Fans of E. E. “Doc” Smith’s epic science-fiction novel series Lensman, are probably wondering how screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski was going to compress the book’s billion year plotlines into a manageable motion picture. This weekend, in a post at the moderated rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5 board, Straczynski hinted that he is probably going to start with the third book in the series, Galactic Patrol.
In brief, and withoiut getting into details that are still in the process of being worked out, I’ve chosen to focus on the story of Kimball Kinnison, using his story as the fulcrum by which I can get into the whole history of the Lens and outward from there.
To go into more detail about who Kimball Kinnison is exactly almost immediately treads into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that centuries in the future Kinnison is a member of the titular Galactic Patrol, a galaxy-spanning organization of incorruptable police officers who are fighting to keep peace in the cosmos, utilizing a weapon known as a lens that gives its user a variety of mental powers. Kimball’s heritage as a Lensman and the legacy he will spawn are the overall arc of the series.
Straczynski is a a great choice to adapt the sprawling space opera, having masterminded his own five-year science-fiction epic on television- Babylon 5. Even Lensman‘s warring elder races , the Arisians and the Eddorians, seem to have influenced the B5 races, the Vorlons and the Shadows. Of course, the series was written back in the 1930s and 40s, so there are plenty of pulp elements that might not play well with modern audiences without some tweaking.
Straczynski is developing the script for Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures.