Monday, April 14, 2008

Skylark Three (1948)

Skylark Three (published serially in 1930 and in book form in 1948) by E. E. "Doc" Smith is the second in the Skylark series, and continues the adventures of the strong, smart and honorable Dick Seaton, his strong, smart, and honorable (and rich) friend Martin Crane, and their wives as they fly around the universe, help alien planets, try to thwart the evil DuQuesne, and ultimately battle for the survival of life as we know it. Naturally they manage to do all this without too much adjusting of their moral compasses, quibbling amongst themselves, or meeting any aliens they can't either see eye to eye with or obliterate.

Smith writes great science, although the scientific sections in this one sometimes get a little lengthy and confusing. Not as much romance (since everyone is already married) and really not that many battles either since much of the book is spent on compiling the best scientific minds from a group of widely dispersed planets in order to defeat a powerful foe from another galaxy. Fun devices that take the place of the all-powerful Lens in the Lensman series include an "educator" which is sort of a freaky-Frankenstein device that lets you transfer knowledge, thoughts and experiences from one brain to another. Selectively. And also from dead brains! So you know that is going to come in handy. They also develop a Projector that lets you see, hear, and physically appear in any location in the universe. Add that to your educator and you have the perfect tool both for collaboration and total upheaval. Plus there are water people who live on a watery planet and have webbed hands and feet!

So you see, science is exciting. And Choo is great for loaning me this book. I love the "Doc"...

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