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The Skylark of Space

E. E. Smith

Book Overview: 

The novel begins with the accidental discovery, in a Government laboratory in Washington D. C., of a form of clean nuclear power. Our hero, Dr. Richard Seaton, uses this power to build first a flying belt and then an interstellar spaceship. He later discovers that the process operates by generation and manipulation of gravity fields.

When his government coworkers do not believe him, Seaton acquires rights to his discovery from the government and commercializes it with the aid of his friend, millionaire inventor Martin Crane. A former colleague, Dr. Marc DuQuesne, joins with the unscrupulous World Steel Corporation to try to steal Seaton's invention. The resulting conflict escalates, as Seaton and Duquesne develop greater and greater technical capabilities and enlist more and more powerful alien races as allies.. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . pull along the axis of the treated wire or bar. It is apparently focused at infinity, as near-by objects are not affected.

"Second: I have studied two of the border-line regions of current we discussed. I have found that in one the power is liberated as a similar attractive force but is focused upon the first object in line with the axis of the bar. As long as the current is applied it remains focused upon that object, no matter what comes between. In the second border-line condition the power is liberated as a terrific repulsion.

"Third: That the copper is completely transformed into available energy, there being no heat whatever liberated.

"Fourth: Most important of all, that the X acts only as a catalyst for the copper and is not itself consumed, so that an infinitesimally thin coating is all that is required."

"You certainly have found out a great deal about it," replied Crane, who had been listening with the closest attention,. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I'd always wanted to read this series (actually, I want to also read the Lensman series) and finally got around to the first book in it.

People say E.E. Smith "invented" what we now call space opera, and boy, I'm here to tell you those people are right. The Skylark of Space reads like a comic strip o

This is a quick moving story, an icon of the Pulp Age of SF. It was interesting to read this again after so many decades, but one such is enough. I can see how much this influenced The Black Star Trilogy by John W. Campbell Jr. who is often seen as the most influential editor of the Pulp & Golden Ag

For a long time, I avoided "classic" SF, thinking it would all be outdated and of no interest except historical curiosity. It turns out, though, that some old SF still holds up well. H.G. Wells, for example. This, though, is about as bad as I expected. It isn't completely useless. The final 1/3 has

This is an early example of space opera, which attempted to add scientific elements. The father of the term ‘science fiction’ Hugo Greensback was dissatisfied with Edgar Rice Burroughs style space opera, where other planets were just a setting for adventures. He wanted the story to educate readers a

This was Dr. Smith's first book and is still a good read even after eighty-seven years. It starts off with a bang (literally) and proceeds from there. Our hero makes a discovery that allows for space travel and proceeds to go out into the great beyond with his best friend (who is rich and also a gre

After going through the Lensman series, I figured I should read one of the earliest things E.E. "Doc" "Fella" "Bachelor's" "Master's" "Community College Degree" Smith wrote in his career. It was a little rough.

The overall plot's some enjoyable silliness about a chemist stumbling into how to unlock t

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