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Galactic Patrol (Lensman #3)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  3,085 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
The Galactic Patrol's Lensmen are the most feared peacekeepers in the Galaxy. The "Lens," a telepathic jewel matched to the ego of its wearer, is the ultimate weapon in the war against the merciless pirate Boskone and his forces of lawlessness. The only problem is the Galactic Patrol isn't sure how to capitalize on the Lens' incredible powers, but new graduate Kimball Kinn ...more
Paperback, 273 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Old Earth Books (first published 1937)
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Nov 24, 2008 Manny rated it really liked it
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
Nov 30, 2008 Mary JL rated it really liked it
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.

William P.
May 12, 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
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
Oct 04, 2009 Mark rated it liked it
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
The Fizza
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
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
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
Jun 03, 2014 Kat rated it it was ok
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
Mark Kinney
Mar 29, 2008 Mark Kinney rated it really liked it
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
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’
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
Andrés Diplotti
Dec 07, 2015 Andrés Diplotti marked it as abandoned
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.
Elijah Spector
Jun 29, 2007 Elijah Spector rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
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.
Jun 18, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 23, 2008 Jddgames rated it it was amazing
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.
Kest Schwartzman
Jul 08, 2016 Kest Schwartzman rated it it was ok
it was good clean fun till Kinneson got promoted to Jesus (I mean, to gray lensman)
3.5 to 4 stars.

1939 Retro Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel
Feb 26, 2017 Mike rated it it was ok
This series may be a classic of the genre, but I don't think it's really very good. The science is silly, characterization thin, and seems to have to top the last one, by silly means.
Richard Roberts
Jan 11, 2017 Richard Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, really well paced, kept me chasing through the plot to a great ending. Next one please!
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2017 Adwaen added it
Best if read as part of the series.
Jul 12, 2014 Capmarvell92 rated it liked it
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
Simon Mcleish
Mar 14, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it
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
Oct 22, 2015 John rated it really liked it
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
Steven Grimm
Sep 06, 2012 Steven Grimm rated it really liked it
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
Nov 08, 2015 Amelia rated it liked it
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
Shannon Appelcline
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
Apr 15, 2015 Doc rated it liked it
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
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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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