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Triplanetary (Lensman, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback

4.1 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews
Book 1 of 8 in the Lensman Series

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Pyramid
  • ISBN-10: 0515021741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515021745
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,974,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you're intending to read Doc Smith's classic "Lensman" series, then so you should; but you should definitely start, not with "Triplanetary", but with Galactic Patrol. Here's why.

Chronologically, the first Lensman story was Galactic Patrol, from Astounding magazine in 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.

I, and many others it seems, feel that the four books representing Smith's original conception are the essential ones, and the others are disposable* ("Vortex", in particular, being a pot-boiler with virtually no relation to the others).

There's another problem with the books, although fortunately not an insuperable one.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
(This review refers to the volume copyright 2009 by Cosmos Books/Wildside Press; ISBN 978-0-8439-5949-9.)

I was born in the late 1970s, but I've always loved SF from earlier eras, such as early work by Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, etc. I've encountered many mention of the 'Lensmen' series, and had it on my list of 'classics' to check out. I'm quite capable of reading a classic piece in historical context -- I enjoyed "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea", despite its somewhat dated style and science -- so I bought this book to get started with Lensmen.

I was quite confused when all the elements I'd read of -- Arisians, Eddorians, Boskone, even the Lensmen themselves -- were quite simply absent from this book. Was my memory wrong? Had I confused this story with something else?

No, it turns out, I was simply grossly misled by the publisher. This book doesn't contain any Lensman content, despite the claims on the cover. The first published Lensman story was "Galatic Patrol". "Triplanatary" was published prior to that, and originally had nothing to do with Lensman. After the success of the Lensman series, "Triplantary" was modifed to be connected to the Lensman world, apparently by prefixing and suffixing additional chapters. Those chapters ARE NOT PRESENT IN THIS BOOK.

The other story in this book, "Masters of Space", has apparently never had anything to do with 'Lensman', even retroactively. I can only assume it was just thrown in as padding.

The publisher flat-out lied. This is such a blatant misrepresentation I'm seriously intending to seek a return/refund on this book. I have purchased and own hundreds of books; this will be the first I've ever tried to return. Bad stories I've bought and kept; that's a risk associated with any book. This isn't a book I disliked; this is simply not the book the cover claims it is.
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Format: Paperback
Despite what the Amazon description says, the Kindle edition of _Triplanetary_ is *not* part of the Lensman series. It's the original magazine version, which may be a better place to start, but was _not_ part of the series (see the Wikipedia article on E.E. Smith, part of which I wrote). Both _Triplanetary_ and _Galactic Patrol_ were revised to make them consistent for the book versions.
From the sample and description, it looks to me like the Kindle edition is similar to the free Project Gutenberg edition, which I scanned; the cover picture seems to be a retouched photo of my copy of the magazine, with the same tear in the lower-left corner. They've corrected Gutenberg's spurious inter-paragraph line-breaks, though, which is an improvement. (I did the same thing for my Palm version, though I doubt Evergreen used that.)
Whether it's worth four dollars to avoid fixing the line-breaks in the free version is a decision I'll leave to the reader. It's an enjoyable early space opera; Dr. Smith was reported to have said of it that "scientific detail would not be bothered about, and ... his imagination would run riot." I don't recommend reading it until and unless you've read and enjoyed the Lensman series; but it's worth reading then. The Amazon description, however, does need to be corrected so that you know what you're getting.

Original Dead-Tree Review:

Don't start here; read _Galactic Patrol_ instead.

I'm very fond of the Lensman series, but (despite what publishers say), this is the wrong place to start. The Lensman series properly starts with _Galactic Patrol_, which I recommend heartily as classic space opera. The last part of this book was written before the Lensman series, is much weaker, and was only later reworked and supplemented to fit (awkwardly, in my opinion) into the series as a prequel.
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