Skjam!'s Reviews > Tom Swift and His Ocean Airport, or, Foiling the Haargolanders

Tom Swift and His Ocean Airport, or, Foiling the Haargolanders by Victor Appleton
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Jun 26, 2016

it was ok
bookshelves: adventure, children-s, sf, published-1931-1940, author-a
Read from April 21 to 30, 2012

This is much further along in the Tom Swift (Sr) series than my previous review, Tom Swift and his Motorboat. Tom is now the owner of a factory that produces his inventions, Ned is his business manager, Eradicate is now a full-time employee of the Swifts, and they've added the giant South American Koku to the team as Tom's bodyguard. Tom is also now married, although you can hardly tell. We don't learn the wife's name in this volume, she is never "on stage" and is mentioned only twice, once to establish that she exists, and once to let us know she's not going on the adventure. We hear a bit more about Mr. Damon's wife, who he keeps ditching to visit Tom.

Oh, the plot. One of Tom's old friends we (and Ned) have never heard of before has his plane forced down by a competitor in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Tom decides to avert any such future disaster by building a floating airport for emergency landings. About this time, a new engineer is employed by the Swift firm, a swarthy foreigner named Emil Gurg. Yeah. He's actually useful at first, since his home country of Haargoland just happens to have exactly the kind of wood Tom needs to make the airport feasible. But once it's actually built....

Ned comes off the best in this vclume. He correctly suspects Gurg from the start, and expresses a wish for Tom's new silent wireless transmitter to make a lot of that he can give raises to their employees.

Tom means well, but sees nothing wrong with rearranging another country's government to suit his needs, as long as there's no violence. Gurg exploits this for all it's worth.

It's Eradicate and Koku that raise my hackles. They've become the "bickering sidekicks" so beloved of early 20th Century action stories, the comic relief characters that constantly fight, but secretly would lay down their lives for each other. Except that what they bicker about in this volume is which of them is more properly servile towards Tom. Rad had some dignity in the motorboat story, not so much here.

Between the ethnic stereotypes and the way Tom never learns his lesson about interfering in other countries' politics, I cannot recommend this book to anyone who isn't already a Tom Swift fan.

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Reading Progress

04/22 page 20 "I like that Ned expressed a desire for Tom's new invention to make money--so they can give the factory workers a raise."
06/26 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by John (new)

John Burt Floating mid-ocean airports have long been a favorite undeveloped technology of mine.

I hadn't known about Tom's fondness for interventionism. That trait had nothing to do with my using him in an unpublished story in which people from a peaceful 1942 with advanced technology invaded our 1942 (or something close to it) in order to force an immediate cease-fire. The invaders were all stock characters from boys' books (and some girls' books), and one "Dr. Swift" was their leader.

Skjam! It's not so much that Tom is in favor of interventionism as that he buys Gurg's description of Haargoland politics as two essentially interchangable parties that are only different in their export policies, and that bloodless coups are the norm.

So when Gurg (who we find out late in the story is a "professional Communist") suggests that he can use a little cash infusion to non-violently switch the ins and the outs, Tom is agreeable. And yes, the first coup is indeed non-violent....

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