E E ‘Doc’ Smith

This is something of a strange one for me, in several respects.  First I should say that the only books I include for E E ‘Doc’ Smith are his Lensman series.  I never really got in to his other books.  Smith is also a writer I wouldn’t recommend on the grounds of the quality of his writing, which is not particularly good.

He’s also rather an enigma.  There are points which could easily lead to an accusation of racism being levelled at him, when describing humans, but then he demonstrates a laudable acceptance of alien species that, especially at the time he was writing, would have had most folk reaching for the nearest weapon!  Yet he has them as equals both in the struggle against evil and as members of an intergalactic community.  Then, too, he appears to suggest a degree of inferiority in women, and yet five of the most powerful humans in his story are women.  So, it is very difficult to get a real picture of how Smith really thought on matters of race and gender.

While there is romance in the stories, I’m afraid that Smith doesn’t write romantic scenes well.  There are other occasions when some of his scenes may grate on the reader severely.  If you have the ability to get past the faults, however, the stories are some of the greatest in Space Opera science fiction ever written, in terms of imagination.  I frequently reread them, especially when I need to “cleanse the mental palate”.

E E ‘Doc’ Smith on Goodreads.

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