E. E. Smith was a chemical engineer in Washington DC when, in 1915, a next-door neighbor suggested that he turn his speculations about space travel into a science fiction novel. Smith at first demurred, saying that the story would be a failure without romatic content and that he did not feel comfortable writing that himself. His neighbor's wife suggested that she would be willing to take care of those details if he wrote the larger framework. Smith set to the task.

They finished the book Skylark of Space in 1919. It would be eight years before it was published as a serial in Amazing Stories. Smith actually lost money on the venture, since the $125 he was paid by Amazing Stories didn't cover the cost of the postage he had spent sending the manuscript to dozens of uninterested publishers over the years.

Skylark was an immense success and Smith devoted much time over the next 40 years to writing novels. His stories involve huge contests fought with fearsome and rapidly evolving technology between the spirited forces of good and democracy against the many-layered cabals of evil. His name has become closely associated with the space opera genre,and his work has greatly influenced modern science fiction — print, movies and video games.

Note, incidentally, that Smith was a real PhD and a chemical engineer. He worked in the food industry for much of his adult life and popular legend has it that he was the researcher who figured out how to get powdered sugar to stick to doughnuts.

Unfortunately, many of Smith's books have been out of print for years, and copies of the original hardcover editions can be hard to find. I field enough requests for guidance on this that I've create a page dedicated to locating rare science fiction books. Some of the books are available from Amazon.com, and I have provided links to their buying pages.

The following will eventually cover all of Smith's books, though for now it only covers those that I own. If you have access to the others and are willing to sell them to me, or at least to scan the covers, please e-mail me. I have had to remove the direct link with my address, because I was receiving too much spam, but you can reach me by using the following address, ms@(the domain of the URL you are visiting right now).


Buy it.


Gray Lensman
Buy it.


Second Stage Lensman
Buy it.


Children of the Lens
Buy it.


The Vortex Blaster
Buy it.

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