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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tom Swift in the Land of Wonders Now Online

The twentieth installment in the Tom Swift adventures, Tom Swift in the Land of Wonders, 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.

This is an atypical Tom Swift novel, as it is a pure adventure, not centred around one of Tom's inventions. Inventions from previous novels figure in the story, to be sure, but this is a tale of a small band of intrepid adventurers seeking the archæological treasures of a buried city in Honduras, faced with the elements, monstrous mosquitoes, blood-sucking bats, esurient saurians, immense iguanas, concealed constrictors, double-dealing guides, and competition from a rival party led by an ambitious professor who is not only out to make his name in the field but is also a rival for the affections of Mary Nestor, who Tom is increasingly sure is the one for him. This is, to be sure, a “juvenile pulp novel” in the dismissive terminology applied to the genre. And yet (having produced twenty of these books for the Web and, in the process, read them closely and multiple times), what we have here is an older, more mature, and more interesting Tom. It's not just that he's “getting serious” about Mary; it's that his affection for her and antipathy toward his perceived rival makes him impetuous and prone to jump to conclusions and ill-considered action, which is restrained by the wise counsel of his friends Ned Newton and “bless my ratiocination” Wakefield Damon, who in earlier novels were comic foils to Tom. Professor Swyington Bumper, a caricature in the previous novel, is a figure of restraint here, scrupulously respecting the rules of scientific priority and the rule of law when Tom is inclined to bulldoze through them.

Five public domain Tom Swift novels remain to be posted. When all are complete (this is a long-term project; I started in 2004 and 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 eagle-eyed readers.

Posted at January 2, 2011 23:55