Mark my words, there’s a real saga on it’s way.
Oh, hang on – let’s put it another way. Star Wars is TINY compared to Lensman. Lord of the Rings is MINUTE when you stand it next to Lensman.
Lensman is the definitive space-saga, more expansive and more detailed than any Marvel creation. Lensman is the property that will surely soon emerge in the world of movie franchise, and you’ll be a clever person if you start familiarising yourself with it – right now!
It’s seems strange to call E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s intergalactic adventures ‘classic’ sci-fi. It’s certainly not mainstream – the likes of Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick (among others) crowd that space. Ask any real sci-fi aficionado, however, and he’ll melt inside as he recounts the adventures of the Kinneson family, fighting the evil of Grey Roger as he presents himself in many forms, across time and space. They’ll discuss with you Atlantian technology, argue with you when you claim ‘Masters of the Vortex’ wasn’t really Lensman-cannon.
Sci-fi fans know and love Lensman. Full stop.
The history of the series is a bit sketchy. It’s understood that Doc Smith wrote the first Lensman novel ‘First Lensman’ in 1950, and quickly realised that the setting for the story and the plot suggested a deeper history to the conflict in which the hero – Virgil Samms – finds himself. He adapted a set of stories he’d written in the 1930’s to provide a sort of ‘prequel’, so the second book ‘Triplanetary’ provided a proper introduction to what turned out to be an epic series of novels.
And – my god, this will SO be the next movie-big-thing!
I’m not surprised it hasn’t already been done. The sheer scope of Lensman puts all the others to shame, and the cost of creating this universe on screen would surely raise eyebrows at even the most extravagant production house. Bite-sized sci-fi like I-Robot and Total Recall prove perfectly adaptable to big-screen presentation, and although Star Wars and Star Trek offer large scale, they’re all affordable in the sense of live-action production and CGI effects.
However, we’ve turned the corner with technical production techniques which surely allow the sheer scale and scope of the Lensman Universe to come to the big screen.
I won’t try to make a comparison between the Lensman Series and the popular space operas; frankly, there is no comparison. Sure, Star Wars, Star Trek and the like do possess the features essential for successful sci-fi. Space battles, evil empires, stories of daring, bravery.
But Lensman has all that and more. Political intrigue, ‘retakes’ on actual history (Hitler, Nazis, Napoleon), mystery, drug wars, arms races, slavery – it’s all in there. It’s safe to say that the Lensman books include more social commentary relevant to the way we live today than any other science fiction of fantasy ever has.
Don’t forget you heard it here! I’m convinced that Lensman will become prime production material within the foreseeable future.
E. E. ‘Doc’ Smiths stories could – and WILL – keep cinema goers entranced for decades.
Now, I’m off to try and adapt some of them for Screenplay … 😀