1934.01


Triplanetary: The opening salvo of one of the greatest space operas

Triplanetary by E.E. “Doc” Smith

In its article on the subject of “Space Opera,” my beloved Science Fiction Encyclopedia describes the genre thus: “…loosely applicable to any space adventure story, but particularly to those in which the scale of the action is extravagant…” It is as good a working definition as any, but had the authors of this scholarly tome wished to do so, they might just as easily have explained the term by showing pictures of the six book covers of E.E. “Doc” Smith’s famed LENSMAN series. Written over the 16-year period 1934 - 1950, it is the crowning creation of the man who has been called “The Father of Space Opera,” and a series that has been embraced by generations of readers. The six books that comprise the LENSMAN series have been sitting unread on my bookshelf for many years now, intimidating me by di... Read More

The Legion of Space: A true page-turner in the best pulp style

The Legion of Space by Jack Williamson

The Legion of Space, the opening salvo of a tetralogy that Jack Williamson wrote over a nearly 50-year period, was initially released as a six-part serial in the April-September 1934 issues of Astounding Stories. (This was some years before the publication changed its name to Astounding Science-Fiction, in March 1938, and, with the guidance of newly ensconced editor John W. Campbell, Jr, became the most influential magazine in sci-fi history.) It was ultimately given the hardcover novel treatment in 1947.

One of the enduring classics of swashbuckling "space opera," The Legion of Space is a true page-turner, written in the best pulp style. Though Williamson had only sold his first story, "The Metal Man," some six years before, by 1934 he showed that he was capable of coming out with a blazing saga of space action to rival those of E.E. "Doc" Smith himself. That elusive "sense o... Read More