E.E. “Doc” Smith is the father of the Space Opera, and Galactic Patrol is the first book in his classic Lensman series. (You can tell it’s a classic series, because the cover tells you so.) Smith is often overlooked these days; his prose is purple, his plots are pulpy, and his characters aren’t particularly complex. On the other hand, he’s good fun; and as John C. Wright points out, Galactic Patrol
…has no trace of cynicism, modernism, irony or any of the mustard gas of modern political correctness. Unlike PERDIDO STREET STATION by Mieville or BLINDSIGHT by Watts, which were frankly far more accomplished books executed with far greater technical skill, this awkward pulp forms a breathable oxynitrogen moral atmosphere. Those books have a methane and chlorine moral atmosphere, in which nothing human can live.