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Friday, September 27, 2013

Tom Swift Among the Fire Fighters Now Online

The twenty-fourth installment of the Tom Swift saga, Tom Swift Among the Fire Fighters, is now posted in the Tom Swift and His Pocket Library collection. As usual, HTML, PDF, PDA eReader, and plain ASCII text editions suitable for reading off- or online are available.

As the 1920s began, New York and, to a lesser extent, other large cities in the United States were in the midst of a skyscraper building craze. Building after building would claim the title of “world's tallest”, only to be displaced shortly thereafter as an even taller building was completed. As buildings grew ever taller, fireproofing techniques, fire suppression systems such as automatic sprinklers, means to fight fires in structures taller than could be reached by ladder trucks, building codes, and rules used by insurance companies to assess the risk of fire often lagged behind the achievements of architects and builders in reaching for the sky.

A destructive fire at a local fireworks factory causes intrepid inventor Tom Swift to consider the challenge of firefighting in tall buildings, and sets him on the path to develop improved fire suppression chemicals which could be air-dropped from an airplane to reach floors beyond those accessible from the ground. Agreeing to help out a chemist who lost his life's work on dye formulae in the fireworks plant conflagration, he encounters two slick operators who seem to be involved in a number of shady deals, including the construction of the first skyscraper in the city of Newmarket, near Tom's home town of Shopton.

Meanwhile, an accident threatens Swift family retainer Eradicate Sampson with blindness, and his perennial rival, the giant Koku, becomes his devoted companion. Tom struggles with problems of all kinds as he tries to develop a workable way to extinguish fires from the air and demonstrate his invention to fire departments in cities with high-rise buildings. Then an unexpected calamity forces Tom to put his invention to the test in a crisis where loved ones' lives are on the line.

Just one public domain Tom Swift novel remains to be posted. When all are complete (this is a long-term project begun in 2004; I have averaged between two and three novels a year), I will revise the already-posted books, bringing their production standards up to those of the more recent postings and incorporating corrections to typographical errors spotted by readers.

Posted at September 27, 2013 22:12