Best 1947 Adventures (10)

By: Joshua Glenn
June 14, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1947 adventure novels. Happy 70th anniversary!

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vian

Boris Vian’s Golden Age sci-fi adventure L’Écume des jours (1947, trans. as Foam of the Daze, or Froth on the Daydream).

Two young couples, Colin and Chloe and Chick and Alise, cavort in a surreal futuristic Paris — one in which the police sport skin-tight, bulletproof black leather and heavy metal boots; the “heartsnatcher” weapon kills by attaching to the torso and ripping out the heart; metal-frog-powered devices crank out a pharmacy’s medications; and Colin’s “pianocktail” concocts fantastical libations inspired by whichever jazz song is played on it. Colin and Chloe, who live with Colin’s Jeeves/Kato-inspired manservant Nicolas, give their poorer friends Chick and Alise enough money to marry… but Chick, a fanatic devotee of the novelist-philosopher Jean-Sol Partre, spends it all on Partre publications and collectibles. (Alise resorts to drastic measures to prevent Partre from publishing anything else.) Tragedy strikes when Chloe develops a water lily in her lung; in the face of her impending death, how will Colin choose to live?

Fun fact: Richard Hell put it best, when he described this novel as “a kind of jazzy, cheerful, sexy, sci-fi mid-20th century Huysmans.”

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Let me know if I’ve missed any 1947 adventures that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists. The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time. 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. The goal, eventually, is to publish a Top 10 Adventures list for every year of the 20th century.

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Adventure, Lit Lists

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