With _Triplanetary_ E.E. "Doc" Smith established a path for science fiction that still shows in today's sci-fi. Admittedly the science theory is woefully out-of-date, but hasn't it been said that one should never let science get in the way of a good story? As to that, what better story could you tell? The concepts of good and evil, responsibility, desire for human greatness (as a civilization, not as individuals), as well as socio-political theories of democracy and despotism are all covered here.
Following sci-fi greats drew strongly from Doc's work, as evidenced by Gene Rodenberry's love of the words Space-Time Continuum, which Doc was using before the fifties ever rolled around. Also, Heinlein's 1950's "juvies" included many of the same values, and even some very similar plot-lines (read _Have Spacesuit Will Travel_ and tell me I'm wrong). However, Doc's biggest influence came in the area of the powers of the mind. While everyone else was sitting around talking about the wonders of atomic energy, going to the moon, or breaking the sound barrier, Doc was dreaming up insane applications for the theories concerning the powers of the mind. He beat Asimov's Foundation by years to the idea of statistical psychology, or psychological statistics. He was playing with the idea of telepathic, telekinetic, tele-whatever you want, at least a decade before it became mainstream sci-fi material. He was an original, and, like so many true originals, had been forgotten to the point that only hard-core sci-fi junkies managed to glean bits and pieces of his work through the 90's. Now, however, he is being returned to print (Thank God) and his bloody fisted, swashbuckling, death-defying, self-sacrificing, and sometimes remorse-ridden heroes of space can return to people like me, average Joe's who never knew Doc existed until we got to digging through our college library stacks for sci-fi treasures after becoming utterly disgusted with trying to find anything decent on the mall bookstore's shelves.
So, I thank goodness for Amazon, and thank Doc Smith for sci-fi as I love it.