Hi-fi sci-fi: don't miss the rest of the Skylark series.
©1949 E. E. "Doc" Smith; (P)2007 Books in Motion
"Doc" Smith wasn't really much of a writer. His plots were predictable, his characters one-dimensional, his heroes appallingly noble, and his villains irredeemably evil. But reading his work is pure FUN!
Reed McColm regularly gets a bollocking for his readings of E.E. Smith. I regret to say that it's well deserved. His reading of Skylark Three was slovenly and camp. Skylark of Valeron starts off in a more promising way, crisp and with some momentum, but decays as the novel goes on.
The voice characterizations are very odd. Seaton's voice is what you'd get if you listened to a now elderly man of the period and projected back to what you'd think he'd sound like without the quaver. The Valeronians are humanoid, so you'd expect them to sound, well, human, but they're a mixture -- one of the adult males sounds like an effete 14 year old boy, while one of the leaders sounds as if he's using Stephen Hawking's voice generator. The Chlorans are sort of Fifties creaky voiced monsters, and the Osnomians are, well, it's hard to say what they're meant to be. The Norlaminians sound too depressed to stand up.
As for the book itself, Smith has learned something about writing since Skylark Three, and the writing is more focused. He's still likely to refer to someone as a "luckless wight," so that needs to be taken in context, but there's a reason these books are still around. He's amazingly inventive and he tells a story.
Enjoying all over again a series of books I had read in my youth. My Dad passed his E. E. Doc Smith on to my brother and me and we read them and just ate them up. Smith introduced me to Sci-Fi and the love has lasted a lifetime. I loved the Skylark series because it fired my imagination and dreams. Yes, man would some day venture into space as the explorers man is.
Seaton was amazing, but managed to stay down to earth. Duquesne grew enormously through the books, but then stayed true to his character in the end. Do tigers really change their stripes?
I loved seeing the softer side of Duquesne come out. His scenes with the aliens for "DNA" preservation was very interesting.
The enemy became the friend/ally to overcome adversity.
Loved the reader and the books. I think Doc Smith was really a romantic at heart.
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