Sunday, 11 December 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Laserbeak's Fury

Ladybird Books was an extremely popular publisher in the UK. They published many books in their 80 years, ranging from children's fairy tales, to educational books. During the 1980s, Ladybird published a series of books based on popular children's cartoons.

Laserbeak's Fury was the final book to be published in the 1985 series of books. It was written by John Grant and illustrated by Mike Collins. It was also released under Ladybird's "Tell-A-Tale" line, which included a cassette tape, narrated by Peter Marinker.

The plot of this story is Seeking to exploit the Autobots' fondness for human beings, Megatron has Laserbeak sent out to observe and learn more about them. While following a farmer’s family on their drive home, however, Laserbeak collides with a set of overhead power lines and his transformation unit is de-energized, trapping him in cassette form. His transmission to the Decepticon base is severed, but his final report intrigues Megatron – a mechanical device with zero magnetic response, considered to be impossible by Cybertronian standards. At the same time, Hound has been listening in on Laserbeak’s signal for the Autobots, and a concerned Optimus Prime has his last known location pinpointed so they can investigate themselves.
The next morning, two electrical engineers arrive at the farm to repair the broken power lines, and discover the cassette-mode Laserbeak lying in the grass. Attempting to play him in their truck’s tape deck, they find he gives only out a series of beeps, and toss him back into the field again. Not long after, the farmer’s son and his dog find Laserbeak and take him home, but the boy promptly tosses the cassette onto his bed and forgets about it. However, the boy is also responsible for arranging the music for a local dance at the village hall, and when his mother finds Laserbeak, she adds him to the box of music tapes, which are soon taken to the hall.
Spike and Hound soon arrive on the scene to investigate the mysterious “zero magnetic energy mechanism,” which turns out to be an ordinary windmill. Spike also discovers Megatron, Soundwave and Starscream observing the windmill and village from the woods nearby, and radios Optimus Prime and an Autobot battle unit, who arrive as the sun sets.
Meanwhile, in the village hall, the dance is in full swing, until the DJ randomly grabs Laserbeak from the box of cassettes and slots him into the system. After a series of beeps, the system explodes, as its energy recharges Laserbeak and he erupts in robot mode. Panicking the dancers as they flood out into the streets, Laserbeak is fired upon by a villager with a shotgun, leading to more and more armed villagers attacking him and chasing after him as he flees into the woods and meets up with the Decepticons there. The infuriated Decepticons prepare to attack the humans, but, aware of the danger, the Autobots make their presence known to draw the Decepticons’ fire. A mighty battle ensues, during which the villagers watch on in amazement, unaware of the giant robots but able to see their weapon discharges bursting around the windmill. During the fight Spike accidentally releases the brake on the windmill's mechanism and (equally by accident) trims the sails to catch the breeze. Now in motion the sails smash into Laserbeak, and Megatron jumps to the conclusion that the windmill is a weapon that the Autobots have turned on them and orders it to be disabled. Starscream is distressed when he discovers his null ray has no effect on it, leading Soundwave to a hasty decision – hoping that shockwaves can disable it, he deploys Rumble, who goes too far and destroys the wood and stone structure with his piledrivers. With the windmill gone, the Decepticons retreat, and the next day, Optimus Prime laments its destruction, and is fearful that humans may have seen them. Spike allays his fears by showing him the morning paper, which tells of a freak electrical storm that destroyed the windmill... and the appearance of a winged demon at a disco!

Thanks to RetroRobotRadio for putting up the audio, along with book scans. For the final story in the 1985 series, this a good finish. We have Laserbeak and Hound as the main characters and the Transformers not understanding how Earth based technology works, in this case, a windmill.