book review: triplanetary

Oh how I hated this book. I get that EE Doc Smith was writing Triplanetary in a different time. It was the 1930s. This is pulp science fiction. The heroes are supposed to be square jawed and the women should be plucky but dependent. I knew that’s how this kind of science fiction was back then, but actually reading it was intensely aggravating.

There isn’t a true human emotion in the entire story, just resolute action without thought and “scientific” reveals that come out of nowhere and casual genocide. Seriously, at one point the hero escapes from a zoo-cage-ish kind of prison and then proceeds to murder everyone in the city with poison gas. Everyone! And he had an antidote but only used it for the human who got caught up in the gas as well. At the end of the book the humans and aliens can still be friends despite the millions of lives lost because they killed millions of humans too. And they all laughed and had a beer because everyone was a good ol’ sort anyway (and the woman commented on how the aliens were still kind of gross).

It was aggressively stupid and ham-handed and I hated the whole thing. I get that books like this are ancestors to books I like, but I need someone to recommend me better 1930s pulp sci fi if I’m going to develop an appreciation for it.

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