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Gray Lensman

(Lensman #4)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  3,085 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Somewhere among the galaxies was the stronghold of Boskone - a network of brilliant space-criminals whose hunger for conquest threatened the continued existence of all known civilization.

But where was stronghold? Boskonian bases were scattered across the universe - shielded by gigantic thought-screens that defied penetration. The best minds in the Galactic Patrol had tried
Paperback, 306 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Old Earth Books (first published 1940)
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,085 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, space-opera
Sometimes, I'm a fool. I thought, perhaps, that the "so called" golden age of sci-fi before Heinlein would be as painful to read as the old Jules Verne. I even tried to read the first ten pages of the first book of the Lensman of E. E. Smith PHD and cringed down to my soul. I was thinking that nothing would be worth the pain of reading this trash. And yet, all of my favorite past couple of generations of sci-fi authors swore by the old doc, and there are still generations of readers that are sur ...more
This is an old science fiction series and I have experienced difficulty in finding all the volumes at the appropriate time. As a result, I had given up on finding this volume and went ahead and read the remainder. Then surprisingly, just before Christmas, I found Gray Lensman in my local second-hand book store. Being a bit of a completionist, I grabbed it and added it to my stack of sci-fi for 2015.

In all honesty, it was an unnecessary exercise—Gray Lensman is very similar to the book before it
Mary Catelli
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
The continuing tale of Boskone and Kimball Kinnison.

In the opening, he recounts to the Admiral and another high official that he does not know if Boskone was annihilated by their attack. The rest is the somewhat episodic adventures of working out that they did. And fighting onward.

Eichlan speaks for Boskone here -- a harsh, pitiless cold-blood race of Eich being those trying to control the galaxy and rip Civilization's position away. Kinnison poses as both a high society man and as an asteroid p
Roger Dane
Recently I have been revisiting some of the classic science fiction that I read as a teenager via audiobook. I remember the Lensman series fondly and so was looking forward to revisiting the worlds of the Tellurians and Boskonians.

I one way it's still the same. Heroic men and gorgeous women. Space wars spread across galaxies. Evil bad guys. The plot rattles along to it's inevitable climax (good triumphs, hero gets girl).

The one thing that really struck me is how badly written this book is. The p
The Fizza
I'm sure this had happened to everyone, you learn about something new to you and start seeing aspect of it everywhere.

It's like when you watched Monty Python and realize... 'Yes! That song I've heard everywhere was in this movie' or 'That's where SPAM, the term for unwanted in emails, came from' (or maybe that's just me).

If you have experienced something like that, which how can you not have, than you'll understand what I was feeling when I first learned about these Lensmen books, of which we w
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, space, audio
2.5, rounded down for being somewhat tiresome {though expected for a work from almost 80 years ago}. It reminded me of what would later be The green lantern core with a bit Buck Rogers. It does deal with various questions such as the individual and its relation in society and different societies as a whole. Unfortunately this swashbuckling across the stars had a tendency to be somewhat overly pompous in today's {my} eyes.
PS I have not read the previous books in the series, which may have diminis
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Grey Lensman is the fourth book of the Lensman series and written by E.E. "Doc" Smith in 1940.

Despite being the fourth book, I started reading with this book. Currently I’ve just started listening this book, but it has an interesting story. There were two ancient species and they have millions of years history.
I’ve great expectations from this book.

Update: 25.05.2015
I’ve finished listening this novel, as I said above I’ve great expectations but the whole story did not satisfy me. It is a nice n
I've been reading a lot of books from this era recently and I have to say that even for the time it feels markedly old fashioned. The storyline has trouble keeping focus, the characters overwrought and the whole thing was less an exciting space adventure than talky info-dumps and capture-escape padding. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if it wasn't my first foray into the Lensman stories but I don't think so.
Essentially the plot is a police officer doing an undercover investigation into th
Jan 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
The continuing lensman saga. It is interesting to watch the introduction of "new" scientific concepts into these books as they were developed. This one adds the concept of the positron which had just been discovered in 1932 a few years before this book was first published. Its kind of funny to see the wildly fantastic science and make-up of space smith put together be sidelined by something even more fantastic such as the positron. Bummer the other closely spaced dimensions and hyper and under s ...more
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-space-opera
One of the best so far
Simon Mcleish
Mar 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in November 1998.

By the second Kimball Kinnison Lensman book, the fourth in the series overall, the path to the final conflict between the Arisians and the Eddorians is set. Each remaining book now contains the downfall of one or more of the races in the lower echelons of the Eddorian scheme of things, with Smith bursting his imagination to come up with every more spectacular weapons to destroy the planetary headquarters of these races. In Grey Lensman, these
This was my first of the Lensmen series. I've had the first in the series on my multi-paged reading list for ages, but wanted to read this one before the nominations for the Retro Hugo this year.

I like space operas as a group. This one satisfied on some levels. I did begin to like the main characters as the book progressed, but characterization wasn't really the main aim for Smith, I feel. The science was too prevelant for my tastes, but when you're reading print (ereader) you can skim when it g
Don (The Book Guy)
Gray Lensman is the 4th in Lensman series written by E. E. "Doc" Smith. This is pure space opera and is not for everyone. This set of novels covers generations as earth moves out into our galaxy and eventually to a neighboring galaxy. There are ancient highly developed beings helping our development and fighting an equally ancient purely evil set of entities. The book is low on science and high on action. The series was written in the 30's and 40's and reflects that time with women for the most ...more
Mark Kinney
Mar 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
The things you can do when you learn to manipulate inertia... This is probably the grittiest of the Lensman books thus far, with the hero having to go to some dark places to track down Boskone. And as much as I've come to dislike the "he needed killing" thought in characters, at least the Lensmen have the necessary conceits to do it.
Kimball Kinnison has defeated Helmuth of Boskone, the pirate leader. However this does not end crime in the galaxy; indeed there is evidence that Helmuth was in contact with the “Second Galaxy” aka “Lundmark’s Nebula”.

Kinnison, on the assumption that all crime is being run by Boskone, decides to go undercover to infiltrate the drug trade, which is not only unaffected by the end of Helmuth but expanding. It turns out he’s right. The drug operation was run separately from the piracy*, and takes ov
Paul Magnussen
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.

Gray Lensman begins where Patrol left off, and never flags, from the start to the finish.

Smith at this point is a massively improved writer from the author of the earlier Skylark series, and much more confident in his characters: Richard Seaton, for instance, never has the moments of self-doubt that trouble Kinn
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
So I've said I love the ingenuity of the series, the fact it paved the way for Star Wars, Star Trek, The Green lantern Corps and so much space opera that was to follow, and just the fondness of it blowing my mind as a kid. All that's true but this volume isn't the pride of the fleet.

It reads very much like a James Bond story (impressive enough since this considerably pre-dates Bond) but in this book the dialogue and tech descriptions are probably at their most tortured. I guess no-one expects d
Jan 05, 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 diver
Steve Swayne
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This is part of a series and a lot of the early part of the book and sections later on provide extensive exposition of earlier plot lines, which I found less entertaining. There are several sections such as the asteroid miner and final battle which are pure SF gold. Amazing that this book was written just prior to WWII, the man had an astonishing vision of the future years ahead of his time. Little in the book feels dated or superseded by current tech and science. Well done Mr Smith.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jedi Order vs Kingsman much slower but gets good, This book has got to be one of the original sources for the Jedi council being the police force for the Galaxy, written in 1940 if George Lucas ever read it, I can see the general Idea is all there, I was lost at first then the book got much better at the end, then I reread the beginning again and liked it much better. This is a good read, and if you do let me know if you agree about the Jedi thing.
Carl  Palmateer
Early space opera, great fun, somewhat dated. Generally any comments about one Lensman book apply to all. Rather than repeat my comments from earlier books in the series let me add here that the Lensman universe is a hard, unforgiving place with a very high body count. Of course when the fate of civilization, the universe and perhaps everything beyond in at risk stern measures are called for.
Jason Pym
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Rollicking 1940s space opera / pulp science fiction. Our hero is Gray Lensman Kimball Kinnison, who uses his lens-enhanced telepathic powers to defeat the evil Cthulu-esque Overlords of Delgon.

It rocks.

Note: Mentions humans regenerating limbs “like starfish”, I thought this was a much later idea.
Susan Moch
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read in series

Loved the book. This is a great series. However, as with the prior book, again there are an enormous number of very obvious typos. Feels like this series was rushed out without proofreading.
Lalita L. Amos
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good BUT......

EE Doc Smith’s epic tail continues in grand fashion.This particular rendition o the Grey Lensman is missing several adventures that are just hinted at. As such it is a disappointment to not have the full adventure. The story continues.....-GABII
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Takes up where the previous Lensman novel leaves off. The Boskonians are still a menace, the location of their home planet, Boskone, is unknown, and Kimball Kinnison's mission is to hunt them down. Great space opera!
Dayo Johnson
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed this opera, well worth the read
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Not quite as good as the previous novel but still entertaining.
Robert Morganbesser
Just o.k.

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.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a little slow in the beginning. Very hard to put down for the last fifty pages. I like the ending.
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Goodreads Librari...: Gray Lensman page number correction 2 131 Jul 09, 2016 11:58AM  
  • The Dragon Lensman (Second Stage Lensman Trilogy, #1)
  • Derai (Dumarest of Terra, #2)
  • The Dragon Masters
  • Tactics of Mistake (Childe Cycle, #4)
  • The Dark Light Years
  • Carson of Venus (Venus, #3)
  • The Rings of Saturn (Lucky Starr, #6)
  • The Silkie
  • Tunnel Through Time
  • Iceworld
  • Sixth Column
  • The Humanoid Touch (Humanoids, #2)
  • The Halcyon Drift (Hooded Swan, #1)
  • Quest of the Three Worlds
  • Four Day Planet
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)
  • Second Stage Lensmen (Lensmen, #5)
  • Children of the Lens (Lensman, #6)
  • Masters of the Vortex (Lensman, #7)