Reviewed date: 2017 Sep 1
New Lensman is an authorized addition to E. E. Doc Smith's Lensman series. Rather than a sequel, Ellern tells a story that fits within the events of First Lensman. Lt. Larry McQueen, a Sector Chief of the Triplanetary Patrol, is investigating the mysterious Black Fleet that has been detected spying on various targets in the solar system. McQueen is concerned that the unknown enemy is targeting Copernicus Station on the moon. If they destroy Copernicus Station, one of Earth's primary lines of defense will be gone. Worse, if the enemy discover the location of the old World War 3 American missile base on the moon, they can use that base to attack Earth.
McQueen begins by shoring up Copernicus Base's defenses. He proposes to install a force shield dome over the entire base, similar to the newly installed dome protecting The Hill on Earth. This dome will require many tons of copper, and the installation will take several weeks, during which time Copernicus is vulnerable.
The enemy, fearing these new developments, strikes immediately. Secret agents kidnap McQueen in Copernicus and hold him captive in the old underground Sanctuary, a shelter deep beneath Copernicus. McQueen uses explosives hidden in his uniform button to escape, like a space age James Bond. He shoots three henchmen, then hotwires the elevator to take him to the surface. The bad guys bunker down in the underground Sanctuary. Copernicus security storms the Sanctuary, but the enemy has already escaped using old mining machines to dig themselves out. They catch a rocket out of the solar system before McQueen can apprehend them.
A direct attack on Copernicus comes quickly: space traffic controller Al Lewis notices a meteroid on a collision course with Copernicus Station. He alerts the Solarian Patrol, and Captain Ben Russell of the Europa clamps onto the meteroid and slows it down so that it drops 100 miles short of Copernicus. Quakes and secondary meteorite impacts pummel Copernicus Station, but they weather the storm.
In a sub-plot, Pete Miller, a moon prospector, is near the meteorite impact and must weather the effects. He makes it through intact. But poor Harv Reinfield is caught in a rockslide near Mayer A, and Miller goes to dig him out. Miller wonders why Harv was prospecting by Mayer A, which had been thoroughly checked out. He deduces that Harv is secretly working for the Triplanetary Service to locate the old abandoned American missile base.
The enemy is determined to neutralize Copernicus Station before the primary invasion of the Black Fleet, so they try again. This time, an agent infiltrates Copernicus and uses inertialess tubes of sand to attack critical infrastructure of Copernicus Station. As he releases the sand from the Bergenholm field, the sand regains its inertia, and its intrinsic velocity of several miles per second (relative to the surface of the moon) makes the sand a potent weapon. The attack is thwarted, but only just.
In the midst of all this, McQueen joins an exclusive new club: the Lensmen! There's no time for him to travel to Arisia and receive his Lens, but another Lensman delivers the Lens to him. McQueen captures an enemy alive, finally, and uses the new powers of the Lens to probe his mind. The man has been programmed with fear of Lensmen and of the Patrol, and hatred toward Virgil Samms in particular.
The Patrol forms up in a Cone of Battle. The Black Fleet arrives, and scatters as the Cone begins firing. The battle is begun. Harv and Miller secure the abandoned American missile base on the moon, and use its ancient lasers against Black Fleet ships. The Patrol defeats the Black Fleet. The end.
It's not a completely awful story, it was just confusing and hard to follow. I had to take notes. The moon prospector sub-plot was apparently a reworking of a stand-alone story that Ellern reshaped to fit into the larger narrative. That might explain why the moon prospecting part of the story seems so different.
Copernicus Mayor Ron Love
Lt. Larry McQueen, Sector Chief of the Triplanetary Service
John Griffin, Director of Facilities, traitor
Col. Hanovich, Director of Security
1. The Black Spaceship
Civilization is under surveillance by unknown forces. Black teardrop-shaped stealth spacecraft have been running covert spy missions in the Solar System, and the Solarian Patrol has yet to determine their origin and intent. Further, there is a spy within the Board of Directors at Copernicus Station, which is one of Earth's "primary lines of defense."
2. A Changed Man
Infodump about inertialess drop shafts and tubes, wherein Ellern shows off how clever he is. Mayor Love investigates the Facilities Division and discovers that long-timers are being forced out and replaced with new personnel--people with fake identifies and no discernable backgrounds. Director John Griffin may be an imposter, aided by the Facilities Division Secretary Virginia Lewis.
Lt. McQueen confers with Security Director Col. Hanovich. Later, McQueen is kidnapped.
4. In the Sanctuary
McQueen meets a fellow captive, Pamela Johnstone, daughter of Ted Johnstone, Director of Copernicus Control. He figures this gives the kidnappers leverage over Director Johnstone. Meanwhile, Dr. Kelvin is beefing up the defenses of Copernicus Station by installing a copper-plated dome that can be energized into an impervious force shield.
5. Last Chance
McQueen uses explosives hidden in his uniform button to escape, like a space age James Bond. He shoots three henchmen, the hotwires the elevator to take him and Pamela to the surface. The bad guys, knowing they are about to be captured, jump on the elevator and hide out in the underground Sanctuary.
6. A 'Club' Worth Joining
The bad guys escape from the underground Sanctuary using old mining machines, then catch a ride over to Fauth Station (home of Uranium, Inc.) and take a rocket to Alpha Centauri. Ooops. McQueen is invited to try out for a new 'club' that Virgil Samms is starting, called the Lensmen.
Space traffic controller Al Lewis notices a meteroid on a collision course with Copernicus Station. He alerts the Solarian Patrol, and Captain Ben Russell of the Europa clamps onto the meteroid and slows it down so that it drops 100 miles short of Copernicus. Quakes and secondary meteorite impacts pummel Copernicus Station, but they weather the storm.
8. Moon Prospector
Pete Miller, moon prospector, is near the meteorite impact and must weather the effects. But poor Harv Reinfield is caught in a rockslide near Mayer A, and Miller goes to dig him out. But why was Harv prospecting by Mayer A, which has been thoroughly checked out? (Harv is secretly working for the Triplanetary Service.)
Miller arrives to rescue Harv, but must wait for equipment to be delivered from Copernicus. Enemies infiltrate Copernicus Station via a medical emergency ruse, and manage to commandeer the moon-car delivering the rescue equipment.
10. Where There's Smoke There's...
The intruder uses inertialess tubes to attack critical infrastructure of Copernicus Station. As he releases the sand from the Bergenholm field, the sand regains its inertia, and its intrinsic velocity of several miles per second (relative to the surface of the moon) make the sand a potent weapon.
11. ...A Crisis
Miller determines that Harv was searching for an old American lunar missile silo. The Copernicus intruder is killed.
12. Mission: Solarian Patrol Destruct
McQueen tries to interrogate the enemies who concocted the medical emergency. An enemy fleet launches for an attack on Earth. Miller tries to rescue Harv.
13. 'A Lensman is Born'
McQueen becomes a Lensman--no time to go to Arisia, so the Arisians send someone to deliver his Lens. Lensman McQueen follows enemy "tourists" who have just arrived at Copernicus Station.
14. Of Masks and Men
Miller rescues Harv. McQueen works on mopping up the enemy infiltrators in Copernicus. Everybody prepares for the arrival of the Black Fleet.
15. First Lensman--Evil Monster?
McQueen captures an enemy alive, finally, and probes his mind. The man has been programmed with fear of Lensmen and of the Patrol, and hatred toward Virgil Samms in particular.
16. The Last Spy
McQueen captures a lady spy, gets her drunk, and interrogates her with his Lens. The Patrol forms up in a Cone of Battle. The Black Fleet arrives, and scatters as the Cone begins firing. The battle is begun.
17. The Galactic Patrol vs. The Black Fleet
The Patrol defeats the Black Fleet. Harv and Miller secure the moon base.