Fridge / Lensman

Fridge Brilliance
  • I wondered for years why Galactic Patrol spent page space having Kinnison make contact with the inhabitants of Trenco and learn that they were sentient, and recruit them as assistants for the Patrol, when that only facilitates a minor plot point (the bulk harvesting of the thionite for the attack on Helmuth's base) that could easily have been resolved another way. For over a decade, I thought it was just another way of showing how awesome Kinnison's mental powers were growing. Only recently did I realize that the real point of that sequence is to show why Trenco continues to exist at all. Trenco's unique ecology and atmosphere is the only origin point for the galaxy's single most dangerous and addictive substance, and the Patrol spends vast expense (and takes casualties) every year patrolling it against thionite runners who come to harvest the stuff, and yet still can't entirely succeed. And thionite trafficking is a significant chunk of Boskonia's profit margin. And in the very next book, the Patrol gains possession of planetbusting weapons. Rather than keep up the costly and deadly anti-thionite patrol, it would have been far simpler to just throw the entire planet Trenco into the sun... except that if Trenco has innocent bystanders living on it, who can't live anywhere else, then the Patrol can't do that!