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Triplanetary by Elmer Edward Smith
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Triplanetary (original 1948; edition 2007)

by Elmer Edward Smith

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1,158257,025 (3.39)57
Member:romney
Title:Triplanetary
Authors:Elmer Edward Smith
Info:IndyPublish (2007), Paperback, 156 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Science Fiction

Work details

Triplanetary by E. E. "Doc" Smith (1948)

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» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)

This book is just about a cheezy as they get while still being readable and enjoyable in its own way. It is horrendously dated and uses very, very two-dimensional characters (nearly one dimensional) but it is actually fairly well plotted and internally consistent. I enjoyed it again as an adult - but not nearly so much as a child. But that could be said for many novels.
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  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
This novel would confirm all the preconceptions of a reader who is not in tune with early popular science fiction. The characters are two dimensional and their interactions are almost laughable, the writing hardly rises above the adequate and at times is much worse than that, the plot if there is one is of the and then.. and then...variety, its realpolitik is crass in the extreme and the novel was cobbled together following publication of stories in science fiction pulp magazines like Amazing Stories and the joins are all too obvious. And yet...... it does have an undeniable sense of wonder, the action is fast moving and extremely imaginative, it broke new ground in a genre that has become known as "space opera" and the underlying theme of super intelligent aliens guiding or hampering emerging civilisations is a good one.

The adventure story in space, which takes up two thirds of this book appeared in 1934; serialised in Amazing Stories, but before we get to this we read Smith's additions that attempt to adapt the story into a sort of prequel to his famous Lensman series. Two old civilizations the Arisians and the Eddorians are fighting for control of the universe; both races have developed powers of the mind that enable them to influence all other races, their latest battleground is the planet earth and Doc Smith inventively sketches in a few key events in earth's history that have been the result of the ancient races machinations. At page 127 in my edition we reach the age of space travel and the adventures in space begin. The quality of some of the writing here is sacrificed for an all out action story that pits a few quintessential American heroes against alien invaders and a representative presence from one of the super powerful Eddorian race who is bent on shaping events for his own evil ends. Doc Smith's superbly orchestrated space battles involving "ultra wave" weapons, inertial-less space ships, tractor beams, shields and blasting weapons, read like an early evocation of something written by Alastair Reynolds. They are as thrilling as they are preposterous and our heroes emerge largely unscathed from overwhelming odds through their courage, resourcefulness and ability to invent whole new scientific technologies at the drop of a hat.

The pulpiness of the writing and the story telling must be swallowed whole to enjoy this novel, but if you can do this then there is a fast paced action adventure story that pushed the boundaries of science fiction writing in it's time; those space battles and the escape from the Navian fish men have that sense of wonder that makes this whole science fiction genre so rewarding to read. This together with a truly magnificent underlying theme of universal struggle encourages me to read some more books in the series. I am hoping that the quality of the writing improves a little, but I am not counting on it and so "on with the schlock". A Three star read. ( )
3 vote baswood | Oct 13, 2013 |
I love the Lensman series, this is no doubt the best 'space opera' series of all time. Reading it now is a bit of a challenge, due to the outdated technology and somewhat scary politics, but even so, this is still great stuff. Just remember it was written a long, long time ago, before computers became common and before the space race. Sit back and enjoy the fun! ( )
  Karlstar | Jul 4, 2013 |
OK, I admit that I possibly wouldn't love the Lensman series if I hadn't grown up reading them. My husband's face just before he gave up on the prologue was an absolute picture.
But these books are perfect of their type, and not above slightly sending themselves up, either.
If you want universe spanning high adventure, a multi millennial battle between good and evil, superhuman heroes, reptilian and feline and starkly incomprehensible aliens, scantily clad heroines, bloody hand to hand combat, and a sequence of planet smashing ultra weapons of increasingly barking proportions . . . then why haven't you read these yet?
Oh yes, and despite anything else I might have said, as long as you skip the prologues they're really rather well written, too.
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  AlexBrightsmith | Jun 6, 2013 |
Don't trust my rating of this book; it's part of my childhood, when I read it over and over again, and I have no way of objectively rating it.

For reasons I no longer recall, I got rid of these books at some point, probably during a house move when I was trying to de-clutter. I found all seven in the series in a second hand book shop a few years ago and, struck by nostalgia, I bought them all. Reading them again, I found that the clunky writing, the cardboard characters, the outdated social mores, the bad science - everything that should make me drop this book like a venomous snake - was just charming. I was a kid again, thrilling to the adventures of Kim Kinninson and his spaceship crew.

The golden glow of summer afternoons in the garden and dimly-lit late nights in bed (I had a thing then for dozing off while reading by candlelight - luckily no fires!) so I could get to the end of a chapter (and just one more... maybe another one), illuminates this book with fond memories. It's just not possible for me, the adult, to betray me, the child, by giving this (and the rest of the Lensman series) anything less than 5 stars. Forgive me, you more discerning readers.
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2 vote Michael.Rimmer | Mar 30, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. E. "Doc" Smithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Donnell, A. J.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mattingly, David B.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Two thousand million or so years ago, two galaxies were colliding; or rather, were passing through each other.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425053830, Mass Market Paperback)

This is the first of E. E. "Doc" Smith's six Lensman books, and although it isn't as fast-paced as later Lensman novels, it sets the stage for what is perhaps the greatest space-opera saga ever told. Through a series of vignettes spanning millions of years, readers will learn how the titanic struggle between the good Arisians and the evil Eddorians first came to pass, and about how humanity was chosen (and bred) to assume the awesome power of the lens. A short foreword by science fiction scholar John Clute puts the entire series into perspective.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:35 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

From the atomic age in Atlantis to a world remote in space and time, two incredible ancient races, the Arisians and the Eddorians, are in the midst of an interstellar war- with Earth as the prize.

(summary from another edition)

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