Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Review of "Tom Swift and the Mystery Comet," by Victor Appleton II

 Review of

Tom Swift and the Mystery Comet, by Victor Appleton II

Three out of five stars

One of the weakest of the Tom Swift Jr. books

 The plot of this book is over the top, even for Tom Swift. It involves unidentified flying objects, a deadly comet on a collision course with Earth, a jealous classmate of Tom’s, the space aliens that Tom and his father are communicating with and the adversary country of Brungaria. There is too much going on and none of it is handled very well.

 For example, Tom’s classmate (among others) manages to penetrate the security of the Swift compound, something that would never happen in the real world. The Swift complex has a large security apparatus, yet it rarely seems to do the job. If this subplot had been left out, the overall story would have been improved.

 The final incredulous event is when Tom and Bud are in their spaceship and it is hijacked by a Brungarian agent. They manage to regain control of the ship just in time to change the comet trajectory enough so that it misses Earth. Since they are not that far from Earth and the mass of even the smallest comets is considerable, this is a major violation of the laws of physics. Too much, even for a Tom Swift adventure.

 The best science fiction stories are those that focus on one conflict/adversarial or new phenomenon event. Put several together and there is not enough story to tell all the stories.

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