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Second Stage Lensmen

(Lensman #5)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,845 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Kim Kinnison, Number One man of his time, had faced challenges before - but rarely one as daunting as this. To him fell the perilous task of infiltrating the inner circle of Boskone, stronghold of galactic civilization's most deadly foe. Kinnison had to become a loyal Boskonian in every gesture, deed and thought. He had to work his way up through the ranks of an alien ...more
Paperback, Golden Age Masterworks, 320 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by Gateway (first published 1953)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  2,845 ratings  ·  71 reviews


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Bradley
I'm reading this mainly because it's on the ballot for the retro Hugos for 1953 and, incidentally, I've read the fourth in the series already because it keeps being put on the "best SF ever lists". (I don't think it should be, but I may be a minority.)

Moving on.

I cringed a lot while reading this. Mostly I just went intellectual and pointed at all the Kirk-like alpha gets the alien girls swooning for him, the pleasure planets that pretend not to be (nudist planet of women, anyone?), or the
...more
Sandy
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I mentioned in my review of "Gray Lensman," Book 4 of E.E. "Doc" Smith's famed six-part Lensman series, that installment, although it followed its predecessor, "Galactic Patrol," by mere seconds storywise, was actually released over 1 years later; 20 months later, to be exact. Book 5 of the series, "Second Stage Lensman," would follow the same scheme. Although the events therein transpire just moments after the culmination of Book 4, readers would in actuality have to wait a solid 22 months ...more
Wanda
"Kim Kinnison, Number One man of his time, had faced challenges before - but rarely one as daunting as this. To him fell the perilous task of infiltrating the inner circle of Boskone, stronghold of galactic civilization's most deadly foe. Kinnison had to become a local Boskonian in every gesture, deed - and thought. He had to work his way up through the ranks of an alien enemy organization, right into the highest echelons of power. Then it would be he who issued the orders - orders that would ...more
Gar
May 24, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a slog. Like most of the Lensman stuff, it's hard to rate as a whole, since each book was originally serial, and some bits are a lot less sloggy than others.

Refresher on the landfill metaphor: being 1940s sci-fi pulp serial, reading it is an archaeological dig into a landfill. There are layers of quaintness, which any science fiction turns into with time enough. There are layers of rollicking awesome, where action moves along at a good clip. And then there are layers of painful
...more
Trystan
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hope the finale isn't a let down. This was an adventure.
blake
Doc Smith continues the adventures of Kimball Kinnison, Lantern Corps, er, I mean, Lensman Corps tier 2, and while he keeps the interest coming, he's definitely got himself into a situation where the Lensmen are always one step ahead of the bad guys.

There's not a lot of suspense, in other words. One is almost inclined to relate to the bad guys, as their plans are thwarted easily and they struggle to figure out what's going on with their heretofore stable society. If previously Kim assumed the
...more
William Rood
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-opera
This one lacked the page turning cadence of the first four, as the repetitive nature of the plot, simply expanding upon the previously established story elements. By the end, Civilization controls both galaxies, the evil threat has been extinguished, and the Red and Grey lensmen settle down for a new life. All the while, the Arisians manipulating the chess pieces of the Civilization to achieve the ultimate goal.

There are very cool elements, the ever present increasing technology (they are now
...more
Thomas
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of aventure tales, star wars and green lantern fans
Though not the finest of the Lensman novels, it's close. And the first one I ever read. While outrageous and big in every sense, it still manages to channel a sense of amazement on its every purple exposition. Bold adventure! Ray Guns! Space axes! Horrifically alien sadists! A planet of naked ladies! And all wrapped up in the charming argot of long long ago. All Space Opera since owes a considerable debt to these bigger-than-life adventures. Great, garish fun!
Michael
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The Lensman series simply keeps getting better with each volume. This one is just relentless.
NeilWill
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second Stage Lensman kicks off just where Grey Lensman finishes; Kinnison is walking off into the sunset with Clarissa MacDougall and they’re going to get married. Like a complete arse Mentor of Arisia interrupts them and tells Kinnison to think. He does and realises that because he lives in a universe designed for MAXIMUM SPACE OPERA he needs to do something first.

Turns out he hasn’t defeated and destroyed Boskone and their next obvious step is to attack Tellus, the somewhat idiosyncratic
...more
Warren Fournier
Bad writing, fair story, high adventure

Aside from the terrible e-transfer loaded with mistakes in this version, the fifth book in the Lensman series grew more annoying than it had a right to be.

This novel takes off right from "Gray Lensman." For those who haven't read that entry, you may want to skip this paragraph. So, our hero is just about to take long-time love-interest Nurse Macdougall off to get married and for a well-earned vacation when the voice of Mentor the Arisian rudely interrupts
...more
Warren Fournier
Somehow, the fifth book in the Lensman series grew more annoying than it had a right to be.

This novel takes off right from "Gray Lensman." For those who haven't read that entry, you may want to skip this paragraph. So, our hero is just about to take long-time love-interest Nurse Macdougall off to get married and for a well-earned vacation when the voice of Mentor the Arisian rudely interrupts like an angry school teacher ready with the ruler. Mentor tells him to "THINK, YOUTH!" What Mentor
...more
Paul Magnussen
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I (and many others) believe the best place to start with Doc Smith’s Lensman series is Galactic Patrol; and as I’ve said why, at length, in my review of that opus, I won’t repeat it here.

Furthermore, if you’ve already read Patrol and Gray Lensman with enjoyment, you’ll hardly need my urging to continue.

This is nonetheless probably the weakest of the four main Lensman novels, mainly because of Smith’s often-noted discomfort with female characters. It is a curious reflection on his powers as a
...more
Steve Prentice
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to reread this series for its nostalgic value having read the books many years ago and remembering how much I had enjoyed them.

At first I was a little disappointed but as the series has developed, I have come to realise just how good the whole story is, which is why I have given this book 4 stars rather than the 3 I gave to the previous 4 volumes.

Smith writes entertaining and clever science fiction. For modern readers it is necessary to overcome how dated the science and technology is,
...more
Warren Dunham
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ok this is the books i was reading the series for(hugo nomination). Some of the things i write here are for the series as much as this book, but I wanted to write my thoughts down.
This book (and series) is the height of the pulp era. its entertainment with all fluff there are only black hats and white hats, the science is all just for show. The Over the top galaxy spanning story (if relatively small cast) and metaphors and descriptive text really payoff.
The series suffers from mild racism and
...more
Rex Libris
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the end of the previous book, the Patrol thinks they have eliminated the Boskone organization that would enslave all of the universe under its evil will. Unfortunately, it was not the case that the organization was eliminated. The head of Boskone had two parallel command structures that knew nothing about one another, and the second command structure was still fully functioning and up to know good.

While Boskone did have the second structure functioning, it was severely weakened from having
...more
Thomas Haynes
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book, too many typographical errors

Second Stage Lensmen, along with the rest of the Lensman series is space opera at its best. I've read and re-read it many times since I was a young teenager.

Unfortunately, this edition is riddled with typographical errors and transcription mistakes to the extent that it distracts from the story. It's obvious that no effort was made to proofread the transcription before publication. These errors are the reason I did not give it 5 stars.
David
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First read this and the whole Lensman series in the Seventies, and every so often have re-read them. Don’t bother with so called book 7 - Masters of The Vortex - as it’s not part of the main narrative and only very vaguely related.
Books 1 to 6 though are cheesy, space opera through and through, sheer popcorn entertainment with sweeping galaxy wide plots and the clunkiest dialogue and prose this side of Alpha Centauri.
Don’t read if you’re after hard-boiled sci-fi but if you just want some
...more
Gregg Kellogg
Even bigger and louder explosions! Superlatives can't keep up in the dialog. This is pretty much definitive first-generation space opera. Smith does not get the sense of scope and expanse of even the solar system, not to mention this or the second galaxies. But, rollicking good fun, as long as your expectations are set appropriately.
Darci
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been a fun series. I still laugh at slide rulers coming out when calculations are needed and the fact some ships host their switchboard operators, but then wonder at the main weapon "sun ray" which grabbed energy from a sun and pinpointed it at their enemy. Sounds like a 1930's version of the Star Wars Death Star to me! The story continues to be enjoyable!
Nicholas Whyte
Jun 17, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3028741.html

I got two thirds of the way through Second-Stage Lensmen before I realised that I was appalled by the prose, didn't care about the characters and was not even slightly excited by the plot.
John
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, got into this one, too, and still do, for all it's faults.
Anne
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the ending. Romantic.
Carl  Palmateer
Part of one of the first space operas. When you sit back and realize the staggering death count that slipped past you because the deaths weren't described in today's overly graphic terms....
Guenter
More of the same (see my review of Grey Lensman) . Looking forward to the grand finale in the final instalment- Children of the Lens.
RICK FORREST
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great spiraling space opera. Awesome.

For lovers of old classic sci do thrills. Precursor to star wars. Great villains and intrigue with mental powers as the extra sauce.
James Hein
Almost at the end of the main arc
Andy
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One from one of the Fathers of science fiction. Love how he writes and how archaic the written word can sound in these pages. This volume completes my Lensman collection.
Mhorg
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times, a yawner

I really feel this series peaked with galactic patrol. It's kind of repetitive and the characters are fairly two dimensional. Worsel the Velantian is my favorite.
Dayo Johnson
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this, even the sloppy romantic sections didn't spoil the action.
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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.

Other books in the series

Lensman (7 books)
  • Triplanetary (Lensman, #1)
  • First Lensman (Lensman, #2)
  • Galactic Patrol (Lensman, #3)
  • Gray Lensman (Lensman, #4)
  • Children of the Lens (Lensman, #6)
  • Masters of the Vortex (Lensman, #7)