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Four Generations of Tom Swift: Ideology in Juvenile Science Fiction

From: The Lion and the Unicorn
Volume 28, Number 2, April 2004
pp. 268-283 | 10.1353/uni.2004.0023


Written as science fiction for young teenage boys, Tom Swift appeared as four distinct series between 1910 and 1993. This article examines the core attitudes conveyed about the young rational hero, technology, nature, and science in the first, second, and fourth of the series. While the first two series tend to idolize the rational hero, glorify technology, treat nature as a resource, and increasingly place technology within a scientific framework, the final series instead emphasizes the dangers of technological and scientific hubris.

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