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Galactic Patrol (The Lensman Series, Book 3) Paperback – November, 1998

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Paperback, November, 1998
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Editorial Reviews Review

The Galactic Patrol has been given the ultimate weapon in its war against the evil pirate Boskone: The Lens. But even though the Patrol's Lensmen are the most feared peacekeepers in the galaxy, they aren't quite sure how to use their unique gift. Things are about to change, however. Kimball Kinnison has just graduated from the academy, and now that's he's earned his Lens, he's determined to figure out how it works. Kinnison begins his journey of discovery by taking command of the Brittania, an experimental ship that's as likely to kill him as it is the Boskone raiders it was built to fight. That leads him on a series of whirlwind adventures that include a visit to the planet Arisia--where the mysterious creators of the Lens make their home--and end up in a confrontation with Helmuth, who may well be Boskone himself. Although this is the third book in the Lensman series, it's the novel where, as SF critic John Clute puts it, "the story has started, and it does not stop." This is a rip-roaring tale of heroes, aliens, space battles, and bold deeds, the stuff that Golden Age science fiction was built from. --Craig E. Engler


HUGO Finalist for best All-Time Science Fiction Series. -- Science Fiction Digest --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: History of Civilization (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Old Earth Books (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882968115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882968114
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,281,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Paul Magnussen on October 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Doc Smith's "Lensman" series is one of those strange cases where almost everything the reviews say — both good and bad — is true. The key lies in the sentence found in so many of them: "I first read this when I was a kid". I think we all retain an affection for things we loved when we were young. Nonetheless, it would be a big mistake to think these books hold nothing for adults — I've introduced them to an adult friend who enjoyed them immensely.

Other reviews on Amazon summarise the plot adequately, but I should like to add some information I think may be helpful.

I, too, first met Kim Kinnison when I was a kid, in the original "Astounding" magazines that I inherited from my uncle.

Chronologically, the first Lensman story was "Galactic Patrol", from 1937-38. This was followed by the next three stories: Gray Lensman, Second Stage Lensmen and Children of the Lens. When publication in book form was mooted, Smith revised his earlier Triplanetary to fit into the lensman universe, and wrote First Lensman to form a bridge between that and "Galactic Patrol". Masters of the Vortex, another unrelated story, was likewise modified.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ryk E. Spoor on October 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
Capsule Description: Old-fashioned space opera, filled with super-science, Good Guys and Bad Guys (as Bad as they get), far-flung settings, and battles on a scale unimaginable. Purple prose by today's standards, but written with energy and the true classic "Sense of Wonder". This series was and is one of the major foundations on which later SF was built. It inspired many later authors. I still find them great fun to read.
Review: "Doc" Smith may not (quite) have INVENTED the "space opera" (although offhand I'd be hard put to find one written earlier than the original drafts of The Skylark of Space), but almost no one would be able to argue against the assertion that it was Doc who DEFINED it and perfected that subgenre. And the series in which he did that was the Lensman series. Originally published starting with Galactic Patrol (though now officially starting with "Triplanetary", to which the above links), the Lensman series deals with a slowly-escalating war in a far-distant future, a war that has many levels (levels we don't penetrate for several volumes). The "Lensmen" are those who have been given the mysterious device called the Lens by the inhabitants of the even more mysterious planet Arisia. How the Lens is created, no one in the Patrol understands; but what it does is give the wearer perfect telepathy -- the ability to communicate mind-to-mind -- so that no language, howsoever alien, is a barrier to communication. It cannot be worn by anyone except its owner -- to touch a Lens that is not being worn by its owner, for more than a fleeting instant, is agonizing death. It enhances all of the wearer's mental capacities, giving him access to other psychic talents, and protects him against attacks by other psychically powerful minds.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kendal B. Hunter on January 31, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Volume three of the Lensmen books really takes-off. The two previous books seem to be mere back-story for this one book. I was caught up in the emotion and pace of the book. Every chapter is its own novelette. In fact, sometimes I believe that the story can be too quick and too terse at times.
Smith has quite an active mind. It reminds me of Zeus giving birth to a full-grown Athena from his head. This series has an overwhelming ambient. Not only are the props and gizmos there, but also the social and political connections. There are layers and depths to the story he tell, it is as layered as Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and Herbert's "Dune" series. You feel that you are in a real world, and not just look at a painted background.
I confess that these stories are dated in some ways. There is the quaint 1930's and 1940's slang that you see in old Bogart and Hope/Crosby movies. There is a bit of naiveté about human nature, even thought there are drug dealers and pirates. Some of the science is dated, such as ether theory and cultural progressions. Despite these things, the story holds its own, and compares to anything new in print.
Many people complain that the characters are flat. I see their point. Kimball Kinnison's marriage isn't on the rocks, nor is he about to be kicked off the force, and he certainly is a loony-but-crafty vigilante like Batman. But he is an admirable character, and is someone I admire, despite being fictitious. Then again, Jean Valjean is also fictitious, but what a piece of fiction!
Admittedly, the Lensmen seem to be flat because they are so morally virtuous. But you wouldn't describe their lives as boring. Kinnison can barely catch his breath as he zips across the galaxy catch the drug runners and the pirates.
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