The Lensman series is a serial science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 space opera
Space opera
Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities. The term has no relation to music and it is analogous to "soap...

 by Edward Elmer "Doc" Smith
E. E. Smith
Edward Elmer Smith, Ph.D., also, E. E. Smith, E. E. "Doc" Smith, Doc Smith, "Skylark" Smith, and Ted was a food engineer and early science fiction author who wrote the Lensman series and the Skylark series, among others...

. It was a runner-up for the Hugo award
Hugo Award
The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

 for best All-Time Series (the winner was the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...


The series was published in magazines, before being collected and reworked into the better-known series of books. The complete series in internal sequence and their original publication dates are:
  1. Triplanetary
    Triplanetary (novel)
    Triplanetary is a science fiction novel and space opera by E. E. Smith. It was first serialized in the magazine Amazing Stories in 1934. After the Lensman series was published, Smith expanded and reworked the novel into the first of two Lensman prequels...

    (four parts, January–April 1934, Amazing Stories
    Amazing Stories
    Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

  2. First Lensman
    First Lensman
    First Lensman is a science fiction novel and space opera by author Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.. It was first published in 1950 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 5,995 copies. Although it is the second novel in the Lensman series, it was the last written...

    (1950, Fantasy Press)
  3. Galactic Patrol
    Galactic Patrol (novel)
    Galactic Patrol is a science fiction novel by American author Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.. It was first published in book form in 1950 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 6,596 copies. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1937...

    (six parts, September 1937–February 1938, Astounding Stories)
  4. Gray Lensman
    Gray Lensman
    Gray Lensman is a science fiction novel by author E. E. Smith. It was first published in book form in 1951 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 5,096 copies. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1939....

    (four parts, October 1939–January 1940, Astounding Stories)
  5. Second Stage Lensmen
    Second Stage Lensmen
    Second Stage Lensmen is a science fiction novel by author Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.. It was first published in book form in 1953 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 4,934 copies. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding beginning in 1941...

    (four parts, November 1941–February 1942, Astounding Stories)
  6. Children of the Lens
    Children of the Lens (novel)
    Children of the Lens is a science fiction novel by author Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.. It was first published in book form in 1954 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 4,874 copies. It is the last book in Smith's Lensman series. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding beginning in...

    (four parts, November 1947–February 1948, Astounding Stories)

Originally, the series consisted of the final four novels published between 1937 and 1948 in the magazine Astounding Stories. However, in 1948, at the suggestion of Lloyd Arthur Eshbach
Lloyd Arthur Eshbach
Lloyd Arthur Eshbach was an American science fiction fan, publisher and writer, secular and religious publisher, and minister....

 (publisher of the original editions of the Lensman books as part of the Fantasy Press imprint), Smith rewrote his 1934 story Triplanetary, originally published in Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

, to fit in with the Lensman series. First Lensman was written in 1950 to act as a link between Triplanetary and Galactic Patrol and finally, in the years up to 1954, Smith revised the rest of the series to remove inconsistencies between the original Lensman chronology and Triplanetary.


The series opens in Triplanetary, two billion years before the present time. The universe has few life-forms, except for the elder race of our galaxy, the Arisians and few planets besides their native world. The Arisians, a peaceful race native to this universe, are already ancient at this time and have forgone physical needs in preference for contemplative
The word contemplation comes from the Latin word contemplatio. Its root is also that of the Latin word templum, a piece of ground consecrated for the taking of auspices, or a building for worship, derived either from Proto-Indo-European base *tem- "to cut", and so a "place reserved or cut out" or...

 mental power which they have developed and refined to an exceedingly high degree. The underlying assumption (based on then-accepted theories of stellar evolution
Stellar evolution
Stellar evolution is the process by which a star undergoes a sequence of radical changes during its lifetime. Depending on the mass of the star, this lifetime ranges from only a few million years to trillions of years .Stellar evolution is not studied by observing the life of a single...

) is that, while stars are common, planetary formation is very rare. Thus there are comparatively very few planets in the universe.

Into this universe, from an alien space-time continuum, the Eddorians come, a dictatorial, power-hungry race. They have been attracted to this universe by the observation that our galaxy and a sister galaxy (later to be named Lundmark's Nebula
The Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte galaxy is an irregular galaxy discovered in 1909 by Max Wolf, and is located on the outer edges of the local group. The discovery of the nature of the galaxy was accredited to Knut Lundmark and Philibert Jacques Melotte in 1926. It is in the constellation Cetus.-Star...

, still later called the Second Galaxy) are passing through each other. According to an astronomical theory current at the time of writing Triplanetary called the tidal theory (the primary theory prior to the rehabilitation of the nebular hypothesis), this will result in a unique galactic formation of billions of planets and thus the development of life upon them. Dominance over these life forms would offer the Eddorians an opportunity to satisfy their lust for power and control.

Although the Eddorians have developed mental powers almost equal to those of the Arisians, they rely instead for the most part on physical power, exercised on their behalf by a hierarchy of underling races. They see the many races in the universe, with which the Arisians were intending to build a peaceful civilization, as fodder for their power-drive.

The Arisians, detecting the invasion of our universe by the Eddorians, recognize their rapacious, intractable nature. So they try to hide their existence from the Eddorians and then begin a covert breeding program on every world that can produce intelligent life, with the aim of producing a means to eventually destroy the Eddorian race. This they grasp that they cannot do by mental power alone, and they decide that much time is needed (during which Eddore must be kept ignorant of their plans) and new races must be developed which will better be able to breach the Eddorians' mental powers than they themselves are. The new races, having done so, will naturally be better guardians of civilization than the Arisians can be, and so the Arisians' role in the universe will be ended.

Triplanetary incorporates the early history of that breeding program
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

 on Earth, illustrated with the lives of several warriors and soldiers, from ancient times to the discovery of the first interstellar space drive. It adds an additional short novel (originally published with the Triplanetary name) which is transitional to the novel First Lensman.

The second book, First Lensman, concerns the early formation of the Galactic Patrol
Galactic Patrol
The Galactic Patrol was an intergalactic organization in the Lensman science fiction series written by E. E. Smith. It was also the title of the third book in the series.-Overview:...

 and the first Lens, given to First Lensman Virgil Samms of "Tellus" (Earth). Samms is one side of the vast Arisian breeding program which will produce Clarissa MacDougal, the female half of the penultimate result of their breeding program. Moreover, along with Roderick Kinnison (a member of the other side, which will produce the male half), they are natural leaders as they are supremely intelligent, forceful, and capable. The Arisians, through the scientist Bergenholm (actually an Arisian entity appearing as a human, and who "invented" the interstellar drive), make it known that if Samms, the head of the Triplanetary Service which administers law enforcement to Tellus, Mars and Venus, visits the Arisian planetary system—and only if he visits the Arisian system—he will be given the tool he needs to build the Patrol he dreams of. That tool is the Lens. The Arisians further promise him that no entity unworthy of the Lens will ever be permitted to wear it, but that he and his successors will have to discover for themselves most of its abilities. They otherwise maintain a highly distant profile and refuse to talk to other beings, stating that they have given civilization the tool it needs to bring about a good future and that people should otherwise not have reason to contact them.

The Lens is a form of "pseudo-life," created by the Arisians who understand life and life-force
Life force
Life force is a concept of spiritual energy.Life force may also refer to:* Life Force , the American version of the arcade game Salamander* Lifeforce , a 1985 science fiction-horror film...

 in a way no other race does. It gives its wearer a variety of mental capabilities, including those needed to enforce the law on alien planets and to bridge the communication gap between different life-forms. Thus, it can provide mind-reading and telepathic abilities while connected directly or indirectly to the skin of its user. It cannot be worn by anyone other than its owner, will kill any other wearer, and sublimates
Sublimation (physics)
Sublimation is the process of transition of a substance from the solid phase to the gas phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase...

 shortly after the owner's death. Virgilia Samms, Virgil Samms's daughter, is later told that there is a gender difference that renders the Lens more compatible with male minds and that only one woman will ever become a Lensman.

Using the Lens as a means to test quality and identify the very few exceptional individuals able to help him, Virgil Samms visits races in other star systems, recruiting the best of them and forming a Galactic Patrol of exceptional individuals from a wide range of species. Their opponents in turn are discovered to be a widespread civilization based around dominance hierarchies
Dominance hierarchy
A dominance hierarchy is the organization of individuals in a group that occurs when competition for resources leads to aggression...

 and organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

. The leaders of this civilization are the Eddorians, but only the Children of the Lens, who must ultimately defeat these, know of their existence.

The series contains some of the largest-scale space battles ever written. Entire worlds are almost casually destroyed (see "Super-Science Weapons" below), while some weapons are powerful enough to warp space itself. Huge fleets of spaceships fight bloody wars of attrition. Alien races of two galaxies sort themselves into the allied, Lens-bearing adherents of "Civilization" and the enemy races of "Boskone".

Centuries pass and eventually the final generations of the breeding program are born. On each of four planets, a single individual is born who realises the limits of his initial training and perceives the need to return to Arisia to seek "second stage" training, including: the ability to slay by mental force alone; a "sense of perception" which allows seeing by direct awareness without the use of the visual sense; the ability to control minds undetectably; the ability to perfectly split attention in order to perform multiple tasks with simultaneous focus on each; and to better integrate their minds for superior thinking.

As the breeding program reaches its ultimate conclusion, Kimball Kinnison, the brown-haired, gray-eyed second-stage Lensman of Earth, finally marries the most advanced product of the complementary breeding program, Clarissa MacDougall. She is a beautiful, curvaceous, red-haired nurse, who eventually becomes the first human female to receive her own Lens. Their children, a boy and two pairs of fraternal twin sisters, grow up to be the five Children of the Lens. In their breeding, "almost every strain of weakness in humanity is finally removed." They are born already possessing the powers taught to second-stage Lensmen, with mental abilities from birth that are difficult to imagine. They are the only beings of Civilization ever to see Arisia as it truly is and the only individuals developed over all the existence of billions of years able finally to penetrate the Eddorians' defense screens.

Undergoing advanced training, they are described as "third-stage" Lensmen, transcending humanity with mental scope and perceptions impossible for any normal person to comprehend. Although newly adult, they are now expected to be more competent than the Arisians and to develop their own techniques and abilities "about which we [the Arisians] know nothing."

The key discovery comes when they try mind-merging, which they have not tried since before their various third-stage trainings, and discover that this is completely changed. No longer are they simply five beings in mental contact as before. Now they discover they can merge their minds into a hive-mind
Group mind (science fiction)
A group mind, hive mind or group ego in science fiction is a single consciousness occupying many bodies. Its use in literature goes back at least as far as Olaf Stapledon's science fiction novel Last and First Men ....

, to effectively form one mental entity, a being with incalculable abilities called the Unit. The Arisians call this the "most nearly perfect creation the universe has ever seen" and state that they, who created it, are themselves almost entirely ignorant of almost all its higher powers.

The Children of the Lens, together with the mental power of unknown millions of Lensmen of the Galactic Patrol, constitute the Arisians' intended means to destroy Eddore and make the universe safe for their progeny species. The Galactic Patrol, summoned to work together in this way for the first time in its existence, contains billions of beings who in total can generate immense mental force. The Children of the Lens add their own tremendous mental force to this. As the Unit gather, they focus all power onto one tiny point of the Eddorians' shields. Thus attacked with this incalculable strength and precision, the Eddorians' strongest shields finally, after billions of years, are destroyed and the Eddorians with them.

The Arisians, with their child races successful and safe, remove themselves from the Cosmos in order to leave the Children of the Lens uninhibited in their future as the new guardians of Civilization.


Using the same fictional universe, but not concerning the central plot, Smith also wrote the Vortex Blaster stories, including "Storm Cloud on Deka" (June 1942) and "The Vortex Blaster Makes War" (October 1942) for Astonishing Stories
Astonishing Stories
Astonishing Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published by Popular Publications between 1940 and 1943. It was founded under Popular's "Fictioneers" imprint, which paid lower rates than Popular's other magazines. The magazine's first editor was Frederik Pohl, who also edited a...

. These stories and later additions were collected and published by Gnome Press
Gnome Press
Gnome Press was an American small-press publishing company primarily known for publishing many science fiction classics.The company was founded in 1948 by Martin Greenberg and David A. Kyle. Many of Gnome's titles were reprinted in England by Boardman Books...

 as The Vortex Blaster
The Vortex Blaster
The Vortex Blaster is a collection of science fiction short stories by author Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.. It was simultaneously published in 1960 by Gnome Press in an edition of 3,000 copies and by Fantasy Press in an edition of 341 copies. The book was originally intended to be published by Fantasy...

in 1960 and later reprinted by Pyramid Books
Pyramid Books
Jove Books, formerly Pyramid Books, is a paperback publishing company, founded in 1949 by Almat Magazine Publishers . The company was sold to the Walter Reade Organization in the late 1960s. It was acquired in 1974 by Harcourt Brace which renamed it to Jove in 1977 and continued the line as an...

 as Masters of the Vortex in 1968.

This story collection can be explicitly identified as set in between Second Stage Lensman and Children of the Lens. During the course of the story in Vortex Blaster, the protagonists make first contact with a race of aliens known as the "Dhilans." During Children of the Lens, explicit reference is made to a "Dhilan Roadster" as a type of vehicle, clearly setting the events in it after that first contact.

The story Spacehounds of IPC
Spacehounds of IPC
Spacehounds of IPC is a science fiction novel by author Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.. It was first published in book form in 1947 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 2,008 copies. It was the first book published by Fantasy Press. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Amazing Stories in 1931...

, while very similar to the Lensman series in some ways, is not part of it. The technology and the lifeforms in the story can't be reconciled with the Lensman series so it must be considered a non-series, stand alone story.

In Larger Than Life, a tribute to E.E. Smith written by Robert Heinlein, and included in Expanded Universe, Heinlein writes:

The Lensman [series] was left unfinished. There was to have been at least a seventh volume. As always, Doc had worked it out in great detail, but never (so far as I know) wrote it down because it was unpublishable then. But he told me the ending orally and in private.

I shan't repeat it, it is not my story. Possibly somewhere there is a manuscript, I hope so! All I will say is that the ending develops by inescapable logic from clues in Children of the Lens.

On July 14, 1965, Smith gave written permission to William B. Ellern
William B. Ellern
William B. Ellern is an American science fiction author. Ellern has worked as an engineer, including for JPL, Raytheon, Boeing, Hughes Aircraft and Northrop Corporation....

 to continue the Lensman series, which led to the publishing of "Moon Prospector" in 1966, New Lensman in 1975 and Triplanetary Agent in 1978.

Three additional Lensmen novels that feature the alien Second-Stage Lensmen (known as the Second-Stage Lensman Trilogy) were written by David Kyle
David Kyle
David A. Kyle is a Potsdam, New York-based science fiction writer and prominent member of science fiction fandom.-Professional career:With Martin Greenberg, Kyle founded Gnome Press in 1948...

, published in paperback between 1980 and 1983 and reissued in 2004:
  • The Dragon Lensman (Worsel, the Velantian)
  • Lensman from Rigel (Tregonsee, the Rigellian)
  • Z-Lensman (Nadreck the Palainian)
  • A fourth novel, which was to have told the story of the Red Lensman, was discussed, but never completed.

The events in these books take place between Second-Stage Lensmen and Children of the Lens and refer to events and characters in Vortex Blaster.

Other appearances

In 1984, an anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 movie titled SF New Age Lensman
Lensman (anime)
is an anime TV series and movie based on the Lensman novels by E. E. Smith. Although these were produced with the knowledge and consent of Smith's estate, they were so displeased with the result that for several years they rejected any other suggestions of adaptation...

 was released in Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. It was released in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 by Streamline Pictures
Streamline Pictures
Streamline Pictures was an American media company that was best known for its distribution of English dubbed Japanese animation. -Founding:Founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1988, Streamline Pictures was one of the first North American companies that was created primarily for the intention of...

 in 1990. The movie is not faithful to the series, with nearly the only points of similarity being the names of some of the characters, the "Good versus Evil" struggle, the outer-space setting, and the Lens itself, which possesses characteristics distinctly different from those given for it in the novels. It spawned a Japanese anime TV series, which ignored the movie's dubious continuity in favor of returning closer to the original story material, as well as a comic book series published by Eternity Comics
Eternity Comics
Eternity Comics was a California-based comic book publisher active from 1986 to 1994, first as an independent publisher, then as an imprint of Malibu Comics. Eternity published creator-owned comics of an offbeat, independent flavor, as well as some licensed properties...

 and another one from Malibu Comics
Malibu Comics
Malibu Comics was an American comic book publisher active in the late 1980s and early 1990s, best known for its Ultraverse line of superhero titles. The company's headquarters was in Calabasas, California. Malibu imprints included Aircel Comics and Eternity Comics...

, both of which stuck to the movie's variant continuity. There was also a Lensman manga released in Japan (collected in three tankōbon volumes) which adapted the basics of the story in a hazy mixture of the TV series and the original books; this manga was never translated into English.

In addition, a Lensman appears in Robert A. Heinlein's
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

 Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast (novel)
The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1980. The first edition featured a cover and interior illustrations by Richard M. Powers...

and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls: A Comedy of Manners is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1985. Like many of his later novels, it features Lazarus Long and Jubal Harshaw as supporting characters.-Plot summary:...

, both of which refer to "Lensman Ted Smith" who interacts directly with Heinlein characters such as Lazarus Long
Lazarus Long
Lazarus Long is a fictional character featured in a number of science fiction novels by Robert A. Heinlein. Born in 1912 in the third generation of a selective breeding experiment run by the Ira Howard Foundation, Lazarus becomes unusually long-lived, living well over two thousand years with the...

 and Hilda Burroughs.

In 2008, Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment
Imagine Entertainment
Imagine Entertainment is a film and television production company founded in 1986 by director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer.Its productions include the television series 24 and Arrested Development and the films Apollo 13 , A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code .-Organization:Karen...

 and Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
-1920:* White Youth* The Flaming Disc* Am I Dreaming?* The Dragon's Net* The Adorable Savage* Putting It Over* The Line Runners-1921:* The Fire Eater* A Battle of Wits* Dream Girl* The Millionaire...

 began negotiations with the author's estate for rights to film the Lensman series. The negotiations are for an 18-month renewable option. At the WonderCon convention in San Francisco in February 2008, J. Michael Straczynski
J. Michael Straczynski
Joseph Michael Straczynski , known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an American writer and television producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is a playwright, a former journalist,...

, the creator of Babylon 5, confirmed that Howard had acquired the rights and also hinted that he was involved in the project as well. On 17 June 2008, Straczynski wrote that he had begun work on the project.

Homages and parodies

With Smith's knowledge, the parody "Backstage Lensman
Backstage Lensman
Backstage Lensman is a short story by Randall Garrett, a parody or pastiche of the Lensman series of E.E. 'Doc' Smith. It was first written in 1949, lost and then rewritten in 1978....

" was written by Randall Garrett
Randall Garrett
Randall Garrett was an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was a prolific contributor to Astounding and other science fiction magazines of the 1950s and 1960s...

 in 1949.

Garrett also referred to the Lensmen in his Lord Darcy
Lord Darcy (fiction)
Lord Darcy is a detective in an alternate history, created by Randall Garrett. The first stories were asserted to take place in the same year as they were published, but in a world very different from our own.-Title character:...

stories, in which similar lenses are the badges of the King's Messengers, invented by the wizard Sir Edward Elmer (a reference to Smith himself).

In the DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

 universe, the Green Lantern Corps
Green Lantern Corps
The Green Lantern Corps is the name of a fictional intergalactic military/police force appearing in comics published by DC Comics. They patrol the farthest reaches of the DC Universe at the behest of the Guardians, a race of immortals residing on the planet Oa...

 bears many parallels to the Lensmen, although its principal creators deny any connection (later creators, however, would introduce Green Lanterns named Arisia
Arisia (comics)
Arisia Rrab is a fictional character, a superhero featured in comic books published by DC Comics. Arisia is a humanoid alien with golden-yellow skin, hair and eyes, and has pointed, elven ears....

 and Eddore as an homage).

The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting...

 role-playing game includes a source book describing how to conduct a role-playing campaign set in the Lensman universe.

Planets and places

The Lensman series takes place over a vast sweep of space and upon many different worlds. These include the following:
  • Aldebaran
    Aldebaran is a red giant star located about 65 light years away in the zodiac constellation of Taurus. With an average apparent magnitude of 0.87 it is the brightest star in the constellation and is one of the brightest stars in the nighttime sky...

    , occupied by the Wheelmen, who are never stated to be a native species. This is the scene of Kimball Kinnison's first major injury requiring hospitalization, which leads to his first meeting with Clarrissa MacDougall.
  • Aldebaran II, one of the first human-settled planets, is the scene of several of Kimball Kinnison's adventures.
  • Arisia, one of the most ancient worlds of our universe, originally Earth-like, is inhabited by the Arisian Elders.
  • Chickladoria, planet with a native humanoid species possessing pink skin pigmentation and triangular eyes. Frequent references are made to the fact that they consider clothing optional. Chickladorians are described as "thinking on a wave" unused by most species in the galaxy, which means that hostile telepaths (such as the Overlords of Delgon, below) may completely overlook them.
  • Delgon (Velantia II), located in the same system as Velantia, Delgon is home to the soul-devouring Overlords, bred by the Eddorian Gharlane to prey on the Velantians of Velantia III.
  • Eddore, world inhabited by malevolent creatures from another space-time continuum. It is implied (though never stated) that the physical laws of the native plenum of Eddore were grossly different from those of the Lensmen's universe; that the atmosphere was composed of elements that were different from those of our universe (it was explained that by the time they migrated to our galaxy, they had become completely independent of their 'native' physical form). The Eddorians themselves were physically similar to various lower Earthly life-forms, reproducing by fission, but by a process more similar to budding than to cell division, except that each being's memories were preserved in toto. The Eddorians were highly competitive, extremely long-lived and almost impossible to kill by any mechanism known to their own science by the time they decided to unify and search for planets in other universes to subjugate.
  • Jarnevon, world in Lundmark's Nebula, home of the Eich and their infamous "Council of Boskone," the first Eddorian puppet state to penetrate the First Galaxy. Destroyed at the end of Gray Lensman by being crushed between two "free" (inertialess) planets with opposite intrinsic velocities, inerted just prior to the points of impact.
  • Kalonia, a Lundmark's Nebula planet with a humanoid native race marked by cut-steel-blue pigmentation. As hard as their pigmentation suggested, individually they were the most able executives under the sway of Eddore. The agents of Boskone in the First Galaxy, though reporting to Boskone, were typically from Kalonia despite its independent status as a center of Boskonian operations. Discovered by Kim and Christopher Kinnison during Children of the Lens, its conquest was alluded to but never chronicled.
  • Klovia
    Klovia is an Earth-like world in Lundmark's Nebula, the Second Galaxy in E. E. Smith's Lensman series. After the native, near-human inhabitants go through a horrific world war, the Galactic Patrol arrives and decides to use Klovia as its base of operations in the Second Galaxy...

    , a planet made into Civilization's first base in Lundmark's Nebula. The heavily fortified home of the Children of the Lens.
  • Lundmark's Nebula, the "Second Galaxy," which collided with the "Milky Way" or "First Galaxy" two billion years ago, leading to the large populations of planets nurtured by Arisia and discovered by Eddore. Home of the Eddorians, the Ploorans and the major races of their empire, including the Eich, the Thralians, and the Kalonians. Historical Note: Knut Lundmark
    Knut Lundmark
    Knut Emil Lundmark was a Swedish astronomer, professor of astronomy and head of the observatory at Lund University 1929–1955....

     was an early 20th century Swedish astronomer. It is possible that Lundmark's Nebula is intended to refer to the Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte
    The Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte galaxy is an irregular galaxy discovered in 1909 by Max Wolf, and is located on the outer edges of the local group. The discovery of the nature of the galaxy was accredited to Knut Lundmark and Philibert Jacques Melotte in 1926. It is in the constellation Cetus.-Star...

     Galaxy, though Lundmark made numerous other contributions to the study of other galaxies.
  • Lyrane II, home of a matriarchal civilization. Its dominant beings are women (or highly humanoid females) who retain their nearly non-sentient males only for breeding purposes (similar to Larry Niven
    Larry Niven
    Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

    's Kzinti). They refer to themselves with the neuter pronoun "it". Lyranian women possess powerful minds, capable of telepathy and of slaying by mental force, though they do perform the latter by what is described as a "crude, childish technique."
  • Medon, originally located in Lundmark's Nebula, Medon was moved to the First Galaxy by its technologically-advanced natives with the assistance of the Galactic Patrol. Its people contributed extremely efficient electric insulators and conductors.
  • Nevia, the amphibious Nevians invented the first crude inertialess drives appearing in the series. They warred on the Triplanetary League, but eventually joined Civilization when they realized that humanity was as advanced as their own species.
  • Nth Space, an alternate dimension, accessed by hyper-spatial tube, where all matter is tachyon
    A tachyon is a hypothetical subatomic particle that always moves faster than light. In the language of special relativity, a tachyon would be a particle with space-like four-momentum and imaginary proper time. A tachyon would be constrained to the space-like portion of the energy-momentum graph...

    ic, moving swifter than light. Ploor and Ploor's sun were destroyed by planets transported from Nth Space.
  • Onlo (Thrallis IX), see Thrale below.
  • Palain VII, an extremely cold planet and home world of Second Stage Lensman Nadreck. Like all ultra-cold planets in Smith's cosmogony, the inhabitants require a metabolic extension "into the fourth dimension" in order to survive the liquid-helium temperatures of their planetary surface. Smith suggested, with little elaboration, a twelve-point scale used to describe intelligent (and possibly other) species. On this scale, humans were classified as "AAAAAAAAAAAA" and Palainians as "ZZZZZZZZZZZZ." It is stated that a Palainian colony had existed on Pluto for millennia before the events of First Lensman, suggesting that the Palainians may have had the first inertialess drive in the First Galaxy. Within the Second-Stage Lensmen, Nadreck's ultra-caution counterbalanced Kinnison's occasional near-recklessness and it is suggested that, were the Palainians less cautious, their species rather than humanity would have given birth to the Third-Stage Lensmen.
  • Ploor, the first-tier planet of Eddorian puppets and the only one with direct knowledge of the Eddorians. The leaders of Jarnevon, Kalonia and Thrale were, unknown to the bulk of their populations or to most of Civilization, under the direct control of Ploor. Since Ploor was a planet of a highly variable sun, its inhabitants were evolved to morph their bodies on a precise annual cycle, though none of their manifestations were even remotely human (their winter form was ZZZZ+ or nearly Palainian). The planet and its sun were destroyed by planet-sized projectiles from the "Nth Space" dimension with intrinsic velocity greater than the speed of light.
  • Posenia (or possibly just "Posen"?) No description of this planet occurs anywhere in the books and even its name is not explicitly stated. However, it is the homeworld of "the Posenian surgeon Phillips", whose research enabled the development of regeneration
    Regeneration (biology)
    In biology, regeneration is the process of renewal, restoration, and growth that makes genomes, cells, organs, organisms, and ecosystems resilient to natural fluctuations or events that cause disturbance or damage. Every species is capable of regeneration, from bacteria to humans. At its most...

  • Rigel
    Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation Orion and the sixth brightest star in the sky, with visual magnitude 0.18...

    , a hot, high-gravity world, Home of Second-Stage Lensman Tregonsee.
  • Tellus, or Earth
    Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

    . Home to the humans including the Kinnison and Samms lines.
  • Thrale (Thrallis II), the capital of the Boskonian Thrale-Onlonian Empire in Lundmark's Nebula. The inhabitants were "independently"-evolved humans like those of Klovia and many other worlds. They are ultimately traceable back to Arisian life-spores permeating space at the time of the Coalescence.
  • Trenco, a planet where a major fraction of the atmosphere condenses each night and evaporates each day, giving rise to exceptionally violent weather. The planet's plant life yields the illicit psychotropic thionite.
  • Valeria
    Valeria (Lensman)
    In the Lensman universe, Valeria is a Terran colony planet settled by the Dutch. The planet's gravity is nearly three times that of Earth, and the people of Valeria have, over the centuries, become large, brawny, and strong. The Galactic Patrol often employs Valerians as marines and shock troops....

    , a high-gravity planet where natural diamonds formed in great quantity, settled by Tellurian Dutchmen who developed immense strength in response to the natural stresses of their planet, making them ideal space marines.
  • Velantia III, home of an intelligent, winged, reptilian species, of which Second-Stage Lensman Worsel is a member.


Hyper-spatial Tube: A "tunnel" through hyperspace
Hyperspace (science fiction)
Hyperspace is a plot device sometimes used in science fiction. It is typically described as an alternative region of space co-existing with our own universe which may be entered using an energy field or other device...

, allowing galactic distances to be traversed in minutes, as well as allowing access to other universes. Objects and people from different origin points meeting each other in the tube pass through each other rather than interacting. The artificial, ultra-dense material "dureum" is an exception; it is therefore used to create objects and weapons (axes, clubs, knives) capable of interacting with anything and anyone in a tube. Originally invented by the Eddorians and used for their explorations of other universes prior to their arrival in the Lensman universe, it was given to the Boskonian subject races, and was eventually discovered and copied by the Patrol. It has points in common with the modern idea of wormholes
Wormholes in fiction
A wormhole is a postulated method, within the general theory of relativity, of moving from one point in space to another without crossing the space between. Wormholes are a popular feature of science fiction as they allow interstellar travel within human timescales...

 to link distant points in space.

Spaceships are able to vastly exceed the speed of light
Speed of light
The speed of light in vacuum, usually denoted by c, is a physical constant important in many areas of physics. Its value is 299,792,458 metres per second, a figure that is exact since the length of the metre is defined from this constant and the international standard for time...

 by eliminating the inertia
Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion. It is proportional to an object's mass. The principle of inertia is one of the fundamental principles of classical physics which are used to...

 of their mass. When the "inertialess drive
Inertialess drive
The inertialess drive is a fictional means of accelerating to close to the speed of light or faster-than-light travel, originally used in Triplanetary and the Lensman series by E.E. "Doc" Smith, and later by Robert A...

" (which does not actually provide propulsion) is turned on, the "free" (inertialess) ship instantly attains a velocity at which the force of the ship's propulsion jets is matched by friction
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:...

 of the medium through which it travels (such as widely scattered hydrogen molecules in the vacuum of space
Interstellar medium
In astronomy, the interstellar medium is the matter that exists in the space between the star systems in a galaxy. This matter includes gas in ionic, atomic, and molecular form, dust, and cosmic rays. It fills interstellar space and blends smoothly into the surrounding intergalactic space...

), avoiding the Einsteinian light-speed limit on normal (inert) matter, and so attaining a speed of about 90 parsec
The parsec is a unit of length used in astronomy. It is about 3.26 light-years, or just under 31 trillion kilometres ....

s per hour at touring speed and about 120 parsec
The parsec is a unit of length used in astronomy. It is about 3.26 light-years, or just under 31 trillion kilometres ....

s per hour at full blast. The vacuum of Intergalactic space is even more rarefied, and the speed there is about 100,000 parsecs per hour. An inertialess drive unit is called a "Bergenholm
Bergenholm space drive
In E.E. "Doc" Smith's fictional Lensman series, the Bergenholm generator is the key to faster-than-light transportation. It functions by rendering an object inertialess so that it instantly takes on an analogue of terminal velocity: that is, the speed and direction of motion in which frictional...

" after the scientist (actually an Arisian student appearing to be a human) who improved and perfected the original inertialess drive.

Conservation of momentum is maintained; when the inertialess drive generator is switched off, the spacecraft's original velocity is restored. If a ship has traveled a great distance, inert maneuvering will be required in order to match velocity relative to the local planet or moon. There are similar velocity-matching difficulties with ships docking in space, and in transferring "free" passengers from one ship to another.

Inertialess drive generators small enough for a single person are used by Galactic Patrol staff. Patrol members can travel downward within tall buildings, via drop shafts, by falling while inertialess. Some armored spacesuits have individual inertialess drives installed.

Screens: Spaceships are protected by several layers of defensive force field "screens", including the innermost and strongest "wall shield." Smaller vehicles and even spacesuits can carry screens of lesser power.

Spaceships: The smallest are called "speedsters" or "flitters" and carry only the pilot, or a very small crew. They are generally used for scouting or covert missions. Larger military ships have designations equivalent to early-twentieth-century surface naval vessels: Destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

s, cruiser
A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundreds of years, and has had different meanings throughout this period...

s, dreadnaught
Dreadnaught may mean:* Edward Boscawen , Admiral in the Royal Navy, was given the nickname "Old Dreadnaught"In film:* Dreadnaught , a Yuen Woo-Ping film from 1981...

s (battleships), superdreadnaughts. In addition, there are "maulers", which are huge, slow-moving vessels so powerful they can attack planetary bases. Slower ships are spherical; faster ones have teardrop shapes; the fastest of all are the "ultrafast" cigar-shaped speeders and later (Dauntless-class) superdreadnaughts.

Thought Screens: In a universe where many alien races have powerful telepathic abilities
Telepathy , is the induction of mental states from one mind to another. The term was coined in 1882 by the classical scholar Fredric W. H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, and has remained more popular than the more-correct expression thought-transference...

, and even mind control
Mind control
Mind control refers to a process in which a group or individual "systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator, often to the detriment of the person being manipulated"...

 is possible, thought screens can be a valuable asset. They are proof against penetration by even a second-stage Lensman's mind. The Children of the Lens are able to bypass ("think over or under", suggesting thought as a spectrum) or even, if necessary, penetrate any non-Eddorian thought screen, and in the final battle the Unit and the collected Lensmen penetrate even Eddorian thought screens.

Ultrawaves are a concept used in science fiction to represent transmissions or signals that may propagate faster than light through either normal space, or alternate space, such as hyperspace or subspace...

Vibrations in the "sub-ether
Luminiferous aether
In the late 19th century, luminiferous aether or ether, meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light....

", used for interstellar "radio"-like communications and detection. Ultra-wave travels at about 19 billion times the speed of light. The use dates from the time of the latter part of Triplanetary. Sean Barrett, in the GURPS Lensman game, has suggested that ultra-waves form the basis for the so-called "vacuum tubes" used in the series.

Power Armor: While never explicitly given to supplying increased strength in the manner of a powered exoskeleton
Powered exoskeleton
A powered exoskeleton, also known as powered armor, or exoframe, is a powered mobile machine consisting primarily of an exoskeleton-like framework worn by a person and a power supply that supplies at least part of the activation-energy for limb movement.Powered exoskeletons are designed to assist...

, armored space-suits available to both the Patrol and to Boskone nonetheless contain energy shields and inertialess drive units. Further, during the career of Kimball Kinnison (father of the Children of the Lens) a suit was fabricated in order to permit him to survive an assault upon the command centre of an enemy fortress which is quite obviously both armored to the point where a normal man could not operate it and yet fully mobile, implying some form of load-carrying augmentation. This would make it the first known example of powered infantry battle armor in science fiction.

Power production: Prior to the extended version of the novella Triplanetary for book publication, no out-of-the-ordinary power technologies are described; however interplanetary travel with the ship sizes and capabilities implied requires terawatt power sources, so we can infer some version of nuclear fission
Nuclear fission
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

 or fusion
Nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy...

 power. After the advent of the Nevians and through the rest of Triplanetary, the primary power source for spaceships and planetary installations is the controlled matter-to-energy conversion of "allotropic iron", an allotrope of iron which appears to be a dense, viscous, red liquid at room temperature.

By the time of First Lensman, allotropic iron is replaced by an unnamed form of atomic power. Uranium is mentioned, but not explicitly as an energy source; it is a vital ingredient in the Bergenholm, however, not as a power source, but as part of the structure and/or circuitry. It can be inferred that a total-conversion engine is used throughout that book, and the remainder of the series. It is noted that power production generates radiation that can be detected by other ships at a considerable distance and cannot be perfectly screened. Stealth ships for covert missions can be fitted with large diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 generating sets, capable of powering the Bergenholm and providing limited drive power for short periods, so that the atomics can be shut down for sensitive parts of the mission.

Atomic-power units appear to have a minimum feasible size which prevents their use on installations smaller than a spaceship. The Bergenholms and drivers fitted to personal space armor are powered by electrical accumulators
Accumulator (energy)
An accumulator is an apparatus by means of which energy can be stored, such as a rechargeable battery or a hydraulic accumulator. Such devices may be electrical, fluidic or mechanical and are sometimes used to convert a small continuous power source into a short surge of energy or vice versa...

, which despite their portable size have capacities of many myriawatt-hours and whose charging load represents a significant drain on the power stations of a less technologically advanced planet such as Delgon.

Some time prior to the start of Galactic Patrol, the Boskonians had developed a method of using their on-board power systems as exciters to gather power from "cosmic energy" sources with an amplification factor of a million times the exciter power. The Galactic Patrol, capturing this technology during Kimball Kinnison's first major assignment, not only reverse engineered
Reverse engineering
Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation...

 it for routine use, but also developed shields and screens to block enemy systems from drawing the power, and upgraded the power systems for their "Mauler" class of attack vessels to defeat systems reliant on cosmic-energy collection.

Spaceship drive: The Bergenholm nullifies the inertia
Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion. It is proportional to an object's mass. The principle of inertia is one of the fundamental principles of classical physics which are used to...

 of a spaceship, but does not of itself provide any driving force. Driving projectors, or "jets", are reaction engine
Reaction engine
A reaction engine is an engine or motor which provides propulsion by expelling reaction mass, in accordance with Newton's third law of motion...

s, using as reaction mass nascent fourth-order particles or corpuscles which are formed, inert, in the inertialess projector, by the conversion of some form of energy into matter. The process produces, as by-products, a certain amount of heat and a considerable amount of light. This light, shining through the highly tenuous gas formed of the ejected particles, produces a "flare" which makes a speeding spaceship one of the most beautiful spectacles known to man, but also makes it visually detectable at long range. Stealth ships therefore make use of "flare baffles" to prevent the escape of the light; the disadvantage is that, because the waste energy cannot escape from the projector in the usual way, it must be dissipated to prevent overheating, so baffles are only fitted when absolutely required.

Information processing: Computing technology as we understand it is practically unknown, being limited to slide rule
Slide rule
The slide rule, also known colloquially as a slipstick, is a mechanical analog computer. The slide rule is used primarily for multiplication and division, and also for functions such as roots, logarithms and trigonometry, but is not normally used for addition or subtraction.Slide rules come in a...

s, adding machine
Adding machine
An adding machine was a class of mechanical calculator, usually specialized for bookkeeping calculations.In the United States, the earliest adding machines were usually built to read in dollars and cents. Adding machines were ubiquitous office equipment until they were phased out in favor of...

s, and punched card tabulating machines
Unit record equipment
Before the advent of electronic computers, data processing was performed using electromechanical devices called unit record equipment, electric accounting machines or tabulating machines. Unit record machines were as ubiquitous in industry and government in the first half of the twentieth century...

. A "computer" is not a calculating machine but an intelligent being performing calculations by brain power with the assistance of the abovementioned limited aids. Large concentrations of computing power, as required by the C3 system of the Patrol Grand Fleet flagship Directrix, are implemented using squadrons of Rigellians, a naturally telepathic species, in mental communication with each other. In the (non-canonical) GURPS Lensman gaming supplement, the lack of electronic computers (and other advanced electronics) in the future setting of the Lensman universe was retroactively explained as follows: Wanting the races of Civilization to develop their own mental powers to the fullest extent possible, rather than relying on electronic aids, the Arisians intervened with the normal course of history to retard the development of transistors and other advanced electronics.


The science fiction sub-genre of "super-science" is nowhere more apparent in the Lensman series than in its (sometimes literally) world-shaking weapons.

Space-axe: The shields of space armor are capable of indefinitely resisting the output of a blaster. Moreover, their resistance to material projectiles varies as the cube of the velocity of the projectile, rendering bullets also ineffective. To counter this, the space-axe was developed. It has an axe blade on one end and a needle-sharp spike on the other and is shoved into targets rather than swung. To increase its deadliness, the weapon may be inlaid with or even entirely composed of ultra-dense dureum (see "Hyper-spatial Tube" above).

Mind Killer: Never actually given a name, this tiny device conceived by Worsel and constructed by master technician Thorndyke produced a vibration that caused the disintegration of a compound vital to thought in all living beings. The effect was so deadly that Worsel and Thorndyke agreed that Kinnison was the only person who could be trusted with it and so presumably only one was ever made. It was small enough to fit in a ring or other jewelry, or even to be implanted in Kinnison's body.

Blaster: In First Lensman, the standard blaster pistol was the Lewiston Mk 17. The main sequence of the series uses the DeLameter, a raygun
Rayguns are a type of fictional directed-energy weapon. They have various alternate names: ray gun, death ray, beam gun, blaster, laser gun, phaser, etc. They are a well-known feature of science fiction; for such stories they typically have the general function of guns...

 so powerful it can atomize its target and reduce a wall behind it to smoking ruins. The aperture of the DeLameter can be opened so as to emit a wide and comparatively less powerful cone of destruction or narrowed so as to emit a pencil-thin and extremely intense beam.

Semi-Portable: The Lensman universe equivalent of a heavy machine gun, the semi-portable is a large beam weapon designed to be carried by more than one man. It projects a beam powerful enough to overcome personal defense screens (mounted on an individual's space armor) which cannot be penetrated by DeLameters or other hand blasters. The semi-portable is small enough to be used in a spaceship corridor, though it may need to be secured with magnetic clamps.

Macro Beam: These ship-mounted beams can vaporize any matter in moments. Only screens can provide any defense to these bluish-green beams, all normal matter is instantly broken down into its component elements. The word "macro" refers to the fact that the beams operate using "conventional" wavebands, as opposed to the "ultra" bands used by other beam weaponry.

Primary Beam: These became the primary weaponry of the warships of space. A Macro Beam projector is so massively overloaded that it burns out almost instantly while emitting a beam much more intense than is otherwise possible. Invented as a dying act of desperation by a Boskonian vessel (on which it killed each gun crew using the technique), it was adapted in more controlled form by the Galactic Patrol, using highly-shielded primary projectors whose spent emitters were ejected like massive shell-cases.

Secondary Beam: This is essentially the same technology as the primary beam, but the projector is not used outside its continuous rating. The beam is of considerably lower power than the primary, but can be maintained for as long as a power source is available.

Duodec: In Galactic Patrol, the superior screens of a Boskonian ship are overcome with the power of the explosive duodecaplylatomate, described as "the quintessence of atomic destruction," whose power is comparable to a nuclear explosion as produced by current real-world technology and has few of the drawbacks of atomics: there is apparently no radiation danger, it is easy to handle, simple to use, powerful and easy to detonate. Duodec is also used by the Boskonians to self-destruct their bases to prevent capture, by Kinnison to destroy Menjo Bleeko's mining complex on Lonabar and in many other situations calling for an extremely powerful explosive.

Allotropic iron torpedo: The primary power source for Nevian spaceships in Triplanetary is the controlled matter-to-energy conversion of "allotropic iron," an allotrope of iron which is a dense, viscous, red liquid at room temperature. In conventional chemistry, allotropes are substances with the same atomic composition, but different molecular arrangements. Thus, phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 occurs in the allotropes white phosphorus and red phosphorus. However, these transformations are purely chemical and not nuclear. Smith's fictional allotropic iron can be made to undergo nuclear conversion as a power source, analogous to the nuclear conversion of the catalyzed copper fuel rods of The Skylark of Space
The Skylark of Space
The Skylark of Space by Edward E. "Doc" Smith was written between 1915 and 1921 while Smith was working on his doctorate. Though the original idea for the novel was Smith's, he co-wrote the first part of the novel with Lee Hawkins Garby, the wife of his college classmate and later neighbor Carl Garby...

. Allotropic iron can also be "sensitized" so as to undergo uncontrolled matter-to-energy conversion under a suitable stimulus, thus producing an extremely powerful explosive. A torpedo carrying a sensitized allotropic iron charge is detonated on Nevia in Triplanetary with devastating results. In later times, duodec is the atomic explosive of choice, perhaps due to its apparent greater ease of handling.

Negasphere: A sphere of "negative matter" first created in Gray Lensman. In some respects its properties resemble antimatter. If brought into contact with normal matter, mutual annihilation results, releasing an enormous flood of energy. But it differs from antimatter in that it absorbs light so that it is utterly black. Tractor
Tractor beam
A tractor beam is a device with the ability to attract one object to another from a distance. Since the 1990s, technology and research has labored to make it a reality, mostly at microscopic level. Less commonly, a similar beam that repels is called a pressor beam or repulsor beam...

 and pressor beams have reversed effects when used on a negasphere. Perhaps a negasphere is better described as having properties of both negative matter and negative energy
Negative energy
Negative energy is a concept used in energy , energy , and speculative fiction for a contrast with regular or positive energy.Negative energy may be used in:- Physics :* Particle physics** Exotic matter** Antiparticle...

. The negasphere is an expression of the original Dirac Sea
Dirac sea
The Dirac sea is a theoretical model of the vacuum as an infinite sea of particles with negative energy. It was first postulated by the British physicist Paul Dirac in 1930 to explain the anomalous negative-energy quantum states predicted by the Dirac equation for relativistic electrons...

 conception of antimatter
In particle physics, antimatter is the extension of the concept of the antiparticle to matter, where antimatter is composed of antiparticles in the same way that normal matter is composed of particles...

 by Paul A. M. Dirac
Paul Dirac
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, OM, FRS was an English theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics...

 as a "hole" in space which has been evacuated of normal matter (this is of course a gross conceptual simplification of Dirac's ideas).

Free Planet: An entire planet is rendered inertialess. If fitted with massive power plants and screens, it can be used as a mobile fortress with enough power to easily brush off attacks by spaceships. If properly positioned and inerted, it can be used to crush an enemy planet in an extreme form of kinetic bombardment
Kinetic bombardment
A kinetic bombardment is the act of attacking a planetary surface with an inert projectile, where the destructive force comes from the kinetic energy of the projectile impacting at very high velocities...


Nutcracker: In Gray Lensman, two "free planets" (see above) with opposing inert velocities were positioned on either side of an enemy planet. Simultaneously inerted, they crushed the other planet between them. Such approach will crush even a "free" planet.

Sunbeam: In Second-Stage Lensman, an entire solar system is converted to a vacuum tube
Vacuum tube
In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube , or thermionic valve , reduced to simply "tube" or "valve" in everyday parlance, is a device that relies on the flow of electric current through a vacuum...

, with asteroids and planets as grids and plates, to focus nearly the entire output of the sun into a beam capable of melting the surface of a planet in seconds. That's the conversion of 4.26 million metric tons per second of matter into energy, or 9.15 × 1010 megatons of TNT per second. Thus, it is a defense against attacks by "free" planets, which are rendered inert when their Bergenholms (inertialess drive units) are destroyed. The Sunbeam is an ultrawave vacuum tube rather than a normal one. This is demonstrated by the fact that its beam moves faster than light and can be retargeted on different objects in the outer reaches of the solar system in a matter of seconds.

Nth-Space Planet: The ultimate material weapon in the Lensman series. Also called a "Super-Nutcracker." In Children of the Lens, an expedition travels to "Nth Space," another space-time continuum where physical laws are different and all matter moves faster than light. There, a planet is rendered "free" (see "Free Planet" above) and moved via hyper-spatial tube into our universe. The planet is then moved close into an enemy stellar system and inerted. The result is so violent that the Nth-Space planet launched against Ploor's sun makes it go supernova
A supernova is a stellar explosion that is more energetic than a nova. It is pronounced with the plural supernovae or supernovas. Supernovae are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines an entire galaxy, before fading from view over several weeks or months...

, still radiating the energy of 550 million Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

s several years later. It was so powerful, in fact, that there was a theoretical possibility that its mass would be "some higher order of infinity" and that the entire universe would coalesce around it in zero time (rather like an instantaneous Big Crunch
Big Crunch
In physical cosmology, the Big Crunch is one possible scenario for the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the metric expansion of space eventually reverses and the universe recollapses, ultimately ending as a black hole singularity.- Overview :...

). Fortunately, Mentor of Arisia assured Kit Kinnison that "operators would come into effect to prevent such an occurrence" and that untoward events would be limited to a radius of ten or fifteen parsec
The parsec is a unit of length used in astronomy. It is about 3.26 light-years, or just under 31 trillion kilometres ....

s. During the Battle of Ploor, an Nth-Space planet was launched against Ploor. A second planet was launched into Ploor's sun to destroy Ploor's remaining military forces in the area.

External links

(First book of the Lensman series, rewritten from the pre-Lensman serial version)
  • Old Earth Books Recent publisher of the original E. E. Smith Lensman series, in facsimile reprints of the original Fantasy Press
    Fantasy Press
    Fantasy Press was an American publishing house specialising in fantasy and science fiction titles. Established in 1946 by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach in Reading, Pennsylvania, it was most notable for publishing the works of authors such as Robert A. Heinlein and E. E. Smith...

  • Red Jacket Press Publisher of the "Second Stage Lensman" Trilogy by David A. Kyle
  • Books-In-Motion Publisher of the Lensman Series in Audiobook Format
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