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First Lensman (The Lensman Series, Book 2) Paperback – December 1, 1998


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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: History of Civilization (Book 2)
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Old Earth Books (December 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882968107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882968107
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,155,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In First Lensman, the second book in the Lensman series, we find the benevolent super beings of Arisia ready to bestow the first "lens" on a human being (which, among other things, will give humans telepathic powers). The honor goes to Virgil Samms, who will ever after be known as the "First Lensman." But it's a title that he'll have to earn by establishing the Galactic Patrol, a group that is at once powerful and incorruptible, and will protect the universe from the evil and almost-unstoppable Eddorians. If that weren't tough enough, Samms must also dodge assassination attempts at home and help his second in command Rod "The Rock" Kinnison win the presidency of North America. And that's just the beginning of his troubles.

Review

HUGO Finalist for all-time Best Science Fiction Series. -- Science Fiction Digest --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Very entertaining and through provoking.
Roger.G.Urban@ucm.com
You will not be disappointed as you devour the rest of the series.
Kenny Thomas
The Lensman Series is one of Science Fiction's great classics.
Henry Cate III

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Salsbury on October 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book chronicles the founding of the Galactic Patrol, and sets the stage for the Lensman books to follow. I read it because of Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski's strong recommendation, and have not been disappointed. In fact, Babylon 5 fans will see a lot of parallels between B5 and the Lensman series. About the only criticism I can think of for Smith's work is that his books move along at a comfortable pace until the last couple of chapters, when the action starts happening at "light-speed". It always leaves me feeling like I've been waiting a long time for the ending and it's over almost before I can enjoy it. But that's a minor criticism, and it hasn't stopped me from reading the rest of this fascinating series of books!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was a little kid when I read this book, but seeing it again reminded me of what a great series it is part of. It was all created by Edward E. "Doc" Smith, Ph.D. Sure the book is dated but it was written in the 1940s and that was almost a different world than the one that came to be. Example: amid all the super-advanced technology, computers don't play a role. The illustrations (great ones by A.J. Donnell, by the way) show hats and haircuts and aerodynamic spaceships you won't see outside of a classic film festival. Sure you can kick some holes in the plot and none of the book is politically correct, but wow it is fun!
Your first time with the Lensman books is something you won't forget. Go get them and enjoy! And how I wish I could read them all again for the first time, learning about Arisia, evil Eddore and the Lens of Civilization. It was just plain fun.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
E.E. Smith was as much of a pioneer in the field of science fiction as Jules Verne or H.G. Wells were. Was his writing as cultured as theirs? No, but he was a marvelous storyteller, and contributed a number of "firsts" in science fiction. The first intergalactic tales, the first "space operas," and the first stories of the scientist as hero (all beginning with "Skylark of Space" in 1928). With his Lensmen series, Smith tells tales on a somewhat more ambitious scope, and even manages to get a bit mystical with his dualistic struggle between the godlike Arisians and the satanic Eddorians. The Lensmen, agents of the Arisians, become the human instruments of this struggle. Each Lensmen is gifted with a bracelet-like device containing a multi-faceted lens which can be worn by that person alone, and which enables the wearer to share a telepathic rapport with all other Lensmen, as well as amplifying the wearer's abilities to superhuman levels. What is interesting is that in the 1960's, comic-book editor Julius Schwartz used the Lensmen concept in his revamp of the DC superhero "Green Lantern." Instead of a bracelet, each hero in the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps wore a power ring. Schwartz's counterparts to the Arisians were the Guardians of the Universe. Arguments can be made that the Lensmen series is sexist (in "First Lensman," women are denied the Lens) or racist (the Lensmen family lineage constructed by the Arisians is all white), but we're still dealing with quite a story for 1934. For further details on Smith, check out my E.E. Smith web page at [...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Norman Strojny on December 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
"First Lensman" is the true start of the lensman series of stories. Virgil Samms starts the Galactic Patrol, is given the first lens, and battles the bad guys. Let us not quibble about stuff. This is a good adventure story.

Politically correct folks will carp at this and that. Other critics may try to point to out-dated 'science'. Ignore them. Just have fun reading a fast-paced adventure.

I recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 11, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is where the Lensman saga really begins, with the very first Lens. Vast forces of good and evil have been aligning against each other for untold eons, across breadth of the galaxy and beyond. At the time of this story, the balance seems about to tip. Space pirates, drug smugglers with ever more lethal wares, and corrupt political machines seem to have complete control of Earth (the only planet that much matters, as near as we can tell). Only one man, one small man stands in the way of chaos. Then, with help from the mysterious Arisians and their secret weapon, the Lens, that man doesn't seem so small any more.

It's a grand and implausible tale of vast navies, utterly good good-guys and wholly evil bad guys, bold politicking against the entrenched machine, and a lot of manly swaggering. The cadre of The Lens (men only) grows, first on Earth and then elsewhere and, as you probably figured, they whup the goobers out of the biggest navy of badguys ever imagined - and just as the elections sweep their cronies from office. Great spacey swashbuckling, plus a little chaste and slightly confused romance just barely past Neolithic relations between the sexes.

For all that, the technology is straight from the 1950s. Oh, there are the rayguns and whatnot, but when the going gets tough, it's slide rules, drafting table, and tube electronics all around. What's truly startling about this classic series is just how little future there was in Smith's future. Maybe that deeply entrenched retro sense is what makes this such a timeless classic - that and the boundless optimism in what can be accomplished with democracy, technology, and a band of good men. Oh, and maybe a woman.

-- wiredweird
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