Monday, February 13, 2012

Benjamin Franklinstein Meets the Fright Brothers

Kirkus Review (August 1, 2011)

Renowned inventors square off in a battle for modern Philadelphia in this daffy sequel to Benjamin Franklinstein Lives! (2010). Reanimated in the previous episode after centuries of suspended animation, genial Ben and his two young Karloff Street cohorts-serious minded Victor Godwin (son of Mary) and his deceptively idiotic buddy Scott-must swing back into action. They find themselves johnnies on the spot when a wave of giant-bat sightings is followed by one city official after another suddenly acquiring spots on their necks, glowing eyes and robotlike behavior. Checking out strange doings at the just-opened "Right Cycle Company," the investigators find two likewise reanimated gents in antique clothing engaged in turning bicycle parts into a huge flying machine designed to finish the job and take over the city at the behest of a shadowy "Emperor." Enhanced by frequent charts, diagrams, lists and other visual aids, a spirit of rational (if often reckless) scientific inquiry pervades the tale, as Ben and his allies translate coded messages, analyze evidence, get a lesson in meteorology and conduct experiments using both real and science-fictional gear on the way to a literally electrifying climax. The Emperor's identity is revealed at the end but as he remains at large, expect further sequels. The authors have way too much fun taking the opener's premise and evil conspiracy to the next level. Readers will too. (Sci-fantasy. 10-12)

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