WHAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE "LENSMAN" UNIVERSE?Recent paperback printings of various "Lensman" novels have included EES' novel, "THE SPACEHOUNDS OF I.P.C." in the column of "Lensman" titles facing the title page. "THE SPACEHOUNDS OF I.P.C." doesn't even take place in the same universe, uses different technology, and can not be fitted into the series by any even marginally sane leap of imagination. William B. Ellern wrote a short piece called "MOON PROSPECTOR," set in the Lensman universe. It was published, with EES' knowledge and approval, in the April, 1966 "ANALOG." Michael Richards and James Corrick have provided further info: additions to this story were serialized as "NEW LENSMAN" in "PERRY RHODAN" books #61-#74, inclusive, about 1975, and followed by a stand-alone novella called "TRIPLANETARY AGENT," which appeared in "PERRY RHODAN" books #100-#105, inclusive, in 1976. "TRIPLANETARY AGENT" has apparently never been reprinted, and is reported as very poor writing; it uses the same main character as "NEW LENSMAN." The novel version, "NEW LENSMAN," compositing "MOON PROSPECTOR" and "NEW LENSMAN," was printed by Futura in 1976. James Corrick describes "NEW LENSMAN"'s use as a framing encapsulation for "MOON PROSPECTOR," which appears as chapters 8, 9, 12, 14, and 17 of the book; and says that the two stories appear to have no characters in common. Reports on quality of the book vary from "putrid" to "tolerable." I haven't read the book version, primarily due to having read the magazine piece. EES worked with a fan/writers' group called "The Galactic Roamers." These folks, aggressive and professional, delighted in tearing apart anything vulnerable in EES' works in progress; they were a great help in his writing, as well as being good friends. At the end of "SECOND STAGE LENSMEN," EES addresses specific appreciations to Dr. James R. Enright and to the following Roamers: E. Everett Evans, F. Edwin Counts, Paul Leavy, Jr, Alfred Ashley; and to Verna Trestrail. One of the later Roamers, David A. Kyle, was a long-time writer, publisher, collector and fan; using extant outlines, fragments of EES' unpublished work, and years of wrangling, arguments, and discussions as his source, he wrote three books EES had intended but never gotten around to. Cover paintings on the Kyle books, by Bob Larkin, start sloppy in story detail, portraying Worsel as a sort of large four-eyed dinosaur, and then improve both in technique and correlation to the stories.
( On the subject of Worsel's eyes, herewith a slight digression: The original illustrations from "ASTOUNDING," presumably approved by EES and Campbell, usually show Worsel with either four or six eyes on stalks. Rogers shows Worsel in flight with six stalked eyes, and Schneeman shows Worsel walking, with four; perhaps the other two are specialized for in-flight applications.....or maybe Worsel just makes however many he needs! When queried about the four-eyed dinosaurian Worsel who appears on the cover of "DRAGON LENSMAN," and about the equivalent creature in the Japanime, David A. Kyle amusedly pointed out that, in voluminous research, he has never been able to find a number of eyes specified in any manuscript or working notes! I checked. We have only the words "multiple" and "stalked," although in "SECOND STAGE LENSMEN," Worsel "thrust out a half dozen of his weirdly stalked eyes," and in "CHILDREN OF THE LENS," "eight weirdly stalked eyes curled out..." So we don't know how many eyes Worsel has, except (a) they're stalked; (b) he can muster *at least* eight! ...and, of course, (c) he has more than two. Kyle's three books are copyrighted by Verna Smith Trestrail, so they are owned by the Smith estate. They are:
"DRAGON LENSMAN" (Bantam Books, Sep '80, ISBN 0-553-13741-7, $1.95);
"LENSMAN FROM RIGEL" (Bantam Books, Oct '82, ISBN 0-553-20499-8, $2.50);
"Z-LENSMAN" (Bantam Books, Aug '83, ISBN 0-553-23427-7, $2.75).
Each of these books features one of the non-Terran second-stage Lensmen as its primary character. I'm only aware of one printing on each of these, but I've been told there were later, brief print runs of at least one or two. "Z-LENSMAN" seems to be hard to find, which is something of a pity; I liked it best of Kyle's books. Kyle's writing, while not initially fabulous, is readable, improves in the second, and is quite decent pulp SF in the third. I don't know whether this is a result of achieving a successful synthesis between his own styles and concepts and EES', or whether the editor he drew at Bantam didn't understand what he was trying to do at the outset, but it should be noted that even in the first book, Kyle adds a number of interesting plotlines to the "Lensman" universe; his machine intelligences, for example, were something EES had avoided in the original series, possibly to keep the plot complexity down to something he could handle in a mere four books. By his third book, Kyle added concepts and characters that could eventually generate a whole new cycle of novels; hopefully someone will do them right, some day, if Kyle is too busy.
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