Save the Adventure (8)

By: Joshua Glenn
October 12, 2013

For the Treasure Hunt sub-genre of Adventure, the invisible prison is MEANINGLESSNESS. The hunt for treasure — in these stories — involves cracking codes, finding patterns, finding the signal in the noise. At the same time, it’s a hunt — a chase, a race, a physical contest. Highbrow and lowbrow capacities are synthesized harmoniously in the treasure hunt. Boldness and experimentation — physical and intellectual — are demanded.

Thanks! To the nearly 400 adventure fans who kickstarted the SAVE THE ADVENTURE e-book club.

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MORE LIT LISTS FROM THIS AUTHOR: 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time | 100 Best Radium Age Sci-Fi Novels (1904–1933) | 75 Best Golden Age Sci-Fi Novels (1934–1963) | 75 Best New Wave Sci-Fi Novels (1964–1983) | 55 Best Scientific Romances (1864–1903) | Best 19th Century Adventure (1805–1903) | Best Nineteen-Oughts Adventure (1904–13) | Best Nineteen-Teens Adventure (1914–23) | Best Twenties Adventure (1924–33) | Best Thirties Adventure (1934–43) | Best Forties Adventure (1944–53) | Best Fifties Adventure (1954–63) | Best Sixties Adventure (1964–73) | Best Seventies Adventure (1974–83) | 101 Science Fiction Adventures | 70 Crime Adventures | 65 Fantasy Adventures | 61 Espionage Adventures | 40 Atavistic & Historical Adventures | 25 Frontier & Western Adventures | 20 Avenger & Artful Dodger Adventures | 20 Apophenic & Treasure Hunt Adventures | 20 War & Ruritanian Adventures | 18 Picaresque Adventures | 10 Robinsonade & Survival Adventures. ALSO: Best YYA Lit 1963 | Best YYA Lit 1964 | Best YYA Lit 1965 | Best YYA Lit 1966 | Best YYA Lit 1967 | THE OUGHTS (1904–13): 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS (1914–23): 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES (1924–33): 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES (1934–43): 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES (1944–53): 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES (1954–63): 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES (1964–73): 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES (1974–83): 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. | Best Scottish Fabulists | Radium-Age Telepath Lit | Radium Age Superman Lit | Radium Age Robot Lit | Radium Age Apocalypse Lit | Radium Age Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Radium Age Cover Art (1) | SF’s Best Year Ever: 1912 | Cold War “X” Fic | Best YA Sci-Fi | Hooker Lit | No-Fault Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Scrabble Lit |

20 ADVENTURE THEMES AND MEMES: Index to All Adventure Lists | Introduction to Adventure Themes & Memes Series | Index to Entire Series | The Robinsonade (theme: DIY) | The Robinsonade (theme: Un-Alienated Work) | The Robinsonade (theme: Cozy Catastrophe) | The Argonautica (theme: All for One, One for All) | The Argonautica (theme: Crackerjacks) | The Argonautica (theme: Argonaut Folly) | The Argonautica (theme: Beautiful Losers) | The Treasure Hunt | The Frontier Epic | The Picaresque | The Avenger Drama (theme: Secret Identity) | The Avenger Drama (theme: Self-Liberation) | The Avenger Drama (theme: Reluctant Bad-Ass) | The Atavistic Epic | The Hide-And-Go-Seek Game (theme: Artful Dodger) | The Hide-And-Go-Seek Game (theme: Conspiracy Theory) | The Hide-And-Go-Seek Game (theme: Apophenia) | The Survival Epic | The Ruritanian Fantasy | The Escapade

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THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

* Edgar Allan Poe’s 1843 story “The Gold-Bug.” A hermeneutic adventure.

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* Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 genre-defining novel Treasure Island.

* H. Rider Haggard’s 1885 adventure story King Solomon’s Mines.

* The Wrong Box is a black comedy novel co-written by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, first published in 1889. The story is about two brothers who are the last two surviving members of a tontine. The Wrong Box was filmed in 1966 starring Michael Caine.

* The Wrecker (1892) is a novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson in collaboration with his stepson Lloyd Osbourne.

* The Ebb-Tide. A Trio and a Quartette (1894) is a short novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson and his stepson Lloyd Osbourne. It was published the year Stevenson died.

* The Story of the Treasure-Seekers (1899), the first book in the Bastable Family series. By Edith Nesbit.

THE OUGHTS (1904–13)

* TBD

THE TEENS (1914–23)

* TBD

THE TWENTIES (1924–33)

* A.D. Howden Smith wrote a Treasure Island prequel, Porto Bello Gold (1924) that relates the origin of the buried treasure, recasts many of Stevenson’s pirates in their younger years, and gives the hidden treasure some Jacobite antecedents not mentioned in the original.

* The 1927/1935 novel The Treasure of Sierra Madre by B. Traven. A savagely ironic novel, it follows the rugged adventure of three Americans hunting for gold in the mountains of Mexico.

* The Tower Treasure (1927), the first book in the Hardy Boys series. By Franklin W Dixon (Leslie McFarlane).

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* Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel The Maltese Falcon.

THE THIRTIES (1934–43)

* The 1934 Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie novel The Golden Hoard.

* J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit.

* Hergé’s 1937/1943 Tintin adventure The Broken Ear.

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* Geoffrey Household’s 1938 novel The Third Hour.

* Hergé’s 1939/1947 Tintin adventure King Ottokar’s Sceptre.

* The 1940 children’s novel The Treasure Hunters by Mary Pollock (Enid Blyton).

* The 1941 movie adaptation of The Maltese Falcon.

* Hergé’s 1942 Tintin adventure The Shooting Star. (Sort of a treasure hunt.)

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* The 1942 comic book Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold (in Four Color #9). Donald and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie meet a parrot named Yellow Beak and they wind up searching for the lost treasure of Henry Morgan. The script was by Bob Karp and illustrated by Carl Barks and Jack Hannah. This story introduced the comic book personalities of Donald Duck and his nephews.

* The 1942 children’s novel Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton.

* The 1942 children’s novel Snow Treasure, by Marie McSwigan. Norwegian children smuggle gold past the Germans.

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* Hergé’s Tintin adventures The Secret of the Unicorn (1943) and Red Rackham’s Treasure (1944).

THE FORTIES (1944–53)

* Hammond Innes’s 1947 thriller Maddon’s Rock — written just after the war as a radio serial, then rewritten in book form. The dedication, to his wife, reads: “You have fed me Treasure Island for years as the most exciting adventure story ever written. Well, this isn’t Treasure Island. But there is an island. And there is bullion. And it is an exciting adventure story.”

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* The 1948 movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

* Hergé’s Tintin adventures The Seven Crystal Balls (1948) and Prisoners of the Sun (1949).

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* Michael Innes’ excellent 1953 novel Christmas at Candleshoe. Also the 1977 Jodie Foster movie adaptation.

THE FIFTIES (1954–63)

* The 1954 Biggles novel Biggles and the Pirate Treasure, by Captain W E Johns.

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* Frank Yerby’s 1955 novel The Treasure of Pleasant Valley. A yarn about the Gold Rush.

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* The Oldest Confession (1958) is the first novel by satirist Richard Condon. A tragicomedy about the attempted theft of a masterpiece from a museum in Spain. Sardonic inversion.

* The 1958 YA novel Treasure of Green Knowe by Lucy M Boston.

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* Nevil Shute’s 1960 novel Trustee from the Toolroom.

* Alistair MacLean’s 1961 crime novel Fear is the Key.

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* The Hunter (1962) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. It was the basis for two feature films: John Boorman’s Point Blank (1967), starring Lee Marvin, Brian Helgeland’s Payback (1999), starring Mel Gibson.

* The 1962 YA novel The Diamond in the Window, by Jane Langton. A personal favorite. Hermeneutic adventure for kids.

* Lionel Davidson’s 1962 novel The Rose of Tibet, another favorite.

* Alistair MacLean’s 1962 novel Golden Rendezvous combines mystery, suspense, action, clever bluffs and double bluffs.

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* Desmond Bagley’s 1963 novel The Golden Keel.

* The second Parker novel: The Man with the Getaway Face (1963) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. It was also published under the title The Steel Hit.

* The third Parker novel: The Outfit (1963) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The fourth Parker novel: The Mourner (1963) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

THE SIXTIES (1964–73)

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* The fifth Parker novel: The Score (1964) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* Ronald Johnston’s 1965 thriller Danger at Bravo Key takes place on an uninhabited Caribbean island where a Nazi sub loaded with treasure supposedly crashed during WWII. The story isn’t really a treasure hunt adventure, but we do find out about the Nazi sub and it treasure by the end.

* The sixth Parker novel: The Jugger (1965) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. NB: Jean-Luc Godard’s film Made in U.S.A. in 1966 was an extremely loose adaptation of The Jugger.

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* Lionel Davidson’s 1966 novel A Long Way to Shiloh (Menorah Men). A great hermeneutic adventure.

* The 1966 Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators novel The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure, by Robert Arthur.

* Gambit is a 1966 comedy film starring Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine as two criminals involved in an elaborate plot centered on a priceless antiquity. Sardonic inversion.

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* The seventh Parker novel: The Seventh (1966, also published as The Split) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The eighth Parker novel: The Handle (1966) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The ninth Parker novel: The Rare Coin Score (1967) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The tenth Parker novel: The Green Eagle Score (1967) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* Desmond Bagley’s 1968 novel The Vivero Letter.

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* Jack Higgins’s 1968 novel East of Desolation.

* Deadfall is a 1968 film directed by Bryan Forbes and starring Michael Caine. It is based on the 1965 thriller from author Desmond Cory. About a cat burglar.

* The eleventh Parker novel: The Black Ice Score (1968) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The twelfth Parker novel: The Sour Lemon Score (1969) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The thirteenth Parker novel: Deadly Edge (1971) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The fourteenth Parker novel: Slayground (1971) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The fifteenth Parker novel: Plunder Squad (1972) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

THE SEVENTIES (1974–83)

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* Donald E. Westlake’s 1974 crime thriller Jimmy the Kid (1974).

* The sixteenth Parker novel: Butcher’s Moon (1974) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.

* The 1977 movie The Deep.

* The 1977 nonfiction book Treasure by Robert Daley.

* Michael Innes’s The Ampersand Papers (1978).

* Umberto Eco’s 1980 novel The Name of the Rose is a sardonic inversion of this theme. It’s an example of a hermeneutic adventure — the goal is truth, meaning. But truth and meaning remain endlessly elusive.

* The 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.

* The 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

THE EIGHTIES (1984–93)

* The 1985 movie The Goonies.

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* The 1986 Jackie Chan movie The Armour of God.

* Umberto Eco’s 1988 novel Foucault’s Pendulum is a sardonic inversion of this theme. It’s an example of a hermeneutic adventure — the goal is truth, meaning. But truth and meaning remain endlessly elusive.

* Graeme Base’s 1988 children’s book The Eleventh Hour.

* The 1989 movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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* The 1990 hermeneutic adventure Possession, by A.S. Byatt.

* The 1991 Jackie Chan movie Operation Condor.

THE NINETIES (1994–2003)

* The 1995 post-apocalyptic movie Waterworld.

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* The 1999 movie Three Kings.

* Neal Stephenson’s 1999 novel Cryptonomicon.

* The 2003 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

* Dan Brown’s 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code is a half-baked ripoff of better examples of this sub-genre.

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* Scarlett Thomas’s 2004 novel PopCo — about Alice Butler, a quirky, fiercely intelligent loner with an affinity for secret codes and mathematics.

* The 2004 movie National Treasure.

* The children’s novel The Last Treasure (2004) by Janet S Anderson.

THE TWENTY-OUGHTS (2004–13)

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* Ken MacLeod’s 2004 science fiction novel Newton’s Wake.

* The 2008 movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

* The 2011 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

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20 ADVENTURE THEMES AND MEMES: Index to All Adventure Lists | Introduction to Adventure Themes & Memes Series | Index to Entire Series | The Robinsonade (theme: DIY) | The Robinsonade (theme: Un-Alienated Work) | The Robinsonade (theme: Cozy Catastrophe) | The Argonautica (theme: All for One, One for All) | The Argonautica (theme: Crackerjacks) | The Argonautica (theme: Argonaut Folly) | The Argonautica (theme: Beautiful Losers) | The Treasure Hunt | The Frontier Epic | The Picaresque | The Avenger Drama (theme: Secret Identity) | The Avenger Drama (theme: Self-Liberation) | The Avenger Drama (theme: Reluctant Bad-Ass) | The Atavistic Epic | The Hide-And-Go-Seek Game (theme: Artful Dodger) | The Hide-And-Go-Seek Game (theme: Conspiracy Theory) | The Hide-And-Go-Seek Game (theme: Apophenia) | The Survival Epic | The Ruritanian Fantasy | The Escapade

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MORE FURSHLUGGINER THEORIES BY JOSH GLENN: We Are Iron Man! | And We Lived Beneath the Waves | Is It A Chamber Pot? | I’d Like to Force the World to Sing | The Argonaut Folly | The Perfect Flâneur | The Twentieth Day of January | The Dark Side of Scrabble | The YHWH Virus | Boston (Stalker) Rock | The Sweetest Hangover | The Vibe of Dr. Strange | Tyger! Tyger! | Star Wars Semiotics | The Original Stooge | Fake Authenticity | Camp, Kitsch & Cheese | Stallone vs. Eros | The UNCLE Hypothesis | Icon Game | Meet the Semionauts | The Abductive Method | Semionauts at Work | Origin of the Pogo | The Black Iron Prison | Blue Krishma! | Big Mal Lives! | Schmoozitsu | You Down with VCP? | Calvin Peeing Meme | Daniel Clowes: Against Groovy | The Zine Revolution (series) | Best Adventure Novels (series) | Debating in a Vacuum (notes on the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triad) | Pluperfect PDA (series) | Double Exposure (series) | Fitting Shoes (series) | Cthulhuwatch (series) | Shocking Blocking (series) | Quatschwatch (series) | Save the Adventure (series)

READ MORE essays by Joshua Glenn, originally published in: THE BAFFLER | BOSTON GLOBE IDEAS | BRAINIAC | CABINET | FEED | HERMENAUT | HILOBROW | HILOBROW: GENERATIONS | HILOBROW: RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION | HILOBROW: SHOCKING BLOCKING | THE IDLER | IO9 | N+1 | NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW | SEMIONAUT | SLATE

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