Children of the Lens Published with the title Masters of the Vortex in Originally, the series consisted of the four novels Galactic Patrol, Gray Lensman, Second Stage Lensmen, and Children of the Lens, published between and in the magazine Astounding Stories. First Lensman was written in to act as a link between Triplanetary and Galactic Patrol and finally, in the years up to , Smith revised the rest of the series to remove inconsistencies between the original Lensman chronology and Triplanetary. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. February Learn how and when to remove this template message The series begins with Triplanetary, beginning two billion years before the present time and continuing into the near future. The peaceful Arisians have foregone physical skills in order to develop contemplative mental power.
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The series, assembled from initially-unconnected short stories in Astounding Stories magazine from onwards, details an epic battle between Good and Evil as personified by Civilization and their sponsors, Arisia and Boskone and their sponsors, Eddore. Each faction is, in fact, the pawn of a different race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who each have a grand plan for the sentient beings of the universe. The Kinnison bloodline plays an important role for Civilization, since it was carefully bred over millennia by the Arisians to produce a race of super-beings that would ultimately supplant the Arisians themselves.
The title object, the Lens of Civilization, is an Empathic Weapon that initially grants its users Psychic Powers which vary in strength and effectiveness from user to user, as well as providing an identification for Law Enforcement that cannot be forged or duplicated and instantly kills anyone attempting impersonation.
For certain, special individuals, the Lens is no more than a Magic Feather. As originally written in the s and early s, the Lensman series consisted of four novels: Galactic Patrol Second-Stage Lensmen note plural Children of the Lens In the early s, however, Smith wrote a lengthy prologue to an earlier and previously unrelated book of his named Triplanetary, which brought it into the Lensman universe.
He also wrote an Interquel novel, First Lensman, to bridge the gap between the events in Triplanetary and the events in Galactic Patrol. The Lensman series was later used as the starting point for a non-licensed Japanese Anime movie "SF New Century Lensman" and series "Lensman: Galactic Patrol" , which took the basic outline and the names of most of the major characters and turned it all into a Star Wars ripoff.
The movie and a Compilation Movie of part of the series were dubbed in English by Harmony Gold USA; later, Streamline Pictures redubbed the movie with the original soundtrack and no cuts for content. The convention newsletter is named "Helmuth", of course.
Especially later on, Clarissa is quite badass for most time periods. Alien Lunch : The planet Trenco, where anything has to be willing to eat anything in order to survive, and usually does - to the point where a creature will take pains to finish its lunch even while being lunched upon. Always Chaotic Evil - Nearly all of Boskone is so evil that virtually no prisoners are ever taken. On both sides of the war. Several entire Boskonian planets all of them effectively planet-sized fortresses are destroyed with no survivors over the course of the series.
On at least one occasion, Kinnison notes that the previous life on that planet had been exterminated to make way for the base; this is hinted at as being standard Boskonian technique.
Alien Non-Interference Clause : The Arisians and Eddorians do not engage in direct conflict with each other or with the lesser races, and instead work through cutouts and manipulation.
For the Second-Stage Lensmen they turned out just to be magic feathers , as Second-Stage Lensmen are advanced enough to use mind powers on their own. The Lens amplifies psi power in humans, it does other things for other species some of whom are already naturally powerful psionically. Even a Second and on occasion a Third Stage Lensman is advised to wear it when a maximum effort is required. Due to being Loyal Phlebotinum , and the nature of mind-to-mind contact, it also functions as an impossible-to-counterfeit badge of rank, and a justification for Lensmen being incorruptible and thus above the law.
An Axe to Grind - the Valerian space axe. Animal Eye Spy - Kinnison does this mostly, using everything from dogs to worms to infiltrate enemy bases or perform critical tasks.
Nadreck takes a hint later. He comes out of retirement, taking a job in a munitions factory where his training in organic chemistry makes him a useful asset. Would be a Canon Sue , except that Kinnison is ultimately defeated: shells and mines loaded at the factory are going off prematurely, killing good men; Kinnison walks away from the job rather than accept orders to violate quality control and safety standards - orders which could be implied as being issued under Eddorian influence.
Costigan also has a talent for figuring out the details of how to operate, repair, and modify both alien technologies and alien social interactions with a brief observation. That is, initially. Once they gear up for total war , this ceases to apply. Bastard Understudy - Among Boskone and their controllers, e. Also, an in-universe example with the scientist Bergenholm.
In the second book, he comes up with the breakthrough to make the Inertialess Drive safe and efficient. Later, they find out that he was an Arisian. Beware the Nice Ones : Lensmen were referred to as "sublimated boy scouts" by one character, but Klono help you if they catch you engaging in piracy.
Not to mention that they use planets as strategic weapons. BFG: The Standish, the equivalent of a machine gun, and it replacement, the semi-portable. Black and White Morality : Yes and no. The Arisians defy this on numerous occasions, repeatedly stating that good and evil are ultimately relative, and the Arisians and the races of Civilization recognize that different races will have Blue and Orange Morality. However, from the perspective of the races of Civilization, personal liberty is recognized as a pole star to be desired by everyone, the rigid fascism and Social Darwinism of Boskone are utterly inimical to this, and the narrator does use "evil" as a shorthand for Boskonian actions.
Boarding Party - many, many times. Justified in that the villains are space pirates by nature, and interested in loot as much as interruption of trade. Brother-Sister Incest - Never happens in the books themselves, but the five Kinnison kids are the new ultimate beings — a race seperate from the rest of humanity and the founding population of a new species of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
One brother, four sisters, do the math. Vaguely foreshadowed as strongly as the era would allow, anyway in the last book.
There are also hints at one point that Christopher Kinnison might harbor a few unfilial feelings for his mother Clarissa Casual Interstellar Travel - After the Bergenholm drive was created. The Chosen Many - The Lensmen as a whole. In point of fact, according to some sources, the Lensmen inspired another famous Chosen Many, the Green Lantern Corps.
Cigarette of Anxiety : Before the final battle in Children of the Lens, one of the Kinnison girls is trying to chain-smoke, but is so wound up that she only manages one or two puffs before stubbing the cigarette out and lighting a new one. Clothes Make the Superman - The space armor in Triplanetary incorporates forcefields that can resist steel-cutting lasers rays. It only goes up from there. They deliberately fed the Patrol the right name.
Combat Pragmatist - Costigan. Kinnison also. The standard Galactic Patrol hand-to-hand combat textbook largely follows his advice. When one runs the numbers for the starship Dauntless, one learns that its power system can generate six times the solar insolation experienced by Earth.
The Boise from Triplanetary. Dark Is Not Necessarily Evil : Initially, the frigid-blooded, poison-breathing , multidimensional Eich , briefed in a perpetual aura of near-absolute zero cold , are truly scary monsters and the epitome of evil.
But later, the Palainians a closely related species, about as similar to them as we are to Human Aliens turn out to be honorable and reliable if weird allies of Civilization. The setting has independently working robots elsewhere — Whole space fleets crewed by them towards the end of the series!
Deflector Shields - Usually referred to as "ether-walls" or "screens. Disintegrator Ray - Without the later trappings of safety and convenience. The beams used really do vaporize their targets, with all the attendant thermodynamics, so best wear a shielded suit when firing unless you want your front half to be blackened cajun-style.
Depends on the weapon. The Semi-portable projectors, on the other hand The DeLameters do have power settings , also. Dolled-Up Installment : The "first" novel in the series, Triplanetary, was originally unconnected to the saga, but later rewritten and expanded as a " Prequel ".
This being the origin of the Lensman Arms Race , they have to find a way to beat that. So starting in the forth book, the superweapons of choice are planet-sized antimatter bombs and planets travelling in opposite directions and smashing the target between them. Yeah, beat that. And they do, with colliding planets from another universe travelling at fifteen times the speed of light.
On the other hand, the Eddorians are looking for the perfect race to be their front; and because of the very nature of the Eddorians, the more sexless, the better. The Kalonians got the job initially because the only function of their women is the production of men. The Lyranians, on the other hand, are a Matriarchal society to the same degree. Give them a few years and a little bit of help Helen of Lyrane and Clarissa Kinnison put a firm stop to that.
Drug pushing seems to be regarded as the most serious of crimes; the punishment is either death or corrective psychological therapy. Everybody Smokes : Even the women. Tobacco is never once maligned in the series.
Fine brand cigarettes are imported to Tellus all the way from Alsakan, all the way across the galaxy. Faster-Than-Light Travel - the "inertialess drive" and later, Hyperspatial tubes. Fake Memories - supplied by the Boskonians whenever their agents bite the amnesia pill and on one occasion more benignly by Kim Kinnison in order to rehabilitate one of those agents, who had been their puppet since she was fourteen. Kinnison once had Worsel give him false memories in order to sow disinformation among the Eich leadership.
I was like you once. I also struggled, and I became what I am now - whatever it is. Ironically enough, unlike most modern portrayals where the bad guys tend to be a single species , both the heroes and the villains were multi-species and multi-planet the heroes unusually so for the time period and possibly still to this day. Finish Him! Florence Nightingale Effect - The Chief Surgeon and the Port Admiral try to set this up between Clarissa and Kinnison, only for the two of them to annoy the hell out of each other at first.
Later, of course, they do fall in love. As the Arisians had intended them to do all along. They were the penultimates in their breeding program.
Future Slang - Lots of it, including "zwilnik" as mentioned above, but the most prevalent is "QX" as a replacement for "OK. Later in the series, he has technical experts to do the work for him. First Lensman had the Arisians Hand Wave it by explaining that the Lenses were intrinsically "masculine". Some of the authorized sequels just threw other Lenswomen in anyway. The Arisians told the first crew of Lensmen Candidates that there would be, eventually, just one human woman Lensman, which was Clarrissa.
Her daughters are not fully human, therefore the Arisians were not lying. There were at least four of them, they they resulted in the Triplanetary League forming from Venus, Tellus, and Mars. Green Lantern Ring - the Lens.
GURPS Lensman: Starkly Astounding Space Opera Adventure!