One interesting although understated theme of the Tom Swift Junior books is the political and technological rivalry of the cold war. In this case, the technology is that of rocketry and the prize is control of space. However, while the benefits of controlling space are obvious, Tom's rival is not another country, but some form of well-funded outlaw organization. Therefore, this story anticipates the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union and fictional organizations such as SPECTRA in the James Bond films. The leader of the rival organization is known as Rotzog and he engages in many battles with the Swift group and even manages to get a ship into space. However, his ship suffers a mechanical failure while in space and Tom provides him with the technical advice that allows him to safely land. This is a typical Tom Swift book in terms of the characters and adventures. What I found most interesting was the lack of government involvement and the fact that Tom's primary rival is an international rogue organization. That is a plot device widely used in science fiction and it has always puzzled me. It would be so difficult to amass the amount of resources needed for a project that it is impossible for a private group to ever do it.
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