People say E.E. Smith "invented" what we now call space opera, and boy, I'm here to tell you those people are right. The Skylark of Space reads like a comic strip or an old Flash Gordon serial. It is rollicking fun and action, but there is a caveat:
You have to disengage virtually all of your upper-division college memories. You know the ones--the ones that tell you how to spot implicit racism, sexism, and other kinds of -isms in writing. Doc Smith makes no bones at all about white men being inherently better than any other kind of men or of women, for that matter.
The best way I can describe it is that this book is like a fatty steak swimming in bleu cheese sauce to a man with a cholesterol count of 375. It not only tastes great, but a small part of the diner's brain (the id part) wonders petulantly why every meal can't be like this. It is an irresponsible book, yes--but damn if it isn't fun.
I read this book in a weekend, but not just because I was interested. It almost reads itself. The characters are either lily-white and superhuman specimens of honor, integrity, and American can-do spirit or they are Snidely Whiplash clones.
Deep? Don't make me laugh.
Be seeing you!