Best 1908 Adventures (4)

By: Joshua Glenn
February 6, 2018

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1908 adventure novels. Happy 110th anniversary!

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H.G. Wells’s Radium Age science fiction adventure The War in the Air.

After Bert Smallways, a forward-thinking bicycle mechanic, is accidentally carried off in a hot air balloon belonging to Mr. Butteridge, inventor of a revolutionary maneuverable aircraft, he is shot down in Germany. Prince Karl Albert, who has organized an air-ship attack on the Eastern United States, takes Smallways along for the invasion — since he believes him to be Butteridge. (Simultaneously, the Confederation of Eastern Asia — China and Japan — launches an aerial attack on the Western United States.) Smallways looks on in horror as an American naval fleet is obliterated by German aerial bombardment; soon after, German air ships rain destruction on New York City. However, not long after this, German air fleet is attacked by the Confederation, whose one-man flying machines firing incendiary bullets overpower the hydrogen-filled zeppelins. Can Bert turn the tide of battle by helping America to develop Butteridge’s aircraft? Will the entire “fabric of civilization” (the late-period Wells is over-fond of such formulations) be torn asunder, and England revert to a medieval social order?

Fun facts: Written in four months, serialized in 1908 in The Pall Mall Magazine.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any 1908 adventures that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists. The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time. THE OUGHTS: 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS: 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES: 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES: 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES: 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES: 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES: 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES: 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. The goal, eventually, is to publish a Top 10 Adventures list for every year of the 20th century.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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