|About the Book|
I think I have a pretty high tolerance for racism and sexism and other forms of jerkiness in literary form- sure, The Planters Northern Bride is incredibly racist, but its an interesting historical document (see review)- sure, Lovecraft is racist, but theres other stuff going on in his stories, so you can recognize the racism and like them despite it.By contrast, Tom Swift and His Aerial Warship is just an awful book, where the black helper shucks and jives and the romantic interest is a big fainter--because thats what women do. If I hadnt been listening to this on my iPod while cleaning my apartment, I might not have gotten through it.In this novel, Tom invents a military zeppelin, foreign agents want it, and theres an adventure. Its really not very memorable or really enjoyable.Of course, theres some historical significance to the Tom Swift series in that it was part of the fiction that bridged the gap between the science fiction dime novels, like The Steam Man of the Prairies, and the science fiction magazines in America. And it ran for a long time--this is the 18th of 40 books in the original series (1910-41)- the second series had 33 (1954-71)- the third series, 11 published (1981-4, and 2 more unpublished)- the fourth series, 13 again (1991-3), with such titles as Cyborg Kickboxer- and the fifth series, 6 (2006-7, with 1 unpublished)--which is a total of 106 books all told. I know they cant all be as bad as this one, and Thomas Disch makes a defense of them as helping readers transition from comic books to novels (and for him, as a novelist, this is an unqualified good thing), but really, I dont think I could give another Tom Swift book a chance.