Reviews: Lensman

A series that gets too much flack. Also, don't start with Triplanetary

I'll start this review with an advice for who is interested in these books:Don't start with Triplanetary, because Triplanetary is just a prequel to the main series,which starts with Galactic Patrol, it gives away the whole story and the writing is alot more cheesy than the rest of the books.

Despite being a major Trope Codifier for the Space Opera genre, Lensman is often victim of some criticism along with snarky and witty comments around the internet and i think this is a little unfair. Now, i understand where all the criticism and snark comes from, the Lensman books didn't aged very well unlike other stories from the early 20th century like Jonh Carter From Mars by Burroughs, The Cthulhu Mythos by Lovecraft or Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard. Smith's writing tends to be clunky, most of the characters are cardboards, the Black and White Morality and the Arisian breeding program thing may seem racist and Nazi-ish to some people and that Kimball Kinnison guy may appear as a full blown Gary Stu due to being very good in many things and receiving one upgrade after another throughout the series.

But keep in mind that these were stories written in the 1930's by a man born in 1890 and published on pulp magazines, so you couldn't really expect something like The Foundation series by Asimov.

Where the series succeeds is in the huge scope, universe building and entertainment. Smith's starships and weapons were huge and highly imaginative, the aliens weren't just humanoids and had a very peculiar anatomy, the scale of the space battles were really impressive for its time and the series itself was a really entertaining and enjoyable ride for me, there was some cheesy Techno Babble but all the action around it was usually gripping and, as a big Green Lantern fan, i couldn't dislike the concept of the Lens and the Galactic Patrol.

It is interesting to know that J.Michael Strackzinsky the creator of Babylon 5 and former writer of Spiderman is a big fan of Lensman and he tried to make a Lensman movie, but unfortunatly the project was dropped after several years of development hell.

Bottom line, don't pay much attention to the flaws and enjoy this space adventure.