Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: "Tom Smith And His Electric Skyship" by Steve Fahnestalk

Billed by the author Steve Fahnestalk as a story of “parallel universe electric steampunk” this young adult novel is a fun read reminiscent of the tales spun by Jules Verne. Conceived and written during the 3-day novel completion over the Labor Day weekend in 2010, Tom Swift And His Electric Skyship is just plain fun for nearly anyone.

In this alternative reality, the gasoline combustion engine never took off. Instead, the skies are ruled by skyships powered primarily by illuminum gas as they fly on air currents over land and sea. Electricity is a new concept and in the hands of only a few which includes Tom Swift. Tom Swift, a famous inventor of many splendid things, is locked in a nearly continuous battle with the evil genius Baron Von Auslander who has hatched various nefarious schemes in order to accomplish his ultimate goal of world domination.

Told through the viewpoint of young Jack, the fifteen year old son of a blacksmith in Iowa, who is, as the book begins, onboard the skyship Frisco Gal chasing a skyship believed to be under the control of the evil Baron. Forced down by fire from the opposing skyship, the Frisco Gal is forced to make an emergency landing allowing the evil Baron to get away at least temporarily. According to the strip of paper printed out from the new radio machine, the evil Baron is bragging that he will kidnap President Roosevelt and there is nothing that Tom Swift or his good friend Jack can do to stop him. Of course, the duo is going to do everything in their power to stop him and the chase is on by air, land and sea across the USA, to England and eventually Russia. Along the way, Tom Swift will put his own genius to work improving the Frisco Gal as well as doing a few other things to make sure the good guys succeed despite the vast array of forces against them.

85 pages in length this is a fast and very enjoyable read that conveys a story of pure adventure in grand style. Reminiscent of the works of Jules Verne from the delightful cover to the events itself, Tom Swift And His Electric Skyship pay homage to those grand tales of our youth regarding exploration, adventure, the wonders of science and the power of discovery. While an occasional edit would have removed unnecessary repeated phrasing, the overall story of action, adventure and deceit in a time that could just have been as easily our shared past is a good one.

One hopes that the assistant managing editor of Tangent Online, Steve Fahnestalk, can find a couple of three day weekends in his future to pen more tales. Currently, while the book will come to Amazon in the future, this book is only available through the publisher listed below.

Tom Smith And His Electric Skyship
New Venture Publishing
7255 Blake Street
Vancouver, BC V5S 3V6
ISBN #978-0-9787710-0-2
$10 plus $3.50 s/h.

Material provided by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2011

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