Sunday, May 30, 2021

Review of "Tom Swift and His Motorcycle," by Victor Appleton

 Review of

Tom Swift and His Motorcycle, by Victor Appleton

Four out of five stars

Tom as a mechanic rather than an inventor

 This is the first Tom Swift book ever published and fans of the original and subsequent series’ will recognize the evolution of the character over time. In this book featuring the original Tom Swift, he is portrayed as a top-notch mechanic rather than a genius inventor.

 The characters of Eradicate Sampson, Wakefield Damon and housekeeper Mrs. Baggert are introduced as well as some other characters that will appear again in later books. Wakefield Damon enters the story when he is riding a motorcycle, which was a significant machine in 1910, the date of publication. Unable to control the machine, Damon sells it to Tom for a small amount and Tom then tweaks it and begins to ride it all over, as it is much faster than his bicycle.

 Tom’s father, Barton Swift, is portrayed as the genius inventor and Tom helps him in the marketing and patenting, but very little in the development of his latest invention. There is a gang of criminals determined to steal the invention and they attack Tom in order to obtain it. For these reasons, this is more a YA adventure story rather than science fiction.

 Reading this book also requires the reader to suspend a bit of outrage over language and the portrayal of black people. While Eradicate is depicted as an ambitious and enterprising man, some of the language used in the book will offend many people. It is best to put it down to the improvements in literature over time.

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