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Mad Scientists' Club Returns To Print 112

Jill Morgan writes "Hi I think your readers will enjoy finding out that The Mad Scientists' Club by Bertrand Brinley is coming back in print this September. I saw a reader mention it on your book page at one of the reviews. This book was first printed in 1965, featuring six junior genuises whose pranks turn the town of Mammoth Falls upside down! You can read more about our new edition (which features text restored from the original manuscript) at from Purple House Press " I remember reading these as a kid.
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Mad Scientists' Club Returns To Print

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  • I really enjoyed the book. Some truely fun stories, like the bank robbers, or the time the Mad Sciencetis bought the min-sub to use in the local lake.
    I guess I'll buy a copy and give it to my niece.
  • That brings back some memories, those books inspired my interest in model rockets, lake monsters, hot-air balloons, ghads! Always kinda hoped someone would pick it up and make a movie or TV series, but something like that would never match the books. They were/are some of the best inspirational stories for kids.
  • First post? I still have a copy. It made me what I am today. I suppose The Great Gas Bag Race is my favorite, but they're all good.
  • by joq ( 63625 )

    Personally I have a hard time reading fictional literature. I can watch a movie based on a book, but I would rather read tech, or political books. But since this is an odd book I figured I would point out something which always made me laugh. The Anarchy Cookbook [antioffline.com].

    That was some of the funniest shit in the world, and unless you were some type of LEA (law enforcement agent) you had to find some form of dark humor reading the good old Jolly Roger.
  • Thats one of my favorite books.
  • I'm a little young to remember this. Is this a series of formula-written novels like Goosebumps?

    Formula writings always have a unique (ununique?) charm, remember Scooby-Doo? Repetitiveness gradually gives way to familiarity.
  • I've got to go with the fake Lake Monster. Great, great read.

    I found my copies of the two books when my parents moved. I promptly plopped my butt down and re-read 'em. They held up remarkably well.

    If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

  • For those of us who don't know about this series, could you please tell us what it is, maybe some links with more info, and all that fun stuff?
  • It's great to see these books returning to print. They inspired a whole generation of geeks. They don't qualify as great literature, but still... It's nice to see them back. I wonder if they'll influence a whole new generation of geeks this time around...?


  • by eric434 ( 161022 ) on Sunday June 17, 2001 @07:59PM (#144646) Homepage
    A while ago I got the following letter from Sheridan Brinley (the heir of the late author of MSC) regarding the republication:

    To the Mad Scientists' Club Fans:

    The book will be published by Purple House Press www.purplehousepress.com, a publisher created expressly to bring back to you and millions of others the books they remember reading as children. The text will be based on the original manuscripts of the stories, so there will be some differences in words from the Macrae Smith and Scholastic editions. And, passages have been restored that were edited out of certain stories. I have done this to reflect more accurately the style and syntax my father used.

    Please let other fans know about this development and encourage them to visit the Purple House Press Web site.

    Thank you for your long devotion to my father's works. He wrote these stories for you and for himself, because he was as imaginative and adventurous as the seven characters he brought to life as the Mad Scientists' Club.

    Sheridan Brinley
  • I think; been 35 years since I read them! But if memory serves, it seemed the most believable, in merely requiring heating and expanding the cannon to pull the concrete plug. The others were more fun, in some ways, but seemed to require a bit more suspension of belief.

  • by NullPointer ( 6898 ) on Sunday June 17, 2001 @08:02PM (#144648) Homepage
    As far as I know, there were only two books published. Each was a collection of stories about some guys who got together to do fun stuff. Like using a canoe to build a lake-monster to scare folks, building a rigid balloon (UFO) and flying it over town by remote control to frighten folks...stuff like that. Very humorous and very well written. The one where they haunted the haunted house was quite good as well.
  • The stoiries were great, and inspiring for future geeks. Some of it might be lost for the newer generations, like their amazing use of HAM radios. Unfortunately, I know of few young people who are interested in those anymore.

  • Disney did their usual job on The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake twenty years ago or so.

    The book even has the Charles Geer artwork, but they didn't use the original font.
  • This sounds a lot like the Encyclopedia Brown stories I totally dug as a kid. I remember being thrilled once when I figured out how Bugs Meanie managed to win the raffle. On a similar note, be sure to look at Modern Humor's various parodies [modernhumor.com] of this [modernhumor.com] series. [modernhumor.com]

  • i don't remember how many actual physical books were written, the only one i ever saw was the one where they made the monster on the lake and it was remote controlled.

    To answer your question, no, it wasn't a formula series, i.e. hardy boys. It was one book with i believe 6 short stories in it, geared towards the nerd kids like me. I feel in love with this book, and it started me on my trek towards nerd-dom on a grander scale.

    Basically the plot was that there were these kids in the town of Mammoth Falls that were interested in science, and they would dream up things to do to keep themselves occupied, while at the same time learning about science.

    For example, one time they went into an old haunted house and did things to make people think even more that it was haunted, and by the end of the story, the mayer and the chief of police ended up in the house, scared witless. The pranks they pulled were like replacing the picture hangers with electro magnets, controlled in a central location so that when the current was turned off, the pictures would fall onto the ground.

    that kind of stuff


    insert clever line here
  • From the previous /. story, there was This link from a fan site [interstice.com]

  • No, wait, there were two.
    mad scientist's club, and mad scientits's club returns
    plot lines i remember:
    haunted house
    Monster of strawberry lake
    hot air balloon race
    caught the bank robbers
    get the money out of an old cannon
    The dinosaur egg that hatched
    finding the Air Pilot that crashed

    thats all i remember. ~zero

    insert clever line here
  • I'm thrilled to see that the same reprint house carries The Shy Stegasaurus of Cricket Creek. I loved that book. Now if only they'd bring Secret Under the Sea and The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet back into print...

  • Those were good, but the three investigators were better.
  • Two books?? I've got:
    The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake
    The Big Egg
    The Secret of the Old Cannon
    The Unidentified Flying Man of Mammoth Falls
    The Great Gas Bag Race
    The Voice in the Chimney (heh)
    Night Rescue

    Are there more? (He asked in a Gollum-like voice)
  • The old sub was the best...when I was a kid, I used to go to junk yards with my dad just HOPING to find something so cool. Back the in the fifties and sixties kids could do that kind of thing. My dad once found a Rolls Royce airplane engine, still in the packing crate in a junk yard.

    Between The Mad Scientists Club and Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy from Mars (Daniel M Pinkwater) I don't know if I could pick a favorite; I think I've read those books at least 250 times each.

  • Picture teenage geeks combined with junkyard wars and a few other things i cant event think of.
  • Possibly my favorite geek kid story of all time. Defintely should be in the library of any school that wants to foster a geek appreciative culture.

  • I once had both "The Mad Scientists Club", and "The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club". There may have been others, but those were the two I read.
  • by phr1 ( 211689 ) on Sunday June 17, 2001 @08:16PM (#144662)
    I remember the Mad Scientists Club and also Space Child's Mother Goose, and would have been delighted to see them back in print so I could buy copies. But it looks like they're acting obnoxious about copyrights.

    A friend of mine quoted a four-line poem [blackbook.org] from Space Child's Mother Goose ("Probable Probable My Black Hen") on her web page, and Purple House Press sent this letter [blackbook.org] (discussion accompanies it at that url). While Purple House didn't specifically brandish actual litigation, they threatened to hassle my friend's ISP about the quote (presumably under the DMCA), thus outdoing even the Scientologists (who famously hassled people for posting seven lines from an OT rundown, rather than a mere four lines).

    It's nice that these books are back in print but Purple House's behavior bugs me enough that I can't let myself buy anything from them. Sigh.

  • I had all of those stories combined into one volume, The Mad Scientists Club. They were all great, my favorite was probably "The Secret of the Old Cannon", although I couldn't tell you why.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • Funnily enough the mad scientists books are some of the ones I kept from my childhood, and recently (under parental pressure) took them from storage at mom and dads to the overloaded shelves at my apartment. They are great books, and look forward to passing them on to my offspring. Hell, I'll probably re-read them a few times myself before that happens though!
  • Yeah, like in Night Rescue, why didn't they just use cell phones and GPS locators? :^)

    Ah well.
  • Ok, one of the weirdest things EVER has just happened to me. I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep and my mind started to drift. The way it was drifting felt vaguely familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. After thinking a while longer, it eventually occured to me that it felt like a scene I had imagined while reading a specific book as a kid, like 20 years ago. I couldn't remember anything about the book, except this one detail. After thinking a little more, I picked out a few more details from which I could hopefully perform a successful internet search to find the exact title of the book (and also confirm the scene).

    Jump forward a few minutes. I'm sitting at my computer running my searches and turning up nothing (although I did turn up some interesting links to other childhood books of mine that I loved reading and had forgotten about). After fruitlessly digging for a title or an author or anything useful about the book, I gave up and decided to look at a couple of news sites before going back to bed.

    Now here's the freaky part. Remember that I hadn't thought about this book for twenty years. The first news site I go to is Slashdot. The first story on the page, posted well after I had gone to bed the first time, was a feature about that exact book being reprinted in September.

    The instant I saw the headline, my jaw dropped. I knew immediately that it was the title and book I had been trying to remember all night. I mean, what are the odds? Needless to say, I'm glad the book is being reprinted, but I'm also a little freaked out about the coincidence. I've heard people claim that coincidences like that aren't real. That I must have seen a story about it somewhere else earlier in the day or the week, and just didn't remember. Something to tie my though to a reality. I can tell you that the chain of thoughts that led up to thinking about the book completely precludes that. There is no possible way that I could have been reminded about that book prior to laying in bed a few minutes ago.

  • Required reading for any developing geek. Now when are they going to reprint the original Tom Swift?

  • Yep, the Eel Brains is a much better story. Fire off a couple buckshot rounds for me, Bubba!
  • And apparently there's a full book called The Big Kerplop

  • Ever heard of Ockham's Razor? Shit like this happens to people all the time.

    The odds are just as strong for it to happen to you than it is anyone else. It would be even more 'odd' if you never happened to stumble across an article that had just crossed your mind.

    Still, it gives you that wierd creepy feeling of mystery. Word. Now go back to bed.
  • The Mad Scientists Club is an awesome set of books for kids. I know that it helped shape my intellectual curiosity and define my childhood (and career path).

    Another good one for the same age group is The Great Brain [amazon.com].

    Oh, and while I'm reminiscing, Legos rock

  • I built my first homemade hot-air balloon after reading a story about the Mad Scientists' Club. One light plastic dry cleaning bag and a tea candle, some Scotch tape, two pieces of balsa wood and off it went.

    Of course, the small fire that resulted when the wind gusted and blew the bag over onto the candle wasn't so much fun, but at least the thing *flew*.

    Looked pretty bizarre from the ground, too - the candlelight gave some pretty weird reflections from the inside of the bag, and the whole thing sort of glowed.

    Those were the days. I wonder how long it'll be before someone else duplicates that, starts another fire, and sues the people who're republishing the books?
  • I still have my copies of each book, tattered and well worn, sitting beside the likes of the Hitchhiker's Guide and Ender's Game. I still read them even these days from time to time. As others have said, they pretty much made me the geek/hacker I am today. And more than once I've jury-rigged items to get them working, with child like fascination, much like in these books... I'm glad they'll be in circulation again.
  • You know, a similar thing happened to me today. Like yourself, I hadn't read these books in some time, but for some strange reason I had a weird thought this afternoon, of the part where they used Richard the Deep Breather to pull the cement plug out of the cannon, and Zeke nearly fried himself on the hot barrel. Strange, I tells ya...
  • Don't get too down on yourself... they most likely rejected your story because it's been posted before [slashdot.org]... it's not exactly new news.

    Hmmm... I read all the time how Slashdot editors "repeat articles"... perhaps what we don't realize is that for every duplicate article posted, there's a hundred which weren't.

    [root@kgutwin /dos]# file msdos.sys

  • Thank you! I was thinking when I read the article that I liked the Mad Scientists Club, but Liked the one with the kid at the religious school much better, but couldn't think of the title. I was hoping someone would mention the Brain.
  • The ole dry cleaning bag and candle balloon is a classic for generating UFO reports.

    Not that I'm suggesting that anyone actually do it...
  • I remember when I left grade school my mom made me donate my complete collection of Encyclopedia Bown books to the school libray. Man I wish I still had them.
    http://modernhumorist.com/mh/0005/encyc_mp3/ [modernhumorist.com]

  • Agreed. I have a 1st edition of the Space Child's Mother Goose, and though I've considered buying copies from Purple House to give as gifts, this certainly gives me pause. Not everyone has heard of the book; you would think that they would be happy for the free advertising.

    It just seems funny that they excerpt a poem on their own site [purplehousepress.com], but don't want anyone else to do it--not from a legal standpoint, but from an advertising standpoint. Oh, well...

  • Yes! I was also thinking of the Great Brain! That and Mad Scientists Club and the Three Detectives definitely helped shape who I have become! What terrific stories....

    Man, to be a kid again.. Great books to read all during the week, and Scooby Doo [scoobydoo.com] on Saturday mornings, and Doctor Who [drwho.org] on Saturday afternoons...

    Those were the days....
  • Oh, man I remember those books, they're right up there with "The Great Brain" series and "Tom Swift". Just the thng for this father on father's Day. I might have to see if i can pick them all up for nostalgia's sake...who know's maybe my girls (all 3) will enjoy them.
  • This reminds me of another series of books that I used to read when I was younger. I was wondering if anyone knew the name. I know this may be offtopic but I had a wave of nostalgia. The series that I read is similar to this though.

    It was probably in the Juvenile fiction (or scifi) section of my small library. It was the story of how a boy (the name Alvin sticks in my mind but it might not be that) and his single mother live with this professor. (She works as his maid) The professor makes all these inventions which are really cool like a time machine and an electronic dragonfly that is flown by virtual reality. I think he also invented an X-ray machine to see through walls and I remember once they got lost in a cave. Basically the kid was really curious and he always got in trouble by using these inventions.

    These were all separate books. It was a bunch of stories. I would be really greatful if anybody knows what I am talking about. This sounds a lot like the "Mad Scientists" club with the kids theme.

  • I loved both of those. There was another book I read at about the same time, about 3 kids who had a time machine. The time machine looked like a '50s flying saucer on the cover. I remember the book I had being the second of two, but I could never find the first. I probably checked that book out of the school library 10 times.

    Can't remember much about the time machine book now, except the kids foiled some guy's plot to steal a lot of gold, and I think they went back to the Revolutionary War.
  • I agree with you, as long as you are talking about Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. I loved that series. I think I have read them all.

    Sometime in the 90's I saw, in a bookstore, new Three Investigators books. Reworked a bit, like the new Nancy Drew or other revivals. Now all three boys drove cars, at least two of them had girfriends (I don't think Jupiter Jones, the brilliant nerd, had one), they took karate lessons, etc. They still had their ultra-cool secret headquarters: an old RV buried under a pile of junk in the junkyard Jupiter's uncle owns... no one remembers it or knows it's there, and the Three use secret entrances so no one sees them go in or out.

    This was the tag line on the front of the book: "Jupe is the brains. Pete is the muscle. And Bob is Mr. Cool." The old books didn't need snappy slogans like that; they were just interesting.


  • I remember those. The kid knew this guy named Prof. Bullfinch.

    What were those books called?

    Danny Dunn! That was it. That was the kid's name. I think the books were numbered, and called something like "Danny Dunn and the Foo Bar."

    There were a ton of those books. Oh, man, I haven't thought about them in years. Now that I think back I remember them pretty well.

    - The dinosaur (included stuff about supercondicting magnets, I think they tried to trap it)
    - The anti-gravity paint
    - The weather generator

    I know there were more, memory failing... I loved those books though.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday June 17, 2001 @10:43PM (#144686) Homepage
    when are they going to reprint the original Tom Swift?

    Either those are old enough to not be under copyright, or else no one cares, because you can get them from web pages. For example, you can get Tom Swift books in Palm DOC format from here:

    http://www.dogpatch.org/etext.html#swift [dogpatch.org].


  • classics like danny dunn [amazon.com] series...i loved those books. the "invisible boy" one was the best, although i was at an age where i thought of more interesting uses for it... hope they'll reprint those too.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday June 17, 2001 @10:55PM (#144688) Homepage
    As IronChef already noted above, you are thinking of Danny Dunn.

    My favorite was Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine, the one where he gained access to this awesome computer. (Lots of blinky lights on the front, and cool spinning tape drives! Woo!) He decided to use it to do all his homework for him. So he spent hours and hours studying his books, and entering data from his books into the computer so it could do his homework. At the end of the novel he realized that he had spent far more time studying and doing data entry than he would have spent just doing the homework, but he now knew the material so well that he totally aced his tests.


  • Re: book about three kids with a "flying saucer" time machine.

    This rings a bell... Was there a sentient wolf, and a "kid from the future"? At one point, one of the kids tries to "stop time" by putting ring over the hour/minute hand of the time control, and it works -- briefly, before blowing a rather large fuse? (I think this was in the Revolutionary War story. And I think the fuse was a foot-thick silver bus bar.)

    I recall reading these stories in "Boys' Life", the Boy Scout magazine, way back in the mid '60s or so. They were serialized, and I seem to recall I kept missing pieces of them.

    Boys' Life had some decent YA SF from time to time. There was another on-again off-again series about some kids on a multi-generation interstellar ship which is about to reach its destination; they're learning to operate BRTs, "body reaction tools". Think Heinlein's power armor scaled up to about 12 feet tall. This was also mid-'60s.
  • The mad scientist club is a truly awesome book.

    "'Every time you Mad Scientists get mixed up in something, it means trouble!' cries the Mayor of Mammoth Falls."

    Who can forget the Monster in the lake that attracted torrists, And the prehistoric egg made from mold. And the truly awesome cannon with a suprise!

    I'm so glad that you let us know about this event!

  • This reminds me of that series of books about a neighborhood boy that went around solving mysteries for a quarter. I don't recall the name of it, but it was a good read when I was younger. I also remember it had all the logic involved in his revelations in the back of the book to show you how easily little details can slip your mind.
  • sorry, the egg was cast in a mold

  • oh yeah
    and they picked up a kid from sparta, and a kid from the future, and they all became eagle scouts in the sequal
    can't remember the titles at all though, hope someone can

    i still have both my mad scientist club books in a box under the stairs, guess i'll pick up the new ones for my kids to enjoy without worrying about them thrashing mine
  • Gordon Dickson rocked my world, later that year I graduated to Asimov and Clarke. Next thing I know I read Heinlein and you can guess the rest. I Grok therefore I am.
  • by jonnyx ( 119615 ) on Monday June 18, 2001 @12:25AM (#144695) Homepage
    These were some of my favorite books as a kid; got me into model rocketry (and later high power rocketry [tripoli.org]), buiding fake UFOs, blowing things up, etc. Should be required reading for all aspiring geeks. Maybe some day they'll all be back in print & people will stop begging in alt.binaries.e-book [alt.binaries.e-book].
    • Bertrand R. Brinley's books:
    • Rocket Manual for Amateurs - 1960 (nonfiction)
    • The Mad Scientists' Club - 1965
    • The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club - 1968
      "The six members of the Mad Scientist Club experiment with new projects which include making rain and launching a flying saucer."
    • The Big Kerplop - 1974
      "When the mysterious object that lands in the lake they're fishing on turns out to be a bomb, a group of boys decide to find it themselves since no one pays attention to their story."
    • The Big Chunk of Ice - unfinished manuscript

    Ebay [ebay.com] has had some decent auctions recently, but another good resource for used books is Bookfinder [bookfinder.com]. Keyword/author = "Brinley" works well on either site.

  • My passion for science was inspired by the "Danny Dunn: Scientific Detective" series by Raymond Abrashkin and written by Jay Williams.
  • You are probably speaking of the Encylopedia Brown series mentioned in several posts above and below. Those were great books, and because of them I know way too many semi-useless facts, like bookkeeper is one of the few words in the English language that has three sets of double letters in a row, and Aar is a river in South America.
  • DIV>Encyclopedia Brown - Boy Detective
  • Oh, man, I had that book memorised backwards and forwards as a kid!
    If my instincts are correct, I believe the movie 'Explorers', starring a young Ethan Hawke, and River Phoenix, was inspired loosely by that book. There's a dialogue glitch in the soundtrack where one distinctly hears one of the characters referred to as 'Hannibal', an MSC cast member apparently played by Phoenix in the film.
    I'd love to see a director's cut of that picture. It was hacked all to hell when it was actually released.

  • Ain't synchronicity great? One of the fundamental properties of the universe. I use it all the time. Too bad so many people don't trust it.
  • Shouldn't that be "I am therefore I Grok"?
  • by westfirst ( 222247 ) on Monday June 18, 2001 @04:06AM (#144702)
    I shudder to think what would happen to the MSC if the Chief of Police and Colonel March had "all of the lessons from Columbine" at their disposal. Back then, "boys will be boys" was an actual legal dictum that lawyers could offer to judges and actually get their clients off. These guys were using pyrotechnics in several so-called capers.(They blew up the monster in Strawberry Lake at the end.) They seemed dangerously interested in military surplus. Hacking the radio frequencies was second nature to them. All of these actions are dangerous predictors of future Bad People. I wish the book publishers would start reprinting more books about good children who sit still and devote themselves to watching Disney cartoons. If kids must get off of the couch, they might devote themselves to collecting Disney beanbag dolls or maybe those plastic action figures for Disney characters.
  • First way: I've recently been remembering these books but I had no idea what they were called. I just remembered reading them (especially the UFO story) one time. So now I know the author, book titles, publisher, etc--I can find them and re-read.

    Second way: Duh, they are making more.
  • Written by the Donald J Sobol, also the author of the "Two Minute Mystery" books.
  • Ah yes, The Great Brain. I wore out my library card on that series of books. He's like a 12-year-old Stainless Steel Rat [harryharrison.com]. Perfect reading material for the junior confidence man in training.

    The plot lines I remember right off the top of my head: running a one-man PX out of the Jesuit boarding school; betting the other kids that he can magnetize a piece of wood (shaped suspiciously like a boomerang); and selling admission to see the town's first indoor flush toilet.

  • I don't remember the Mad Scientist's Club, but the Brains Benton [terrashare.com] books were always favorites. They were kinda like "The Hardy Boys use Science".

    I've been thinking about grabbing a set of them for my brother-in-law (he's 14).

  • This series is so beloved by Slashdotters that it should be brought forward into the 21st century. They grew up and had kids, you know, and those kids are probably out there right now tinkering with DNA, AI, SETI, you name the acronym. Who's gonna catalog their exploits? We should! Any ideas / announcements on starting a (Slashdot sponsored) fanfic website?
  • Huh, I learn something every day. When I was a kid I had both MSC books AND the Rocket Manual and I never made the connection they were from the same guy. My parents would never let me try the stuff in RMA. Now I've got a computer, and that's even more dangerous....
  • I remember this series as well, and enjoyed it as much or more than Mad Scientists Club. There were several other secondary characters besides the Spartan and the Boy From The Future - the continuity from story to story was nonexistant beyond the narrator, the ubergeek and the Time Machine. I remember one ( a two parter?) published in Boys Life during the civil rights era that had a black teen as part of the gang who got in trouble when they went back to pre-Civil War Kansas. Seems like they met Cantrell of Cantrell's Raiders....
  • by dbowden ( 249149 ) on Monday June 18, 2001 @05:39AM (#144710)
    I can guess why they're not going to reprint the original Tom Swift series by Victor Appleton. Here's an excerpt I grabbed from the Project Gutenberg [promo.net] copy of "Tom Swift And His Aerial Warship".
    "I should say So, Massa Tom!" added the colored man. "I done did prognosticate dat some day de combustible material of which dat shed am composed would conflaggrate--"

    This type of language and attitude is endemic in the Tom Swift series. I remember being shocked a couple years ago when I reread one of my old copies.

    As an additional exercise, try and find a copy of Disney's "Song of the South" [snopes2.com] on VHS.

  • ah, thank you. i think about The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet once in a while, but could never remember the name or author. It was definitely one the books that kicked off my love of science fiction.
  • Are you sure those are the *original* series? I've never seen any of those titles before, in any Tom Swift series.

  • Someone wrote new ones? Damn! Maybe I'll pick one up to read over vacation...
  • Mod this up as funny. Although I think the sublink to the Texas and Georgia laws are actually legit (I live in GA and I know a lot of nitwits who live here), the rest of it is hilarious.
  • Those are the original series. All were product of the Stratemeyer syndicate, which also created the Hardy Boys, Nanacy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, and many others.

    There was a second series of Tom Swift books by "Appleton" published in the 50's and 60's - those are the stories of Tom Swift *Jr.*, and are likely the ones more familiar to /. readers. (After all, what self-respecting technologist in training could pass up reading about "Tom Swift and his Ultrasonic Cycloplane"?)
  • I'll have to read it again but I remember thinking that it was all believable.
  • The seven stories you show are in the first book which we are republishing. The second book, The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club, has 5 more short stories. A third book, which is a full length novel, is sort of a prequel to the first book. In it the Mad Scientists try to remove a bomb (the Big Kerplop) from Strawberry Lake. The fourth book is an unpublished manuscript titled The Big Chunk of Ice. I think it takes place overseas, but I haven't read it, YET! Jill Morgan
  • I'm afraid that sort of thing was endemic to the writing of the time.

    It always causes a shudder when I read commmon expressions of the day like "Say, that's mighty white of you!"

    /me shudders
  • Since the rights do belong to the Brinley estate, you'd probably be best to start fresh, and just attempt to duplicate the style.

    (Like how John Norman's Gor books started as an imitation of the Barsoom books. Snort!)
  • Oh yes, MSC and the Great Brain were some of my favorites...anyone here remember Alvin Fernald and his hijinks? I remember the one where he used a model rocket on a string to send a message into this old house...something like that...anyways, it was another in the genre of books that I highly enjoyed.
  • Hi All,

    Thanks for the nice notes, it is great to see how many people remember these wonderful, unique books. To clear up any confusion, there are four books in the series: The Mad Scientists' Club, The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club, The Big Kerplop and an unpublished manuscript titled The Big Chunk of Ice. The first two books contain a total of twelve short stores. The two other books are full length novels.

    Our edition of The Mad Scientists' Club marks the 40th Anniversary of The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake appearing in Boys' Life magazine in 1961.
  • Same happened to me, and I spent several weeks reading it to my two boys. The dummy was by far the funniest, where he talks back to the mayor... Even my youngest who was 5 or 6 at the time, loved them (and got the humor).
  • Exactly how would the DMCA apply to this? You have no reason to believe this; you just "presume" that this is what law it violates. I don't think that taking something from a book and putting it on the Internet is in violation of the DMCA. What it _is_ in violation of, however, is copyright laws.


  • The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron is in print in paperback. The remaining four books in the series are out of print. The new book does have different cover illustration.
  • This email mentioned above was intended as a private letter and was never intended to be placed online. If you do happen to read it, you will notice I am polite while the other guy is quite rude in several replies. Some people never bother to think that there is a real person on the other side of the email.
  • I see, it's this second series I was talking about all along.

  • Slashdot is now a targetted spam filter.

    I didn't read any of those books, so I don't fit the demographic, but I guess its a higher grade of spam that usenet still.

  • So when will the other three books becoming out? I've only read the first two?
  • No kidding. You're pretty hilarious, Jill. A polite, pleasant, "hey did you know this was in print again?" approach would have won friends. It's still not too late for you to step back, take a deep breath, and realize this.

    Four lines from a longer work, in turn a part of an even longer book, correctly attributed, probably mis-remembered by David, qualify as fair use. People like him reciting Frederick Winsor's poems to each other are what kept the market for that book alive through the years it was out of print. Without his recitation to me, recorded in the journal entry, I would never have known those delightful poems existed. I've still never seen a copy.

    Remember this if you're lucky enough to see your reprint reviewed in a local newspaper, and the reviewer quotes a similar four-line snippet. The law of the United States gives the reviewer the right to use brief excerpts, and you know what, Jill? It's to your benefit. Tasty previews like that are good advertising. They're like the people at your local supermarket with the cheese samples cubed up in bite sizes. Mmm, delicious, the reader says, and ponies up the dollars for more. Think like a salesman, Jill!

  • A friend of my was just asking us for advice the other day about great books he could read to his kids. I immediatly mentioned "TMSC" and he went out and bought a used copy. His kids love it. I remember the author had a knack for giving everything a cool name. like Ol' Jeff Crockers Barn, Strawberry Lake or Richard Deep Breather III. (I may have messed them up a bit in my mind over time but you get the idea.) Good memories.
  • Just don't use the recipes, especially the ones for explosives, unless you're interested in qualifying for the Darwin awards.

    There's lots of other stuff that'll scratch the same itch textually -- some of the memoirs of Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary are fun and also insightful wrt dealing with denizens of byzantine power structures. I believe some of WSBurroughs' book The Job could be relevant as well.
  • The Mad Scientists series was (so far as I know) just a pair of novels with a total of twelve stories describing the adventures of a group of preteen/young teen nerds, called the Mad Scientists' Club. The stories were generally technology-driven - that is, Henry might built a hot air balloon or a high-end haunted house, and the story would progress from there. I loved these books - so much so, in fact, that my copy of The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club has been read to tatters. I highly recommend either book in the series for the younger reader - it's what gave me my love of technology.

    Laugh at this if you will, but my imaginary friends when I was young were all members of the Mad Scientist Club.

  • Even though we're all probably too old to read these books, I still say we should buy them. The series never sold very well, but it turns the potential geek onto technology like nothing else. I speak from experience on that one.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I think we really should try to support quality kids' books like this one. And there's also sentimental value.

    No, I am not a Mad Scientist pimp.

  • I was a big fan of Mad Scientists Club a few years after they came out. They're one of those books that was so good at the time, that even being forced to take a bathroom break from reading was annoying.

    I'd already read all of the Danny Dunn and Foobar book about a year or two before then.

    My little brother reached back even further in time, dredging up books from Tom Swift and Baz series, usually about Tom and his pop inventing some incredible earth boring machine, getting into trouble, etc. I think they were originally written in the 1930's.

    I was trying to find the MSC books earlier to give them to a nephew, but used bookstores were quoting me prices ~$75 /copy a year ago. Too much.

    There was yet another juvenile science series I remember vaguely with Henry and Midge, but the titles escape me at this time...

  • I think you're also thinking Alvin Fernald; That was another "boy genius" book, a kid who invented tons of stuff. Danny Dunn was the one who had the professor in the house, Alvin had little sister and did less science based stuff and more Rube-Goldbergian developments.

    You can find more on Alvin Fernald here [nbci.com].
  • Alvin Fernald was the cryptogruffer (sic) from Alvin's Secret Code, along with other books by Clifford B. Hicks.

    Mr. Hicks is still around and Alvin's Secret Code was reprinted by Penguin a couple years ago. It seems to be out of print again, but used copies are easy to find.

    Hmmm, here's a good info page--a couple more of the books have been reprinted too:

    The Wacky World of Alvin Fernald [nbci.com]

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