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I first read this book when I was fourteen. It has held a special place in my mind and heart ever since.

It still gives me a thrill to think about this book. For sheer breadth of imagination, scope of theme and pace of action it is one of the best books I have ever read. It is, of course, dated by todays standards- but you must realize that when this book was written the very idea of space travel was nothing but sheer fantasy to the average person. At a time when no human had ever traveled faster than 300 miles per hour E. E. Smith was writing about star travel and doing it in a convincing and entertaining manner. If you like alien villains, Smith gives you the Fenachrone, surely one of the most arrogant, vile races ever committed to paper.

If you like human villains, Smith gives you Blackie Duqesne the pure, utterly amoral scientist. If you like heroes, Smith gives you Richard Ballinger Seaton, brilliant scientist and engineer and his friend and partner Martin Crane- not to mention their wives who play a part in the plot that is well above the level of rescue the Damsel that was the standard fare at the time this was written. If you like space ships and weapons that boggle the mind, Smith gives you miles-long spaceships built of materials of unbelievable strength duelling in intergalactic space.

And finally, theres the Norlaminians, a race devoted heart and soul to the accumulation of knowledge of every sort- and a good thing too, for without their help, beating the Fenachrone would have been impossible. Smith has a way of writing about impossible things that makes you think: Wouldnt it be great if ......... If you can suspend your disbelief for a couple of hours I guarantee that this book will leave you wanting more.

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