WHAT IS THE "LENSMAN" SERIES?The "Lensman" series is a set of books concerning the most noble set of Good Guys ever to run loose in Science Fiction. A Lensman is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent; and Well-Educated, Athletic, and Relentless, to boot. The "Lens" is an artifact, a telepathic amplifier and universal translator keyed to the individual Lensman who owns it, and will kill anyone else who tries to wear it. The Lensman fight the arch-villains of the universe, and each time they eradicate a big, bad set of villains, they discover the villains they've just vanquished were merely fronts for bigger, badder villains; this goes on until they identify, and extirpate, the Evillest Villains In Two Universes, leaving both universes safe for Truth, Justice, and The Civilized Way. The series is noted for its internal consistency, long-term story planning, and breathtaking originality of plot and concept. Much of modern SF is directly derived from it, and the entire field owes a huge debt to the Lensmen.
The series was created by Edward Elmer Smith, PhD (2 May 1890 - 1 Sep 1965). Smith's primary education took place around the turn of the century, and his writing style reflects this. Smith's use of language might be considered florid by modern standards, but his unabashed command of vocabulary and complex sentence structure are quite enjoyable, particularly when you realize that what he was writing was, by Victorian standards, leaned-down and Hemingwayesque. Unlike most fantasists, he had a strong technical education, and this contributed to the coherence and believeability of even his most grandiose concepts. The Lensman series was originally contracted for by F. Orlin Tremaine, then editor of "ASTOUNDING" magazine, in 1937. Due to staff changes, the series was actually edited by John W. Campbell, Jr., who, along with EES' cohorts, the "Galactic Roamers," contributed no small amount to the series.
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