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The Homework Machine Setting

Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine is the third novel in the Danny Dunn series of juvenile science fiction/adventure books written by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams. The book was first published in 1958 and originally illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. This is the first novel in the series to feature Irene.

Plot[edit]

Danny uses a computer that Professor Bulfinch has created for NASA to prepare his homework, despite Professor Bullfinch's warning that Danny is to leave the machine alone. With his friend Joe Pearson and his new neighbor, Irene Miller, Danny has some success with the machine before it is sabotaged. Danny figures out what is wrong with the machine and corrects the problem. Danny's teacher also learns about the machine, and has her ideas for the Homework Champions. Once she finds out, she thinks of a way to trick the kids.

Current science[edit]

The "homework machine" is in the style of the large mainframe computers of the 1950s, and one that uses paper punched cards. The concept of students using computers for research is common today; however, this computer was not merely a machine via which the drudgery of solving many 3 or 4 digit long division problems could be offloaded; it was also somehow able to accept "programming" of students' text books that enabled it to write reports on topics that were covered by the text books.

Miscellania[edit]

Amateur radio is used for the first (and possibly only) time in the series, with Danny and Irene attempting to get a homework question answered. The callsigns used would have been accurate for mid-western operators in that era but not for the mode used (shortwave). In any event, there was too much static and the kids resorted to opening the windows and talking across the alley.

Reception[edit]

Floyd C. Gale wrote in the August 1959 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction that the book was "another funful adventure".[1]

Editions[edit]

McGraw-Hill

  • Paperback, 1958, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Hardback, 1958, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

Brockhampton Press

  • Hardback, 1960, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

MacDonald and Jane's

Archway Books

  • Paperback, 1979, #5 in their series

Pocket Books

  • Paperback, 1983 reissue, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

Musical[edit]

Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine was turned into a musical children's album on both Golden Records (Golden LP 239) and Wonderland Records (WLP-338), with music composed by Julie Mandel.

References[edit]

DOING HOMEWORK BECOMES A THING OF THE PAST

The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker -- Brenton, Sam "Snick,", Judy and Kelsey, respectively, -- are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, at

DOING HOMEWORK BECOMES A THING OF THE PAST

The unlikely foursome made up of a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker -- Brenton, Sam "Snick,", Judy and Kelsey, respectively, -- are bound together by one very big secret: the homework machine. Because the machine, code named Belch, is doing their homework for them, they start spending a lot of time together, attracting a lot of attention. And attention is exactly what you don't want when you are keeping a secret.

Before long, members of the D Squad, as they are called at school are getting strange Instant Messages from a shady guy named Milner; their teacher, Miss Rasmussen, is calling private meetings with each of them and giving them pop tests that they are failing; and someone has leaked the possibility of a homework machine to the school newspaper. Just when the D Squad thinks things can't get any more out of control, Belch becomes much more powerful than they ever imagined. Soon the kids are in a race against their own creation, and the loser could end up in jail...or worse!

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