Sunday, July 8, 2018

Review of "Tom Swift and His Subocean Geotron," by Victor Appleton II

Review of
Tom Swift and His Subocean Geotron, by Victor Appleton II 

Three out of five stars
 As the name implies, the main invention of this book is a device that will allow Tom and Bud to go underneath the ocean floor. That alone is just another invention in the long line of achievements by Tom. However, in this case the Swifts are in contact with two alien species that claim to be rivals, each side stating that the other is the one that humans should be wary of. That is both the strength and weakness of this installment of the Tom Swift Jr. series.
 The strength is that the plot device of the aliens provides an enormous amount of potential for branching storylines. The series is very formulaic in that Tom is presented with an issue that requires an invention and the first one or two tries places him and Bud in a dangerous situation as the new device does not work right. However, when the pressure is on, the invention works properly, and the task is completed. This is essentially what happens in this story.
 What is different is that Tom and Bud are searching for a device of alien origin and there are two different alien groups trying to convince Tom and his father to aid them in the recovery of the device. The problem is that this situation presents so many options for interesting plot devices and the author simply fumbles the opportunity.
 With two groups of aliens capable of space travel vying for the trust and assistance of the Swift group, it is possible that the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance. Yet, the situation is treated as largely a routine communication rather than a struggle between species with Earth in the middle. Which is unfortunate, because it was such a promising plot device.

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