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Second Stage Lensmen (The Lensman Series, Book 5) Paperback – November, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: History of Civilization (Book 5)
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Old Earth Books (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882968131
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882968138
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,073,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By walth@netcom.com on March 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
Possibly the best in the Series, though anyone would tell you, that is a difficult determination to make. The 5 most powerful "Second Stage" Lensmen do detective, spy and combat duty to ferret out and destroy the denizens of Boskone. The beams are hotter, the technology heavier, the battles bigger and the mental powers greater than ever before. See the sunbeam roast planets! This book is loaded with everything good about the Lensmen series. My favorite chapter is "Nadreck at Work", about a non oxygen breathing, Second Stage Lensman with a decidedly, uh, er, different moral outlook on things. Clarissa Kinnison, Kim's wife, comes into her own as a woman hero to make this series accessible to women also.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Finally the book I have been waiting for since 1982. I first read this book in the 1970's, and read it at least 50-60 times. However, it was lost while moving in 1982 and I have been searching avidly for it ever since. In this book, Kimball Kinnison does some of his best work as a lensman. However then best part about this book is we get to see the work of other lensman, as well as of the galactic patrol itself. In this we see that much of what makes people great are the people they associate with; a lesson of great value today. This is perhaps the inspiration for many of today's ensemble cast shows. An excellent read by one of the worlds greatest storytellers.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joel Simon on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you ever wonder how much American society has changed since the early '50's, just a little of Smith's dialogue will set you up with everything you need to know.
"'Listen, angel-face!' the man commanded. 'You're as mad as a radeligian cateagle - you're as cockeyed as Trenco's ether. Get this, and get it straight. To any really intelligent being of any one of forty million planets, your whole Lyranian race would be a total loss with no insurance. You're a God-forsaken, spiritually and emotionally starved, barren, mentally ossified, and completely monstrous mess. If I, personally, never see either you or your planet again, that will be exactly twenty seven minutes too soon. If anybody else ever hears of Lyrane and thinks he wants to visit it, I'll take him out of - I'll knock a hip down on him if I have to, to keep him away from here. Do I make myself clear?'"
And that's the ur-goodguy addressing the head of state of a neutral planet. Golly.
The science is ludicrous, the politics militaristic and jingoistic in the extreme. I never can keep all the trenchant, searing, biting space battles of brain-straining refractoriness straight. The dialogue often makes me laugh out loud, and the gender and (to the extent they appear at all) race relations make me squirm in my chair. So why is all this still so readable?
I guess it's for the same reason the old Conan stories by Robert E. Howard (a much inferior writer to Smith) are still among my favorites: STORY. Once you get past all the back-story in Triplanetary, the narrative just grabs you by the collar and doesn't let you go until Kit Kinnison sends out his message in a bottle in the epilogue of the final volume. If I had back all the hours of sleep I've traded for late night sessions with "Doc" Smith, I wouldn't wake up for months.
And by the nine purple hells of Palain, isn't that what escapist reading is for?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you ever wonder how much American society has changed since the early '50's, just a little of Smith's dialogue will set you up with everything you need to know.
"'Listen, angel-face!' the man commanded. 'You're as mad as a radeligian cateagle - you're as cockeyed as Trenco's ether. Get this, and get it straight. To any really intelligent being of any one of forty million planets, your whole Lyranian race would be a total loss with no insurance. You're a God-forsaken, spiritually and emotionally starved, barren, mentally ossified, and completely monstrous mess. If I, personaly, never see either you or your planet again, that will be exactly twenty seven minutes too soon. If anybody else ever hears of Lyrane and thinks he wants to visit it, I'll take him out of - I'll knock a hip down on him if I have to, to keep him away from here. Do I make myself clear?'"
And that's the ur-goodguy addressing the head of state of a neutral planet. Golly.
The science is ludicrous, the politics militaristic and jingoistic in the extreme. I never can keep all the trenchant, searing, biting space battles of brain-straining refractoriness straight. The dialogue often makes me laugh out loud, and the gender and (to the extent they appear at all) race relations make me squirm in my chair. So why is all this still so readable?
I guess it's for the same reason the old Conan stories by Robert E. Howard (a much inferior writer to Smith) are still among my favorites: STORY. Once you get past all the back-story in Triplanetary, the narrative just grabs you by the collar and doesn't let you go until Kit Kinnison sends out his message in a bottle in the epilogue of the final volume. If I had back all the hours of sleep I've traded for late night sessions with "Doc" Smith, I wouldn't wake up for months.
And by the nine purple hells of Palain, isn't that what escapist reading is for?
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Format: Paperback
If you've read this far you know the formula by now . . . having defeated Boskone, Our Heroes discover that a bigger and more shadowy Boskone exists and now they have to go to great lengths to stop it. They win in the end, of course, because they are Heroes. After spending now nearly four books with Kim Kinnison, it's clear that while he's not the deepest character in the world when it comes to development and pretty much everything in the world comes easily to him (which it kinds of needs to, with the perils that he faces), it's also evident that he's a lot of fun, stalwart and brutal in equal measure. He even gets to fall in love here finally, to his perfect match, the equally feisty Nurse MacDougall.

So on one hand this volume winds up being more of the same, and yet not. It doesn't quite reach the dizzying heights of insanity that the last volume managed but Smith is so good at keeping the plot moving and throwing out newly inventive planets and dangers for the heroes to best that it seems scarily effective. What makes this volume fascinating is the cast of characters that Kinnison has to work with and winds up encountering, from the planet made entirely of women and the other Lensmen such as Nadreck, who does manage to seem utterly alien and eerily effective in his cowardice.

The wide variety helps offset the often, shall we say, old fashioned tone of things, and there's a certain swaggering sense of confidence to this, with Kinnison managing to make seemingly impossible tasks like infiltrating societies as a fence and climbing his way up the crooked ladder of criminal organization seem both easy and something only he could do. Reading this, it's impressive how many concepts were later picked up, not only by other Space Opera writers but SF writers in general.
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