Saturday, 6 February 2016

A Lensman In The Old Phoenix

Here is where I have referred to EE Smith's Lensman series before. Here (see Comments) is where correspondent David Birr says that the:

"...large affable blond man in high boots and gray leather with an iridescent jewel on his wrist..." (Midsummer Tempest, p. 228) -

- must be from the Lensman series. So this is the only appearance of a Lensman in Poul Anderson's works and the Old Phoenix is probably the only appropriate setting. This single part of a sentence is better written than the entire seven-volume Lensman series.

Lensmen:

sound like and resemble superheroes;
are as uni-dimensional as all comic strip characters used to be;
specifically, are quite like the comic book superhero group, the Green Lantern Corps.

With superheroes, I have found that what matters is the script writer, not the character. Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman are able to do new things with old characters, even with Superman. Similarly, Poul Anderson would have been able to write a good Lensman novel even if the Lensmens' creator couldn't. I value that man in gray leather with an iridescent jewel on his wrist as Anderson's prose transmuting a cardboard space opera hero into a colorful and interesting character.

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