Thursday, January 29, 2009

2009 SF Experience-Tom Swift Jr.

After I finished reading the Winston Science Fiction series, I went in search of more science fiction books to read. Luckily, the Tom Swift Jr. novels by Victor Appleton II were being reprinted and were widely available. The first one I picked up was Tom Swift and the Asteroid Pirates. This summary from the title page shows why it appealed to me.

A violent explosion in space touches off one of the most thrill-packed adventures in Tom Swift Jr.'s scientific career. The appalling news that a cargo rocket has disintegrated while en route with vital supplies to Swift Enterprises' research base on the asteroid, Nestria, sounds a grim warning that the lives of Nestria's personnel are at stake.
To rescue the marooned men, Tom undertakes a hazardous voyage to Nestria, only to find the way blocked by an invisible barrier of deadly radiation created by an unknown enemy whose objective is possession of the base.
Tension mounts at Swift Enterprises when a mysterious Oriental is shot while attempting to warn Tom that his life is in danger from the Black Cobra. The Oriental's mumbled warning, plus some revealing data collected by United States Intelligence, sends Tom winging to a secret fortress in South America for the first encounter with his inscrutable foe.
But the decisive encounter is destined to take place in space. How Tom uses his new invention, the magnetic deflector, to crack the radiation barrier around Nestria, and how the young space scientist and his crewmen pit their wits and courage against the asteroid pirates and their diabolical leader, the Black Cobra, will hold every reader breathless with suspense.

They featured a teenage inventor who went on Indiana Jones style adventures. He was similar to a teenage Tony (Iron Man) Stark. Tom and his best friend Bud starred in 33 novels. The books were similar to the Winston books except they featured a continuing cast. It was fun to read about Tom and his adventures. Truly a thinking man's adventure series. The part that really amazed me was when I found an older book at a used book store. This older book featured Tom's father in his own series of adventures. Over the years, I have seen some attempts at reviving Tom but they never did measure up to the original Tom Swift Jr. adventures.

The titles alone are enough to get your blood pumping. They were definitely inspired by the old pulp magazines.

1. Tom Swift and his Flying Lab (1954)
2. Tom Swift and his Jetmarine (1954)
3. Tom Swift and his Rocket Ship (1954)
4. Tom Swift and his Giant Robot (1954)
5. Tom Swift and his Atomic Earth Blaster (1954)
6. Tom Swift and his Outpost in Space (1955)
7. Tom Swift and his Diving Seacopter (1956)
8. Tom Swift in the Caves of Nuclear Fire (1956)
9. Tom Swift on the Phantom Satellite (1956)
10. Tom Swift and his Ultrasonic Cycloplane (1957)
11. Tom Swift and his Deep-Sea Hydrodome (1958)
12. Tom Swift in the Race to the Moon (1958)
13. Tom Swift and his Space Solartron (1958)
14. Tom Swift and his Electronic Retroscope (1959)
15. Tom Swift and his Spectromarine Selector (1960)
16. Tom Swift and the Cosmic Astronauts (1960)
17. Tom Swift and the Visitor from Planet X (1961)
18. Tom Swift and the Electronic Hydrolung (1961)
19. Tom Swift and his Triphibian Atomicar (1962)
20. Tom Swift and his Megascope Space Prober (1962)
21. Tom Swift and the Asteroid Pirates (1963)
22. Tom Swift and his Repelatron Skyway (1963)
23. Tom Swift and his Aquatomic Tracker (1964)
24. Tom Swift and his 3D Telejector (1964)
25. Tom Swift and his Polar-Ray Dynasphere (1965)
26. Tom Swift and his Sonic Boom Trap (1965)
27. Tom Swift and his Subocean Geotron (1966)
28. Tom Swift and the Mystery Comet (1966)
29. Tom Swift and the Captive Planetoid (1967)
30. Tom Swift and his G-Force Inverter (1968)
31. Tom Swift and his Dyna-4 Capsule (1969)
32. Tom Swift and his Cosmotron Express (1970)
33. Tom Swift and the Galaxy Ghosts (1971)

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