Thursday, November 22, 2012

"It's not fair!" said Tom darkly

There have actually been two Tom Swifts - Tom Swift who appeared in the original books in the teens, and his son, Tom Swift Jr. who appeared in books in the 50s.

From "It's not fair!" said Tom darkly

Making his first appearance in 1910, Tom Swift is a young lad who is the central character in more than 100 books of American juvenile science fiction and adventure novels that emphasize science, invention and technology.

Several prominent figures, including Steve Wozniak and Isaac Asimov, have cited "Tom Swift" as an inspiration. Of particular interest is the fact that several inventions, including the taser, have been directly inspired by the fictional inventions ("TASER" is an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle")

The reason I’m blathering on about this now is my recent Truck-less Tracker Trucker Max column, which included a number of “What do you call a man who…” type jokes (and I use the word “joke” in its loosest sense). This reminded me of something called Tom Swifties. The idea was that the way in which Tom said things was often qualified, along the lines of "’The radio reception is much better now,’ said Tom ecstatically.”

This prompted a whole spate of spoof sayings along the lines of "’Pass me that saw,’ said Tom woodenly.” 



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