978-0-425-08953-8 / 0425089533

Skylark of Valeron

by E. E. "Doc" Smith



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About the book:

From Wikipedia: Skylark is a science fiction/space opera series by the late E. E. "Doc" Smith. The first book The Skylark of Space (first published in Amazing Stories in 1928) is revolutionary in the genre, in which a scientist discovers a space-drive, builds a starship, and flies off with three companions to encounter alien civilizations and fight a larger-than-life villain. ~~~ The Skylark of Space was the first ever of a series which continued through three subsequent books-Skylark Three and Skylark of Valeron written during the 1930s, and Skylark DuQuesne (DuQuesne is pronounced "Du Kane"), written in 1963. R. D. Mullen declared that "The great success of the stories was surely due first of all to the skill with which Smith mixed elements of the spy thriller and the western story (our hero is the fastest gun in space, our villain the second fastest) with those of the traditional cosmic voyage." ~~~ The science in the "Skylark" series, while not entirely accurate, is believable: Newton's laws are obeyed, planets circle suns; there is description of something like a black hole or neutron star; and matter-energy conversion propels the spacecraft. The observation that a spaceship has covered a distance apparently impossible in the time elapsed is met with the response "Einstein's theory is still a theory. That distance is an observed fact"; such effects as time dilation and mass increase are simply ignored. This claim had more potential validity in the 1920s, when the story was written, than it holds at present; much like now-known-incorrect depictions of Venus or Mars in other classic space opera. ~~~ Edward Elmer Smith PhD (also E. E. Smith, E. E. "Doc" Smith, Doc Smith, "Skylark" Smith, or-to his family-Ted) (May 2, 1890 - August 31, 1965) was an American food engineer (specializing in doughnut and pastry mixes) and early science fiction author, best known for the Lensman and Skylark series. He is sometimes called the father of space opera.

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