Back To The Future!
More notes from The Great Late-Winter Stillwater Antiquing Excursion:
I met up with some old friends from childhood- the Tom Swift book series. I had read many of the follow-up Tom Swift Jr. series as a child before I discovered the original series, published from about 1910 to 1941. In the series Tom and his chum Ned Newton traveled about upstate New York and, in the later books, around the world, using technology that Tom had improved or invented. Some of the early books were simple in the extreme- Tom Swift and his Motorcycle, Tom Swift and his Motorboat- giving one a boy's view of the world before World War I. During the war, the books changed to reflect current affairs (Tom Swift and his War Tank)and after the war they became more fantastic- such as Tom Swift and his Photo-telephone.
The ones I found most intriguing were the ones concerning technology that was futuristic at the time of its writing but had already become obsolete- i.e., Tom Swift and his Airship. I still think that a proper Airship (dirigible) would be just about the coolest thing in the world in which to take a round-the-world trip. Many titles in the series are downloadable from The Gutenberg Project. While hardly great literature, the stories do possess a certain charm, being crude time-machines that look forward to what is now the past.