Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “First Lensman (Lensman, #2)” as Want to Read:
First Lensman (Lensman, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

First Lensman (Lensman #2)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  2,494 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
In the not too distance future, while fleets of commercial space ships travel between the planets of numerous solar systems, a traveler named Virgil Samms visits the planet Arisia. There he becomes the first wearer of the Lens, the almost-living symbol of the forces of law and order. As the first Lensman, Samms helps to form the Galactic Patrol, a battalion of Lensmen who ...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Old Earth Books (first published 1950)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
SHAZBOT...another bitter, CLASSIC disappointment. I’m not sure who E.E. Smith was sleeping with or what incriminating photos of the publisher he had stashed away, but this book is a stool sample. It started as a wonderful buffet of big ideas and interesting concepts. However, once digested and squeezed through the pen of Mr. Smith, it became eminently flushable.

From a historical perspective, this book has a strong pedigree as the Lensmen Saga is the series most often cited as paving the way for
"In the not too distance future, while fleets of commercial space ships travel between the planets of numerous solar systems, a traveler named Virgil Samms visits the planet Arisia. There he becomes the first wearer of the Lens, the almost-living symbol of the forces of law and order. As the first Lensman, Samms helps to form the Galactic Patrol, a battalion of Lensmen who are larger than life heroes. These solders are the best of the best, with incredible skills, stealth, and drive. They are de ...more
Jan 17, 2009 Matt rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction

One can see the great influence that this work has had on TV science fiction and comic books like the 60's/present day version of "The Green Lantern," but I'm not sure why.

Smith's writing is very stilted. It's worth it to muddle through this just to understand the scope of its influence, but I can't continue with this series. It's too dated and the writing is too poor.
Storyline: 1/5
Characters: 1/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 1/5

I read these 1950s pulp fiction classics more out of devotion to the genre than for the pleasure of the actual book. In most regards this typifies the space operas of the 1940s and early 50s: damsel, hero, and villain characters; choppy action sequences; and awful dialogue. In a couple of areas this is a vast improvement, however, over the Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp era. Smith spent a lot of his wordcount and effort on addressing potential
Aug 26, 2009 Zachary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Title: First Lensman

Series: Lensman, Book 2

Author: "Doc" E. E. Smith

Genre: Science Fiction

Smith continues his epic Lensman series in First Lensman. The Arisians are continuing to monitor and influence the development of four different races in the galaxy, specifically interested in the human race from Tellus (or Earth). Where Triplanetary, the first book in the series, literally took the reader back to the very beginning of the conflict between the Eddorians and the Arisians, describing the init
Aaron Slack
Feb 23, 2011 Aaron Slack rated it really liked it
The First Lensman

Classic space opera. It is hard to rate a book that has had such an influence on everything that came after it - Dune, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Ender's Game to name a few - so that it doesn't seem original at all. It is often compared to Asimov's Foundation, but I found the Foundation trilogy much more compelling, with a much deeper plot line. The writing styles are similar, and both are examples of what I call "Grand Humanism" in science fiction (man conquers the galaxy, etc),
William Rood
Oct 05, 2015 William Rood rated it liked it
Shelves: space-opera
Classic space opera, and very possibly the canonical example of the genre, as massive fleets assemble to create and defend civilization, whilst a hero is elevated to god like powers and abilities, and a new force to save the universe if established. No, this is not star wars, its Lensmen! Sadly, however, it is lost in the campy and often misogynistic rhetoric of the age Dr Smith lived in. The sense of Flash Gordon-esc / dime store novels / serial radio programs from the first installment still r ...more
Jul 15, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it
I found this book to be very much a product of its time, and would have said two stars except there is that spark of something more.

The style comes directly out of boys' adventure books, only the moralizing is tempered. Brains are extremely important, but so is brawn and physical perfection. A Real Man is at least 6 feet tall, a natural athlete, and at the top of his class. Physical beauty is usually linked to moral superiority.

E.E. Smith takes that one step further and makes the women also sma
Raymond Ford
May 02, 2014 Raymond Ford rated it really liked it
Shelves: old-time-sci-fi
OK - Well Triplanetary was a bit of a head scratcher, but definitely fun with the hardy-boys-esque adventure, but First Lensman is where this series starts to take off (clear ether). E.E. Doc Smith was a true sci-fi adventure writer. There are only a few in his class (i.e. Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein) who can let their space adventure imaginations run wild. Today I think things are more stilted...

In First Lensman we are allowed into deeper thought experiments with the introduction of the Lens
Aug 05, 2011 Blair rated it really liked it
The second installment in E E "Doc" Smith's wonderful series. Virgil Samms is contacted by an alien race - the Arisians - who do mental battle with the Eddorians. Samms is invited to come to Arisia, where he becomes the First Lensman. Equipped with his new, psychically attuned, personalized Lens, he searches the galaxy for other potential Lensmen - men of such high mental quality and impeccable integrity that corruption isn't in their nature.

But as with all things good, evil wants no part with t
Aug 01, 2009 Charles rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Some of the original Space Opera. I remember liking the Lensman books quite a lot as a kid but when I tried to rereading one as an adult it didn't do much for me. Still, I'm going to give them 3 stars. They were pretty full of action and adventure and imagination, but the writing is pretty bad in general
Oct 25, 2014 Barry rated it really liked it
The second book in what is IMHO the best Space Opera series of all time. Book 2 introduces the Lens and first lensman Virgil Samms.
The only bad part was the eBook was horrible. It was unacceptably loaded with typos and grammatical errors. If I didn't love the book so much I would never have continued reading it.
Megan Baxter
Dec 15, 2016 Megan Baxter rated it liked it
My expectations on sitting down to this book were not high. The previous Doc Smith book I'd read was not that impressive and had a bunch of casual racism, even though it was, for the time period, not too bad for how it depicted women.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Craig Frazer
Dec 27, 2016 Craig Frazer rated it it was amazing
Great read, getting momentum now :)
Norm Davis
Nov 20, 2016 Norm Davis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
First Lensman by Doc E.E. Smith. Read in 2016 on 6/1 to page 71, on 6/22 to page 107, on 7/7 to page 211 and completed it on 7/16. I liked it. I recommend it to classic science fiction fans.First Lensman SM
”First Lensman”
is a story that follows incorruptible heroic space adventurer Virgil Samms as he attempts to establish a military or police force to protect the civilization from those who would rather have chaos.

The idea in the Lensmen series begins when a alien species, the Arisians, so unbelievably advance
The Fza
BEFORE - Kimball Kinnison.
BEFORE - Helmuth
BEFORE - The Eich

There was "The First Lensman"

Virgil Samms has a dream! He wants to to build a better tomorrow. Not just for his planet, Tellus (Earth), but for all the world where beings want to live in peace. Virgil believes the best way to do this is by building a Galactic Patrol. But first he needs to have a symbol that is incorruptible by men.

In a future where a thief can be half-way across the galaxy in no time what the Patrol needs a badge that's
Simon Mcleish
Mar 12, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in August 2009.

The second novel in Smith's Lensman series, First Lensman is a unified narrative (unlike Triplanetary which precedes it). It follows on directly from the events of the first book, detailing the later stages in the fight against drugs and corruption led by Virgil Samms. (Samms plays a comparatively small part in Triplanetary, which was more concerned with the swashbuckling adventures of his sub-ordinates.)

The first half of the novel is an explan
Carl  Palmateer
Sep 28, 2016 Carl Palmateer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the earliest examples of space opera and a classic. A great yarn, as the saying goes. In today's world it probably won't go over well as it is a classic good vs. evil tale, the main characters are male or alien, the sex and violence understated. The main indictment most will probably have is Doc Smith knew the English language and used it to full effect. Words, phrases, clauses, paragraphs have purpose, meaning and nuance. These are some of the tools and aids to crafting a final product a ...more
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2015 Wise_owl rated it liked it
The Lensman series is classic in a way certain other thingsare. It, while not an establishes of a form, was in some way a sort of perfected embodiment of it. The rocketships and rayguns crowd were always sort of trying to be this, and yet itself, Lensman is often more than that.

First Lensman takes the broad strokes of the previous work, Triplanetary, and sets about stucturing the actual tale of the Lensmen. An extradimensional race called the Eddoreans have reached a point where they cannot dest
Aug 08, 2012 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The Lensman Series has been called the Lord of the Rings of science fiction. Honored and praised as the series that provided 20th Century science fiction with lift-off, nearly every trope, icon, plot of the genre can be found here. Epic space battles, space ships of every size and shape, aliens ranging from very human to totally... alien, good-guy aliens, telepathy, other dimensions, background settings spanning billions of years, planetary conditions from edenic to hellish...even robotics (afte ...more
Fred Loucks-schultz
I managed to get through this one with only a few eye-rolling moments. It's still more of the same, a product of the era in which it was written, with several casual assumptions about which particular social habits will still be around in the distant future (notably smoking and casual sexism). The Lens is finally introduced to the characters who make up the newly created Galactic Patrol and Galactic Council, and I'm still kind of at a loss to explain why this series is so revered among fans of s ...more
Nov 02, 2012 Rae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I'm planning to read many of the SF classics that I've never gotten around to. And by read, I mean listen to the audio book while I do other things since I obviously haven't wanted to sit down and read most of these books. Much of this book I listened to while designing an ultra modern Sims2 apartment complex. Although this is book 2 in the series - I have foolishly listened to it first and there was a bit of an issue with the first two chapters. They probably make much more sense in situ tha ...more
Laura (rose)
Feb 25, 2015 Laura (rose) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember who recommended EE 'Doc' Smith to me, but I'd never read his Lensman series.

I think? it might have been an Asimov on writing book [something along that title - maybe Asimov 'Gold' where he has many essays]. Anyway, these are a definite MUST for the sci-fi lover.

here's why
[1] they're set in a sort of alternate earth - meaning it's very familiar, but slightly different.
not enough to bother you as you read one way or another, and no need to learn weird words for food, or strange fl
Oct 28, 2011 Tyrone rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, reviewed
The 2nd prequel in the famous Lensman series. I'm guessing that Galactic patrol must have been published and been successful for these earlier serialised stories to pulled together into novels in thier own right. As i didn't discover these books until many years after they were published i have always simply read them in order and considered Triplanatary and this novel to be 1 and 2 of the series.

This 2nd novel falls more into the pattern of the later books with far less scene setting than is ev
Michael Lehrer
Nov 12, 2015 Michael Lehrer rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2011 Phillip rated it really liked it
This book started out slow, in fact I was ready to bail on it, then it turned a serious corner and started to take off. If you can make it through the first - oh, 4/9 of the book - the rest justifies it. It's interesting reading this, written as it is, in the style of the early part of the 20 century. Additionally, if you're listening to the book, the voice talent really gets that old time "announcery" tone to his voice when doing Virgil Sams character so you seriously need to dig and/or at leas ...more
Jack Bell
Apr 03, 2014 Jack Bell rated it it was ok
Please note that I haven't read the four next Lensman books. While it was filled with good ideas, First Lensman does not flow that well. I can understand having the Patrol split up and follow a number of trails in their quest for justice and universal peace, but it wasn't handled well. You'll spend two chapters building up a political intrigue with cloak and dagger activities going on, and before it can be completely resolved, you're suddenly flung around to learn about space mining. Those chapt ...more
Michael Durant
Not great!

About halfway through I discovered that this is actually the sequel to the prequel to the Lensman series. Which actually explained and clarified alot of the problems I'd been having with the book.

The prose is lacking for the most part, although I liked Jack's lines when he's describing Hazel DeForce to Mase. The plot meanders, trying to hit what I assume are chronological checkpoints for the Lensman mythos. This is most painfully evident when Jill describes the first female Lensman.

Sep 17, 2014 Blue added it
I heard this book is very much like Green I'm going to check it out...

I a little ways into this book...and it is really difficult to follow. And boring... I think a lot of sci fi books rely on a cool concept to be interesting instead of great characters and prose. I have not gone back to this book for a while...don't know if I ever will...

I see now that this is the 2nd book in the series. (I was fooled by an sale that claimed it was the first in the series.) Maybe if I g
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Dragon Lensman (Second Stage Lensman Trilogy, #1)
  • The Legion of Space
  • Tactics of Mistake (Childe Cycle, #4)
  • The Planet Buyer
  • Key Out of Time (Time Traders / Ross Murdock #4)
  • Armageddon 2419 A.D.
  • The Big Time
  • Red Planet
  • Genesis
  • The Butterfly Kid
  • Kalin (Dumarest of Terra #4)
  • Prelude to Space
  • Wolfbane
  • House of Zeor
  • Starrigger (Skyway, #1)
  • Who?
  • The Witches of Karres (The Witches of Karres, #1)
  • The Palace of Love (Demon Princes, #3)
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)
  • Galactic Patrol (Lensman, #3)
  • Gray Lensman (Lensman, #4)
  • Second Stage Lensmen (Lensmen, #5)
  • Children of the Lens (Lensman, #6)
  • Masters of the Vortex (Lensman, #7)

Share This Book