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Triplanetary (1948)

de Edward E. Smith

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Lensman: Chronological order (1), Lensman: Publication order (5)

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1,600358,442 (3.26)1 / 59
The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 35 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Well, that's done.

This has got to be the first novel I've read that opens with an introduction that prewarns that the author made a mistake with the first six chapters. And they weren't wrong. The first six chapters serve as an extended prologue. And it's boring and, for the most part, completely superfluous.

Most of the rest of the issues I have with the novel are simply because it's a product of its time. It contains that standard misogyny inherent to any action novel up to at least the 80s. Men are manly or cowardly, and women are there to look beautiful, be admired, and be saved so they can fawn over their manly men. The science part of the science fiction doesn't hold up whatsoever, with its outdated various rays and gases and ultrawave communication. And the dialogue, though quite typical of an action/adventure novel of the time, is shockingly bad. So bad that I actually laughed out loud at times. The aliens, in some cases supposedly emotionless, come across as bad gangsters. And all the aliens, no matter how removed from the human race they are, all talk like they're rough tough business men from the 1950s.

The final problem I have is with the actual narrator of this audiobook version. He's simply awful and, should he ever step near a microphone to record anything other than a spoof commercial for a K-Tel Goofy Greatest Hits of the 60s collection, then he should be bludgeoned into submission with a very large, very blunt instrument. Perhaps a Smart Car. Or a house.

Really. He's that bad.

So, unfortunately, I won't be diving into the other five adventures of the Lensmen. They'll just have to somehow muddle through without me. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
This book did not age well. I can perhaps give it points for being the first "space opera", but it is just so bad in every way -- horribly overwrought writing, stupid plot full of holes and plugged with magic, annoying and uninteresting characters, etc. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
"Immediately before the Coalescence began there was one,and only one, planetary solar system in the Second Galaxy; and, until the advent of Eddore, the Second Galaxy was entirely devoid of intelligent life"

In "Triplanetary" by E. E. "Doc" Smith

There are only three real approaches to physics in SF:

1. Absolute hard core real physics with speculative aspects;
2. Realistic sounding nonsense;
3. Unrealistic sounding nonsense.

(bought in 1999; cost = 1980 Portuguese escudos, around 9.88 euros in today's European currency)

I am personally a fan of approach 2. This gave us stuff like "Triplanetary", "First Lensman", etc.

In response to those suggesting that dissecting the science in SF novels is redundant and possibly silly, I would argue for a dichotomy. On the one hand, you have SF that are just that, fiction (in case of "Triplanetary", crap fiction). Importantly, they do not claim to be more. They could be set in the distant future, use blatantly non-existent faux-physics terms to drive the plot (e.g. "dilithium" crystals, inertialess drives, colliding galaxies (*), etc.), not address time-travel paradoxes etc. That's fine... they stay within the realms of their claim and no-one expects them to be accurate. On the other hand, there's stuff that claims to be based on what we currently know about space and physics (e.g. Apollo 13, Gravity, Interstellar). I think this category of SF needs to get things right as much as possible. When truth and fiction are mixed, it is important to be able to tell which is which. As a parallel, I do know that "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is not a historically accurate biography.

If a film made the claim that it was a Lincoln biography, I would expect it to be broadly accurate. Otherwise, I would be misled. Yep, it is silly to suggest that Apollo 11 did not land on the moon... having said that, Apollo 13 also reached and successfully landed on the moon (not shown in the film). This was never disclosed because the secret world government does not want you to know that that's when we first made contact with aliens. This tripartite agreement for secrecy between the world government, the Bush family and Elvis representing the aliens, came about because humanity is not yet considered ready for alien contact. Furthermore, the aliens do not want you to know that tin-foil hats are indeed the best defense against their mind-control weapons. One day, the truth will come out thanks to people like me writing reviews and trying not to make derogatory comments on Doc Smith's "science". This story was published in serial form in 1934 ffs, more than 80 years ago! What did we know about science in the 30s when it came to Astrophysics and Cosmology! Nothing!

PS. (*) Galaxies do actually collide, within local clusters and superclusters, just because of gravity. It's only on the very largest scales that they are all moving apart. So, Doc Smith was not that far off...

NB: Read in 1985 for the first time. Re-read in 1995.

SF = Speculative Fiction ( )
  antao | Aug 11, 2018 |
A couple years ago I read A Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, which was delightful and educational. By reading that book I learned alot about the Dominican Republic and classic fantasy and sci fiction. I thought I knew the classics pretty well, but a careful reader can put together a fairly long list of authors by taking good notes throughout Oscar Wao. One of the authors I had never heard of was E.E. "Doc" Smith and so I picked up a cheesy looking paperback copy of Triplanetary, the first "Lensman" volume.
This book was written right after WWII and reads a bit like an old episode of "Lost in Space", but there is something special going on because the book starts out with these strange historical vignettes. These are set in Atlantis, Rome, WWI Front, some future nuclear war, and then post solar system settlement. I could tell, Smith is really into obscure historical details, especially on the Rome and WWI bits. The future vocab of space pirates sounds a lot like the script from a Gidget movie. Good intel is called "dope", and some things "aren't my bag". That aside, there are truly weird aliens and Smith has thought about how they might have evolved on their home worlds. It's a bit more in depth then I thought it might be. I'm curious enough to read the next Lensman book, mainly to see if the author's writing style evolves at all. If and when that happens, I'll let you know. ( )
  BenjaminHahn | Jan 12, 2018 |
Nostalgia. This was the first science fiction book I remember reading, and is the first book of the Lensman series, which quickly had me rapt. The library editions I devoured had little postage-stamp sized line drawings at the head of each chapter, one (not Triplanetary) involved the hero visiting a planet of Amazons (the women, not the bookstore), and the illustration showed a topless lady flying a biplane. What more could a twelve year old want?

Edward Elmer “Doc” Smith had a PhD in chemical engineering and worked mostly as a food scientist. There is an unverified claim that he invented a way to make powdered sugar stick to donuts. In his spare time, he verifiably invented the Space Opera; the six-volume Lensman series covers billions of years of galactic history and features noble heroes, their beautiful but spunky inamorata, space pirates galore, massive intragalactic battles, weird alien lifeforms and boldly going where no one had gone before. What more could a twelve year old want?

Triplanetary starts all this off; the original Triplanetary was a stand-alone magazine serial; Smith latter added additional material to fit it into the Lensman series. The galaxy is a war zone between the beatific Arisians and the brutal Eddorians; the Arisians attempt to peacefully guide various planets – including Earth, which for reasons presumably known only to Smith, is always called “Tellus” – to civilization, while the Eddorians intervene, disguised as Earthmen (including Nero, Hitler, etc.), and screw things up. The main story in Triplanetary involves a three-way space battle between Roger the Space Pirate (actually, of course, a disguised Eddorian); the triplanetary (Venus, Tellus, and Mars) battle fleet; and the amphibious Nevians, who show up in the middle of things with a FTL drive and a ray that converts iron to a liquid. The Stalwart Hero and the Beautiful and Spunky Heroine get captured successively by the space pirates and the amphibians but escape in time to lead the three planets to victory against all comers. What more could a twelve year old want?

Well, the science is dubious; there’s no mention of atomic energy (Triplanetary was published in 1933), the FTL drive works by removing inertia from matter, space is still “the ether”, “spy rays” see through walls; “tractor” and “pusher” beams shove stuff around. The heroes and heroines are all Red-Blooded American Boys and Girls (there’s a black man in First Lensman, but he’s a car hop; Smith is however, perfectly accepting of Martians, Venusians, four-dimensional aliens from Pluto, and miscellaneous other creatures). And everybody smokes. At twelve, I was OK with the racism – not even realizing it was racism. I was a little puzzled by the “ether”, as I was just well-read enough to realize there wasn’t any such thing. I was just beginning to be interested in the Red Blooded American Girls, as Smith always described them as wearing “wisps” of clothing; other than the aforementioned bare-breasted Amazon there were no pictures, but I could imagine a lot. And every adult I knew smoked.

On re-reading the Lensman series about 50 years later, I find them most interesting for sort of a future socioarcheology; what people of the past thought the future would be like. Which turns out, as I suspect it always will turn out, to be just like the present but with spaceships and ray guns. Well, so what? ( )
1 vota setnahkt | Dec 31, 2017 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Smith, Edward E.Autorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Donnell, A. J.Autor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Foss, ChrisAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Gaughan, JackAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mattingly, David B.Autor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge.

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