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By Deborah on 06-07-15
"Doc" Smith wasn't really much of a writer. His plots were predictable, his characters one-dimensional, his heroes appallingly noble, and his villains irredeemably evil. But reading his work is pure FUN!
By Fred271 on 03-12-14
Skylark of Valeron
Reed McColm regularly gets a bollocking for his readings of E.E. Smith. I regret to say that it's well deserved. His reading of Skylark Three was slovenly and camp. Skylark of Valeron starts off in a more promising way, crisp and with some momentum, but decays as the novel goes on.
The voice characterizations are very odd. Seaton's voice is what you'd get if you listened to a now elderly man of the period and projected back to what you'd think he'd sound like without the quaver. The Valeronians are humanoid, so you'd expect them to sound, well, human, but they're a mixture -- one of the adult males sounds like an effete 14 year old boy, while one of the leaders sounds as if he's using Stephen Hawking's voice generator. The Chlorans are sort of Fifties creaky voiced monsters, and the Osnomians are, well, it's hard to say what they're meant to be. The Norlaminians sound too depressed to stand up.
As for the book itself, Smith has learned something about writing since Skylark Three, and the writing is more focused. He's still likely to refer to someone as a "luckless wight," so that needs to be taken in context, but there's a reason these books are still around. He's amazingly inventive and he tells a story.