Richard Seaton, a scientist working for the Rare Metals Laboratory in Washington is electrolyzing a solution of chemical waste, and discovers it is a new element, and can be made to produce prodigious power, using copper as a metal that it disintegrates in total conversion, and with his friend Martin Crane starts building a space ship. However, other people have found out about the solution, namely World Steel and Marc C. DuQuesne, and plan to steal it and kill Seaton and Crane.
However, when DuQuesne tries to kidnap Dorothy Vaneman, Seaton's sweetheart, in a duplicate of Seaton's ship, things go horribly wrong, as they are thrust out of the solar system and towards the center of the Galaxy. Seaton follows in an improved Skylark, after finding about sabotage to the first one that was being built, and goes after Dorothy with his friend Crane in tow. They find the other ship, disabled and out of power, falling towards a dead star (Commonly known as a Black Hole), a! nd rescues the entire party, including a woman that was a prisoner on the ship already. they go to various planets, exploring as they go an the way home, trying to find more copper to fuel their engines, so they can reach Earth within a human lifetime.
Unusual creatures are encountered on the way, and they land on a planet in what becomes known as the Green System, where they find copper in plentiful supply. They meet the inhabitants of the planet, and through some adventures, they rescue themselves and some slaves from the natives. The natives turn out to be Nobles from the ruling class of the opposing nation of the planet, with which they have been at war for 6000 years. after some other developments, Seaton and Crane get married to their respective women on the planet, and then get involved in a battle for the city of Kondal, defending it with their re-furbished and repaired Skylark. They win, and Seaton is proclaimed Overlord of the planet for his participation in ! the battle that saved the City/State.
I only give this book a 3, even though it is very good, because it is so outdated. The computers used are 'punch-card' types and slow, and everyone in the party is the best at shat they do(Perfection does NOT exist). Seaton is one of only 2 people able to develop "X", the new metal, other than DuQuesne, without killing everybody on the planet, Dorothy Vaneman is a master on the Violin, Margaret Spencer is Sings in an orchestra, obviously the best in America, Martin Crane is an engineer, a genius in his field. Everyone is the best, not merely average, as a normal and believable character should be. apart from some technological backwardness, as well as astronomical mistakes, regarding space, ( think about Star Trek and you can find some Real Big mistake there as well) it is a good book. this book launches the rest of the series, which if you don't mind a few mistakes because it's out of date, is a good read.
Title: Skylark of Space