Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Mushroom Planet

I have been blogging about juvenile SF books because books are my life.  Or at least an important part of it.  I started reading before Kindergarten thanks to my mother’s teaching me to. 
And books are my escape.  From a world that often is pretty crappy.  As I have said in previous posts, misfits read SF and that includes me.  The world is not designed for people like us and SF, juvenile SF in particular for me, was/is an escape. 
So  I am posting about what I love and hopefully others feel the same about.  I know the media is full of stories about the decline of the book business, but people still read.  How else did J. K. Rowling become a billionaire from the Harry Potter books?
Well, on to the next post.  I am going to leave the Heinlein juveniles for a while.  There still are several that I will post about like Farmer In The SkyPodkayne of Mars, etc.  But now I am writing about a series mostly aimed at younger readers, The Mushroom Planet books.
The first was The Wonderful Flight To The Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron.  In it a couple of boys respond to an ad in the paper by Mr. Tycho Bass who wants someone, a boy, to build a spaceship and bring it to him.
So they do. 
It turns out that Mr. Bass has discovered a small planetoid orbiting the Earth about 50,000 miles out.  Why hasn’t anyone else seen it?  You need the Stroboscopic Polarizing Filter which Mr. Bass has invented to see it.
Various adventures follow when the boys journey to the planetoid. 
While a bit fantastic, it serves as yet another example of the sense of wonder theory to me.  What boy would not be thrilled to have built his own spaceship and journey to an undiscovered planet?
Yes its not possible we now know (sadly) but back then it was at least conceivable.  And that desire to explore is still out there.  Witness the recent stories about a 14 year old Dutch girl who is sailing around the world alone.  Or Robin Lee Graham who did it years ago when he was 16 as was chronicled it The National Geographic and his book Dove. 
It was and is a great book for young people and there are several more in the series.  I will post about them also.  But I still think this is the sort of book that is not being written now and should be. 
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