Thunderbirds Are Go: International Rescue Official Guide (book review).

November 26, 2015 | By | Reply More

My original reason for pulling the ‘Thunderbirds Are Go: International Rescue Official Guide’ was to see what specs it gives for the new series vehicles which is already got the nickname of ‘TBAG’ which I’m sure Weta hadn’t anticipated. Going back to 1965, the original ‘Thunderbirds Annual’ is still the best original date book on the subject. Alas, for this book, you’re given vehicle speeds and travel height but little else to help in this. Whether Weta didn’t supply this information back in June or someone thought today’s kids wouldn’t be interested is something only you can decide.


Of course, books like this aren’t really designed for adults like me but the size and capped text tends to suggest for the hard for reading as well. That’s not to say that you don’t get a lot of information, mostly about the characters and vehicle functions. If you’re curious as to what is contained in each of the Tracy brothers bandoliers, the information is here. I was wondering what Virgil was wearing on his back and it’s not a harpoon but a high power LED spotlight and we’ve yet to see it in operation.

Something me and reviewer Pauline Morgan have been debating is the various uniform functions. I mean, is it really necessary for Gordon Tracy to wear an aqualung all the time. This book reveals he doesn’t actually carry oxygen cylinders but a bio-filtration rebreather which weigh less and such devices were actually used in World War Two. However, something I do know is that it is not very effective at depths we’ve seen Thunderbird 4 work at and without the right air balance not to mention slow decompression, poor Gordon isn’t going to last very long. It’s also a little worrying that he carries around buoyancy control weights all the time which must surely be as heavy, despite their small size, as oxygen cylinders. Imagine running with those on your hips all the time. Pauline’s concern is with the fingerless gloves that Kayo, Virgil and Scott wear, especially as the latter didn’t wear any protection on the Moon in a recent episode. I suspect this is more a budget problem really but am surprised that they didn’t have a colour change option when this kind of problem happens just to show a change of gloves. We’d also have to let pass just how well insulated their uniforms are to tolerate such temperature changes.

It does present some odd questions. We’ve seen TB5 use a tether to get John down to the island but there have been a couple times now where it has moved out of geostationary orbit. Although the tether can probably be brought up before moving, getting it relinked would be a lot harder, especially with Pacific weather.

You do get a lot of stills from the TV series here but some of the information does indicate too much idealised perfection going on. Using Tracy Island as the main example, where they have maintenance robots looking after everything, it does tend to make things too easy.

An interesting observation about Thunderbird 3 is that inside the tip there is drilling equipment. Something we’ve yet to see in use. One can only hope that it’s not used attached to the space rocket or its going to make anyone on-board more than a little dizzy. Although I recognised Thunderbird 2 has an in-flight refuelling nozzle, this seems to be a contradiction in the text revealing that it can stay aloft for an indefinite time. Even if that is true and includes refuelling, just how do they do that? There is no refuelling aircraft available unless the Tracys have them stashed around the world.

Likewise, with Thunderbird 1, its top speed is 15,000 mph, which is actually the same as the original 1966 version, and yet the claim is it can get anywhere in the world in 30 minutes. Unless this version of Earth is much smaller, no one has matched measurements and I’m sure a lot of the kids can do their sums and realise that might be the wrong time. Oh, you do get a closer look at Thunderbird S and something I’d like to see in an episode where its cockpit turns into a motorbike.

Although I wouldn’t call this book the definitive volume and I suspect its unnamed writer(s) didn’t have more than a few episodes of information this spring to compile this book, I do hope that there is a re-issue and expansion in the future. Especially with dimensions of the Thunderbirds themselves. After all, kids as well as adults like this kind of thing.

By the way, in case you have kids, the content of the ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ comic sans the comicbook strips looks awfully like the ‘Thunderbirds Are Go Annual’.

GF Willmetts

November 2015

(pub: Simon and Schuster. 77 page illustrated indexed small hardback. Price: about £ 2.00 (UK) if you look around, £ 6.99 (UK) if you don’t. ISBN: 978-1-4711-2499-0)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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