Cover of first paperback edition
|Author||E. E. Smith|
|Cover artist||Jack Gaughan|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Preceded by||Skylark of Valeron|
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Skylark DuQuesne (pronounced Doo-kane) was the final novel in the epic Skylark series by E. E. Smith. Written as Dr. Smith's last novel in 1965 and published shortly before his death, it expands on the characterizations of the earlier novels (written 1919 - about 1938) but with some discrepancies (some of which may relate to unwritten background developments). The most significant point is that Dr. Marc DuQuesne, the major villain of the three previous novels, is shown to have matured, reformed, and offered a chance at what amounted at pardon for his prior crimes against the heroes.
The book ends with Seaton and DuQuesne teaming up to perpetrate a galaxy-wide genocide against the Chlorians, causing all their suns to go nova. "The Chlorians died in their uncounted trillions. The greeny-yellow soup that served them for air boiled away. Their halogenous flesh was charred, baked and desiccated in the split-second of the passing of the front wave from each exploding double star, moments before their planets themselves started to seethe and boil. Many died unaware. Most died fighting. Most died in terrible, frantic effort to escape... But they all died." The perpetration of this massive horror is condoned with the argument that otherwise the Chlorians would have eventually broken out of their galaxy and taken over the entire universe; Seaton compares the Chlorians to a cancer which must be destroyed "to the last cell". It is noteworthy that the Chlorans themselves, though depicted earlier in the book as extremely cruel, were not bent on exterminating humans but only enslaving and exploiting them.
(Thus, to those found it noteworthy, it's imminently preferable to be subjugated and live out their lives as slaves, as the masters "are not that cruel." They are forgetting that, according to the Chlolans: "It matters nothing to us whether you live or die, since we already have slaves enough. We shall permit you to keep on living if you obey our orders in every particular, otherwise we shall not so permit." - Skylark of Valeron, 18. Valeron Versus Chlora)
Skylark DuQuesne was first serialized in IF Worlds of Science Fiction beginning in June 1965 before being published in 1966 by Pyramid Books. The novel was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1966.
- Tuck, Donald H. (1978). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 398. ISBN 0-911682-22-8.
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