We were looking for something in the attic and came upon a stash of books from long ago. Tom Swift Jr., Chip Hilton, the Hardy Boys… This one is from 1958.
Tom Swift is in a race to the moon against his rivals, the evil Brungarians. “We’re not going to let any hostile country like Brungaria beat us to the moon!” Tom’s buddy Bud Barclay remarks grimly.
But Bud is worried. “How are you going to beat ’em in this space jalopy?” he wants to know.
Bud, who is kind of an idiot, is unaware of Tom’s Swift repelatron, which will drive his space ship forward by pushing back against the Earth or the sun or what have you.
Needless to say, the Brungarians have many dirty tricks up their sleeves, but I’m pleased to say they’re no match for young Tom, with his blond crew-cut hair. Genius boy is how Bud often refers to him. If my pal called me “genius boy” I’d sock him right in the jaw. But Tom doesn’t let anything bother him, even when the Brungarians drug him and steal his secret plans or he’s running out of oxygen in outer space.
Comic relief is provided by the cook, Chow Winkler, who says stuff like “Brand my skillet, I don’t savvy a word you’re sayin’, but it sure sounds bad!”
Two girls show up, Sandy and Phyl. Phyl has long dark hair and laughing brown eyes and is Tom’s favorite date. Sandy is Tom’s sister and is paired off with Bud. They are there to remind the boys of the big party that evening. Of course, Tom had forgot, what with the Brungarians and the repelatron and all, but they forgive him. Needless to say, there are many crises that night and he never does make it to the party.
Of course I have left out a lot that happens in the book’s 180 action-packed pages. Every chapter ends with some amazing crisis that genius boy is going to have to meet. And meet them he does.
One strange detail: halfway through the book Tom’s space jalopy is christened. It’s name: Challenger. Not sure what to make of that coincidence. Anyway, stay tuned for more great adventures from my attic.