Between 1915 and 1921, E. E. Smith worked on this, his first novel, and perhaps the first novel in which interstellar travel was depicted. [Edmond Hamilton was the other pioneer in working out that theme, which has become central to almost all science fiction.] Smith lacked confidence in his ability to write dialogue between the novel's hero, Seaton, and his girl friend, so he asked the wife of a friend to collaborate in producing those sequences. Now here comes the important point. When it finally became possible for Smith to publish the novel in hardcover, in 1946, he went through and removed everything written by his collaborator, Lee Garby, so that the material could be copyrighted solely in Smith's name. EVERY EDITION of the novel since has been the drastically abridged text created by removing Garby's contributions. So here's great news about this attractive trade paperback--- it is complete, based on the original text as published in AMAZING in 1928.
Now for the story: the hero, Seaton, with the help of his incredibly wealthy friend Crane, discovers a way to make a direct conversion of the nuclear energy of metallic copper into linear motion. The two set out to build a space ship, aiming to visit the moon and Mars. But another scientist, "Blackie" DuQuesne, is the mental and physical equal of Seaton, plus being completely amoral and emotionless. He builds his own space ship and kidnaps Seaton's girl friend, the vapid Dorothy Vaneman, threatening to release her only if Seaton turns over to DuQuesne all the secrets of his technology, including a mysterious and necessary catalyst known as X. Plans go wrong, and while Seaton overcomes sabotage, the enemy ship is launched out of control into distant space at speeds far greater than light, with Seaton's main squeeze aboard. In a super ship, the existence of which DuQuesne did not suspect, Seaton and Crane go off (helped by a gadget that locates DuQuesne, no matter how far away he is) to the rescue.
In the second half of the novel, our heroes find themselves hundreds of millions of light years from earth, with no copper to get back on. A search for planets with copper leads them to one inhabited by humans who seem to be based closely on the Barsoomians of Edgar Rice Burroughs. [The Barsoomians are red, these imitations are green.] Our heroes find the green humans divided into an evil nation and a good nation, and quickly take the side of the good nation, getting a new, super interstellar ship as a reward.
Smith submitted his novel to editors fruitlessly from 1921 to 1928, but once published, it was an instant hit, and Smith eventually wrote three sequels, SKYLARK THREE, SKYLARK OF VALERON, and SKYLARK DUQUESNE, between 1929 and 1966.
This edition was clearly scanned from the original pulp magazines, but was carefully proofread, and I found no misprints at all, although weirdly, the captions to the pulp illustrations are included within the text as if they were part of the text, and so is the editor's introduction to the second installment of the novel, again stuck in as if part of the original text.
I wish this version had been accompanied by an introduction or afterword giving the background of the creation of the adventure, and summarizing the incredible impact that this early novel of interstellar exploration has had on all the science fiction written subsequently.