Masters of Space

by E. E. "Doc" Smith and E. Everett Evans
Reviewed date: 2010 Nov 1
Rating: 1
158 pages
cover art

E. Everett Evans passed away before finishing Masters of Space, so his good friend Doc Smith took the manuscript and completed it. Everything in Masters of Space sounds like Doc Smith, so I wonder if any of Evans's work made it into the final product.

Mankind is facing a severe energy crisis. Jarvis Hilton, commander of Perseus, has been sent on a ten-year mission to seek new sources of uranexium ore. Perseus succeeds beyond their wildest hopes: they stumble upon a planet practically made of uranexium. There is only one hitch: the planet is a battlefield in the war between the Omans and the Stretts.

Perseus makes contact with the Omans, who turn out to be androids created eons ago by mankind's distant ancestors. Their enemy, the Stretts, are an evil race bent upon total conquest of the known universe. The Omans have fought the Stretts to a stalemate for millennia.

Instead of doing the wise thing and grabbing as much uranexium as they can, Hilton decides to hang around and convince the Omans that he and the crew of Perseus are the long-lost Masters who created the Omans. Once he accomplishes that, Hilton decides that he will attempt to improve the Omans by giving them the gift of free will and creativity, so that they can be more than programmed androids. This too, he accomplishes. Finally, Hilton decides that he absolutely must stay and discover all the secrets of the ancient Masters. He succeeds in this too--although to accomplish this last goal, he and most of the Perseus crew have to be turned into Omans.

Now no longer human, Hilton and his crew use the knowledge of the ancient Masters to create incredible weapons of destruction. They break the stalemate in the war against the Stretts by destroying the Strett homeworld, committing complete and total racial genocide. Then they condescendingly return to Earth and give humanity the uranexium that is so desperately needed--but only on certain conditions: none of the Perseus crew will return home. Instead, they and their families (and certain other well-bred intelligent and beautiful people) will move to the Fuel Bin planet and live there in Oman bodies, as a new, improved race.


And to top it off, the story is so incredibly, ludicrously sexist that it's hard to believe it got published in the 1960s.

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