Tuesday, July 10, 2018

I Read Books: Skylark Three

Skylark Three is the second in the Skylark series, named after the third Skylark spaceship. (In The Skylark of Space, Seaton and Crane build the Skylark and go on space adventures; on the planet of Osnome they rebuild the ship into Skylark Two.) Responding to requests for aid from the Osnomians, Seaton, Crane, their wives and Crane's Japanese man-servant Shiro head out into space where they run into a scout cruiser of the supermen of Fenachrone. These guys want to conquer the galaxy and kill everyone who is not like them.

To stop them Seaton goes on a tour of planets looking for superior science and technology to beat them. He finds it on Norlamin, a peaceful planet of scientists, far advanced beyond other planets, due to their great age as a race. They do not have the mysterious metal X which they call Rovolon, so haven’t been able to put their theories into practice. Seaton has lots of it. They team up!

There’s some interesting stuff here about frequencies and orders of forces, Seaton having to leave a gap in his shields at one frequency to see out. There’s some even more interesting stuff about how the Norlaminians are so advanced as to be too pacifist to fight Fenachrone (though they build the weapons to do so). Their society, runs on (fairly) strict time limits, so that when the bell for the time of work sounds, they stop for the day, and go on to exercise or pleasure or something.

They’re still kind of sexist though, so some things haven’t changed in the thousands of years since they were equivalent to circa 1930.

Read This: For pulpy space adventure with – just – a bit more thought put into the use of forces, rays and automation than the usual.
Don’t Read This: If crazy genocidal space wars are not your thing.

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