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Danny Dunn And The Anti-Gravity Paint (1979)

Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint (1979)
3.82 of 5 Votes: 4
0671420607 (ISBN13: 9780671436780)
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Danny Dunn And The Anti-Gravity Paint...
Danny Dunn And The Anti-Gravity Paint (1979)

About book: Re-read this for work. The first of the Danny Dunn adventures and thus a little less-streamlined than usual, as most of the major elements are being introduced. Professor Bullfinch accidentally invents a liquid that, when a current is passed through it, repels gravity. Bullfinch and The U.S. Government quickly build a spheroid ship to test the material but Joe and Danny accidentally cause a premature takeoff while inside - launching the two boys, Prof. Bullfinch and Doctor Grimes into orbit! As they pinball their way around the solar system, will they ever be able to make it back to Earth, or instead freeze/starve to death in their metal sphere grave hurtling forever into the dark void?Well, like I said, it's the first of the series so you know the answer. And even if it wasn't, you STILL know the answer because these are optimistic books intended to get kids interested in science, in this case trying to defuse a lot of the pulp-era's whiz-bang space-age imagery with some solid scientific facts about the reality of space travel (not too much, as I said, the Dunn books stressed real science but often there was some kind of minor fantastic element to get the plot going. Surprisingly, this book also commits the old "sound in space" mistake as well). Things I liked - seeing as how they slingshot from Earth to Mars and then past Jupiter to Saturn,the book makes the point that they are actually in the ship for quite a while (a number of weeks if not months!) and Bullfinch and Grimes have long beards, as they weren't planning for the expected travelers to be on the ship long enough to need a shave. Also, Prof. Bullfinch shows some solid psychological knowledge as he remains decidedly cool and calm when the actual dire state of their situation becomes apparent, thus keeping the boys calm. I like that Grimes (the perpetual old sour puss) thanks the boys for accidentally allowing him to live a dream he's always had. I like when Bullfinch gives a very noble speech about how scientists should not fear death but just see it as another chance for discovery - all very New Frontier in the making! Joe is still the dour voice of the kids (interesting that you could argue that the Bullfinch/Grimes dynamic is something like an adult reflection of the Danny/Joe personalities) and I like that Danny actually gets to deliver his ridiculous homework punishment the teacher demanded of him, and undercut the whole point of it ironically (he has to write out 500 times, for daydreaming in class, "Space Travel is still a 100 years away" and is able to do just that, as he tells his teacher, during the long trip from Mars to Jupiter!). I like the floating shoe! All in all, this was a nicely imaginative way to kick the series off (Danny and Joe are world famous AND met the President of the U.S.!).
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