Tintin, the Captain, and Snowy attempt to rescue Dr. Calculus who has been kidnapped by the Bordurians.Tintin, the Captain, and Snowy attempt to rescue Dr. Calculus who has been kidnapped by the Bordurians.Hide synopsis
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"The Calculus Affair" may not be immediately entertaining, as in Explorers on the Moon or the Shooting Star, but it slowly develops the plot, with just enough suspense to put the reader at the edge of his seat at the last panel. And it starts with a boom, too.
The mysterious phenomenon of breaking glass and china, including the Captain's whisky glass, is only fully explained on page 51, and the later pages expose many other plot details which contributed to the overall controlled confusion in the beginning and middle of the book. In some adventures, an answer is readily available to the various people and clues which meet up with Tintin and his friends, but in this book you feel just like a character, not knowing what will happen next.
For Tintin and the Captain's dash through Switzerland, every little detail--the Hotel Cornavin, Professor Topolino's villa in Nyon, even the positioning of signposts and billboards--was mapped out by Hergé, with his usual extreme attention to detail. And for Tintin and Haddock's unexpected visit to Szohod, Hergé based most of the city on bits and pieces from the USSR--after all, it began in TINTIN magazine in 1954, the height of the Cold War. The Bordurians' habit of constantly reproducing their laughable leader Kurvi-Tasch's whiskers, even in their alphabet, was another Soviet touch, and their phrase "By the whiskers of Kurvi-Tasch" was probably taken from chants used at 1930s Stalinistic rallies.
Overall, the book was an expert work, one of Hergé's finest, and certainly a complicated and precision instrument, even when compared to his much-hyped works preceding it, Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon.
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