The Big Kerplop!
is a young adult novel
by Bertrand R. Brinley
chronicling the first-ever adventure of The Mad Scientists' Club
. In it, we watch the club get formed during a time of crisis in their hometown of Mammoth Falls
Charlie (the story narrator) and some of the other characters who will go on to form the Club are out fishing on Strawberry Lake one foggy day when they hear the unmistakable sound of SAC bombers taking off from the nearby Air Force Base. Familiar with these drills, the boys strain for a look at the bombers. The fog is too thick. However, what they do get is the sound of...an enormous KER-PLOP! somewhere in the lake! It swiftly develops that one of the SAC bombers taking off for the drill has, um, er, lost something into the lake. Something which might be...an atomic bomb!
The Air Force at first denies it, but after having been caught searching the lake and then having the lake closed to all non-Air Force personnel, it's pretty clear what's happened. What is also clear amongst the panicked evacuations and general bad science being trumpeted on the news by local Do-Gooders is that the Air Force can't find the bomb.
Of course, we know who can. The Mad Scientists can. They know where they were rowing, and know roughly in what direction the sound came from - and that's good enough to set up some radio beacons on the shore for some then-very-high-tech triangulation and start to grid-search the lake.
I'm not going to give away what happens, but at the end of this book The Mad Scientists' Club has been firmly established. If you're curious, Charlie even lets us in on the secret of his last name in this book, something he never mentions again!
Although their first adventure, this book was published last (in 1974) in an extremely limited run of around 1000 copies, making it devilishly difficult to find - until 2009, when it was put back in press. Now we can all rejoice, and all read about the forming of one of the best boy's clubs ever (no, girls aren't allowed, what kind of Mad Scientist are you?!)
Note: It appears a second full-length novel of the Mad Scientists' Club has been located and published - entitled The Big Chunk of Ice! I'd never even heard of this one, and now I can't wait to find it and read it...apparently, the Club goes overseas in this one!