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Gray Lensman (Lensman #4)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,802 Ratings  ·  75 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
...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Old Earth Books (first published 1940)
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Bradley
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
Wanda
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Gar
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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Ugur
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
...more
Chris
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
...more
Rob
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
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
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Kathy
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
...more
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.
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.
Gary
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Not quite as good as the previous novel but still entertaining.
Roddy Williams
‘Duel to the Death in Outer Space

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 civilisation.

But where was this 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. And failed. Now it was up to Lensman Kim Kinnison, using his fantastic powers, to inf
...more
Jim
I looked this author up and was excited to read that this is a true master of the stone age of SF. Smith is the father of Space Opera and was read by the masters and they paid homage to him. What I didn't know was that this was serialized in issues of a SF magazine, and it shows.

Bear in mind that this is a Best of SF book read-through from bottom of the list to the top. And at #98 I wasn't expecting much. The Narrator is enthusiastic and pounds through the 19th century prose pretty deftly (I lo
...more
Neil
May 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
Found this in a bargain bin in an antique bookshop in Kamakura, which was random enough for me to pick it up. I'd always wanted to read some Lensman, as I'd heard there were some corking ideas in the series, and, sure enough, although many of the notions portrayed in the book were dated now, some of the ideas that Smith comes up with were interesting - like using planets in what amounts to slingshots...!

Mind you, the outdated cultural/social mores were pretty exhausting. Took me a while to finis
...more
Norman Cook
Jul 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Retro Hugo Award Finalist

This is marginally better than Galactic Patrol, but not by much. 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. In addition to Smith's stereotypical characters and implausible plot, the odd sentence construction, overuse of obscure (and made-up) words, and wooden dialog make this a slog to get through.

Smith’s space cadet Kim Kinneson is the model of squeaky-clean superpowered whiteness tha
...more
Mark Austin
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
★ - Most books with this rating I never finish and so don't make this list. This one I probably started speed-reading to get it over with.
★★ - Average. Wasn't terrible, but not a lot to recommend it. Probably skimmed parts of it.
★★★ - Decent. A few good ideas, well-written passages, interesting characters, or the like.
★★★★ - Good. This one had parts that inspired me, impressed me, made me laugh out loud, made me think - it got positive reactions and most of the rest of it was pretty decent too.
...more
Chip
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: top-200-scifi
Maybe it was because I started with the fourth book in the series, but this book was difficult to understand. Smith's descriptions are overly complicated and he sometimes make up words for the situations. This book is out-dated and is similar to the Flash Gordon series - a single man is able to do what the whole multiple galaxies is unable to do (in speed, intelligence, ideas, etc.) Plus even though the enemy is suppose to be more advanced than "our side" they make simple mistakes, one after ano ...more
Raymond Ford
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-time-sci-fi
Grey Lensman (1951) is probably the last of the Lensman series I will read (just because there's so much else out there), but let me say that this was a fantastic book! It was all out war between Galaxies involving 2 million ships (and that's just on the good side)! It showcased total mind control (freaky) and body regeneration (sci-fi trend setting) among many other concepts. Love E.E. Doc Smith!
Jim
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
borrowed from rob: 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.
William Rood
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: space-opera
The ladder that leads towards the final conflict was established in book 3. The Arisians versus the Eddorians chessboard starts to remove pieces, bit by bit, lead by the intrepid Kimbell Kinnison in his ever increasing technology war. While using a similar device as the previous novel, a boss behind the boss, it was entertaining and enjoyable read.

I was drawn to the fact that this storyline probably influenced so many writers over the generations.
Bria
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'll be honest with you. I basically didn't read this book. I listened to the audiobook, and although initially it seemed like some interesting ideas might be involved, I found I kept tuning out as I walked through my dismal life, and then every time I tuned back in, there was some sort of egregious romance going on. Maybe I just have abysmally bad timing, and the entire rest of the book was captivating and brilliant, but I couldn't hear any of that over all the kissy-kissy.
Michael
Apr 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Yes, Doc Smith is a man of his time. Doubtless, people will find his books cheesy and cliched, not to mentioned sexist. Of course, he *invented* the cliches and his women characters were still decades ahead of their time, but never mind.

Still, few do pulp sci-fi better than Smith. The book is highly entertaining and an easy read. Can't wait to get through the rest of the series.
Jeff Daly
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Reed McCollum.

It was pretty great. Did it influence the Green Lantern backstory? Not that I'm a fan of the Green Lantern. Apparently this is book 4 of the Lensman series, so I shall read some more!

started: 2015-03-29.Mar.Sun 11:31:35
finished: 2015-04-01.Apr.Wed 23:48:27
duration: 10h:31m:09s
Titus Fortner
Dec 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Superman protagonist; knows everything, the best at everything. The hero's hero. Lots of ray guns, and force shields, and all the techie stuff you would expect from serialized 1930's pulp science fiction. There is very little character development, and the plot is over the top, but it is seminal Space Opera, and fun enough for escapist fiction.
Linn Browning
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I enjoyed this book better than its predecessor because there was a hint at romance. Granted, she shows up early and vanishes for the bulk of the book, but knowing she was out there was highly enjoyable.
Steve
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Interesting read ..... very sci-fi pulp-like .... a fusion of "hard" sci-fi and sci-fi pulp you'd expect in magazines like "Astounding Science Fiction." A little obtuse at times, or it could just be my reaction to Dr Smith's writing style. Overall a good read.
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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)
  • The Dragon Masters
  • The Dark Light Years
  • Tactics of Mistake (Childe Cycle, #4)
  • Needle (Needle, #1)
  • The Winds of Gath (Dumarest of Terra #1)
  • The Rolling Stones
  • City at World's End
  • The Legion of Space
  • The Seedling Stars
  • Sight of Proteus (Proteus, #1)
  • Orphan Star (Pip & Flinx #3)
  • Brain Wave
  • The Beast
  • The Stars are Ours (Pax/Astra, #1)
4477395
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)
  • Galactic Patrol (Lensman, #3)
  • Second Stage Lensmen (Lensmen, #5)
  • Children of the Lens (Lensman, #6)
  • Masters of the Vortex (Lensman, #7)