Smith planned to write a number of novels set in the Lensman universe but outside of the history that ran from Triplanetary to Children of the Lens. Ultimately, he finished only one, The Vortex Blaster.

Some of the novel appeared as truncated serials in a few short-lived magazines (Comet and Astonishing Stories) in 1941 and 1942. The complete story was published by Fantasy Press in 1960, and was the last of Smith's novels published during his lifetime. 191 pages.

Neal "Storm" Cloud is a scientist, a nucleonicist, whose family is destroyed by an atomic vortex and who dedicates his life thereafter to the destruction of such vortices. Through his adventures around the galaxy, he picks up a variety of humanoid cohorts, breaks up drug rings, halts wars and otherwise acts heroically.

The Vortex Blaster contains my favorite sentence in the Lensman books (from page 1). Imagine Orson Wells reading this:

"He did not know, did not even suspect, that under certain conditions of atmospheric potential and of ground-magnetic stress his perfectly-designed and perfectly-installed system [of lightening rods] would become a super-powerful attractor for flying vortices of atomic destruction."


The Vortex Blaster

  1. Catastrophe
  2. Cloud Blasts a Vortex
  3. Cloud Loses an Arm
  4. "Storm" Cloud on Deka
  5. The Boneheads
  6. Driving Jets Are Weapons
  7. The Blaster Acquires a Crew
  8. Vesta the Vegian
  9. Trouble on Tominga
  10. Janowick
  11. Joan the Telepath
  12. Vesta Practices Spaceal
  13. Games Within Games
  14. Vesta the Gambler
  15. Joan and Her Brains
  16. Vegian Justice
  17. The Call
  18. Cahuita

More quotes:

"With sufficient knowledge, any possible so-called paradox can be resolved."

"When one theory, and only one, fits much observational data and does not conflict with any, nor with any known or proven law or fact, that theory, however bizarre, must be explored."