovered to be a widespread civilization based around dominance hierarchies and organizedcrime. The leaders of this civilization are the Eddorians, but only theChildren of the Lens, who must ultimately defeat these, know of theirexistence.

The series contains some of the largest-scale space battles everwritten. Entire worlds are almost casually destroyed (see "Super-ScienceWeapons" below), while some weapons are powerful enough to warp spaceitself. Huge fleets of spaceships fight bloody wars of attrition. Alien racesof two galaxies sort themselves into the allied, Lens-bearing adherents of"Civilization" and the enemy races of "Boskone."

Centuries pass and eventually the final generations of the breedingprogram are born. On each of four planets, a single individual is born whorealises the limits of his initial training and perceives the need to return toArisia to seek "second stage" training, including: the ability toslay by mental force alone; a "sense of perception" which allowsseeing by direct awareness without the use of the visual sense; the ability tocontrol minds undetectably; the ability to perfectly split attention in orderto perform multiple tasks with simultaneous focus on each; and to betterintegrate their minds for superior thinking.

As the breeding program reaches its ultimate conclusion, KimballKinnison, the brown-haired, gray-eyed second-stage Lensman of Earth, finallymarries the most advanced product of the complementary breedingprogram, Clarissa MacDougall. She is a beautiful, curvaceous, red-hairednurse, who eventually becomes the first human female to receive her own Lens.Their children, a boy and two pairs of fraternaltwin sisters, grow up to be the five Children of the Lens. Intheir breeding, "almost every strain of weakness in humanity is finallyremoved." They are born already possessing the powers taught tosecond-stage Lensmen, with mental abilities from birth that are difficult toimagine. They are the only beings of Civilization ever to see Arisia as ittruly is and the only individuals developed over all the existence of billionsof years able finally to penetrate the Eddorians' defense screens.

Undergoing advanced training, they are described as"third-stage" Lensmen, transcending humanity with mental scope andperceptions impossible for any normal person to comprehend. Although newlyadult, they are now expected to be more competent than the Arisians and todevelop their own techniques and abilities "about which we [the Arisians]know nothing."

The key discovery comes when they try mind-merging, which they have nottried since before their various third-stage trainings, and discover that thisis completely changed. No longer are they simply five beings in mental contactas before. Now they discover they can merge their minds into a hive-mind, toeffectively form one mental entity, a being with incalculable abilitiescalled the Unit. The Arisians call this the "most nearly perfectcreation the universe has ever seen" and state that they, who created it,are themselves almost entirely ignorant of almost all its higher powers.

The Children of the Lens, together with the mental power of unknownmillions of Lensmen of the Galactic Patrol, constitute the Arisians' intendedmeans 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 timein its existence, contains billions of beings who in total can generate immensemental force. The Children of the Lens add their own tremendous mental force tothis. As the Unit gather, they focus all power onto one tiny point of theEddorians' shields. Thus attacked with this incalculable strength andprecision, the Eddorians' strongest shields finally, after billions of years,are destroyed and the Eddorians with them.

The Arisians, with their child races successful and safe, removethemselves from the Cosmos in order to leave the Children of the Lensuninhibited in their future as the new guardians of Civilization.


Using the same fictional universe, but not concerning the central plot,Smith also wrote the Vortex Blaster stories, including "StormCloud on Deka" (June 1942) and "The Vortex Blaster Makes War"(October 1942) for Astonishing Stories.These stories and later additions were collected and published by Gnome Press as The Vortex Blaster in 1960 and laterreprinted byPyramid Books as Masters of theVortex in 1968.

This story collection can be explicitly identified as set inbetween Second Stage Lensman and Children of the Lens. Duringthe course of the story in Vortex Blaster, the protagonists make first contactwith a race of aliens known as the "Dhilans." During Children ofthe Lens, explicit reference is made to a "Dhilan Roadster" as a typeof vehicle, clearly setting the events in it after that first contact.

The story Spacehounds of IPC, while very similar to theLensman series in some ways, is not part of it. The technology and thelifeforms in the story can't be reconciled with the Lensman series so it mustbe considered a non-series, stand alone story.[citation needed]
In Larger Than Life, a tribute to E.E. Smith written by RobertHeinlein, and included in Expanded Universe, Heinlein writes:

The Lensman [series] was left unfinished. There was to have been atleast a seventh volume. As always, Doc had worked it out in great detail, butnever (so far as I know) wrote it down because it was unpublishable then. Buthe told me the ending orally and in private.

I shan't repeat it, it is not my story. Possibly somewhere there is amanuscript, I hope so! All I will say is that the ending develops byinescapable logic from clues in Children of the Lens.[3].

On July 14, 1965, Smith gave written permission to WilliamB. Ellern to continue the Lensman series, which led to thepublishing of "Moon Prospector" in 1966, New Lensman in1975 and Triplanetary Agent in 1978.

Three additional Lensmen novels that feature the alienSecond-Stage Lensmen (known as the Second-Stage Lensman Trilogy) werewritten by David Kyle, published in paperback between 1980 and 1983and reissued in 2004:

The Dragon Lensman (Worsel, the Velantian dragon)

Lensman from Rigel (Tregonsee, the enigmatic alien from the systemof the blue-white star Rigel)

Z-Lensman (Nadreck the Palainian, strangest of the three non-humanSecond-Stage Lensmen)

A fourth novel, which was to have told the story of the Red Lensman,was discussed, but never completed.[citation needed]

The events in these books take place between Second-StageLensmen and Children of the Lens[citation needed] and refer to eventsand characters in Vortex Blaster.

Kyle was a close friend and confidante of Smith[citation needed], and (with the oversightand approval of Smith's daughter, Verna Trestrail[citation needed]) intended his novels toevoke the style of the original series. However, Kyle's writing style is quitedifferent and his books stray well outside the limits Smith set[citation needed], for example portrayingsentient digital computers and female Lensmen.

[edit]Other appearances

In 1984, an anime movie titled SFNew Age Lensman was released in Japan. It wasreleased in North America by Streamline Pictures in 1990. The movie isnot faithful to the series, with nearly the only points of similarity being thenames of some of the characters, the "Good versus Evil" struggle, theouter-space setting, and the Lens itself, which possesses characteristicsdistinctly different from those given for it in the novels. It spawned aJapanese anime TV series as well as a comic book series published by EternityComics and another one from MalibuComics.

In addition, a Lensman appears in Robert A. Heinlein's Number of the Beast and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls,both of which refer to "Lensman Ted Smith" who interacts directlywith Heinlein characters such as LazarusLong and Hilda Burroughs.

In 2008, Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures began negotiations withthe author's estate for rights to film the Lensman series. The negotiations arefor an 18-month renewable option.[4] Atthe WonderCon convention in San Francisco inFebruary 2008, J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, confirmed thatHoward had acquired the rights and also hinted that he was involved in theproject as well.[5] On17 June 2008, Straczynski wrote that he had begun work on the project.[6]

[edit]Homages and parodies

With Smith's knowledge, the parody "BackstageLensman" was written by RandallGarrett in 1949.

Garrett also referred to the Lensmen in his Lord Darcy stories, in which similarlenses are the badges of the King's Messengers, invented by the wizard SirEdward Elmer (a reference to Smith himself)[citation needed].

In the DC Comics universe, the Green Lantern Corps bears many parallelsto the Lensmen, although its principal creators deny any connection (latercreators, however, would introduce Green Lanterns named Arisia and Eddore as an homage).

The GURPS role-playinggame includes a source book describing how to conduct a role-playing campaignset in the Lensman universe.

[edit]Planets and Places

The Lensman series takes place over a vast sweep of space and upon manydifferent 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 requiringhospitalization, which leads to his first meeting with Clarrissa MacDougall.

Aldebaran II, one of the first human-settled planets, is the scene ofseveral of Kimball Kinnison's adventures.

Arisia, one of the most ancient worlds of our universe, originallyEarth-like, is inhabited by the Arisian Elders.

Chickladoria, planet with a native humanoid species possessing pinkskin pigmentation and triangular eyes. Frequent references are made to the factthat they consider clothing optional. Chickladorians are described as"thinking on a wave" unused by most species in the galaxy, whichmeans that hostile telepaths (such as the Overlords of Delgon, below) maycompletely overlook them.

Delgon (Velantia II), located in the same system as Velantia,Delgon is home to the soul-devouring Overlords, bred by the Eddorian Gharlaneto prey on the Velantians of Velantia III.

Eddore, world inhabited by malevolent creatures from another space-timecontinuum. It is implied (though never stated) that the physical laws of thenative plenum of Eddore were grossly different from those of the Lensmen'suniverse; that the atmosphere was composed of elements that were different fromthose of our universe (it was explained that by the time they migrated to ourgalaxy, they had become completely independent of their 'native' physicalform). The Eddorians themselves were physically similar to various lowerEarthly life-forms, reproducing by fission, but by a process more similar to buddingthan to cell division, except that each being's memories were preserved intoto. The Eddorians were highly competitive, extremely long-lived and almostimpossible to kill by any mechanism known to their own science by the time theydecided to unify and search for planets in other universes to subjugate.

Jarnevon, world in Lundmark's Nebula, home of the Eich and theirinfamous "Council of Boskone," the first Eddorian puppet state topenetrate the First Galaxy. Destroyed at the end of Gray Lensman by beingcrushed between two "free" (inertialess)planets with opposite intrinsic velocities, inerted just prior to the points ofimpact.

Kalonia, a Lundmark's Nebula planet with a humanoid native race markedby cut-steel-blue pigmentation. As hard as their pigmentation suggested,individually they were the most able executives under the sway of Eddore. Theagents of Boskone in the First Galaxy, though reporting to Boskone, were typicallyfrom Kalonia despite its independent status as a center of Boskonianoperations. Discovered by Kim and Christopher Kinnison during Children ofthe Lens, its conquest was alluded to but never chronicled.

Klovia,a planet made into Civilization's first base in Lundmark's Nebula. The heavilyfortified home of the Children of the Lens.

Lundmark's Nebula, the "Second Galaxy,"which collided with the "Milky Way" or "First Galaxy" twobillion years ago, leading to the large populations of planets nurtured byArisia and discovered by Eddore. Home of the Eddorians, the Ploorans and themajor races of their empire, including the Eich, the Thralians, and theKalonians. Historical Note: KnutLundmark was an early 20th century Swedish astronomer. It is possiblethat Lundmark's Nebula is intended to refer to the Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte Galaxy, thoughLundmark made numerous other contributions to the study of other galaxies.

Lyrane II, home of a matriarchal civilization. Its dominant beings arewomen (or highly humanoid females) who retain their nearly non-sentient malesonly for breeding purposes (similar to Larry Niven's Kzinti). They referto themselves with the neuter pronoun "it". Lyranian women possesspowerful minds, capable of telepathy and of slaying by mental force, thoughthey do perform the latter by what is described as a "crude, childishtechnique."

Medon, originally located in Lundmark's Nebula, Medon was moved to theFirst Galaxy by its technologically-advanced natives with the assistance of theGalactic Patrol. Its people contributed extremely efficient electric insulatorsand conductors.

Nevia, the amphibious Nevians invented the first crude inertialessdrives appearing in the series. They warred on the Triplanetary League, buteventually joined Civilization when they realized that humanity was as advancedas their own species.

Nth Space, an alternate dimension, accessed by hyper-spatial tube, whereall matter is tachyonic, moving swifter than light. Ploor and Ploor's sunwere destroyed by planets transported from Nth Space.

Onlo (Thrallis IX), see Thrale below.

Palain VII, an extremely cold planet and home world of Second StageLensman Nadreck. Like all ultra-cold planets in Smith's cosmogony, theinhabitants 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 describeintelligent (and possibly other) species. On this scale, humans were classifiedas "AAAAAAAAAAAA" and Palainians as "ZZZZZZZZZZZZ." It isstated that a Palainian colony had existed on Pluto for millennia before theevents of First Lensman, suggesting that the Palainians may have had thefirst inertialess drive in the First Galaxy. Within the Second-Stage Lensmen,Nadreck's ultra-caution counterbalanced Kinnison's occasional near-recklessnessand it is suggested that, were the Palainians less cautious, their speciesrather than humanity would have given birth to the Third-Stage Lensmen.

Ploor, the first-tier planet of Eddorian puppets and the only one withdirect knowledge of the Eddorians. The leaders of Jarnevon, Kalonia and Thralewere, 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 highlyvariable sun, its inhabitants were evolved to morph their bodies on a preciseannual cycle, though none of their manifestations were even remotely human(their winter form was ZZZZ+ or nearly Palainian). The planet and its sun weredestroyed by planet-sized projectiles from the "Nth Space" dimensionwith intrinsic velocity greater than the speed of light.

Posenia (or possibly just "Posen"?) No description ofthis planet occurs anywhere in the books and even its name is not explicitlystated. However, it is the homeworld of "the Posenian surgeonPhillips", whose research enabled the development of regeneration technology.

Rigel IV,a hot, high-gravity world, Home of Second-Stage Lensman Tregonsee.
Tellus, or Earth. Home to the humans including the Kinnison and Sammslines.

Thrale (Thrallis II), the capital of theBoskonian Thrale-Onlonian Empire in Lundmark's Nebula. Theinhabitants were "independently"-evolved humans like those of Kloviaand many other worlds. They are ultimately traceable back to Arisianlife-spores permeating space at the time of the Coalescence.

Trenco, a planet where a major fraction of the atmosphere condenseseach night and evaporates each day, giving rise to exceptionally violentweather. The planet's plant life yields the illicit psychotropic thionite.

Valeria, a high-gravity planet where naturaldiamonds formed in great quantity, settled by Tellurian Dutchmen who developedimmense strength in response to the natural stresses of their planet, makingthem ideal space marines.

Velantia III, home of an intelligent, winged, reptilian species, ofwhich Second-Stage Lensman Worsel is a member.


Hyper-spatial Tube: A "tunnel" through hyperspace, allowing galacticdistances to be traversed in minutes, as well as allowing access to otheruniverses. Objects and people from different origin points meeting each otherin the tube pass through each other rather than interacting. The artificial,ultra-dense material "dureum" is an exception; it is therefore usedto create objects and weapons (axes, clubs, knives) capable of interacting withanything and anyone in a tube. Originally invented by the Eddorians and usedfor their explorations of other universes prior to their arrival in the Lensmanuniverse, it was given to the Boskonian subject races, and was eventuallydiscovered and copied by the Patrol. It has points in common with the modernidea of wormholes to link distant points inspace.

Inertialessness: Spaceships are able to vastly exceed the speedof light by eliminating the inertia oftheir mass. When the "inertialessdrive" (which does not actually provide propulsion) is turned on, the"free" (inertialess) ship instantly attains a velocity at which theforce of the ship's propulsion jets is matched by friction ofthe medium through which it travels (such as widely scattered hydrogenmolecules in the vacuum of space), avoiding the Einsteinianlight-speed limit on normal (inert) matter, and so attaining a speed of about90 parsecs perhour at touring speed and about 120 parsecs perhour at full blast. The vacuum of Intergalactic space is even more rarefied,and the speed there is about 100,000 parsecs per hour. An inertialess driveunit is called a "Bergenholm" after the scientist(actually an Arisian student appearing to be a human) who improved andperfected the original inertialess drive.

Conservation of momentum ismaintained; when the inertialess drive generator is switched off, thespacecraft's original velocity is restored. If a ship has traveled a greatdistance, inert maneuvering will be required in order to match velocityrelative to the local planet or moon. There are similar velocity-matchingdifficulties with ships docking in space, and in transferring "free"passengers from one ship to another.

Inertialess drive generators small enough for a single person are usedby Galactic Patrol staff. Patrol members can travel downward within tallbuildings, via drop shafts, by falling while inertialess. Some armored spacesuits haveindividual inertialess drives installed.

Screens: Spaceships are protected by several layers ofdefensive force field "screens",including the innermost and strongest "wall shield." Smaller vehiclesand even spacesuits can carry screens of lesser power.

Spaceships: The smallest are called "speedsters" or"flitters" and carry only the pilot, or a very small crew. They aregenerally used for scouting or covert missions. Larger military ships have designationsequivalent to early-twentieth-century surface naval vessels: Destroyerscruisersdreadnaughts (battleships),superdreadnaughts. In addition, there are "maulers", which are huge,slow-moving vessels so powerful they can attack planetary bases. Slower shipsare spherical; faster ones have teardrop shapes; the fastest of all are the"ultrafast" cigar-shaped speeders and later (Dauntless-class)superdreadnaughts.

Thought Screens: In a universe where many alien races havepowerful telepathicabilities, and even mind control is possible, thought screens can bea valuable asset. They are proof against penetration by even a second-stageLensman's mind. The Children of the Lens are able to bypass("think over or under", suggesting thought as aspectrum) or even, if necessary, penetrate any non-Eddorian thought screen, andin the final battle the Unit and the collected Lensmen penetrate even Eddorianthought screens.

Ultra-wave: Vibrationsin the "sub-ether", used for interstellar"radio"-like communications and detection. Ultra-wave travels atabout 19 billion times the speed of light. The use dates from the time of thelatter part of Triplanetary. Sean Barrett, in the GURPS Lensman game, hassuggested that ultra-waves form the basis for the so-called "vacuum tubes" used in the series.

Power Armour: While never explicitly given to supplying increasedstrength in the manner of a powered exoskeleton, armoured space-suitsavailable to both the Patrol and to Boskone nonetheless contain energy shieldsand inertialess drive units. Further, during the career of Kimball Kinnison(father of the Children of the Lens) a suit was fabricated in order to permithim to survive an assault upon the command centre of an enemy fortress which isquite obviously both armoured to the point where a normal man could not operateit and yet fully mobile, implying some form of load-carrying augmentation. Thiswould make it the first known example of powered infantry battle armour inscience fiction.

Power production: Prior to the extended version of thenovella Triplanetary for book publication, no out-of-the-ordinarypower technologies are described; however interplanetary travel with the shipsizes and capabilities implied requires terawatt powersources, so we can infer some version of nuclearfission or fusion power. After the advent of the Neviansand through the rest of Triplanetary, the primary power source forspaceships and planetary installations is the controlled matter-to-energyconversion of "allotropic iron", an allotrope ofiron which appears to be a dense, viscous, red liquid at room temperature.

By the time of First Lensman, allotropic iron is replaced byan unnamed form of atomic power. Uranium is mentioned, but not explicitly as anenergy source; it is a vital ingredient in the Bergenholm, however, not as apower source, but as part of the structure and/or circuitry. It can be inferredthat a total-conversion engine is used throughout that book, and the remainderof the series. It is noted that power production generates radiation that canbe detected by other ships at a considerable distance and cannot be perfectlyscreened. Stealth ships for covert missions can be fitted with large diesel generatingsets, capable of powering the Bergenholm and providing limited drive power forshort periods, so that the atomics can be shut down for sensitive parts of themission.

Atomic-power units appear to have a minimum feasible size whichprevents their use on installations smaller than a spaceship. The Bergenholmsand drivers fitted to personal space armour are powered by electrical accumulators, which despite their portablesize have capacities of many myriawatt-hours and whose charging loadrepresents a significant drain on the power stations of a less technologicallyadvanced planet such as Delgon.

By the time of Galactic Patrol and the later novels of theseries, no further developments of power technology have been described, butthe power systems' capacities are clearly based on refinements oftotal-conversion technology; early in Gray Lensman,the Dauntless is described as using "30 pounds per hour" ofpower while inertialess and running at full thrust. UsingE = mc2,this works out to 400 trillion (4×1014) watts of power (or, in terms of itsdestructive potential, 100 kilotons TNT equivalent per second). With the advent ofMedonian electrical systems following the penetration into the Second Galaxy,by the end of the series usable power on-board had been increased by anotherfactor of 1000.

Some time prior to the start of Galactic Patrol, the Boskonianshad developed a method of using their on-board power systems as exciters togather power from "cosmic energy" sources with an amplificationfactor of a million times the exciter power. The Galactic Patrol, capturingthis technology during Kimball Kinnison's first major assignment, notonly reverse engineered it for routine use, butalso developed shields and screens to block enemy systems from drawing thepower, and upgraded the power systems for their "Mauler" class ofattack vessels to defeat systems reliant on cosmic-energy collection.

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

Information processing: Computing technology as we understand itis practically unknown, being limited to slide rulesaddingmachines, and punched card tabulating machines. A"computer" is not a calculating machine but an intelligent beingperforming calculations by brain power with the assistance of theabovementioned limited aids. Large concentrations of computing power, asrequired by the C3 system of the PatrolGrand Fleet flagship Directrix, are implemented using squadrons ofRigellians, a naturally telepathic species, in mental communication with eachother. An explanation, of a sorts, has been put forth that this was because inthis universe the Arisians wanted the races of civilization todevelop their own mental powers and so they retarded the development ofadvanced Computing technology so they would have to develop their own mentalpowers to the fullest extent possible.


The science fiction sub-genre of "super-science" is nowheremore apparent in the Lensman series than in its (sometimes literally)world-shaking weapons.

Space-axe: The shields of space armour are capable of indefinitelyresisting the output of a blaster. Moreover, their resistance to materialprojectiles varies as the cube of the velocity of the projectile, renderingbullets also ineffective. To counter this, the space-axe was developed. It hasan axe blade on one end and a needle-sharp spike on the other and is shovedinto targets rather than swung. To increase its deadliness, the weapon may beinlaid with or even entirely composed of ultra-dense dureum (see"Hyper-spatial Tube" above).

Blaster: In First Lensman, the standard blaster pistol wasthe Lewiston Mk17. The main sequence of the series uses the DeLameter, a raygun sopowerful it can atomize its target and reduce a wall behind it to smokingruins. The aperture of the DeLameter can be opened so as to emit a wide andcomparatively less powerful cone of destruction or narrowed so as to emit apencil-thin and extremely intense beam.

Semi-Portable: The Lensman universe equivalent of aheavy machine gun, the semi-portable is a large beam weapon designed to becarried by more than one man. It projects a beam powerful enough to overcomepersonal defense screens (mounted on an individual's space armor) which cannotbe penetrated by DeLameters or other hand blasters. The semi-portable is smallenough to be used in a spaceship corridor, though it may need to be securedwith magnetic clamps.

Macro Beam: These ship-mounted beams can vaporize any matter inmoments. Only screens can provide any defense to these bluish-green beams, allnormal matter is instantly broken down into its component elements. The word"macro" refers to the fact that the beams operate using"conventional" wavebands, as opposed to the "ultra" bandsused by other beam weaponry.

Primary Beam: These became the primary weaponry of the warships ofspace. A Macro Beam projector is so massively overloaded that it burns outalmost instantly while emitting a beam much more intense than is otherwisepossible. Invented as a dying act of desperation by a Boskonian vessel (onwhich it killed each gun crew using the technique), it was adapted in morecontrolled form by the Galactic Patrol, using highly-shielded primaryprojectors whose spent emitters were ejected like massive shell-cases.

Secondary Beam: This is essentially the same technology as theprimary beam, but the projector is not used outside its continuous rating. Thebeam is of considerably lower power than the primary, but can be maintained foras long as a power source is available.
Duodec: In Galactic Patrol, the superior screens of aBoskonian ship are overcome with the power of theexplosive duodecaplylatomate, described as "the quintessence ofatomic destruction," whose power is comparable to a nuclear explosion asproduced by current real-world technology and has few of the drawbacks ofatomics: there is apparently no radiation danger, it is easy to handle, simpleto use, powerful and easy to detonate. Duodec is also used by the Boskonians toself-destruct their bases to prevent capture, by Kinnison to destroy MenjoBleeko's mining complex on Lonabar and in many other situations calling for anextremely powerful explosive.

Allotropic iron torpedo: The primary power source for Nevianspaceships in Triplanetary is the controlled matter-to-energyconversion of "allotropic iron," an allotrope ofiron which is a dense, viscous, red liquid at room temperature. In conventionalchemistry, allotropes are substances with the same atomic composition, butdifferent molecular arrangements. Thus,phosphorus occursin the allotropes white phosphorus and redphosphorus. However, these transformations are purely chemical and notnuclear. Smith's fictional allotropic iron can bemade to undergo nuclear conversion as a power source, analogous to the nuclearconversion of the catalyzed copper fuel rods of The Skylark of Space. Allotropic iron can alsobe "sensitized" so as to undergo uncontrolled matter-to-energyconversion under a suitable stimulus, thus producing an extremely powerfulexplosive. A torpedo carrying a sensitized allotropic iron charge is detonatedon Nevia in Triplanetary with devastating results. In later times,duodec is the atomic explosive of choice, perhaps due to its apparent greaterease of handling.

Negasphere: A sphere of "negative matter" first createdin Gray Lensman. In some respects its properties resemble antimatter. Ifbrought into contact with normal matter, mutual annihilation results, releasingan enormous flood of energy. But it differs from antimatter in that it absorbslight so that it is utterly black. tractor andpressor beams have reversed effects. Perhaps a negasphere is better describedas having properties of both negative matter and negativeenergy. The negasphere is an expression of the original Dirac Sea conceptionofantimatter by Paul A. M.Dirac as a "hole" in space which has been evacuated ofnormal matter (this is of course a gross conceptual simplification of Dirac'sideas).

Free Planet: An entire planet is rendered inertialess. If fittedwith massive power plants and screens, it can be used as a mobile fortress withenough power to easily brush off attacks by spaceships. If properly positionedand inerted, it can be used to crush an enemy planet in an extreme formof kinetic bombardment.

Nutcracker: In Gray Lensman, two "free planets" (seeabove) with opposing inert velocities were positioned on either side of anenemy planet. Simultaneously inerted, they crushed the other planet betweenthem. Such approach will crush even a "free" planet.

Sunbeam: In Second-Stage Lensman, an entire solar system isconverted to a vacuum tube, with asteroids and planets as grids andplates, to focus nearly the entire output of the sun into a beam capable ofmelting the surface of a planet in seconds. That's the conversion of 4.26million metric tons per second of matter into energy, or 9.15 ×1010 megatons of TNT per second. Thus, it is a defense against attacks by"free" planets, which are rendered inert when their Bergenholms(inertialess drive units) are destroyed. The Sunbeam is an ultrawave vacuumtube rather than a normal one. This is demonstrated by the fact that its beammoves faster than light and can be retargeted on different objects in the outerreaches of the solar system in a matter of seconds.

Nth-Space Planet: The ultimate material weapon inthe 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 mattermoves faster than light. There, a planet is rendered "free" (see"Free Planet" above) and moved via hyper-spatial tube into ouruniverse. The planet is then moved close into an enemy stellar system andinerted. The result is so violent that the Nth-Space planet launched againstPloor's sun makes it gosupernova, still radiating the energy of 550 million Suns several yearslater. It was so powerful, in fact, that there was a theoretical possibilitythat its mass would be "some higher order of infinity" and that theentire universe would coalesce around it in zero time (rather like aninstantaneous Big Crunch). Fortunately, Mentor of Arisia assured KitKinnison that "operators would come into effect to prevent such anoccurrence" and that untoward events would be limited to a radius of tenor fifteen parsecs.During the Battleof Ploor, an Nth-Space planet was launched against Ploor. A second planet waslaunched into Ploor's sun to destroy Ploor's remaining military forces in thearea.

Mind Killer: Never actually given a name, this tiny deviceconceived by Worsel and constructed by master technician Thorndyke produced avibration that caused the disintegration of a compound vital to thought in allliving beings. The effect was so deadly that Worsel and Thorndyke agreed thatKinnison was the only person who could be trusted with it and so presumablyonly one was ever made. It was small enough to fit in a ring or other jewelry,or even to be implanted in Kinnison's body.
[edit]See also

^ E.g., Astounding September1937 p. 34 vs. Galactic Patrol p. 42.
^ RobertA. Heinlein, 'Larger Than Life', Expanded Universe, Ace SF, Trade Paperback 1stEd., pp. 499
^ Staff(8 January 2008). "Imagine,Uni Eye Lensman Books". Sci Fi Wire. Archived from theoriginal on 2008-01-13. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
^ ErikAmaya (24 February 2008). "WonderCon:Spotlight on Straczynski". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
^ Straczynski,J. Michael (2008-06-17). "fromjms: research help". JMSNews, originally published on rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated.Retrieved 2008-12-05.
Barrett, Sean (1994). GURPS Lensman. Austin: Steve JacksonGames. 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'sGuide 24). Starmont House. ISBN 0-916732-73-8.
Heinlein, Robert (1980). Expanded Universe. New York: Ace Books. ISBN 0-441-21888-1.
[edit]External links
Old Earth Books Currentpublisher of the original E. E. Smith Lensman series, in facsimilereprints of the original FantasyPress editions
Red Jacket Press Publisherof the "Second Stage Lensman" Trilogy by David A. Kyle
Books-In-Motion Publisherof the Lensman Series in Audiobook Format
Triplanetary by E. E.Smith - Project Gutenberg - Several complete books, including thepre-Lensman version of "Triplanetary", available freely
manybooks.net FreeeBook of the pre-Lensman version of "Triplanetary" in multipleformats.

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