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Galactic Patrol (Lensman #3)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,911 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
The Galactic Patrol has been given the ultimate weapon in its war against the evil pirate Boskone: The Lens. But even though the Patrol's Lensmen are the most feared peacekeepers in the galaxy, they aren't quite sure how to use their unique gift. Things are about to change, however. Kimball Kinnison has just graduated from the academy, and now that's he's earned his Lens, ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 237 pages
Published April 1974 by Pyramid (first published 1937)
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Dec 16, 2008 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dreadful space opera trash - none the less, this book holds a special place in my heart because of the circumstances in which I read it. I discovered E.E. Doc Smith when I was 8 (this is the right age to appreciate him), and was so entranced that I brought Galactic Patrol with me to school so that I could read the exciting conclusion during morning break. A few days later, I was mortified to hear my teacher tell my parents how cute it was that "I was pretending to read this adult book that was o ...more
Mary JL
Apr 16, 2009 Mary JL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any SF fan but especially if you like classics of SF
Recommended to Mary JL by: Found it myself at age 15
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
This is listed as Book 3 in the Lensman series but it was actually the first written. It appeared originally in the Sf magazines. When the series was later issued in book form Smith re-wrote parts of Book #1 Triplanetary to strengthen it's coonection to the series and book @2 First Lensmen was written AFTER Galactic Patrol.

So, If you are curious about the Lensmen series, read book 3 first. You can go back and read the prequels later. This third book is where the action really starts to pick up.

Mary Catelli
A classic of the space opera genre, perhaps the defining type. Originally published as a serial, which shows in its rather episodic structure. Like overthrowing a tyrannical race when you're on run for your life with vital information. . . .

It opens with Kimball Kinnison graduating as a Lensman, and receiving, with the rest of his class, the powerful Lens, which is also an unforgeable ID and proof that its bearer is incorruptible. Shortly thereafter, for his first post, he is offered command of
William P.
May 17, 2011 William P. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know, I really was beginning to think that there must've been a wholly different standard of judgement back when this series came out. I mean, Triplanetary was a mess, a decent mess, but a mess nevertheless. I couldn't even get into The First Lensman because it read like a mix of responses to criticism and a first draft of notes being converted into a novel. It just didn't work for me, though I am going to get back to it at some point now that I know not to give up.

You see, supplicants, Gala
Oct 04, 2009 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I admit I read this when I was an adolescent many years ago and picked up quite a few Doc E E Smith books second hand - leading me to re-read this series (and check it out for possible reading for my children)

The fact is that while some of the science in this series (some over 50 years old now) is dubious or incorrect - and some of the attitudes reflect gender roles and thinking of the period - the stories and thinking behind this work is ground breaking and still reads well. The reality is
Things I love and hate about The Galactic Patrol specifically and the Lensman series in general:
1. There is nonstop action in these books.
2. There is no doubt who the heroes and villains are.
3. The heroes have no doubt or moral ambiguity as the rightness of their cause.

1. The feminist in me cringes every time a female character is introduced.
2. These books are written of teen boys, and I am far from that.
I can’t help that I enjoy these novels so much they are not well written, but I can’
Jul 21, 2014 Kat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The audio book has an intro. At first, it's a little interesting - talking about the historic environment in which this novel was written, and discussing this series relative to several of Smith's contemporary authors. Then it gushed about the story in a way that made me begin to get cross, OK, yes, on with the story then, please! And then it began to tell me what happens in the story. I shouted "WHAT?!" and turned it off. On inspection, there's not a chapter break that will let me skip the intr ...more
Norman Cook
I read this book because it was nominated for the Retro-Hugo Award. The last time I tried to read an E.E. Smith book I was so traumatized by the convoluted story and bad writing that I literally stopped reading fiction for several months. This time I managed to slog my way through to the end of the book. I know Smith is revered as a pioneer of science fiction, but his stuff just does not hold up to modern standards, if it ever did. The purple prose is so bad it leaks into the ultraviolet. Here’s ...more
The Fza
Imagine you are Humphrey Bogart in the 1948 film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre... But instead of prospecting for gold, you are prospecting for books.

You just looked up and down the Library stacks for some great Science Fiction books and can't find a thing. Then you happen to look straight down to see you're standing on stacks for "S" (as in Smith)...

There it is, right under your feet: Galactic Patrol: The Lensman Book 3.

Just like Bogart did, you pick it up and realize what you were standing
Wow, can you say space opera? If you like action and really don't care about characterization or description, this is the series for you! Published in the 1930's, you can really tell that black was black and white was white in people's eyes back then. No antiheroes, no pondering whether it was right to blast away the enemy. The protagonist, Kimball Kinnison, is a square-jawed, handsome wunderkind, just graduated from Galactic Patrol school and yet somehow put in charge of all kinds of missions o ...more
Mark Kinney
Apr 20, 2008 Mark Kinney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a way, I see in the predecessors to Galactic Patrol a "prequel problem" that exists in a lot of properties. I noticed, especially in First Lensman, a definite invincibility to the main characters which added to my somewhat muted outlook on those books, almost a determinism pointing toward the third book of the series.

Then came Galactic Patrol, which was, if I recall correctly, the first of the Lensman series proper, and about halfway through the book, that invincibility gets dashed. That made
Andrés Diplotti
I tried to give this a fair chance, out of sheer historical interest, but I had to give up at page 60. Better books are more deserving of my time. The plotting makes no sense, the narrative pacing is way off, the purported heroes keep acting like villains, and the writing is plain bad.

Not to say that there weren't good moments. My favorite is the "he explained unnecessarily" in the middle of an info-dump by the main character.
Julie Davis
I simply couldn't resist this book, solely based on John C. Wright's nonreview of it. Classic space opera with purple prose is a particular weakness of mine. I was returning a book to Audible and so chose this to use up my refund credit.

Ho hum. I found this captured my interest only here and there, most notably when the hero was up against the head pirate. Otherwise, everything came much too easily to the hero ... which was probably fine in serial form, which was how the book was origina
Kest Schwartzman
it was good clean fun till Kinneson got promoted to Jesus (I mean, to gray lensman)
"Galactic Patrol" is book 3 of the Lensman series. It is classic science fiction and people gush over E.E. "Doc" Smith. This third book is reasonably good, but it has not caught my imagination. I'm giving up on it about 25% of the way through. It is simply not for me.

I prefer classic SF by A.E. van Vogt such as The Empire of Isher: The Weapon Makers/The Weapon Shops of Isher Perhaps that is due to his ideas. His ideas capture my imagination, whether I agree with them or not.

I also prefer classic
Oct 23, 2015 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wide audience with the usual vintage sci-fi reservations in moderations.
Envision hammy acting. You've probably come up with an image of William Shatner as Captain Kirk, haven't you. Well, now take that ludicrous level of hamminess, put it in an author's mind, have him write a book that's also about extremely implausble spacetravel, and publish that book. That would be this book.

What do I think of it? Well, it originally being a collection of short stories published in the late thirties in a science-fiction pulp magizine, it is definitely starting to show its age. De
Nov 13, 2015 Amelia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, classic, action, space
Wow, I have really mixed emotions about this one...

On the one hand, I really enjoyed it. I mean, as epic space opera goes, it's right up there. I was attached to Kim as a character (eventually), and was rooting for him to defeat Helmuth.

On the other hand, sexist much? Yeah, yeah, I know, when this was written things were just that way. Uh, this took it a step beyond in places. There were literally NO female characters until the end of the book when Mac is finally introduced and is treated and ev
Exactly what I expected. Classic early space opera as the redoubtable Lensmen of the Galactic Patrol battle with the dastardly pirates of Boskone. Nothing in this book is small. Everything is coruscating or ravening or speeding at impossible speeds. Even the spacesuits of the Patrol can travel at many times the speed of light--and the ships can cover parsecs in mere moments.

EE Doc Smith is about as close as anyone got to being the father of space opera, and writing in 1937-8, it's not at all sur
Shannon Appelcline
Oct 22, 2014 Shannon Appelcline rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Though I can see why this book is a classic, I also found it a very hard read, and was rarely able to read more than 20 or 30 pages at a go as a result.

The book's biggest problem is that it's very, very compressed. Huge plot details blow by in a whole chapter. As is usually the case, this was paired with very flat characterizations. You get a slight impression of who the protagonist of the book is, but that's about it.

This combines with a few other issues. First up, there are some uncomfortable
3.5 to 4 stars.

1939 Retro Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel
William Rood
Oct 05, 2015 William Rood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-opera
Finally, a solid offering by Dr Smith. While technically the first book written in the series, when it was novelized, he rewrote some portions of Triplanetary, and added book 2 to join and tie the story elements of book 1 and 3 together. This is true space opera at its best, with massive battles, crazy technology, ever increasing stakes, and ultimately the entire galactic civilization at risk from Helmouth and his Boskoians.

Especially great is the trope (was it a trope even back then?) of slidi
Jun 18, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is book 3 and the first book of the original Lensman series. From here on out they will only get better.

I have to confess I have read this series 5 times over the last 20 years. Its a classic I keep on my shelf.
Elijah Kinch Spector
Where the Lensman story really picks up. Like all of Smith, the writing is a bit hokey and simplistic at times, but if you don't want anything too deep you can have alot of fun. There are many things that he did first in sci-fi.
Oct 23, 2008 Jddgames rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first stories published so the first one to read. From 1937. Neatly predicts Star Wars & Star Trek but is better than both.
Jul 18, 2014 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The entire Lensman series is a complete masterpiece of the space opera genre. Highly recommended.
Zachary Machardy
Jun 21, 2014 Zachary Machardy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As "Doc" Smith begins to write the protagonist that (to my understanding) will be used in at least several books to come, the series really begins to come into its own as less of a speculative history and more of an interesting narrative. If you like campy sci-fi, ironically or otherwise, this would be an excellent book to pick up. Some very misguided and slightly humorous obsession with the skeleton-as-doorway-to-the-soul pseudoscience, for kicks. And more spaceships guided at FTL speeds by int ...more
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 comm
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Grimm
Sep 06, 2012 Steven Grimm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The granddaddy of all space operas, and, to my thinking, a much better place to dive into the series than book #1. (Books #1 and #2 were published later, and spoil some of the surprises in the remaining four; I think the series is much better read in publication order than in chronological order.)

This isn't great literature that plumbs the depths of the human soul, but it sure is fun. It's from the 1930s and shows its age in a lot of places -- if you're looking for gender equality, you won't fin
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in September 1998.

With the third of his Lensmen series, Smith introduces the man who will be the hero of the next four books - Galactic Patrol, Gray Lensman, Second Stage Lensmen and (to a lesser extent) Children of the Lens. Kimball Kinnison is the one for whom the Arisians have been waiting and working, the culmination of the human breeding programme they set up many centuries earlier. Galactic Patrol deals with the earliest stages of his career, from his g
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: Galactic Patrol by E.E. "Doc" Smith 60 46 Nov 15, 2015 08:47AM  
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Edward Elmer Smith (also E. E. Smith, E. E. Smith, Ph.D., E. E. "Doc" Smith, Doc Smith, "Skylark" Smith, or—to his family—Ted), was an American food engineer (specializing in doughnut and pastry mixes) and an early science fiction author, best known for the Lensman and Skylark series. He is sometimes called the father of space opera.
More about E.E. "Doc" Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Lensman (7 books)
  • Triplanetary (Lensman, #1)
  • First Lensman (Lensman, #2)
  • Gray Lensman (Lensman, #4)
  • Second Stage Lensmen (Lensmen, #5)
  • Children of the Lens (Lensman, #6)
  • Masters of the Vortex (Lensman, #7)

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