Jarvis Hilton is in charge of a handpicked team of scientists - and a navy warship on a deep space mission, dubbed Project Theta Orionis. On the outbound journey, automatic sensors drop their ship - the Perseus - into normal space for an encounter with a mysterious skeletal object. The encounter leaves them baffled, and leads them to a view an epic space battle. But strange as that is, it's nowhere near as mysterious as finding a planet covered in radioactive fuel ore - and populated with humanoid robots who have been expecting their arrival and greet them as returning masters. . . !
E. E. 'Doc' Smith (1890 - 1965)
Edward Elmer Smith was born in Wisconsin in 1890. He attended the University of Idaho and graduated with degrees in chemical engineering; he went on to attain a PhD in the same subject, and spent his working life as a food engineer. Smith is best known for the 'Skylark' and 'Lensman' series of novels, which are arguably the earliest examples of what a modern audience would recognise as Space Opera. Early novels in both series were serialised in the dominant pulp magazines of the day: Argosy, Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories and a pre-Campbell Astounding, although his most successful works were published under Campbell's editorship. Although he won no major SF awards, Smith was Guest of Honour at the second World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, in 1940. He died in 1965.