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Danny Dunn and the Internet Search

Yesterday afternoon, I taped an episode of Brookline Writes, a TV show on Brookline Access Television devoted to authors in Brookline. Dan Kimmel, Gary Wolf, and I had a panel discussion on science fiction that will be broadcast in Brookline in December. At some point it will probably also end up as streaming video on the BATV website.

The host of the show, Peggy Hogan, began the panel discussion by asking us what science fiction book we remembered having first read as a kid. Unfortunately, I can't recall the exact first science fiction book I read, although I did mention that Isaac Asimov was the first writer I really became aware of. But Peggy's question did spark another memory, and I answered that I also remembered a series of young adult science fiction books very fondly, the Danny Dunn series.

Does anyone else remember the Danny Dunn series by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams? Danny was a teenager who lived with his widowed mom in the home of Professor Euclid Bullfinch. Danny had two friends, Joe and Irene, and the three of them would get into odd adventures, usually because the professor had invented some sort of new technology. My favorite book was Danny Dunn, Time Traveler, in which a quick trip to the future causes them to have two versions of Joe adventuring with them as they go back to the eighteenth century. But I also vividly remember Danny Dunn and the Smallifying Machine, in which Danny and his friends get shrunk to a tiny size and have to figure out how to get rescued.

I went looking for fan sites and there don't seem to be any. I found the Wikipedia page about Danny Dunn, but there isn't much there. Sadly, it looks like all the books are out of print, and any copies I might own, if I still do, are in storage.

I've requested a few from the library, but it would be really nice if some publisher considered bringing these books back into print.


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I remember them! The one that sticks in my mind is Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine.
I think this is the one I had -- maybe the only one. Wow, that was totally not in my active memory, but the name rang an instant bell...
I *loved* Danny Dunn. I think I read all the books (hey - there was a girl in the stories and she was smarter than anyone!)

The image that stays with me the most is running joke about all the stuff the boys carried in their pockets.
I remember reading them, but not much else. It just wasn't as good as Encyclopedia Brown or Jacob Two-Two, alas.
I loved Encyclopedia Brown, but I don't know Jacob Two-Two.
I just got an image of a mash-up...Danny Dunn and the WABAC Machine.
I think I read an earlier round of Danny Dunn books - were they a house imprint like Tom Swift? Maybe they just kept writing after I outgrew them - for some bizzare reason some authors do that.

Anyway, I still have a copy of Danny Dunn and the Weather Machine, and I vividly remember the 'lesson' of Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine. I remember Irene vividly, and Joe, and the Professor. No particular memories of the mom, though.

While we're on the nostalgia trail, anyone remember Henry 3?
They weren't a house imprint; I think Abrashkin and Williams were the only ones who ever wrote them.
I remember Danny Dunn, although I'm not sure I can name any specific titles (and I think I'm confusing them with Tom Swift, which I also read). Flying Machine? Invisibile ? Something about an giant electric eel?
All the titles are listed on the Wikipedia page I linked to, if you want to check your memory.
Oh, that rings a bell; I think we (my brother and I) read Danny Dunn, Time Traveller.

We also read E. C. Elliott's Kemlo books, and Patrick Moore's 'Maurice Gray' series, set on Mars...
I do remember Danny Dunn! I think I have one buried in my childhood books; if I find it, you are welcome to it.
In my youth I read the Danny Dunn books you mentioned, plus The Homework Machine and Anti-Gravity Paint. Enjoyable series, though I struggle to remember the details of the stories.
The details of the time travel one stays with me the most, probably because I love time travel stories so much.
Me too!

The phrase with which my brain immediately follows up "Danny Dunn" is "Invisible Boy", which suggests that that's probably one of the few I read, or at least one of the first. But I blame my grade-school crush reading partner, who also got me into reading the Hardy Boys and, later, the Hitchhiker's trilogy. :-)

(Clearly I need a userpic of myself in elementary school...)
Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy is my favorite, too.

To the point that, some time after I finished writing the YA SF novel, I realized what an unconscious homage one of my major plot lines was to the book, with its very early incarnation of insect like micro UAVs....

From a 1974 novel to this. How awesome is science fiction? :D
I read every Danny Dunn adventure in my city's library, and they seemed to be endless. What was the one where we ended up with two Joes?
That was the time travel adventure. The Joe of three days into the future joins them, and they call him "Possible" to reduce confusion.
Yes, I definitely remember enjoying them as a kid. I was pleasantly surprised to see one still in print a year or so ago at a book fair at my son's school: Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine.

From the book's blurb:

In the 1950's, when Danny Dunn was a young boy, it was extraordinarily unusual to have a computer at home or at school. In fact, personal computers hadn't even been invented yet! But when Professor Bullfinch leaves for Washington and entrusts Danny with the care of his computer, Danny gets the bright idea of using the computer to do his homework.

Unfortunately, my cheapskate instincts won out and I didn't buy it.

Interesting that *that* book, probably the most outdated of the series, was the one they chose to sell.
And the homework machine, like the main character of Asimov's "Robbie", can understand spoken English but cannot speak. It's interesting that both writers made this backwards prediction.
Was it Danny Dunn who went exploring a cave with his friends, and had the bright idea to carry around little chunks of uranium to mark their trail and a Geiger counter to find their way out? I'm not sure why I remember this one especially; it must be the the must prosaic adventure of them all.
I don't remember that plot point exactly, but it seems likely.
Spider Robinson has a similar story about the librarian who talked to him, figured out what he'd want to read, and handed him a Heinlein juvenile.

There are a few Danny Dunn copies listed on Paperback Swap:

When I clicked on the link, it gave me a notice that the page was currently unavailable...
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December 2016

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