Did I imagine the death ray?
November 26, 2007 12:03 PM   Subscribe

What's this book from my childhood (early 80s)? I believe it came from one of the book clubs (Arrow?), it was a Young Adult book about a boy who is friends with a scientist/inventor who has invented a death ray which he then has some opportunity to use...

I don't remember much else about it. The boy's name might have been Jeffrey, or something similar, and he was certainly an outcast of some kind. I don't remember if he actually used the death ray, or what the moral of the story actually was, or whether there were any consequences. I may be misremembering, but there's a distinct possibility that the boy did actually use the death ray to vaporize a school bully.

What book is this?
posted by Caviar to Media & Arts (17 answers total)
Was it perhaps The Young Unicorns? It doesn't have much in common with your description except the death ray part, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:48 PM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: Definitely not that.
posted by Caviar at 1:49 PM on November 26, 2007

Danny Dunn and the Heat Ray?
posted by infinitewindow at 1:50 PM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: No - the book I'm thinking of was bleaker than that - not a lighthearted romp, but pretty serious about the implications of the possibility of using a powerful weapon to destroy your enemies. It was not, to my knowledge, part of a series.
posted by Caviar at 1:54 PM on November 26, 2007

Was the weapon definitely called a death ray? As opposed to a laser or heat ray or something, I mean.
posted by iconomy at 3:08 PM on November 26, 2007

Response by poster: It might have been called a laser, but I'm pretty sure it was not called a heat ray.
posted by Caviar at 4:08 PM on November 26, 2007

One of the My Teacher Is an Alien books? I don't remember how they were going to destroy the planet, but the last book was about the implications of doing that.
posted by lullabyofbirdland at 2:25 AM on November 27, 2007

Response by poster: N, it was not about destroying the whole planet.
posted by Caviar at 7:09 AM on November 27, 2007

Best answer: The Revenge of the Incredible Dr Rancid and His Youthful Assistant Jeffrey? Things you may remember: psychosomatic stomach pains, and incredibly bloody split lip.
posted by fidelity at 12:47 PM on November 28, 2007

(If that sounds like a possibility, I can check for confirming details for you, since I have the book at home.)
posted by fidelity at 12:48 PM on November 28, 2007

Response by poster: Huh. I thought the title was shorter, but that may very well be it. Please check for the existence of a death ray or other superweapon, if you would.
posted by Caviar at 1:48 PM on November 28, 2007

Best answer: Jeffrey Childs is sort of the school loser, nerdy, is making up an adventure story (which syncs up with the "real" narrative's arc) for himself about assisting Dr Rancid in order to deal with some real-life bullying from one Dewey Belasco. Dr Rancid invents a "pulverizer gun", which turns people to dust, and Jeff uses it on Dewey in his story, but there's no real gun, which could account for your uncertainty about it.
posted by fidelity at 5:40 PM on November 28, 2007

Response by poster: I think that's it. Thanks!
posted by Caviar at 8:12 PM on November 28, 2007

Response by poster: Incidentally, in the book, does Jeffrey's story have its own title? That may be what I'm remembering.
posted by Caviar at 10:24 PM on November 28, 2007

Response by poster: Also, if you don't mind my asking, did you acquire this book through a Scholastic book club in the 80s?
posted by Caviar at 10:33 PM on November 28, 2007

Jeffrey's story has the same as the book, and it's a Apple/Scholastic edition, which I think I got at a Scholastic school book fair, mid to late 80s.
posted by fidelity at 5:43 AM on November 29, 2007

Oh wow! I remember that book now!
posted by infinitewindow at 3:16 PM on November 30, 2007

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