Gray Lensman

by E. E. "Doc" Smith
Series: Lensman 4
Reviewed date: 2006 Apr 9
Rating: 3
253 pages
cover art

The Gray Lensman works under no supervision or direction whatever. He is as absolutely a free agent as it is possible to be. He is responsible to no one; to nothing save his own conscience. He is no longer of Tellus, nor of the Solarian System, but of Civilization of a whole. He is no longer a cog in the immense machine of the Patrol: wherever he may go he is the Patrol!

In Galactic Patrol Kinnison engineered the destruction of Boskone's military presence in the galaxy. Now Kinnison must infiltrate and destroy the other Boskonian wing: the criminal drug syndicate that permeates all Civilization. Kinnison goes undercover multiple times, most famously as Wild Bill Williams, Meteor Miner, and discovers not only the location of the Boskonian Prime Base, but the identity of Boskone itself. Armed with Kinnison's information, the Grand Fleet of the Patrol sets out to destroy the enemy's Grand Base and the Council of Boskone.

"Doc" Smith includes a nice summary of why the war between Civilization and Boskonia is so ruthlessly bloodthirsty:

To surrender was not even thought of--better far to die a clean death in the blazing holocaust of space-battle than to be thrown ignominiously into the lethal chambers of the Patrol. There was not, there could not be, any question of pardon or sentence to any mere imprisonment, for the strife between Civilization and Boskonia in no respect resembled the wars between two fundamentally similar and friendly nations which small, green Terra knew so frequently of old. It was a galaxy-wide struggle for survival between two diametrically opposed, mutually exclusive, and absolutely incompatible cultures; a duel to the death in which quarter was neither asked nor given; a conflict which, except for the single instance which Kinnison himself had engineered, was and of necessity had to be one of ruthless, complete, and utter extermination.
Die, then, the pirates must.

Some more thoughts on Gray Lensman:

  • "Mr. Chester Q. Fordyce, then, and not Gray Lensman Kimball Kinnison, disembarked at Ardith, the world-capital of Radelix. He took up his abode at the Hotel Ardith-Splendide."
  • I couldn't figure out if Jalte was installed as Galactic Director after the fall of Helmuth, or whether Jalte and Helmuth served at the same time, Jalte being the Director of Crime and Helmuth commanding the military wing of Boskonia.

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