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.