Lest Earth Be Conquered by Frank Belknap Long


Lest Earth Be Conquered by Frank Belknap LongScience Fiction

Bobby Jackson isn’t a normal 14-year-old boy in a small city. He’s the son of the local banker and admits that he is a genius. But he’s quick to point out that he’s a lower level genius who can still interact with people. And he can act his age if he tries. He notices there’s something “off” about the Martins, the new couple who have moved into town. He’s fairly certain they aren’t human.

He decides to test his theory by hanging out around their home. Mrs. Martin invites him in for lemonade. When he is looking at her a weird event happens. Before things can get worse, he quickly leaves. That doesn’t stop him from investigating the Martins more, though. He soon has piqued his teacher’s and the librarian’s interest. But they’re worried about him, not the Martins. When the librarian disappears, Bobby knows that his suspicions could be correct.

This novel was written around 45 years ago. I’m betting the publisher was looking for a certain length in this book. And it wasn’t enough for Frank Belknap Long to present this story. This is an average novel that could have been better. There are many pieces that are rushed or not completely explained. Bobby is key to the solution but the small hint to his ability isn’t enough to make the ending believable. There is a romance between the teacher and librarian, but again, not enough to pull it together.

Lest Earth Be Conquered is a good example of the science fiction pulp trade of the 50’s and 60’s. I would like to a a fuller novel, though – I bet it would be better.

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