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E. E. Smith (Edward Elmer Smith) Biography

(1890–1965), (Edward Elmer Smith), Skylark, Lensman, Triplanetary, First Lensman, Galactic Patrol, Gray Lensman, Second Stage Lensman

American science fictionwriter and chemist, born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, educated at George Washington University. He is known as Doc Smith, a central figure in the creation of modern American space opera. As created by Smith (with E. Hamilton), space operas are morally simplified dramas of conflict (usually military) with dynamic plots which take place in vast galaxy-spanning venues. In Smith's first series, the Skylark books which began to appear in magazines from 1928 and were published (in volume form) from 1946 to 1966, the increases in scale were simply linear, and his hero an implausible tinkerer; in his second, the Lensman series, published in magazines from 1934 and in volume form as Triplanetary (1948), First Lensman (1950), Galactic Patrol (1950), Gray Lensman (1951), Second Stage Lensman (1953), and Children of the Lens (1954), he created one of the most successful of space opera stories. The action of each novel, though independent in itself, turns out only to be a local action in the greater war engaged upon in its successor; the final war, between two ancient species, takes billions of years to reach a climax.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Lemn Sissay Biography to Southwold Suffolk