Second Stage Lensman

E. E. "Doc" Smith
Second Stage Lensman Cover

Second Stage Lensman A Historical Perspective


If one has not read pulp science fiction or E. E. "Doc" Smith, "Second Stage Lensman" would be an excellent starting place. However, in the middle of the series, the forward summarizes prior events and familiarizes one with the series' specific terms. Many find Doc Smith challenging to read due to wooden dialogue, never-ending tropes, and clichéd characters. But that is vintage Pulp.

This book is an easy read once you get into the Pulp frame of mind. With tunnels between galaxies (wormholes), mega bombs (atomic bombs), etc., it's futuristic. Remember that the original version was published serially in Astounding magazine in late 1941, just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. War was raging in Europe and China, and the world was looking for a good guy, a strong man, to clean things up. The Lensman series had the evil Boskones from another galaxy trying to take over the Planet and Galaxy, controlled by the Lensman and benevolent Arisians—a perfect backdrop for what was happening in the real world.

The answer is mass destruction of the enemy with acceptable, to the Lensman, collateral damage. Remember, the twentieth century was the bloodiest on record with two World Wars, genocide, gulags, and bombing of civilians. More civilians were killed than combatants in conflicts. The Lensman universe was not out of place, given what was happening in the real world.

"Second Stage Lensman" incentivizes me to read Pulp sci-fi and Doc Smith more.