On more than one occasion, I've referred to Nadreck as a cultural reference for a sci-fi alien from an extreme cold ecosystem. I want to link this to a description, but I can’t find anything via Google. There don’t seem to be any Lensman-related fandom wiki, or any pages mentioning Nadreck lensman Palainian other than a book description for Z-lensman which just notes that he’s the MC.

Does anyone know of any detailed Lensman writeups that are publicly available with direct URLs?

  • I'd love to see this answered as well. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 23:25
  • JDlugosz - i have just added a Palainian description from First Lensman to my answer. Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 3:58

2 Answers 2


Using Google Books to peek inside First Lensmen, gives you: Palainian Sadly this, I, now realise only works for the person who constructed the link.

Some of GURP's excellent Lensman set is available online here. Sadly not the entry on Palainians but you could ask Steve Jackson games if they'd consider putting it up.

  • That link isn't peeking inside the book for me.
    – JDługosz
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 0:11
  • Hm, it is for me. Can anyone else confirm there's an issue? Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 0:18
  • It’s your link, so it continues to work in your browser. Are you signed in to Google Books, and do you have specific rights to that book? Maybe it’s geobased too.
    – JDługosz
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 0:57
  • I could not get inside the book either. Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 1:27
  • Okay, just realised that doesn't work. Will withdraw answer and think again. Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 8:09

In First Lensman the Palainians are described as having a constantly changing cross section in three dimensional space due to their extension into higher dimensions. Thus an image of a Palainian is only accurate for the moment it is made. There is a description in the chapter when Virgil Samms goes to the Palainian colony on Pluto and then to Palain 7 itself.

In the original four Lensman novels the Palainians and the Eich are described as having metabolic extensions into multidimensional space. That might, repeat might, explain why the Eich are described as being indescribable. Nadrek of Palain 7 is described as being very strange to Human eyes but there are no mentions of him being indescribable nor of his shape changing due to being multidimensional.

Nadrek wears an environmental suit in the presence of blazingly hot (to him) Humans. I believe he is described as being small by Human standards, with spines and many tentacles.

I have always wondered about the difference in the descriptions of Palainians.

I hope that someone with access to the books can give you descriptions of Nadrek and other Palainians.


12-07-2017 I found an online version of First Lensman. In Chapter 10 Virgil Samms visits the Palanian colony on Pluto.

And there he saw his first Palainian.

Or, strictly speaking, he saw part of his first Palainian; for no three-dimensional creature has ever seen or ever will see in entirety any member of any of the frigid-blooded, poison-breathing races. Since life as we know it—organic, three-dimensional life—is based upon liquid water and gaseous oxygen, such life did not and could not develop upon planets whose temperatures are only a few degrees above absolute zero. Many, perhaps most, of these ultra-frigid planets have an atmosphere of sorts; some have no atmosphere at all. Nevertheless, with or without atmosphere and completely without oxygen and water, life—highly intelligent life—did develop upon millions and millions of such worlds. That life is not, however, strictly three-dimensional. Of necessity, even in the lowest forms, it possesses an extension into the hyper-dimension; and it is this metabolic extension alone which makes it possible for life to exist under such extreme conditions.

The extension makes it impossible for any human being to see anything of a Palainian except the fluid, amorphous, ever-changing thing which is his three-dimensional aspect of the moment; makes any attempt at description or portraiture completely futile.

Virgil Samms stared at the Palainian; tried to see what it looked like. He could not tell whether it had eyes or antennae; legs, arms, or tentacles, teeth or beaks, talons or claws or feet; skin, scales, or feathers. It did not even remotely resemble anything that the Lensman had ever seen, sensed, or imagined. He gave up; sent out an exploring thought.

When the Palainian Pilinipsi tries to demonstrate "Dexitroboping":

She tried; but demonstration, too, was useless; for to Samms the Palainian's movements were pointless indeed. The peculiarly flowing subtly changing thing darted back and forth, rose and fell, appeared and disappeared; undergoing the while cyclic changes in shape and form and size, in aspect and texture. It was now spiny, now tentacular, now scaly, now covered with peculiarly repellent feather-like fronds, each oozing a crimson slime. But it apparently did not do anything whatever. The net result of all its activity was, apparently, zero.


So now what you still need are whatever descriptions of Nadrek are in Second Stage Lensman and Children of the Lens.

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