a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
At first I was completely confused while reading this novel, until I read it through my pulp-fiction-of-the-thirties lens. Then it became fun and hilarious. Scientists are unemotional and ruthless; statements of unlikely grandeur are made regularly. There's plenty of math in here (though only in the first 120 pages of the book and the last five), mainly having to do with a fourth spacial dimension, and it's not quite clear how correct or how wrong it is. The characters make conjectures, find more evidence, correct themselves, and re-conjecture. Combing through that maze carefully might be an interesting student project.
I read E.E. Doc Smith often. He makes me want to understand more of where the he was drawing his mathematical inspiration and creativity from. As this author wrote from the eary 1920's to 1965, it seems obvious he should have only drawn on what was known during that time. Smith breaks this rule. His literary ideas and models seem to be from a source like notheing else I have read about or experienced in any modern art form. The closest approach I have been able to come to make sense out of what I feel about Smith's work and what it means to me is as follows. "What If" 80+% (or greater)of what he "imagined" actually happened. Oh, I grant you that if true, it would make the universe a pretty wild place but of all the science fiction I have read, this work comes the closest to making me believe (on faith) this was possible.
Robert W. Franson|
This novel was first serialized in Astounding, 1934-1935.
It is sometimes difficult to talk about E. E Smiths books, because he re-edited them for re-publishing in the 50's-60's. The differences are not enormous, but he definitely tried to update the science involved, to a great extent. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but if you have an original copy of one book, and an updated version of the next in sequence, it can be a bit jarring.
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(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)