Overview & Abilities
- Lenses are circular devices that appear to be composed of millions of tiny gems, and worn only by Lensmen. When in circuit with their intended wearer they give off considerable quantities of multicoloured light, but appear dark when not in circuit. Ordinary Lensmen must use them as a focus for their abilities, although Second Stage Lensmen (and better) do not need to use them. More powerful Lensmen also have larger Lenses, which literally grow as a result of, for example, Second Stage Lensman training.
- Lenses have also been described as having a "pseudo-life" related to their ability to give off light. Thus, when in circuit with the right Lensman they are, according to Mentor, "complete - saturated - satiated - fulfilled", whilst when unconnected they are "incomplete - unfulfilled - frustrated - you might say seeking or yearning or demanding".
- When giving off light, Lenses are harmless to touch; however touching a dark Lens will cause intense pain and very swiftly kill. As each Lens is "fitted" to only one individual, and the science behind them is too complex for either Civilisation or Boskone to replicate Lenses (without the aid of the Arisians or Eddorians), Lenses are thus used as the ultimate symbol of identification: if someone is wearing a Lens, then they are a Lensman, without a doubt.
- When a Lensman dies, his Lens will shortly thereafter disintegrate, without apparently giving off any detectable radiation or by-products. The mechanism involved is unknown.
- All Lenses appear to share some sort of connection, either with each other or through Arisia, as noted in First Lensman, although this is it seems only used as a means of ensuring the accurate translation of various concepts:
- "It received thoughts and translated them precisely into English. There was some leeway, but not much. If any thougth was such that there was no extremely close counterpart or referent in English, the Lens would not translate it at all, but would simply give it a hitherto meaningless symbol - a symbol which would from that time on be associated, by all Lenses everywhere, with that one concept and no other."
- Lenses appear to allow Lensmen to crack codes with no effort to speak of (again, from First Lensman). Again, the mechanism is unknown.
- "He already knew what the hidden message was; but no one not of the Patrol should know that no transmission of intelligence, however coded or garbled or disguised by whatever means sent, could be concealed by any wearer of Arisia's Lens."
- Finally, Lenses appear to be constructed by entirely automated means on Arisia. It is unknown how the Boskonian Lenses were constructed.
By the time of Children of the Lens, the Eddorians had begun developing their own Lensmen in an attempt to counter the originals. Dubbed Black Lensmen, these individuals underwent subconscious training rather than the systems used by Civilisation and the Patrol. Possibly in part due to this, Christopher Kinnison noted in Children of the Lens that the light given off by a Black Lensman's Lens was markedly different from those of the regular Lensmen. As the Black Lensmen were only a relatively small part of that book however, it is unknown what, if any, other differences there were between normal Lenses and their Eddorian counterparts.