An entertaining adventure of the 1910s written for boys. Like most of the original Tom Swift stories, this one has a familiar cast of characters (including patronising stereotypes of loyal black and South American servants), a plot centred on crooks set on stealing his secret inventions, and nary a policeman nor government official to be seen. The telescope of the title barely figures until the final page - but finding the lost meteorite occupies the team.
Unlike some of the original Tom Swift adventures, this one provides a page or so of plausible technical details. Selenium cells would be used to record a temporary or permanent 'electric photograph' to capture an image of an impersonator seeking a ransom. But vague details of electrical shocks and airships as part of the plot mix undoubtedly kept readers reading to the end.
As the title hints, this is one of the Tom Swift JUNIOR series of books, which followed the original Tom Swift adventures by about half a century. The level of technical detail is much higher than the original books, but the contemporary context is just as apparent and entertaining. Instead of the turn-of-the century intrigues of the original series, this one features 'Brungarians' who seek to capture a sunken space probe returning from Jupiter. Less character development than the original series (if that is possible) and, for my taste, less entertaining, too.
Tom Swift's 'wizard camera' remains mysterious, but is 'electric' and 'far superior' to existing turn-of-the-century movie cameras, allowing him to capture single frames with flash lamps to identify thieves in the night...
The book is typical of the series, and suggests the excitement of the new technology - as does the series 'The Motion Picture Boys' (also by the same author) and 'The Motion Picture Girls'.
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