Author Topic: The Alien Factor  (Read 3279 times)

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Offline tomswift2002

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The Alien Factor
« on: April 25, 2009, 07:24:46 PM »
A Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Ultra Thriller
The Alien Factor
Written by Franklin W. Dixon
Produced by Byron Preiss Visual Publications, Inc.
Publisher: Archway Paperbacks
Published in June 1993

Plot:  While taking a break from his usual scientific studies to watch the Perseid Meteor shower in the Southern California desert, Tom Swift sees a bright light fly overhead that makes course corrections.  Tom realizes that this is no asteroid; a fact that becomes pretty obvious once the object lands and Tom finds a space ship.  But even more surprising is the object inside the ship.  For Tom Swift has found an alien girl who is as alien looking as she is mysterious.

Meanwhile, over in the East Coast city of Bayport, New York, it is 11:30 at night and Frank and Joe Hardy are up watching the end of a movie, when the telephone rings!  Who is at the other end of the phone?  As it turns out, it is Mr. Gray, aka The Gray Man, the Hardy's contact in the ultra-secretive government agency The Network.  After meeting the Hardy's at the Burger Master burger joint by the Bayport Mall, the Gray Man shows the Hardys some aerial photo's of a van driving away.   The Gray Man then tells the Hardys to pack for Southern California, since the government thinks that the owner of the van, Tom Swift, is involved in weapons smuggling and international espionage. 

Once the Hardys arrive in California they immediately begin to suspect that Tom Swift is up to no good, since he keeps disappearing at all times of the day.  Finally, after leaving a night-time beach party, the Hardy's trail Tom's van, along with Rick Cantwell's Jaguar (which as Joe puts it is riding right up Tom's tailpipe) while the boys are in their own car.  After Rick Cantwell and Sandra Swift get stopped by Tom's security system, on the road to his mountaintop hide-out, the Hardy's figure that the only way to the top is by climbing up a vertically-challenging cliff.  And after the Hardy's get to the top they crash a get together that they were not expecting.

A couple of days after finding out about Mina, Joe feels that it is his duty to inform the Gray Man and the Network about what is occuring in California.  But after he informs the Gray Man, and is told that Network agents would arrive in a day, things go from okay to extremely bad.  Since, instead of Network agents meeting the Hardys and Tom at the top of the hill the next night, they are met by agents from U.S. Espionage Resources.  And the last couple of times that the Hardy's messed with Espionage Resources, they discovered that a number of agents in ER were rotten and double agents, and they had nearly botched getting the hostages off of a plane.

So what does United States Espionage Resources have to do with the girl from another world?  And what has happened to Mr. Gray and the Network?


Remarks:  This was a nice breath of fresh air from the stale air being issued in the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series.  The Hardy's working for the government and dealing with weapons smuggling and international espionage. 

Out of the two "Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Ultra Thriller" this is probably the most Hardy Boys-centric story of the two books.  You've got the Network in the story, along with U.S. Espionage Resources from Casefiles #6 "The Crowning Terror" and #10 "Hostages of Hate". 

Another nice touch is the continuity between the last chapter in "A Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Ultra Thriller: Time Bomb" and this book.  Frank and Joe mention how the Hardy's had met Tom by going to California with Fenton Hardy to find out about a fossil that an anthropologist had discovered, and then mention is made by both the Hardys and Sandra Swift about Tom's open invitation to stay with the Swift's whenever they were in California, apparently extended after "Time Bomb". 

Another good thing about this book is that the action never lets up from chapter to chapter.  The author's even manage to show that in both the Hardy Boys and Casefiles Frank and Tom are not the scientific and mechanical geniuses that they are shown to be in their own series, since while Tom does do a lot of work on the language translator, he goes on to the point where he misses numerous connections that Frank manages to find.  But then Frank also has his limitations in the science's, since Tom is able to understand more of the alien's faster-than-light-drive science than Frank, but he is still able to follow Tom and help repair Mr. Sunshine's spaceship.

I think that had the "Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Ultra Thriller" series continued, we most likely would've seen more pairings of Frank and Tom in the stories, since the two characters complemented each other rather nicely.  And in both books it was nice to see Joe being his own character, instead of being the "second wheel" on the usual Hardy bike.  In "Time Bomb" it was Joe who came up with the idea to use the magnetic tracks setup for Orb to fly around Swift Enterprises, while in "The Alien Factor", in a way, Joe sort of turned traitor on Frank and started working on his own, and then was given a chance to prove that he wasn't a traitor to the Hardy Boys team, but that he was working to defeat the criminals. 

Plus, it seems like the authors of the books just loved getting Joe into fights with robots.  Whether it was smashing the Black Dragon robots in "Time Bomb" or Mr. Sunshine's gardening/personal killing guard robots in "The Alien Factor", Joe always seemed to have a good time with the robots.

Anyway "The Alien Factor" is a really excellent Hardy Boys adventure and is a recommended read for anyone, even though it does border on Sci-Fi, who is a fan of the Hardy Boys.  This is definitely a classic Hardy Boys story.

Rating:   10 out of 10.
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Offline Mattie

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2010, 11:57:59 PM »
i totally love that book :)

Offline Katie

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 06:14:13 PM »
I don't own it and I would love to be able read it!   :(
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Offline SDLagent

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 08:18:29 PM »
Good for you.

Offline Katie

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 09:13:30 PM »
Good for you.

I don't know if I could get it . . .but I'll sure try!
“If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ”
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Offline Jokerette

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2011, 03:45:32 PM »
can i say that i freakishly love this book? LOL
I know that all you need is love, but I believe an Xbox Kinnect is pretty essential too, am I right?

Offline MacGyver

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2011, 09:56:16 PM »
I'm definitely wanting to read this and its predecessor soon, especially after finding out that The Network is involved in both...
As soon as I finish my current book, I'll be happy to get back in a Hardy Boys mode for a while :)
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Offline Katie

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2011, 10:17:31 PM »
I'll have to order it from Amazon, figures! ::)
“If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ”
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Offline tomswift2002

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2011, 06:32:59 PM »
The Network is only in The Alien Factor, but mention is made that the Hardy's use their and Tom Swift Sr.'s government contacts to hide Aunt Gertrude and Laura Hardy in Time Bomb.
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Offline MacGyver

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 11:00:53 PM »
okay- thanks for the clarification.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline Jokerette

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Re: The Alien Factor
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2011, 12:57:39 PM »
i'd love to see this book as a movie...
I know that all you need is love, but I believe an Xbox Kinnect is pretty essential too, am I right?