Book Review: Triplanetary by E. E. “Doc” Smith
Three Stars out of Five
“In which scientific detail would not be bothered about, and in which his imagination would run riot,” Smith’s biographer Harry Smith said of the Lensman stories. And how.
Interesting more as a historical document than as literature, this includes the 1934 story which was the first Lensman story of classic science fiction. The writing is over-the-top, the characters heroic and chauvinistic, but it’s all great fun. The books influenced military development and future science fiction. (George Lucas enjoyed the Lensman series as a youth.)
Three stars is a gift. I wouldn’t have finished such an outlandish tale if written today, but it was hot stuff back then.
Book Review: Azusa Street by Frank Bartleman
Four Stars out of Five
Beyond an eye witness account of the birth of the Pentecostal movement at the Azusa Street Mission in 1906 Los Angeles, this book chronicles events before and after that Christian epoch as told by a senior participant, drawing on magazine articles, pamphlets and journals he wrote at that time. As such, Azusa Street blends primary sources and history. Bartleman is not a dispassionate narrator, but he brings those events into focus for the reader better than an account based on hearsay.
Race, gender, titles, degrees were irrelevant as Christians from many faith traditions joined in a moment of spiritual revival. The slim volume ends with an article, “The Deeper Significance of Pentecost,” he wrote almost twenty years later, just before he died, helping put the Azusa revival into perspective as he saw it. And a 1970s article “Revival and Recovery” by Arthur Wallis.
While the wider world will ignore this book as it did the Azusa revival, the serious student of modern church history will find it interesting and uplifting. That this book is still in print suggests that the need and lessons of the Azusa revival are still alive.