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Are Victor Appleton's Tom Swift books considered on topic? They're very outdated and inconsistent. Are books with no internal rules and outdated sci-fi concepts acceptable, considering that any question may not have a good answer?

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Yes, of course Tom Swift is on topic. The science fiction is pretty dated and often quite pedestrian, even by the standards of the time. (The series started out with Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle, hardly a stunning piece of technology even in the first decade of the twentieth century.) However, there is no requirement that the fantasy and science fiction we discuss here be well-written or particularly original.

Over the course of decades, the SF aspects of the stories advanced (eventually reaching the "Caves of Nuclear Fire"), but all of the tales should be on topic.

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    Do you have specific examples outside of the titles, by chance? – user31178 Oct 25 '17 at 17:30
  • I didn't read that many of them. They are short, turgid novels for children, and I have scant memory of the details. But they are all about emerging/future technologies. You can read the early ones if you wish. There are Project Gutenberg links here: durendal.org/ts.html – Buzz Oct 25 '17 at 17:35
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    @CreationEdge - I've got one, Tom Swift said the Race to the Moon. It's got aliens and space travel. – Mithical Oct 25 '17 at 18:03
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    "Race to the Moon" and "Caves of Nuclear Fire" are Tom Swift, Jr. books. Same style, written from the mid-50s to 1971. The TS, Jr. books are clearly sci-fi with aliens, spaceships, flying cars, nuclear powered planes, anti-gravity.... – Ward - Reinstate Monica Oct 25 '17 at 18:32
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    Yes, the whole series aged in real time, along with the SF genre. The fictional author even became Appleton Jr. – Buzz Oct 25 '17 at 18:41
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    I've read a few of the Tom Swift III books as well. Note that the name was owned by a publishing house. So Victor Appleton II and Victor Appleton III were pseudonyms used by house authors. Apparently some of the same authors were writing Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. We may be about due for the next generation. III was from the 1980s. – Brythan Nov 5 '17 at 5:08

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