Tom Swift and His Giant Cannon, or The Longest Shots on Record

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Appleton, Victor. Tom Swift and His Giant Cannon, or The Longest Shots on Record. New York: Grosset & Dunlop, n.d. (© 1913). Cloth. Illus. Series as of 1913 listed as Tom Swift Among the Diamond Makers, Tom Swift in the Caves of Ice, Tom Swift in the City of Gold, Tom Swift in Captivity—plus twelve books of the formula Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle, Motor Boat, Airship, Submarine Boat, Electric Runabout, Wireless Message, Sky Racer, Electric Rifle, Air Glider, Wizard Camera, Giant Search Light (and Giant Cannon). As of June 2003, several Tom Swifts were on-line at http://www.classicreader.com/cgi-bin/htsearch?words=tom+swift+and+his.

Chapters include III. "Planning a Big Gun," VI. "Testing the Waller Gun," IX. "The New Powder," XII. "A Powerful Blast," XIII. "Casting the Cannon," XVIII. "The Doped Powder," XX. "The Government Accepts," XXIV. "The Longest Shot," XXV [last chapter] "The Long-Shot Mine" (pp. iii-iv). See for the science and technology of armament and munitions development, sometimes explained directly "for the benefit of you boys who"—for example—"have never seen a big, modern cannon" (53; ch. 6), sometimes worked into dialog as Tom explains things. Plot, such as it is, has Tom's cannon developed and accepted for defense of the new Panama Canal in spite of dastardly efforts at sabotage by a "German officer of high rank [… who] had been dismissed from the secret service of his country for bad conduct" (211-12; ch. 25). CAUTION: Koku, Tom's "giant servant" (73; ch. 9) and "Eradicate Sampson, the aged colored man" (7; ch. 1) also on staff, speak in dialect offensive to 21st-c. ears and hardly Mark Twain by far earlier standards; there are also bad-taste attempts at ethnic humor (100; ch. 12). (RDE, 25/06/03)