marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Galactic Patrol

Galactic Patrol by E.E. "Doc" Smith

A classic of the space opera genre, perhaps the defining type.  Originally published as a serial, which shows in its rather episodic structure.  Like overthrowing a tyrannical race when you're on run for your life with vital information. . . .

It opens with Kimball Kinnison graduating as a Lensman, and receiving, with the rest of his class, the powerful Lens, which is also an unforgeable ID and proof that its bearer is incorruptible. Shortly thereafter, for his first post, he is offered command of a new ship. His first guess was the ship was so experimental they didn't want to risk an experienced offer; the counter is that it's so experimental that experience would not be useful -- which I note is not incompatible with the first, especially since the officer then goes on to point out that for the serious risk of being blown to smithereens if its sole weapon backfires, he gets to keep command.

So they set out, with the vital task of discovering how pirates are managing to do such damage to the shipping. It winds on from there. A planet full of storms, above-mentioned tyrannical race, Kinnison's being a bad patient (after being recovered in a technical stunt), a return to learn more skills, and a lot more occur as a consequence.
Tags: fiction reviews: military, fiction reviews: sf

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