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Galactic Patrol (Lensman #3)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,471 Ratings  ·  109 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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Nov 24, 2008 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
Nov 30, 2008 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.

William P.
May 12, 2011 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 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
Micky Neilson
This book was recommended as part of my research while writing Ridgerunners, as it covered some similar material (mainly space pirates). The language is dated and sometimes humorously anachronistic. It's a fun read, though, and one I would especially recommend for fans of hard sci-fi. It's part of a series, so readers may want to go to the first book in the "Lensman" series to start.
John Yelverton
It is extremely obvious that this book/series was the inspiration for both "Green Lantern" and "Star Trek", and that alone makes the book worth reading. The negative side is that the book is extremely dated, the characters use a highly contrived and corny jargon/slang, and this book has, hands down, the most abrupt ending that I've ever read.
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 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
Mark Kinney
Mar 29, 2008 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
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
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.
Jun 18, 2008 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.
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The entire Lensman series is a complete masterpiece of the space opera genre. Highly recommended.
Oct 23, 2008 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.
Kest Schwartzman
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
Paul Magnussen
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doc Smith’s Lensman series is one of those strange cases where almost everything the reviews say — both good and bad — is true. The key lies in the sentence found in so many of them: “I first read this when I was a kid”. I think we all retain an affection for things we loved when we were young. Nonetheless, it would be a big mistake to think these books hold nothing for adults — I’ve introduce them to an adult friend who enjoyed them immensely.

I, too, first met Kim Kinnison when I was a kid, in
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joshua Pike
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The lensmen series is arguably the first real space opera series. If you are a science fiction fan you owe it to yourself to read it, for historical reasons if nothing else. Not that you should only read it for that, the series is a classic for a reason. While I could not fully describe it here I will list out what is more unique about it, and what sticks in my mind.

One thing that was a driving force of the series was the development of technology, specifically weapons and other systems on ships
Anya Leninjav
It's been years, but I finally got around to reading Lensman #3/#1, "Galactic Patrol".
The plots are heavily telegraphed or simply pulled out of the air - there's virtually no buildup or lead-in, simply stuff that was obviously going to happen or stuff that happens completely out of nowhere.

The characters are extremely wooden and the dialogue is bizarre, with most of the characters sounding like the same person. Smith (at least in this book) has a lot of trouble giving characters unique voices or
Carl  Palmateer
You do have to read it as what it is, dated, classic Science Fiction, some of the first space operas. As a kid the local library was stocked with Heinlein so Doc Smith was a late discovery for me. Thus I read it a bit differently, skim through the fights, the to & fro of the science duel (in the background I keep hearing Tim Allen "More Power, More Power!) and concentrate more on the social structures, the large clashes, the, for then, novel problems and solutions. Its great fun for a light ...more
Austin Wright
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five-stars for this work (technically Skylark) being one of the first Space Operas ever. I decided to read the two prequels ("Triplanetary" (1934) and "First Lensman"(1950)) before beginning the first novel: Galactic Patrol (1937).

Smith's style is (just barely) a precursor to Heinlein, and it is wonderful to read the novel within that mental-framework.

Out of the first three novels, my favorite was Triplanetary!

Ryan Case
I can definitely see where a lot of "new" science fiction got inspiration from this series whether they realize it or not. There are long sections of the story that have the characters stuck in a location or predicament for what I feel are way too long but, overall, I feel the story was well told and leaves a lot open for the next story to pick up.
Susan Moch
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Story. Too many typos.

Love the series,but it seems they really rushed it into publication. There are multiple stupid typos through out the book -- for example, an "l" instead of a period "." several times. There are Too many to even try to report. However, it gets to the point where you know the errors and can ignore. And, it IS a good read.
Hal Rodriguez
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally got to read to Galactic Patrol. It's a remarkably hard book to find. It's a fun, nostalgic read. The title here at GoodReads marks this as the third in the Lensman series. Don't be fooled, it's the original Lensman book published in 1937. Triplanetary sometimes referred to as the first in the series was not part of the series until the author retcon-ed it into the series in 1950.
Thomas Haynes
Great story but too many typos

I've been a big fan of the Lensman series since I was a teenager. I've re-read it many times over the years in print version. Unfortunately, this version has so many typographical and transcription errors that it distracts from the story. My rating would have been 5 stars except for the errors.
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: Galactic Patrol by E.E. "Doc" Smith 60 49 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)
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