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Triplanetary (Lensman #1)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  3,330 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Eddore and Arisia fought desperately to control the Universe. The ultimate battleground was a tiny, backward planet in a remote galaxy--Earth.

And only a few Earthmen knew of the titanic struggle--and of the strange, decisive role they were to play in the war of the super-races.
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Published February 15th 2006 by Books in Motion (first published January 1st 1934)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Forrest
I've heard people rave about how Doc Smith's work was one of the early space operas and that it influenced many later science fiction masterpieces. This may be true, but I'm thinking that just because it was influential, doesn't mean I have to like it. And I don't much.

It's been pointed out by others that this book hasn't aged well, and maybe that's my problem with it. Then again, the Hardy Boys haven't aged well, and I still (guilty pleasure alert) like some of the series. But I read those as
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Manny
Reading Bishop Barnes's rather interesting Scientific Theory and Religion earlier this evening, I was reminded of E.E. Doc Smith's dreadful space opera series. Both authors, writing in the early 30s, are extremely concerned about current theories of planetary formation; this was the period when most scientists believed that the Solar System started when another star had a near miss with our own sun, dragging matter out of it by tidal forces. I am kind of surprised that so many people took this t ...more
Michael
Don't trust my rating of this book; it's part of my childhood, when I read it over and over again, and I have no way of objectively rating it.

For reasons I no longer recall, I got rid of these books at some point, probably during a house move when I was trying to de-clutter. I found all seven in the series in a second hand book shop a few years ago and, struck by nostalgia, I bought them all. Reading them again, I found that the clunky writing, the cardboard characters, the outdated social mores
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Stephen
1.5 stars. Classic "space opera" by one of the fathers of the genre. First in the Lensman Series. Not horrible (though the dialogue at times made me wince), but I didn't really like either. This seems to be the weakest entry of the Lensman saga though it does set the stage well for the later novels.
John
I'm not terribly ashamed to admit I like Doc Smith, since I'm in good company (see Robert Heinlein's "Larger than Life"). Heinlein's apology for Smith covers most of the usual criticisms: the hackneyed dialogue, the Mauve Decade values, the liberal use of space opera stereotypes such as bug-eyed monsters (although note, please, that these hadn't been overused yet during Smith's time).

But I secretly hope that, in a different life, I too might wear the Lens....and in any case, to be a credit to th
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Adam
I only heard of the Lensman series recently. In his introduction to the copy of Foundation that I just read, Isaac Asimov said he was surprised when his series won the Hugo Award for best series of all time in 1966, because he was sure J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings would win. (This didn't make sense to me, since Tolkien's work isn't sci-fi, it's fantasy, but whatever.) The other series that were up for consideration were Robert A. Heinlein's "future history" series, Edgar Rice Burroughs ...more
Shannon Haddock
This review is of the shorter, original version, because I somehow grabbed that one instead of the other one from Project Gutenberg.

Whether or not Triplanetary is a good book depends on one’s expectations, I guess. I was expecting, due to it’s age, a pulpy adventure. That’s exactly what I got. If you are wanting something more cerebral or otherwise more suited to modern tastes, I suggest reading something else.

The characters are pretty much archetypes, but such wonderful examples of them that I
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Simon
I had heard that this series had dated badly but didn't think that would be a problem for me but I think for once it was. It's not just that the science that has dated (and boy has that dated), it's the dialogue too. 1930's American slang really began to grate on me after a while and demonstrates a truism I think; steer clear of the slang (either real or imagined) because, no matter how cool it might seem at the time, it will only look silly in years to come.

But at the end of the day, it's not j
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Jaime


I tried to like this, I really did. Some books age well but this one does not stand the test of time. I can see the seeds that planted in later sci-fi authors and there are some great ideas here, but I found it was poorly written and at times the author really didn't seem to know where he was planning on going and it meandered a lot.
Jim
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who didn't like or want to understand 'Campbellian' SF. It's not bad, especially a book or two into the series. After that, it gets to be a bit much.
Laura
Jan 02, 2013 Laura marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I made it to page 23 before yelling in frustration and deciding to give up.

I added this book to my list a few years back. I think I read a blog or something on io9 about how this was quintessential sci-fi and a must-read for all lovers of sci-fi. I was under the impression when I started that it was new(ish) literature.

My copy was not this copy. My copy was about 11x11", had exceedingly strange formatting (it looked like someone just copy-pasted a website and pressed print), and was completely
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Tyrone
I just recently unpacked some books i have not read for some time. My collection of E.E.Doc Smith novels, written in the 30's and 40's, was among them and i thought, 'it's about time to re-read those bad boys.' Starting with the most famous books, the Lensmen series.

I originally read them as a teenager, where i found them on the shelves of 2nd hand book shops, the likes of which are unfortunately far too rare these days. You know the type...books piled high in no specific order but loosely piled
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Bill Wellham
Triplanetry, the first book of the epic Lensman series, by E E Doc Smith. What else can I say which hasn’t been said before about these glorious old novels? This is the real golden age of science fiction.

I have always had a fondness (fascination) for early science fiction art; in particular those old pulp magazines like ‘astounding stories’ etc. I love those images of silver teardrop shaped spaceships, battling with atom-splitting ray guns, together with brave men in brass and leather space sui
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Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in July 1998.

This, the first of the Lensmen series, is a real classic of science fiction. In common with Smith's Sklyark series, it set far wider horizons for SF than readers were used to; not just interplanetary, but interstellar and intergalactic in scope.

In many ways, the series defines science fiction as the genre it is considered to be by outsiders: it is not great literature, but it is exciting; it uses space travel and the idea of war in space; it is m
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sologdin
Nutshell: first third chronicles intergalactic duel between super-species, through proxies on earth, mostly; remainder involves virtually unrelated space opera contest between overachiever earthlings and trespassing pisceans.

Advertised as the first Lensman book, I’m not really seeing any of the items made famous by that series. Opening section indicates that super-species brought down Atlantis and Rome, and then are involved with the three world wars of the 20th century. No idea what all that ha
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Corytregoart
Jan 24, 2012 Corytregoart rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People curious about early science fiction.
Shelves: science-fiction
I've read this book one and a half times. I read it all the way through a couple of years ago, and made it only half way through a few years before that.

This is a book of an earlier, ostensibly less-complicated era. The good guys are ruggedly competent man's-men with hearts of gold and their innocent, supportive wives and girlfriends. The bad guys are pure dastardly bastards. Smith sets up this stark contrast between good and evil in the first chapters as he sets up this universe's iconic mythos
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Paul 'Pezski' Perry
I have to give the Lensman books at least four stars for their nostalgia value, and that they began me on a life of love for science fiction. I'll have read them first in my very early teens, probably around the time of the original Star Wars trilogy, on which they are no doubt a huge influence. I think these are probably the finest of 'Doc' Smith's ripping space adventures - powered by derring do and the fight for justice, with square jawed heroes and their beautiful women, a World's Fair-type ...more
Fintan
Supposedly the granddaddy of all space opera, I was steered onto EE Doc's series hoping to do find the great opus that inspired everything from Babylon 5 to the Green Lantern. Unfortunately, the years have not been kind to this dusty piece of 30s pulp.

The stories were apparently standalones to begin with, but rewritten and retconned into his big lensmaster series to cash in. This isn't done very successfully, especially in the first few where it all seems very tacked on. Yet even were it all see
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Angie
Did I finish this? Honestly, no. And I don't think I ever will. I got more than halfway done, which I think was an accomplishment, considering the writing. I understand that this is important in the sci-fi canon, and that it was a precursor to many other sci-fi developments. But it is basically pulp fiction, and being that I had no nostalgic connections to it having read it the first time this year, I got nothing out of it. The hysterical woman, the "manly" men, the constant psychedelic action - ...more
Mike
For a pulp sci-fi novel, it's very well-written. What became tedious to me, though, was scene after scene of vast, hideous destruction, described in pretty much the same terms every time, and in such a way that it somehow failed to be horrible.

What I mean is that hundreds, thousands or millions of humans or aliens were being killed, and because they had no names and no faces and the named characters were all stiff-upper-lip about it, the horror of war was minimised and it became mere fireworks.
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Capmarvell92
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 u
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Jim Melanson
I described this book to a friend as "antebellum south" meets "Buck Rogers". I kept envisioning the action as an old black and white sci-fi, with cultural modesty, social rules and male/female sterotypes. I loved the directness in the dialogue and the manner in which the author evolved the character of Clio. At times I though it just unbelievable that Costigan was so awesome and so capable but then I remembered this was written at a time when heroes were much bigger and brasher than life. Heroes ...more
Zachary Machardy
Reading this on the recommendation of a friend, lent to me when I lamented my inability to find good, straightforward, sci-fi.

Written by a PhD (in food science!) right after WWII, Triplanetary is definitely a product of its time. The first half of the book drags a bit, as the author vomits exposition (largely a detailed history beginning before the creation of the planet Earth) onto page after page, but it eventually settles into a narrative groove. Once it does, it follows the endearingly campy
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Joseph Millo
At age 12 I suddenly became an avid reader when I discovered science fiction. Over the next couple of years I read just about every SF book in the local library, among them E. E. Smith’s Skylark and Lensman series. After recently reading a string of VERY mediocre self-published SF novels from Amazon, I decided to reread (55 years later) Triplanetary, a precursor to the Lensman books. It is an old-fashioned space opera with an element of romance. Unfortunately, this second reading revealed that E ...more
Jeff Stockett
I really liked this book. It did take me a little while to get into it, but once I did I was really hooked.

I love the idea of epic stories, histories that span the eons. This is just such a story. Eddore and Arisia have been in conflict since before the dawn of man. Unknowingly, many of our battles throughout history have actually taken place on a larger galactic stage, and have had puppet strings pulled by greater masters.

I loved the idea of the galactic power struggle. I loved how it shaped hu
...more
Brenda
Difficult to rate this, really, since early 20th century science fiction is more about the past -- our real world past -- than about any given future.

Triplanetary brings together some short stories and a novella set before the events of E. E. "Doc" Smith's "Lensmen" series. Fairly little is needed to know about the other books, though this sets up the heroes whose bloodlines will become important in the later stories.

Manly men with steely rocket gazes able to invent any needed thing instantly, a
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Ken Doggett
According to some of the other reviews of this book, the story presented here is not part of the "Lensman" series. I've never read E. E. Smith, so I'm no expert on his other writings; this book, however, is below par even for its time. The book I read was published in the late 1940s; I understand that some of the stories might have been published in magazines during the 1930s. I compare any book of this period to John W. Campbell's writing, which had little characterization and lots of action. T ...more
Gareth Rowlands
Like a number of other reviewers, I'm afraid that I found this book to be so outdated that it spoiled any fun to be had in reading it. Horrible writing, outmoded ideas and terrible gender stereotypes are just a few of the major issues to overcome. There's a lot of action - once the first six chapters are waded through - as befits a space opera. However, the constant glorification in machismo and testosterone was just too irritating to put up with.

I read this as part of a plan to go through a lar
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Larry
Well I'd heard about E E Doc Smith years ago and looked forward to eventually reading some but this wasnt what I was expecting at all. I found it quite tedious past the halfway mark, but stuck with it and kind of enjoyed it in the end. I've been informed that its not the best Lensman book by far so there is the hope that things get better with the rest of the series!
JHG Hendriks
The story started out okayish, but ended awful.
This isn't science fiction or space opera, but more science drivel.

Even the fact that he story is old isn't an excuse as HG Wells and.Jules Verne show.

I have no idea why this series is included in any list of "good" SF.
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4477395
E.E. "Doc" Smith
Edward Elmer Smith
Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.
More about E.E. "Doc" Smith...
Galactic Patrol (Lensman, #3) Gray Lensman (Lensman, #4) Second Stage Lensmen (Lensmen, #5) First Lensman (Lensman, #2) Children of the Lens (Lensman, #6)

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