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Children of the Lens

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It was beginning to look as if no one could prevent the destruction of the Universe. For a strange intelligence was directing the destruction of all civilization from the icy depths of space. Kim Kinnison of the Patrol was one of the few men who knew how near the end was. And in the last desperate plan to save all life, he knew he had to use his children as bait for the evi It was beginning to look as if no one could prevent the destruction of the Universe. For a strange intelligence was directing the destruction of all civilization from the icy depths of space. Kim Kinnison of the Patrol was one of the few men who knew how near the end was. And in the last desperate plan to save all life, he knew he had to use his children as bait for the evil powers of the planet Ploor.


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It was beginning to look as if no one could prevent the destruction of the Universe. For a strange intelligence was directing the destruction of all civilization from the icy depths of space. Kim Kinnison of the Patrol was one of the few men who knew how near the end was. And in the last desperate plan to save all life, he knew he had to use his children as bait for the evi It was beginning to look as if no one could prevent the destruction of the Universe. For a strange intelligence was directing the destruction of all civilization from the icy depths of space. Kim Kinnison of the Patrol was one of the few men who knew how near the end was. And in the last desperate plan to save all life, he knew he had to use his children as bait for the evil powers of the planet Ploor.

30 review for Children of the Lens

  1. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    More adventures in ancient science fiction—certainly Smith’s series does not stand up to today’s standards, but it certainly shows where sci fi had its beginnings. Reading it is rather like an archaeological dig, exposing the roots of the genre. I’m glad to see in this book that the female characters get to step up and show what they’re made of. Clarrisa dons her gray Lensman leathers (which still fit after having five children, including two sets of twins). Her four daughters keep all the male More adventures in ancient science fiction—certainly Smith’s series does not stand up to today’s standards, but it certainly shows where sci fi had its beginnings. Reading it is rather like an archaeological dig, exposing the roots of the genre. I’m glad to see in this book that the female characters get to step up and show what they’re made of. Clarrisa dons her gray Lensman leathers (which still fit after having five children, including two sets of twins). Her four daughters keep all the male Lensmen (and even the Arisians) on their toes. Mind you, it’s implied that there just aren’t any men out there who will ever measure up to these women and that they better get used to a celibate life. Clarissa, after all, has been the only female Lensman and she and Kim Kinnison (Stage Two Lensman) have produced the only stage-three Lensman children. The four daughters have only their brother Kit and, to some extent, their father Kim as their male equals. Obviously the Arisians’ breeding program has come to a screeching halt unless they were planning to mate brother to sister like dog breeders. So it’s just as well that the Arisians have ridden out of town, leaving everything to the new sheriff, …er, I mean to the Galactic Patrol, by book’s end. It is fiction of its era—matters are very black and white, characters are all good or all bad, whole scale destruction is good if it is done by the right people. Written in the years following World War II, this is hardly a surprising outlook. It’s been 100 years since the beginning of WWI, and we’re just starting to see a more nuanced history of that event starting to spread into popular culture, replacing the good guys and bad guys with military guys on both sides. Science fiction has come a long way, too, in the ensuing 50+ years and we enjoy the products of that progress. This is my 148th book read from the NPR list of great science fiction and fantasy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Graeme Rodaughan

    Lesser Order Shocker! Arisians Breed Hairless Monkey Super Weapon! "It doesn't matter that they spent a squillion tellurian years to raise 'humans,' from the slime. There's no possible way their ultimate children's mind bolts could pierce the defensive screens of my citadel. I designed those screens myself. A work of sublime genius. A creation of utter perf-" - The All-Highest - The Eddorian Edifier. And so the main arcs all come to a close. This is a very well written and exuberant series filled Lesser Order Shocker! Arisians Breed Hairless Monkey Super Weapon! "It doesn't matter that they spent a squillion tellurian years to raise 'humans,' from the slime. There's no possible way their ultimate children's mind bolts could pierce the defensive screens of my citadel. I designed those screens myself. A work of sublime genius. A creation of utter perf-" - The All-Highest - The Eddorian Edifier. And so the main arcs all come to a close. This is a very well written and exuberant series filled with confidence and belief that lives of love, courage and wisdom can overcome the most dire evils. I feel this is very much a reflection of a life recently touched by the total conflict of the second world war. It shows in every theme. It has some odd bits from time to time, but all in all a brilliant work of the imagination. A side note: Avoid the Amazon Kindle file (ASIN : B00N43YH1S) its been put through a word salad generator and a page shredder. Whole blocks of text are hopelessly jumbled or missing outright. A total formatting disaster and I'm sure if the Author was alive - he'd be horrified. Check Gutenberg online. The full and complete text is now public in some jurisdictions. Recommended. 5 'Blast 'em outa there!' stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Although Books 3, 4 and 5 of E.E. "Doc" Smith's famed six-part Lensman series followed one another with 1 ½ to two years of time in between each, and with story lines that picked up mere seconds after their predecessors, Book 6 would eventually differ in both respects. The author's final installment in what has been called one of the greatest of all space operas originally appeared around 5 ½ years following Book 5's serialization. Like Books 3 – 5 ("Galactic Patrol," "Gray Lensman" and "Second Although Books 3, 4 and 5 of E.E. "Doc" Smith's famed six-part Lensman series followed one another with 1 ½ to two years of time in between each, and with story lines that picked up mere seconds after their predecessors, Book 6 would eventually differ in both respects. The author's final installment in what has been called one of the greatest of all space operas originally appeared around 5 ½ years following Book 5's serialization. Like Books 3 – 5 ("Galactic Patrol," "Gray Lensman" and "Second Stage Lensman"), this culminating installment, "Children of the Lens," originally appeared in the pages of "Astounding Science-Fiction"--in this case, the November 1947 – February '48 issues--this time as a four-part serial. And as before, the first issue featured cover artwork by Hubert Rogers. Like its predecessors, the novel first appeared in book form as a $3 hardcover from Fantasy Press, in 1954, again with wonderful cover art by Ric Binkley. And, yes, at the risk of sounding repetitious, the incarnation that this reader was fortunate enough to lay his hands on was the 1983 Berkley edition, with beautiful cover artwork by David B. Mattingly. Not only did readers have to wait longer than usual for the culmination of this saga, but the time setting in this last installment would be pretty unusual, as well. "Children of the Lens" hardly picks up moments after the events of Book 5, but rather, a full 20+ years later--a greater length of time than that between the prequel Books 1 and 2, "Triplanetary" and "First Lensman," but probably not as great as the indeterminate time span between Books 2 and 3. And whereas Books 3 – 5 had concentrated their focus almost exclusively on the exploits of Lensman Kim Kinnison, "Children of the Lens" scatters its action across a half dozen parallel story lines that eventually do come together nicely. In this setting, two decades following Kim's and Clarrissa MacDougall's marriage ceremony, which had sweetly ended Book 5, we see that the happy couple has given birth to no fewer than five redheaded children: their oldest son Chris, and two sets of fraternal twins, Kathryn & Karen and Camilla & Constance. We are made privy to the fact that these children are the ultimate products of the Arisians' millennia-long breeding program, of which Kim and Clarrissa had been the penultimates; the superrace's best hope in their 2 billion-year campaign against the evil race known as the Eddorians. Whereas Kim and Clarrissa are both possessors of extraordinary mental abilities (they are thus so-called Second Stage Lensmen), their kids have even greater talents, putting them in the L3 range...especially when the quintet combines their mental forces and becomes "the Unit." You might think of the five, hence, as some kind of proto-X-Men type of team, each with his or her own superpower. Thus, Chris is the organizer of the team; Kathryn possesses the most dynamic energy; Karen can put out an impenetrable mental block; Camilla can send her mind out to detect anything, anywhere in the two galaxies; and the youngest, Constance, can emit mental bolts of astounding lethal strength. When combined, their abilities are made even greater, gestaltwise, especially after each goes to the planet of Arisia for his or her Lens, as well as for some advanced mental training by the four-ply Arisian entity known as Mentor. During the intervening 20 years between Books 5 and 6, the "Boskonian menace" had been quiescent, largely due to the destruction of the Eddorian puppet races--the Delgonian Overlords, the Onlonians and the Eich--in Books 3, 4 and 5. But as Book 6 commences, galaxywide problems begin to erupt again: spates of homicides, kidnappings, hallucinations and mass hysterias have been breaking out on planet after planet, and Kim and his four fellow Second Stage Lensmen decide to investigate, secretly abetted, long range, by the kids. (And when I say "long range," I don't just mean from a few miles away, but rather, thousands of parsecs!) Thus, the sextuple-story-line format previously mentioned: In the first, Kim, aided by Kathryn, goes undercover as a science fiction writer (!) named Sybly Whyte on Radelix (the planet prominently featured in Book 4); prevents a presidential kidnapping there and engages in a furious battle inside a hyperspatial tube; goes undercover again, this time as a drug runner named Bradlow Thyron, on Phlestyn II; and much later, becomes hopelessly trapped in a hyperspatial realm outside both Time and Space. (Think of the Fantastic Four's Reed Richards stuck in the Negative Zone.) Meanwhile, Nadreck, the ice-blooded Palainian, assisted by Karen, goes after the Onlonian chief Kandron, who'd escaped the devastation in Book 5. The barrel-shaped, tentacle-armed Rigellian named Tregonsee, at the same time, and assisted by Camilla, searches the galaxy, using cold logic and powers of perception, to hunt down the entity known as "X." And the dragonlike Velantian named Worsel, aided by Constance, mops up the last of those sadistic Delgonian Overlords; kicks butt on some remaining Eich; and investigates a phenomenon known as the "Hell Hole in Space." As for Clarrissa, she returns to the matriarchy on Lyrane II, rescues our old "friend" Helen after an uprising, and looks into the possibility of Boskonian "Black Lensmen" on Lyrane IX. And Chris, while all this is transpiring, goes to no less a planet than Eddore itself, to do a little reconnaissance work. As I mentioned, all these story lines do eventually converge, in three back-to-back-to-back set pieces: the defense of Arisia, the Battle of Ploor (the last of the Eddorians' puppet races), and finally, after six books of waiting, the confrontation with the Eddorians themselves! So, I can almost hear you asking, does "Children of The Lens" serve as a suitably fitting and epic culmination to top off the almost 1,300 pages of story that had preceded it? Well, yes and no. Although I am usually a fan of those types of novels in which the author jumps from one parallel story line to another, leaving us in breathless suspense as each chapter ends, here, I found the device of using six such almost too much to follow. Smith packs an awful lot of detail into each one of his six parallel plots, to the point where when, say, the Tregonsee action picks up again, it's difficult to remember what had come before. Thus, the strictly linear plots of Books 3 – 5, featuring Kim fairly exclusively, are jettisoned here in favor of a multiple story line that is rather diffuse, to say the least. There are other problems. The entire matter of the Black Lensmen just kind of peters out, sadly, and that's a shame, because the idea of Boskonians equal in abilities to the Galactic Patrol's best is a good one. Here, though, the Black Lensmen are used just as a means of giving Kim & Co. some additional clues as to the Boskonian menace. This reader was also disappointed by the fact that, although the existence of the Eddorians was unknown to the Galactic Patrol and all of Civilization in Books 1 – 5, here, Chris inexplicably seems to know all about them. One can only assume that Mentor clued Chris in during one of his training sessions on Arisia, but really, it would have been nice for us readers to have been privy to that momentous revelation! On a similar note, I was also a bit confused as to why the children, at the book's end, feel the necessity of covering up the vanquished Eddorians' existence from the galaxies at large. What could be the harm, once the danger has passed? And, oh...in this final installment, we learn that minor villains Prellin and Crowninshield, from Book 4, had been blue-skinned Kalonians (as had archvillain Helmuth been in Book 3); the only problem is, Smith had never described them thus, earlier. And one more thing: Has anyone else found the scene in which Chris gives his mother Clarrissa advanced mental training a bit...well, icky? After praising his Mom's looks and figure, and calling her "Gorgeous," Kit penetrates her mentally, as Smith gives us such suggestive language as "...her hands clutched his and closed in a veritable spasm...[Chris] stabbed relentlessly into the deepest, tenderest, most sensitive centers of her being...boring in and in and in, [he] knew exactly what to do...he drilled new channels everywhere...then, and only then, did [Chris] withdraw...." Oh, I don't know...maybe it's just my dirty filthy mind, but I still wish one of the four daughters had been giving Clarrissa her lesson instead! But despite these problems, "Children of the Lens" still does deliver the requisite goods. Several scenes can stand as some of the best in the series: Kim's furious battle inside that hyperspatial tube, Nadreck's supercool killing of Kandron, and those three great battle sequences over Arisia, Ploor and Eddore. Those space battles, by this point, have advanced pretty far from the starship/space ray dukeouts of the earlier books. Here, those awesome space set-tos are more apt to feature Negaspheres (planet-devouring globes of antimatter), inertialess planets (entire worlds thrown around at the speed of light!), and the Patrol's newest trick: inertialess worlds drawn through hyperspace and cast off, essentially becoming planet-sized antimatter bombs! But this installment's greatest, newest weapon must be the five children themselves, and their mental bout with the Eddorians, if not the epic, pyrotechnic culmination some readers might reasonably have been expecting, still manages to satisfy. The book also pleases by bringing back minor characters from Book 3 (Kim's cadet classmates) and that librarian lady from Book 4. Smith also throws in some welcome bursts of humor, such as Kim using a Yiddish word ("tokus"), and the excerpt that we get to see from Sybly Whyte's novel should make any fan of Golden Age sci-fi chuckle out loud. And speaking of choice words, "Children of the Lens" also gives us one of my favorite words, "steatopygous" (the companion word of my even more favorite "callipygous"), and who could ever dislike a book that does that? Also pleasing here is the fact that we get to see Mentor more in this book than in all the others put together, and its presence is indeed a fascinating one. And, oh, that sequence in which Kim is marooned in that otherdimensional realm after zipping down the "Hell Hole in Space" is just too trippy and psychedelic for words, almost prefiguring astronaut David Bowman's colorful journey down the Star Gate in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." It is a sign of just how very seminal the Lensman series is that its six books hint at "Star Trek," "Star Wars," Marvel comics and "2001"; truly, a space opera for the ages, which Book 6 brings to a close. But wait...for those wanting more of the Lensman universe, there DOES seem to exist one more volume from Smith: the 1960 short story collection "The Vortex Blaster" (aka "Masters of the Vortex"). These stories supposedly feature none of the characters from the main series, and though they are set in the same universe, they are said to be only slightly related, at best. Still, having now read what has been deemed for almost 70 years one of science fiction's greatest space operas of all time, I would surely like to experience that parenthetical volume one day. And now, in closing, I will leave you with the ultimate blessing that one Galactic Patrolman can give to another: "Clear ether!" (By the way, this review originally appeared on the FanLit website at http://www.fantasyliterature.com/ ... a most ideal destination for all fans of E. E. "Doc" Smith....)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roddy Williams

    Probably the quintessential Space Opera of its time, the Lensman series has dated - although not so badly as the work of some of his contemporaries - due mainly, in my opinion, to Smith’s rather one-dimensional characterisation, his dialogue and his depiction of female roles. Paradoxically, given the rather limited characterisation of the humans his aliens are sometimes truly alien. Indeed, the mindsets of some of the non-human protagonists are often far more skilfully depicted than their human Probably the quintessential Space Opera of its time, the Lensman series has dated - although not so badly as the work of some of his contemporaries - due mainly, in my opinion, to Smith’s rather one-dimensional characterisation, his dialogue and his depiction of female roles. Paradoxically, given the rather limited characterisation of the humans his aliens are sometimes truly alien. Indeed, the mindsets of some of the non-human protagonists are often far more skilfully depicted than their human counterparts. Despite that, provided one bears in mind the social climate in which this was written and reads the novel in context, they can still be hugely enjoyable. The term ‘Space Opera’ is actually used within the text at one point when Kim Kinnison – the hero of the series – goes undercover posing as a writer of the genre. Whether the alter ego was based on anyone in particular is not known. This is the finale to Smith’s six volume saga. Smith was an early forerunner of today’s ‘Big Concept’ writers such as Greg Bear and Stephen Baxter, and though some of his scientific fabulations seem somewhat preposterous by today’s standards it was Smith and writers like him who created that ‘sense of wonder’ for many readers, not only when this was published as a magazine serial in the Nineteen Forties, but when republished in book form in the fifties and (for reasons unknown) enjoying an unexpected renaissance in the mid-seventies. The series has recently been republished by an independent publisher and hopefully will find a new generation of readers. Smith’s strength lies in his ability to convey the vastness of Time and Space, his premise being that billions of years ago a race of humanoids – The Arisians - was born in our galaxy and evolved far beyond the point at which humanity now stands. They learned that by observation and the calculations of their powerful minds they could predict the future to a certain degree. They knew that a galaxy was about to pass completely through their own galaxy, and that the gravitational pull of suns against each other would produce billions of new planets, upon which Life would evolve. They also knew that another ancient race, the cruel and tyrannical Eddorians, had plans to dominate both galaxies and sate their immortal lust for power. The Arisians only advantage was that the Eddorians were not aware of their existence, and so was set in motion a plan which was to span millions of years, taking us through the fall of Atlantis, the Roman Empire and thus through the Twentieth Century and beyond. In essence, this is an epic war of ideologies, in that the Arisians represent democracy and free will, while the Eddorians represent a system of Hierarchical totalitarianism, enforced by a militaristic regime (In this respect it is interesting to compare the physical description of Smith’s Eddorians with Heinlein’s Puppet Masters, who themselves are a metaphor for the forces of Communism. Both are sexless, emotionless amorphous creatures, who reproduce by binary fission, with each new half retaining the memories and skills of the original). The Arisians’ secret weapon is a selective breeding programme which has been in operation on four different planets since intelligent life evolved. Only one of the four races can go on to produce the super-beings capable of defeating the Eddorians. Humans, of course, win the ‘race’ race and the couple selectively bred to give birth to the Homo Superior children are inevitably white and North American. This idea of selectively breeding humans rather puts a dent into the concept of Arisians as benign Guardians of Democracy, and although one can argue that it was the Arisians’ only option, it is never really addressed as a moral issue within the text. The Children themselves are four girls and boy who, in their late teens, have to conceal that fact that they are the most powerful – if underdeveloped as yet – beings in the Universe. We are led to believe that the girls will ultimately become the wives of their brother, and the mothers of the race that will replace the Arisians as Guardians of Civilisation. An oddly incestuous episode also ensues between Kit (the boy) and his mother in a strange scene where she – in need of brain-restructuring and training, for want of a better phrase - allows the mind of her son to enter hers, rather than submit to mental penetration by the Arisians (of whom she has an incurable phobia). The description of this act is oddly violent and not a little sexual, made worse by the rather stilted professions of love between Mother and son before the procedure. But Hell, this is Pulp Fiction. It never pretends to be Shakespeare, and despite its political incorrectness I still find it a nostalgic and stonking good read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    William Rood

    The only five star I will give to one of the lensmens books written by the beloved Dr Smith. This has every space opera element and trope. The technology and weapons are now at the ridiculous level (super luminal planets traveling down hyper tubes from Nth space dimension to literally obliterate an entire solar system from existence). The fleet conflicts are in the billions of space ships vs billions of space ships. The children of the lens, a single male and two sets of female twins, the produc The only five star I will give to one of the lensmens books written by the beloved Dr Smith. This has every space opera element and trope. The technology and weapons are now at the ridiculous level (super luminal planets traveling down hyper tubes from Nth space dimension to literally obliterate an entire solar system from existence). The fleet conflicts are in the billions of space ships vs billions of space ships. The children of the lens, a single male and two sets of female twins, the product of the Red and Grey lensmen marriage, form a hyper intelligent bond called "The Unit", whose powers even Mentor of Arisia cannot fathom. Using the amassed power of all of the lensmen in the two universes on rapport, the 2nd stage lensmen, the entire mental power of the Arisians, and of course, all being led by children of the lens, the Eddorian threat is finally extinguished from existence. The Arisians themselves transcend to the next plane of existence, and a plot device that hooks readers for sequels and future books galore (that sadly never came into being) is used that left me with a warm smile at its eloquence. A relived narrative from my childhood, I will always cherish this series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karl Kindt

    The previous book's energy and ability to surprise lagged somewhat, but this book saves the series from losing its momentum. How many stories have a loving husband and wife and their responsible children saving the galaxy? I lost track of which daughter was which, but their snappy patter and interplay make this an entertaining and worthwhile continuation of the LENSMAN series. The previous book's energy and ability to surprise lagged somewhat, but this book saves the series from losing its momentum. How many stories have a loving husband and wife and their responsible children saving the galaxy? I lost track of which daughter was which, but their snappy patter and interplay make this an entertaining and worthwhile continuation of the LENSMAN series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Only 50% of the way through this random inheritance, but I have already decided that I now need to go and purchase the whole series from the start. A new (old...?) favourite Sci-Fi author of mine, for sure.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

    As good as the rest. What a great series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    I really should have started with an earlier book in the series, but this was the one in the opshop... I have fond memories of reading some of the author's books in high school and I have to say, I think a lot of future sci-fi writers and movie/TV creators were inspired by this writer. The story arc is huge and spans generations. He has amazing ideas for species and technology that weren't even dreamed of at the time he was writing. He is a precursor to George Lucas and J.M Straczynski (is that h I really should have started with an earlier book in the series, but this was the one in the opshop... I have fond memories of reading some of the author's books in high school and I have to say, I think a lot of future sci-fi writers and movie/TV creators were inspired by this writer. The story arc is huge and spans generations. He has amazing ideas for species and technology that weren't even dreamed of at the time he was writing. He is a precursor to George Lucas and J.M Straczynski (is that how you spell it? Can I buy a vowel? Heheheh!) I still finished the book even though it had some pages missing and is the 6th in a series. That is high praise! It is a little dated and sexist, but what do you expect from an author born in 1890? Its still good old-fashioned space adventure!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    This is the final book in the series, and possibly the best. I won't lie, Triplanetary (The first) was a little rough for me at the start, and the prose of the entire series isn't all that spectacular (it's ancient space opera, what do you expect?) but for someone with a love of space opera, and all that space opera entails... I laughed with joy reading this series. Out loud. Not a laughter of humor, or disdain, but joy at the sheer audacity of the story and characters. If you happen to be a fan This is the final book in the series, and possibly the best. I won't lie, Triplanetary (The first) was a little rough for me at the start, and the prose of the entire series isn't all that spectacular (it's ancient space opera, what do you expect?) but for someone with a love of space opera, and all that space opera entails... I laughed with joy reading this series. Out loud. Not a laughter of humor, or disdain, but joy at the sheer audacity of the story and characters. If you happen to be a fan of the anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, you know what this is like. Read this series. You will never look at the word "sunbeam" the same again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    This is actually about the whole Lensman series. I found the books to be greatly engaging. I read them first as a child, then read them again in my 30's, then my 40's. Sure some (a lot) of the science is out to lunch now, but it is still a good action read. This is actually about the whole Lensman series. I found the books to be greatly engaging. I read them first as a child, then read them again in my 30's, then my 40's. Sure some (a lot) of the science is out to lunch now, but it is still a good action read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    The Lensman saga has always been the "Lord Of The Rings" of space to me. Grand sweeping space opera story. Excellent plot and characters. Very good read. My highest recommendation The Lensman saga has always been the "Lord Of The Rings" of space to me. Grand sweeping space opera story. Excellent plot and characters. Very good read. My highest recommendation

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gar

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After the painfully uneven stumbles of Second Stage, the series finishes out with not so much a bang but an absoludicrous series of them. The Arisian master breeding program for humanity has reached its culmination in the titular kids; there are five of them but I defy anyone to be able to tell them apart. (Parts where our narrator insists they have different personalities don't count. Show, don't tell!) They all get trained to Third Stage Lensmanship, which is beyond even Arisian capacities (th After the painfully uneven stumbles of Second Stage, the series finishes out with not so much a bang but an absoludicrous series of them. The Arisian master breeding program for humanity has reached its culmination in the titular kids; there are five of them but I defy anyone to be able to tell them apart. (Parts where our narrator insists they have different personalities don't count. Show, don't tell!) They all get trained to Third Stage Lensmanship, which is beyond even Arisian capacities (they're more of a 2.5-stage Lens level, I suppose), which means it's time for the final throwdown with the evil shoggoths of Eddore. The physics is good goofy nonsense fun (supernovas defy all of even Arisian science's explanation!), and the culmination of the ongoing arms race is just sublimely ridiculous in a thoroughly enjoyable way. (The effects of the final physical weapon of Civilization is "indescribability cubed!") Meanwhile, Eddore itself is finally righteously genocided by the combined and focused mental power of all of Civilization's Lensmen acting in a sort of psionic phased array, which I'm pretty sure is a seminal plot point that a shitton of genre fiction owes E.E. Smith for big time--like a lot of the elements throughout the whole affair. Awkward bits of earlier books in the series are mostly avoided, by way of Smith for the most part avoiding anything about actual human beings interacting in a believable fashion. It's very episodic up to the end of the various characters shouting "clear ether!" cheerfully at each other and then being demigods at bad guys while the Lenskids secretly be gods to the demigods. Okay, granted, the final chapter is titled "The Power of Love" but that's mostly just amusingly goofy, plus it's balanced out by the wonderfully ludicrous nature of the final ultimate trap that Eddore tried to dispose of our main hero Kimball Kinnison with (it involved hurling him naked through a random series of alternate universes in permanent and theoretically irrecoverable exile, which of course he's recovered from by the power of loove.) It was also balanced out by relief that all the skirting and dancing about and not-subtle hints that there was to be a whole lot of incest in the Lenskids' future--being that they're the ultimate physical and mental form of humanity and all, and the kids of Adam and Eve needed to breed with someone!--was not what the concluding chapter was actually about.

  14. 5 out of 5

    The Fizza

    A SOLID 4 STARS - And so the last book in The Famous Lensman series, Children of the Lens - originally serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1947, comes to an end. Marking this epic space opera, which began over Two Billion years ago as the our Galaxy collided with another, as the seminal work it appears to be. Perhaps not as good as the penultimate book in the series, mostly because it introduces five new characters, the four daughters and one son of Kimball Kinnison & Clarissa MacDougall with A SOLID 4 STARS - And so the last book in The Famous Lensman series, Children of the Lens - originally serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1947, comes to an end. Marking this epic space opera, which began over Two Billion years ago as the our Galaxy collided with another, as the seminal work it appears to be. Perhaps not as good as the penultimate book in the series, mostly because it introduces five new characters, the four daughters and one son of Kimball Kinnison & Clarissa MacDougall without much ability to add depth or texture to them before they are needed as the tools by the Arisians in their war with Eddor. Despite spreading things a little thin, EE "Doc" Smith finds all the lose ends from the previous books and gets us on track for the final battle with Boskone. Children weaves its way into the larger tapestry of the Lensman series with its, soon to be cliché but still immensely fun fight against the dark hands of the Eddorians. What's interesting is that the five children's power is so immense, making one wonder how many times Frank Herbert read this series, that they have to hide the true workings of things from everyone around them. On a different note this book does address some of, what we in the 21st Century would call, the sexism in the series as 4 out of the 5 'big guns' are women and Clarissa steps up to her role as 2nd Stage Lensman in a more equal footing. Still we can't forget what 1947 was like in the depiction of gender roles. I guess what strikes me most is the bizarre and unfettered imagination of it all. As well as the levels of demolition mankind can reach in future wars, going as far as hurling planets at enemies with science. Six books into the first Space Opera written some aspects might seem convoluted but the ending is delivered at perfect pitch and the reader really does feel as though a great epic has come to an end. Of course, you should after 2 Billion years! Smith, at times, is a little inadvertently creepy with his wunderkind and eugenics but if you can get past some of the pseudoscience he believed in to see this space epic for the no-holds-barred action adventure series it is and let it take you away you will love it. Highly recommended, as is the series, to any old school space opera lover!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    The climactic finale of the Lensman series, this one continues on where the others left off. Civilization is in a tremendous battle for supremacy of two galaxies. The Lensmen are the force of Civilization, and the Kinnison Family is the ultimate in evolution of the Lensmen. They are tasked with bringing the war to a successful close by eradicating all vestiges of the evil masterminds seeking to overthrow society. Only by developing their full potential and working together will they be able to c The climactic finale of the Lensman series, this one continues on where the others left off. Civilization is in a tremendous battle for supremacy of two galaxies. The Lensmen are the force of Civilization, and the Kinnison Family is the ultimate in evolution of the Lensmen. They are tasked with bringing the war to a successful close by eradicating all vestiges of the evil masterminds seeking to overthrow society. Only by developing their full potential and working together will they be able to conquer, but can they do it in time? If you liked the others in the series, this one is a great climax. The book (as do the others in the series) presume a hyperspeed pace of action but include enough new ideas to keep one occupied. If you are a strict stickler for quantum physics, you will get bent out of shape about some of the proposed technologies, but it makes for a fun story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elly

    Fun to reread, or rather to listen to again. I own both the audiobook, and also a rather old paperback copy somewhere. This is the end of the serie. EE Doc Smith did write another book in the series, but that is not a continuation of this book, but another story in the same universe. There exist also some stories like that written by others. Some suspension of disbelieve is needed, in this book as in the full series. Smith uses some physics, and that is clearly dated. That does not make it a bad Fun to reread, or rather to listen to again. I own both the audiobook, and also a rather old paperback copy somewhere. This is the end of the serie. EE Doc Smith did write another book in the series, but that is not a continuation of this book, but another story in the same universe. There exist also some stories like that written by others. Some suspension of disbelieve is needed, in this book as in the full series. Smith uses some physics, and that is clearly dated. That does not make it a bad story, just makes is light reading. I'll probably come back to this, sometime...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    My dad lent me Starship Troopers after I watched the movie with him. If I remember correctly I believe he stated "Those aren't Gorilla Suits!", followed by him dashing into the attic. Later that night, not being able to sleep due to his rummaging above my ceiling, I went up and asked him what he was doing. "Finding you the book!" was his response, and later that night I started reading my first science-fiction book. Needless to say I developed an appetite for them, and this was his next recommen My dad lent me Starship Troopers after I watched the movie with him. If I remember correctly I believe he stated "Those aren't Gorilla Suits!", followed by him dashing into the attic. Later that night, not being able to sleep due to his rummaging above my ceiling, I went up and asked him what he was doing. "Finding you the book!" was his response, and later that night I started reading my first science-fiction book. Needless to say I developed an appetite for them, and this was his next recommendation.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Darth

    In true space opera style this wraps everything up just a little too neatly to be believable, but if it didnt, it wouldnt really be space opera now would it? The things that had been impossible and unthinkable for the first 5 volumes are accomplished in a whirl by a few extra talented kids zipping around the bad guys home planets and lancing them with mental bolts too strong to be resisted. Still worthwhile to me though.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steven Grimm

    Sporadically enjoyable but by this point in the series the breathless style has worn out its welcome. The introduction of the children is a breath of fresh air that keeps the story from being tedious, but the revelation of the main antagonists of the series is clumsy and they go from being unknown to defeated in way too little time to feel like an imminent threat. This series was a huge influence on science fiction, but its successors in the genre really surpassed it in every respect.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    "Und now, mit zere heimliche übermenschliche powers, ze all-Aryan children of ze pure Kinnison bloodline vill rid ze universe of ze plutocratic communist Jewish Eddorian scum! Jawohl, ze Final Solution! Shall I tell you vot happens? All ze, how you say, gory details?" "Oh yes uncle Adolf... I mean E.E. Doc! Yes please!" "Und now, mit zere heimliche übermenschliche powers, ze all-Aryan children of ze pure Kinnison bloodline vill rid ze universe of ze plutocratic communist Jewish Eddorian scum! Jawohl, ze Final Solution! Shall I tell you vot happens? All ze, how you say, gory details?" "Oh yes uncle Adolf... I mean E.E. Doc! Yes please!"

  21. 5 out of 5

    Richard Roberts

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What there's more? You'd be forgiven for thinking that this marked the end of the Lensman series, there's still one more on my shelf to read though. Great flow in this story, somehow the last quarter or less of the book packed in more and more. I thought I was on the wind down a few times only to have another jolt. Brilliant. What there's more? You'd be forgiven for thinking that this marked the end of the Lensman series, there's still one more on my shelf to read though. Great flow in this story, somehow the last quarter or less of the book packed in more and more. I thought I was on the wind down a few times only to have another jolt. Brilliant.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    The sixth and surprisingly not last book in the lensman series brought together all of the threads from the first five books and led to the anticipated conclusion of the series. I am a little bit confused as to what the next book could add.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The sixth and last book in the Lensman series brought together all of the threads from the first five books and led to the anticipated conclusion of the series. There are lots of related books in the Lensman universe. Seek them out for more fun in space.

  24. 4 out of 5

    William Ellern

    Fantastic! The series builds up to this story, and as a climax it does not disappoint the reader.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Despite its outdated scientific and social (read gender) ideas, it's still a very good read. Despite its outdated scientific and social (read gender) ideas, it's still a very good read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Slack

    Wraps the series up nicely, although it all seemed a bit too easy for our heroes in the end. So basically the winning weapon of the Arisians is... eugenics. Huh.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linn Browning

    An utterly satisfying ending to a classic series of sci-fi books.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Art

    An excellent ending to the Lensman series!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Doug Farren

    I read this one a LONG time ago. The Lensman series is a classic which I periodically go back and reread. Love it!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jim Riggs

    The final chapter in the Lensman series. The children of the Lens take the fight to the space pirates and their other worldly masters.

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