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is a science fiction novel by E. E. “Doc” Smith, first serialized in 1934 and later published as a novel in 1948. It is the first novel in the “Lensman” series and follows the epic conflict between two opposing forces, the Arisians and the Eddorians, for control of the universe.
The novel spans billions of years and follows the development of intelligent life on three planets: Earth, Velantia, and Eddore. The Arisians, an advanced race of telepaths, have been secretly guiding the evolution of these planets and have selected humans to become the guardians of the universe. These humans are given the “Lens,” a powerful device that enhances their natural abilities and grants them almost godlike powers.
On Earth, the Lens falls into the hands of Kimball Kinnison, a young and brilliant engineer who becomes the first Lensman. Kinnison is tasked with defending Earth and the rest of the universe from the nefarious Eddorians, an evil race of telepathic beings who seek to dominate and enslave all other intelligent life forms.
The novel is notable for its detailed and imaginative world-building, including descriptions of advanced technology, alien races, and interstellar warfare. Smith’s depiction of the Lensmen and their powers, including telekinesis, teleportation, and the ability to manipulate matter and energy, helped to popularize the concept of the “space opera” and has influenced countless works of science fiction in the decades since its publication.
At its core, “Triplanetary” is a story about good versus evil, and the power of determination, courage, and sacrifice in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Kinnison and the other Lensmen are heroic figures who are willing to risk everything to protect the universe from the Eddorians and their minions, even if it means sacrificing their own lives.
But the novel is also notable for its exploration of themes such as genetic engineering, the ethics of manipulating evolution, and the responsibilities of power. The Arisians’ manipulation of the evolution of life on Earth and other planets raises questions about the ethics of such interventions, and the ultimate fate of the universe itself hinges on the choices made by the characters.
In addition to its world-building and action sequences, “Triplanetary” also features a cast of memorable and diverse characters. In addition to Kinnison, there are strong female characters such as Clarissa MacDougall, who becomes Kinnison’s love interest, and Belle Bellamy, a no-nonsense pilot who fights alongside Kinnison in the war against the Eddorians.
Overall, “Triplanetary” is a classic work of science fiction that has influenced countless writers in the genre. Its epic scope, vivid world-building, and heroic characters make it a thrilling and engaging read, while its exploration of complex themes and ethical dilemmas adds depth and substance to the story. It remains a beloved and influential work of science fiction that has stood the test of time.