skylark: Venus, Mars, and Mercury, photographed by STEREO A, May 2012.

Venus, very bright, moves right to left. Behind it, Mars appears to move more slowly in the same direction. At bottom right, Mercury moves left to right.

34 images, one every 5 hours 3rd-9th May.

Image credit: NASA/STEREO. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.

52 Books: Triplanetary

by E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith

The back book states that this “is the first self-contained novel in [the] epic Lensman series, one of the all-time classics of adventurous, galaxy-spanning science fiction.”. I disagree; it reads more like a rushed, open-ended prequel.

I’ll begin by saying the first three chapters were redundant, having no conceivable bearing on any of the plot detailed thereafter. I’m not saying the story was badly formed, just that the writing style (or lack there of) had no grip on me, and that it was badly formed. It could be entirely possible that the author was oblivious to the fact he was writing a novel, and not a script, until the last third of the book, due to the absence of any physical description. And even the continuous series of dialogues found in the first two thirds of the book were delivered with all the emotional finesse of an emotionally vacant automaton. The inclusion of such a laughably one-dimensional romance also felt entirely unnecessary to me, along was a cliché ending I saw the minute the antagonists was introduced.

It did get better towards the end, but it was a case of too little too late to redeem what could have been an interesting (if dated) introduction to the series.

I’m a bad person and I should feel bad.