Review: Tom Swift And His Motor-boat

Tom Swift And His Motor-boat
Tom Swift And His Motor-boat by Victor Appleton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you’ve read the more recent Tom Swift book series, you’ll probably find the originals kind of boring – and to be honest, they are. But they were written at the turn of the 20th century, so that might be expected. These predate Edgar Rice Burroughs’ adventure tales by half a decade. This is more of the Rover Boys, the Chums of Scranton High, and Frank Merriwell vein.

This Tom Swift is more of a mechanic than a true inventor – at least at this point in his literary career – and is more concerned with mundane matters like helping his dad, or running a boat on the lake, or the like. The stories do have a certain quaint charm to them. This one has Tom squabbling with one of his teen-aged rivals and the thieves who tried to steal his father’s patents in the first book. Everything’s very polite and orderly, in a Waltons kind of way.

Not a bad book, not a completely dull one, either. It’s definitely a look back on a forgotten era.

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Review: The Devil-Tree of El Dorado

The Devil-Tree of El Dorado
The Devil-Tree of El Dorado by Frank Aubrey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not a bad adventure tale, that holds up rather well considering it was written in the 19th century. Very reminiscent of Edgar Rice Burroughs or Robert Howard in style, with a little less forced exposition that was the norm for the era. A trio of adventurers explore the then-exotic and foreboding plateau of Roirama, to find the lost city of El Dorado. I know, it sounds like a mash-up of two stories, but it’s actually quite good.

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Review: Star Trek: Where no man has gone before: Where no man has gone before

Star Trek: Where no man has gone before: Where no man has gone before
Star Trek: Where no man has gone before: Where no man has gone before by Gene Roddenberry
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Apparently written to take advantage of Kindle Unlimited, this is just an episode guide for the animated Star Trek series. It’s so slipshod in it’s formatting that the table of contents is for a different book – apparently the Batman animated series from the looks of it. The synopses are written in such away that you both never need to watch the actual episodes or get any salient minutia from the descriptions.

I don’t believe that Gene Roddenberry had anything to do with this book, either. They can’t even enter the title correctly on GR or Amazon. Sad.

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Cecil and Sandra

It’s a tough call when I see people wishing that Sandra Bland and other victims of police violence had been dressed up as lions, so they’d get some attention. I support justice for both, but I know that there’s not much chance of either.

Photo credit: Afrika Bush Camps
Photo credit: Afrika Bush Camps

As I’ve said before, I feel that with Cecil, there’s a slight chance of getting some sort of closure for the millions of people who admired him care about animals; the moron who killed him, and his cohorts who arranged it, have several paths upon which they might – just might – find their just desserts. I’m not counting on it, given the basic corruption of ANY legal system today, but I’d like to think that karma is real. And it would be so fucking great for the good guys to win one for once.

We will honestly never get that same closure for all the people – black, white, red, brown, yellow, whoever – murdered by the police. I can’t see it as anything other than impossible. It’s reprehensible that so many people get murdered in this country by the people who are charged to protect us. And it’s criminal that it ends up happening on an almost daily basis now.

Naturally, not all police officers are bad. I don’t personally know more than one who would have not been up in arms about this situation; in fact, I’m betting a sizable percentage are aghast at what these few, well-publicized paid killers have been doing. But we (and they) can very rarely break through the celebrated Thin Blue Line. It’s an ingrained force of habit that seems to come with that job.

Sandra Bland
Photo credit: Heavy.com

We can keep the victims in the spotlight, and we can hope. But we – us, you, me, and everyone – as the new, still-fledgling force of social media, are the ones who need to do it. Share articles and pics about the situation that interest you. Keep what you want changed in plain view.

Remember that The Powers That Be want us scared. We’re easy to control that way. If we’re educated and have our own opinions not based on fear, we’re of no damn use to them.

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Oh, and yes, I know there have been numerous, again almost daily outrages that have been committed by nutcases with guns; that’s completely out of hand as well, and only tangential to the topic at this particular moment. .

Review: America Vs. The Justice Society (Jsa

America Vs. The Justice Society (Jsa
America Vs. The Justice Society (Jsa by Roy Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This afternoon’s quick read was this trade of a fun limited series from 1984-5. America Vs. the Justice Society was a four-issue history lesson into DC’s Golden Age, particularly All Star Comics #3-58. Now you can easily read the entire run in DC’s Archive series, but it was still a pipe dream back then.

The cover art is done by Jerry Ordway, and Rafael Kayanan, Alfredo Alcala, Mike Hernandez, and Rich Buckler handle most of the interior art, with Golden Age Guru Roy Thomas writing a story that has the original Batman accusing his former teammates of treason. Every member and foe of the JSA is touched on in this series, as the framing story has them unknowingly battling their greatest enemy.

A great tale for comic fans and for people who want to know more about the Golden Age era.

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Review: Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle, or, Fun and Adventures on the Road

Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle, or, Fun and Adventures on the Road
Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle, or, Fun and Adventures on the Road by Victor Appleton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wow! Talk about dated fiction! The original Tom Swift series could almost be considered charming if it wasn’t for the racism. I was honestly surprised when one of the bad guys walloped Tom from behind without asking his permission first. This is NOT like the Tom Swift, Jr. series; I mean, Tom’s a mechanical wizard, but he’s not quite yet inventing the science-fiction devices he’s known for. This book was VERY mundane – the height of the fantastic was a turbine engine his father designed, but that was only the Maguffin for the plot.

The chapter in which the word “darky” is used multiple times, and the quaint and very racist handling of Eradication (the token black guy), will be incredibly off-putting for the modern reader. Also, there are/were apparently nothing but dirt roads between Shoppton and Albany in New York. So be forewarned.

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Review: Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle, or, Fun and Adventures on the Road

Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle, or, Fun and Adventures on the Road
Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle, or, Fun and Adventures on the Road by Victor Appleton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wow! Talk about dated fiction! The original Tom Swift series could almost be considered charming if it wasn’t for the racism. I was honestly surprised when one of the bad guys walloped Tom from behind without asking his permission first. This is NOT like the Tom Swift, Jr. series; I mean, Tom’s a mechanical wizard, but he’s not quite yet inventing the science-fiction devices he’s known for. This book was VERY mundane – the height of the fantastic was a turbine engine his father designed, but that was only the Maguffin for the plot.

The chapter in which the word “darky” is used multiple times, and the quaint and very racist handling of Eradication (the token black guy), will be incredibly off-putting for the modern reader. Also, there are/were apparently nothing but dirt roads between Shoppton and Albany in New York. So be forewarned.

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