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Tom Swift and His Flying Lab

(Tom Swift Jr. #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  489 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Tom Swift - boy genius - outsmarts evil scientists, solves confounding mysteries, and builds incredible rocket ships, atomic energy plants, submarines, airplanes, robots, and mind-boggling inventions for the good of mankind!

Join Tom as he journeys to the unknown and faces new challenges in -


Other action-packed adventures starring Tom Swift Jr.:

Mass Market Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1978 by Grosset & Dunlap, Inc. (first published 1954)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  489 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
My father gave me this book - the first in a long series of "Tom Swift and his ____ (fill in the blank)" books for Christmas when I was in the fifth grade. I immediately devoured it and used the money I earned shoveling snow that winter to buy additional books in the series until I wised up and moved on to Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, Moon Men, Pellucidar, et al. The Tom Swift Jr. books were churned out by a stable of nameless and uncredited "writers" in the same fashion as the Nan ...more
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What was the first science fiction novel that you ever read? For a long time, the answer to that question, for me, would have been Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 classic "Childhood's End," which Mr. Miller, back in high school, made us all read for English class. (A very hip teacher, that Mr. Miller!) Upon further reflection, however, it has struck me that I probably read Jules Verne's 1864 classic "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" back in junior high school, and that, going back to late public sc
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't know why, but I absolutely adore these old science fiction books. Very much in the vein of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The original Tom Swift series began in 1910: forty juvenile science fiction novels produced under the pseudonym Victor Appleton, most written by Howard R. Garis. In 1954 the franchise returned with Tom Swift, Jr., a scientific mind at least as brilliant as his father all those years earlier. The two Toms heavily invest their time and energy in Swift Enterprises, creating technology to fuel humanity's advance toward an era of unprecedented prosperity. On page one of Tom Swift and His Flying Lab, ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tom Swift, Jr., books were a fun, upbeat, and interesting adventure series published for kids from 1954 to 1971 that promoted science, fair-play, patriotism, and team-work; they were good, positive books. The series served as a sequel to the original Tom Swift series that appeared from 1910 to the beginnings of World War II; Tom and his sister, Sandy, are the children of the first Tom and his wife, Mary Nestor; Tom's girlfriend Phyllis Newton is the daughter of Tom Sr.'s sidekick Ned Newton ...more
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Read this to the boys over the past month and it while I didn't remember the specifics of the Tom Swift series, I thought it had more cool gadgets than this, which felt extremely episodic and contrived. Not one of the best books in the series, or my memory is faulty.
Shawn Deal
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, sci-fi
I picked up this novel, one I read as just a boy. Although the science is outdated for our modern times, I could still see how this introduction to science fiction, held such a strong grip on me as a boy.
Feb 17, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007-bookshelf
The very first Tom Swift Jr novel featuring his best friend, Bud Barkley, Chow, the cook, Sandy, his sister. Tom builds an atomic-powered jet and has adventures. I read the entire series as a child, gave them away when I moved, and found a used copy.
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read the whole series as a kid. It was my introduction to the world of science fiction. I loved every book and was sad when I finished them all. My rating is for the series.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
review of
'Victor Appleton II''s Tom Swift and His Flying Lab
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - July 16, 2012

This is the 3rd serialized bk targeted to boys that I've (re)read in the recent past in my project of revisiting bks I originally read probably between ages 7 & 9. This revisitation project started as a side-effect of answering an interview question posited to me by my friend the poet/essayist Alan Davies regarding what I read as a child. In answer, I mentioned the Tom Swift Jr series.
James King
New Tim Swift

Just finished the first in the series of "new, renewed and improved" Tim Swift books. I have the original Tom Swift, Jr. Books and have read most of the earliest (1900's) Tim Swift books. While this is an effort to update the characters and series, I somehow tend to prefer the originals.
Philip Athans
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm collecting these now--had a couple as a kid. Reading the first book was a delight. Really, great fun. I do have a gripe with the ending, which was super-rushed: And then wecaughtallthebadguysandfoundthestuffandeveybody'sfine, the end. But still--it's 99% pure joy.
Timothy Moyer
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just great to read Tom Swift again. Like seeing friends again after so many years. A very good read and interpretation of the Tom Swift Jr. series. Good stuff

I think I spelled it out in the headline sorry if not able to see, great read. Nice to see old friends again.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes you need some a simple, no-nonsense YA Sci-Fi story to pull yourself out of the well of Deep Thoughts from having read too much adult non-fiction non-stop. Tom Swift is never a disappointment in that regard.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Probably the first science fiction I ever read. The books were originally bought for my younger brother, but he wasn't the reader I was. It started a life-long love affair with the genre.
Bill Burris
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reading Tom Swift in about grade 6. I wanted to read the whole set, but the school library didn't have them all, and as new ones arrived they were in high demand. This is what got me started on science fiction.
Karl Young
Mar 12, 2017 marked it as to-read
enjoyed in hardback at 8 years old
Fantasy Literature
3.5 stars by Sandy, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

What was the first science fiction novel that you ever read? For a long time, the answer to that question, for me, would have been Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 classic Childhood’s End, which Mr. Miller, back in high school, made us all read for English class. (A very hip teacher, that Mr. Miller!) Upon further reflection, however, it has struck me that I probably read Jules Verne’s 1864 classic A Journey to the Center of the Earth back in
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is the first book in a series I adored as a pre-teen I recently revisited it and have collected most of the titles in the old, yellow, hardcover set. The last few of the series are so expensive now that I am kicking myself for giving them away to a friend when I was ten. Tom Swift, Jr. is set up as the son of the original Tom Swift, whose adventures happened in the early 20th century. The son and father duo work together in their lab and office, where they have cool drawing boards that slid ...more
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book in the Tom Swift Jr. series and it introduces the flying lab, an invention used throughout the series. It also introduces the message from space aliens, which arrives in the form of a meteorite that smashes into the Swift compound. The flying lab is used effectively in the later books and was an accurate prediction regarding the development of future aircraft. However, the message from the aliens was of limited value. In the first place, it makes no sense to deliver the m ...more
David Mann
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last time I read this book I was around 11 or 12 years old, I think. Rereading it after reading some of the Tom Swift Sr. books was interesting due to the tie-ins to the earlier series that my earlier self couldn't have been aware of. Such as who the Damonscope was named after (Mr. Damon), or that Tom Jr. recycled Tom Sr.'s giant searchlight for use in the Flying Lab. Or who Tom's girlfriends father was (Ned Newton, Tom Sr.'s equivalent of Bud Barclay). Thankfully gone are the racial stereotypes ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I was given Tom Swift and the Race to the Moon, # 12 in the Tom Swift Jr. series, for my eighth birthday, and I ate it up. Got the Asteroid Pirates later on, maybe for my ninth birthday. When someone at a school book sale had the first 10 books or so for sale for like five bucks—aged plain blue covers with their original paper covers long gone—I pounced. Asteroid Pirates was more or less contemporary to me in the early sixties, and even Race to the Moon from 1958 felt contemporary; this first in ...more
Erica Pittman
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Science fiction better suited for children middle school aged, It takes place with a boy named tom who is on the cuffs of creating a flying lab which is really a spacecraft journeying into space. Having little to know interest in science fiction myself, I felt this story kept a good pace, while the theme and plot were very interesting an something different then I'm use to. I rated this story 4/5 because of the authors way of getting the readers able to in a sense jump into the story and imagine ...more
Ishmael Aerych
Mar 20, 2011 rated it liked it
This goes for the whole series.

Essentially innocent fun with science (kinda-science) and some world travel. The series is a rinse-and-repeat serial of working on an invention, the invention gets sabotaged, then it gets fixed and someone gets knocked out or sabotaged again, and then the first crook is caught, who directs them to the bad-guy base where the characters get knocked out and typically use the invention to escape.

So it doesn't go anywhere, the technology develops more than the plot does
Steve Chaput
Dec 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not really sure where this book came from. Might have been either for Christmas or a birthday. I am pretty sure that I was in 7th grade and was immediately hooked. Tom, his family and friends were instantly a must read for me. As outlandish as his adventures might be I was hooked.

For the next few years, whether as presents from my parents or books I purchased from money I made from errands I ended up getting all 20+ books in the series. About a decade later, during some move on the part of my pa
Along with the Hardy Boys mystery series, the Bobbsey twins, and (yes, I'll admit it) even the occasional Nancy Drew mystery, Tom Swift was an early favorite of my youth. I started reading these books by the time I was in second grade, and enjoyed them until near the end of my elementary school years. I'm sure they would be quite dated by now, so I don't know that I can recommend them to today's youth, but I wish there had been something similar for my children...interesting books that demonstra ...more
Feb 07, 2008 rated it liked it
I've read this book out loud twice now, once to each of my sons. They love the story, even though some of the "science" is beyond their ken. I imagine that a young, boy genius inventor is always a favorite of young boys.

The only really disappointing part of this book, for me, was the hint of extra-terrestrial communication. It is highly suggested that a group of scientists from Mars are trying to contact the Swifts, and that we are to keep reading the series to find out when that contact is made
Jan 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I own the whole Tom Swift Jr. series but had never read one. I decided it was time to try them. This is an early Sci-Fi series for kids. The things that Tom invented were pretty interesting but the background material left a lot to be desired. I'm also not sure if some of these things were unknown in 1954, when the book was published, or if it didn't matter to the author. I think that uranium, which Tom and crew were seeking, is a toxic metal. There were also some holes in the action and how thi ...more
Rex Libris
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it
This was notthe book I expected it to be. I thought I was getting the original Tom Swift Jr. Book written in the 50s or 60s. Instead it was written around 2000 and updated accordingly. Tom now had a CD player and the like.

What was most interesting was to make the timeline fit with the original Tom Swift series, they authors created a couple of generations to extend the family so that Tom Jr. could be a teen!

The plot devices were essentially the same, the giant flying lab and the alien satellite.
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
It was OK, considering the Hardy Boys formula was mingled with science. And if there's anything I know about science, it's that you can't rush it. But despite being rushed (and a bit cliched), it was interesting enough that I kept turning the pages. Will I be reading other books in this series? Yes, but it wasn't like some other books I've read that were so great that I had to get the next book ASAP. So I'll be waiting to read the next one, better stories have higher priority.

(Oh hurry it up wi
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see also Victor Appleton

The character of Tom Swift was conceived in 1910 by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a book-packaging company. Stratemeyer invented the series to capitalize on the market for children's science adventure. The Syndicate's authors created the Tom Swift books by first preparing an outline with all the plot elements, followed by drafting and editing th

Other books in the series

Tom Swift Jr. (1 - 10 of 33 books)
  • Tom Swift and His Jetmarine (Tom Swift Jr, #2)
  • Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship  (Tom Swift Jr, #3)
  • Tom Swift and His Giant Robot  (Tom Swift Jr, #4)
  • Tom Swift and His Atomic Earth Blaster  (Tom Swift Jr, #5)
  • Tom Swift and His Outpost in Space  (Tom Swift Jr, #6)
  • Tom Swift and His Diving Seacopter  (Tom Swift Jr, #7)
  • Tom Swift in the Caves of Nuclear Fire  (Tom Swift Jr, #8)
  • Tom Swift on The Phantom Satellite  (Tom Swift Jr, #9)
  • Tom Swift and His Ultrasonic Cycloplane  (Tom Swift Jr, #10)
  • Tom Swift and His Deep-Sea Hydrodome (Tom Swift Jr, #11)