The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time

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What follows is a list of two hundred of my favorite adventure novels published before the Eighties (1984–93). They’re organized not qualitatively — that would be impossible — but chronologically.

I’ve also listed another two hundred fifty second-tier favorite adventures, which you can peruse via the following posts: 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).

Finally, I’ve broken out the overall list of four hundred fifty top adventures into the following sub-genre lists: 101 Science Fiction | 70 Crime | 65 Fantasy | 60 Espionage | 40 Atavistic & Historical | 25 Frontier & Western | 20 Avenger & Artful Dodger | 20 Apophenic & Treasure Hunt | 20 War & Ruritanian | 18 Picaresque | 11 Robinsonade & Survival.

Enjoy! And please let me know what I’ve overlooked.

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Why does my Top Adventures List project stop in 1983? Primarily because I figure that adventure fans already know which adventure novels from the Eighties, Nineties, and Twenty-Oughts are worth reading; I’m interested in directing attention to older, sometimes obscure or forgotten adventures. Also, I have friends who’ve published adventures since 1983 — I don’t want these lists to be biased!

In chronological order:

  1. 1814. Walter Scott’s 18th c. frontier adventure Waverley. The novel — which sends a young Englishman adventuring in the highlands of Scotland, during the Jacobite uprising which sought to put Bonnie Prince Charlie on the British throne — is regarded as the first historical novel. Note that Scotland, that savage tribal land just across the border from hyper-civilized England, was the original adventure frontier.
  2. 1818. Mary Shelley’s Gothic science fiction adventure Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. From multiple points of view, we read about a brilliant scientist and his creation: a dehumanized creature who longs for love and friendship and, eventually, revenge. PS: There are two editions of the book; the 1831 “popular” edition was heavily revised and tends to be the one most widely read; scholars tend to prefer the 1818.
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  4. 1820. Walter Scott’s 12th c. knightly adventure Ivanhoe, the protagonist of which makes his first appearance at a tourney in disguise, known only as The Disinherited Knight. (Also at that tourney is a mysterious archer named Locksley. Who can it be?) This popular book was single-handedly responsible for the medievalist craze in early 19th-century England.
  5. 1826. James Fenimore Cooper’s frontier adventure The Last of the Mohicans. Cooper’s Leatherstocking tales were popular and influential (esp. in France!), and therefore deserve a mention here — despite the fact that Mark Twain tore Cooper a new one. Despite its flaws — there are many! — this novel does feature a truly epic pursuit, so it deserves a place on the Top 21.
  6. 1837–39. I realize that mentioning a Charles Dickens joint here opens up a can of worms, but Oliver Twist in particular is a great adventure, and the Artful Dodger is awesome.
  7. 1838. Edgar Allan Poe’s Gothic sea adventure The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Poe’s only complete novel — about a teenager who stows away on a ship, is kidnapped by mutineers and pirates, encounters cannibals, and explores the Antarctic before discovering the key to all Western mystical traditions — has been described as “at once a mock nonfictional exploration narrative, adventure saga, bildungsroman, hoax, largely plagiarized travelogue, and spiritual allegory.”
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  9. 1844. Alexandre Dumas’s 17th c. swashbuckling adventure The Three Musketeers introduces us to three unforgettable characters: the distinguished, highly educated Musketeer Athos; the religious and scholarly yet womanizing younger Musketeer Aramis; and the Falstaffian Musketeer Porthos. It is their sanguine companion D’Artagnan who coins the classic phrase “All for one, and one for all!”
  10. 1844–45. Alexandre Dumas’s avenger-type adventure The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s all here: a wronged man seeking revenge, a jailbreak, poisonings, smugglers, a sex slave (spoiler: she’s freed), and a treasure cave. Serialized in 117 installments, it’s on the long side; still, according to Luc Sante, this story is today as “immediately identifiable as Mickey Mouse, Noah’s flood, and the story of Little Red Riding Hood.”
  11. 1847. James Fenimore Cooper’s sea-going adventure The Crater. Fun fact: Adventure aficionados consider this one much superior to his Leatherstocking tales!
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  13. 1851. Herman Melville’s sea-going adventure Moby-Dick is, we all know, much more than it appears to be on the surface. It is an allegory of (maybe) man’s gnostic rage against the occluded world in which he lives, separated from real reality. Perhaps more than you want to know about how whaling works, but one of the all-time great yarns.
  14. 1865. Lewis Carroll’s fantasy adventure Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
  15. 1868. Wilkie Collins’s detective adventure The Moonstone. Generally considered the first English-language detective novel.
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  17. 1870. Jules Verne’s science-fiction adventure Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea introduces us to Captain Nemo, a scientific genius who roams the depths of the sea in his submarine — in quest of treasure, knowledge, and revenge. NB: The book inspired Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Le Beateau Ivre.”
  18. 1874. Jules Verne’s science-fiction Robinsonade The Mysterious Island. An engineer, a sailor, a young boy, a journalist, and an African American butler escape a Civil War prison in a hot air balloon and crash land on a Lost-type island in the South Pacific. Who is observing them, helping them? Marred by didactic lessons of all sorts.
  19. 1876. Jules Verne’s espionage adventure Michael Strogoff, considered one of Verne’s best books. When the Tartar Khan incites a rebellion and separates the Russian Far East from the mainland, Michael Strogoff, courier for Tsar Alexander II, is sent to Irkutsk on a crucial mission.
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  21. 1883. Robert Louis Stevenson’s 18th c. treasure-hunt adventure Treasure Island, which led to the popular perception of pirates as we know them today: e.g., peg-legged, one-eyed. Note that the castaway character Ben Gunn is a parody of Daniel Defoe’s character Robinson Crusoe!
  22. 1884–45. Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — note that Twain, who scorned Walter Scott-type romances, uses the term “adventure” sardonically. He was poking holes in the prevailing sentimental and Romantic ethos of the literary establishment. Still, Twain’s novel is a fun romp through the American South in its grotesquerie, and it offers authentic thrills along the way.
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  24. 1885. H. Rider Haggard’s frontier adventure King Solomon’s Mines, which set a new standard for thrills — thanks to the author’s illiberal belief that denizens of England are so coddled that they’ve forgotten their own savage nature. The first novel written in English that was based on the African continent, and the first “Lost World” adventure. NB: Haggard would write 18 books featuring Allan Quatermain, the hero of King Solomon’s Mines.
  25. 1886. Robert Louis Stevenson’s 18th c. avenger-type adventure Kidnapped, in which young David Balfour is sold into servitude by his wicked uncle. With the help of Alan Breck, a daring Jacobite, David escapes and travels across Scotland by night — hiding from government soldiers by day.
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  27. 1887. H. Rider Haggard’s treasure hunt/occult adventure She. Weird fun, particularly if you like reincarnation stuff. Spoiler: In a later novel, She and Quatermain will cross paths!
  28. 1888. Rudyard Kipling’s Haggard-esque frontier adventure The Man Who Would Be King. Two British adventurers become kings of a remote part of Afghanistan, because — it turns out — the Kafirs there practice a form of Masonic ritual and the adventurers know Masonic secrets.
  29. 1891. Arthur Conan Doyle’s knightly adventure The White Company. Perhaps more of an ironic homage to than a sardonic inversion of the genre. Actually one of his best adventures!
  30. 1891. H. Rider Haggard’s Viking adventure Eric Brighteyes. Considered one of his best books.
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  32. 1894. Anthony Hope’s swashbuckling adventure The Prisoner of Zenda, which takes place in the fictional central European country of Ruritania, and which concerns a political decoy restoring the rightful king to the throne, was so influential that its genre is now called Ruritanian. Perhaps the first political thriller.
  33. 1896. H.G. Wells’s science fiction adventure The Island of Doctor Moreau. Edward Prendick, a shipwrecked man, is left on the island home of Doctor Moreau, who creates human-like beings from animals. After Moreau is killed, the Beast Folk begin to revert to their original animal instincts.
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  35. 1897. Bram Stoker’s supernatural horror adventure Dracula, whose readers know what kind of monster the protagonists seek before they do. Described by Neil Gaiman as a “Victorian high-tech thriller,” the book’s use of cutting-edge technology — and true-crime story telling, from newspaper clippings to phonograph-recorded notes — creates an eerily realistic vibe.
  36. 1898. Alfred Jarry’s ’pataphysical adventure Gestes et Opinions du Docteur Faustroll, Pataphysicien. Faustroll and his monkey butler travel around Paris — on a mythical register — in a high-tech boat/vehicle. Published posthumously, in 1911.
  37. 1899. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the protagonist of which is sent up a river in Africa to seek the European manager of a remote ivory station who has turned into a charismatic monster, is a sardonic inversion of yarns by adventure authors who didn’t give much thought to the colonialist and racist context within which their civilization-vs.-savagery narratives played out. “The horror! The horror!”
  38. 1900–01. Rudyard Kipling’s espionage adventure Kim, in which an Irish orphan in India not only becomes the disciple of a Tibetan lama, but is recruited by the British secret service to spy on Russian agents participating in the Great Game. In the process, he races across India; Kipling — an imperialist, but a keen observer of India all the same — brilliantly captures the essence of that country under the British Raj.
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  40. 1901. Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective mystery adventure The Hound of the Baskervilles. Mystery adventures don’t have a large place on these lists of mine… because although they’re fun exercises in ratiocination and puzzle-solving, they’re often not particularly thrilling. Conan Doyle, however, is a great adventure writer. And this novel is not your typical Sherlock Holmes story; it is jam-packed with thrills and chills.
  41. 1903. Robert Erskine Childers’s espionage adventure The Riddle of the Sands can be a demanding read for those with no interest in sailing or timetables. But it’s a thrilling yarn nevertheless, one which sought to alert British readers to the danger of German invasion. Its protagonists are archetypes of the amateur adventure hero, the likes of whom would later appear so memorably in the novels of John Buchan.
  42. 1903. Jack London’s Klondike adventure The Call of the Wild, which expresses the author’s notion that because the veneer of civilization is fragile, humans revert to a state of primitivism with ease. PS: Note that London’s White Fang shows the flipside of this trajectory.
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  44. 1904. Jack London’s sea-going adventure The Sea Wolf. A clash of opposing philosophies, one of which — quasi-Nietzschean; more accurately Social Darwinist — is embodied by Wolf Larsen, a brutal yet enigmatic sea captain.
  45. 1904. G.K. Chesterton’s Radium Age science fiction adventure The Napoleon of Notting Hill, in which battles rage between neighboring boroughs of London.
  46. 1904. Joseph Conrad’s treasure-hunt (sort of) adventure Nostromo. An ambitious longshoreman thwarts a worker revolution in a South American mining town… and attempts to enrich himself in the process.
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  48. 1905. Baroness Emma Orczy’s historical (18th c.) adventure The Scarlet Pimpernel is set during France’s post-Revolution Terror. Sir Percy Blakeney, the effete aristocrat who is secretly the daring Scarlet Pimpernel (or vice-versa), would inspire characters such as Zorro and Batman. “Is he in heaven, or is he in hell, that damned elusive Pimpernel?”
  49. 1905. Rudyard Kipling’s Radium Age science fiction adventure With the Night Mail follows the exploits of an intercontinental mail dirigible battling a storm. Also, we learn that a planet-wide Aerial Board of Control (A.B.C.) now enforces a technocratic system of command and control in world affairs. (Reissued by HiLoBooks.)
  50. 1907. L. Frank Baum’s Oz fantasy adventure Ozma of Oz. My favorite Oz book — in which Dorothy Gale and a talking hen (Billina) wash up in the Land of Ev, where they encounter proto-steampunk Wheelers, the wicked Nome King, and Baum’s greatest character, Tik-Tok the mechanical man.
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  52. 1908. G.K. Chesterton’s fantasy adventure The Man Who Was Thursday. Subtitled A Nightmare, the book follows a Scotland Yard man as he infiltrates the local chapter of the European anarchist council… only to discover that it has been interpenetrated entirely by detectives. Free-flowing, lyrical, trippy stuff.
  53. 1908. Kenneth Grahame’s children’s book The Wind in the Willows. Not an adventure in every particular, but Toad’s wild ride and prison break are amazing, as is the battle to reclaim Toad Hall from the weasels, stoats, and ferrets who’ve invaded from the Wild Wood.
  54. 1909. P.G. Wodehouse’s comic adventure Mike, in which readers first meet the monocled, dandyish adventurer and idler Psmith (the “p” is silent, as in pshrimp). Here, he is a schoolboy who — having recently been expelled from Eton — helps the titular protagonist succeed in various boarding-school capers and escapades.
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  56. 1910. John Buchan’s frontier adventure Prester John. A young Scotsman seeking his fortune in South Africa runs afoul of Laputa, leader of a planned rising of the Zulu and Swazi peoples against British colonial rule. The first great yarn from my favorite adventure writer… with the caveat that, as with most fiction of the time, it’s quite racist.
  57. 1911. Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre’s crime adventure Fantômas, concerning the adventures of a sadistic sociopath — the original charismatic serial killer. Inspired a generation of French highbrow litterateurs to incorporate adventure themes into their work.
  58. 1912. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s atavistic adventure Tarzan of the Apes, serialized in All-Story Magazine. John Clayton, whose parents are marooned and killed in a jungle of equatorial Africa, is raised by apes — and becomes their king. Published in book form in 1914. Burroughs would write 24 subsequent Tarzan adventures.
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  60. 1912. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Radium Age science fiction adventure The Lost World. The brilliant Prof. Challenger and companions journey to a South American jungle, where they discover a plateau crawling with prehistoric monsters. The first popular dinosaurs-still-live tale!
  61. 1912. Zane Grey’s Western adventure Riders of the Purple Sage. I’m not a huge fan of this particular adventure sub-genre, but if you’re going to read one Western, this is it. Set in southern Utah in 1871, its complex plot involves polygamous Mormons, a notorious gunman searching for his long-lost sister, and a mysterious masked rider.
  62. 1912. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Radium Age science fiction adventure A Princess of Mars. Inspired by the Mars-is-dying speculations of astronomer Percival Lowell (and perhaps by Edwin Lester Arnold’s 1905 Lieut. Gullivar Jones), this is a truly epic “planetary romance.”
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  64. 1912. Jack London’s Radium Age science fiction adventure The Scarlet Plague. A former UC Berkeley professor recounts the chilling sequence of events — a gruesome pandemic (in 2013!) — which led to his current lowly state. Modern civilization has fallen, and a new race of barbarians, descended from the world’s brutalized workers, has assumed power. (Reissued by HiLoBooks.)
  65. 1912. H. Rider Haggard’s Marie, first installment in Haggard’s excellent Zulu/Quatermain trilogy, in which his hero Allan Quatermain becomes ensnared in the vengeance of Zikali, a Zulu wizard known as “The-thing-that-should-never-have-been-born.” A prequel to King Solomon’s Mines, et al. This was a great era for prequels.
  66. 1912. William Hope Hodgson’s Radium Age science fiction adventure The Night Land is set on a frozen future Earth whose human inhabitants live in an underground redoubt surrounded by Watching Things, Ab-humans, and other monstrous invaders from another dimension. Praised by everyone from H.P. Lovecraft to China Miéville… but little-read now. (Reissued by HiLoBooks.)
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  68. 1913. Sax Rohmer’s espionage/science fiction adventure The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu. The first novel, assembled from earlier stories, about the insidious and brilliant Fu Manchu, who would inspire racist depictions of SF’s Asian villains from Ming the Merciless to Dr. No.
  69. 1913. Earl Derr Biggers’s crime adventure Seven Keys to Baldpate. The best-known work by the author of the 1920s Charlie Chan adventures. A group of strangers meet at a mountaintop inn… and trouble follows.
  70. 1913. Marie Belloc Lowndes’s psychological thriller The Lodger. Is the lodger whose rent keeps Ellen and Robert Bunting’s family from the poorhouse actually a Jack the Ripper-esque serial killer?
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  72. 1914. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Radium Age science fiction adventure At the Earth’s Core. A mining engineer discovers — thanks to his “iron mole” machine, that the Earth is hollow; at its center is Pellucidar, a land (lit by a miniature Sun) in which stone-age humans are dominated by intelligent flying reptiles… and in which prehistoric creatures roam freely. NB: H.P. Lovecraft was a fan; check out his 1931 adventure At the Mountains of Madness.
  73. 1914. André Gide’s Les caves du Vatican (in English: Lafcadio’s Adventures, or The Vatican Cellars) is best described as an ironic homage to the adventure novel. Its protagonist, Lafcadio, a would-be Nietzschean superman who reads only adventures like Aladdin and Robinson Crusoe, stumbles upon a plot involving the Pope.
  74. 1914. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes adventure The Valley of Fear. I try to avoid mysteries on these lists, because in most cases they’re not adventures, but the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel fits the bill. A coded message, Professor Moriarty, and a backstory based on the supposedly real-life exploits of the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania!
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  76. 1915. John Buchan’s Richard Hannay adventure The Thirty-Nine Steps. The best hunted-man thriller (or “shocker,” to use the author’s term) ever, at least until Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male. When mining engineer Richard Hannay discovers the existence of a ring of German spies who have stolen British plans for the outbreak of war, he is framed for murder. Fleeing to Scotland, he must elude not only spies but the police.
  77. 1915. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s utopian Radium Age science fiction novel Herland. A utopian novel describing an all-female society (with reproduction by parthenogenesis) in which women’s essential quality of nurturing creates a peaceful and rationally ordered world. Mostly exposition, but there are one or two chase scenes — in which the women capture the rogue males. (Read it on HiLobrow.)
  78. 1915. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s YA adventure The Lost Prince. The author of the sentimental children’s classics Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden also wrote one of the best Ruritanian-type yarns ever. Young Marco Loristan and his crippled urchin friend “The Rat” are entrusted with a secret mission: traveling across Europe with a message for exiled Samavian revolutionaries.
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  80. 1915. Rafael Sabatini’s sea-going historical adventure The Sea Hawk is set in the late 16th century. Sold into slavery by his fiancée’s villainous brother, Cornish gentleman Oliver Tressilian is liberated by Barbary pirates — i.e., Muslim corsairs — among whom he makes a name for himself as Sakr-el-Bahr, the Hawk of the Sea. Tressilian then returns to England for revenge. NB: The Errol Flynn movie was supposed to be an adaption of this novel… but it’s quite different.
  81. 1916. John Buchan’s Richard Hannay adventure Greenmantle is set during WWI. Continuing his undercover work against the Germans and their allies the Turks, Hannay investigates rumors of an uprising in the Muslim world — cf. his 1910 adventure Prester John. Here we meet for the first time Hannay’s great characters Sandy Arbuthnot (master of disguise), Peter Pienaar (South African hunter), and John Blenkiron (dyspeptic, anti-fascist American industrialist). Chases, clues, and battles galore.
  82. 1919. James Branch Cabell’s comical fantasy adventure Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice. In search of courtly love, the protagonist — a poet, who is allowed to relive a year of his youth — journeys through fantastic realms. The novel’s sexual content caused a storm of controversy. Aleister Crowley was a fan, and Robert Heinlein patterned Stranger in a Strange Land after it.
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  84. 1919. John Buchan’s Richard Hannay adventure Mr. Standfast. Near the end of WWI, Hannay is recalled from active duty on the Western Front to go undercover — as a pacifist! — in search of a German agent at large in Britain. John Blenkiron and Peter Pienaar (now an ace pilot) reappear; and we meet their beautiful, brave comrade Mary Lamington.
  85. 1919. Max Brand’s (Frederick Faust) Western adventure The Untamed relates the story of archetypal western hero Whistling Dan Barry’s evolution from innocence to experience. Considered a classic in the genre, the book is Max Brand’s first important Western. The author eventually wrote more than 500 novels, usually at a breakneck pace.
  86. 1919. H. Rider Haggard’s Radium Age science fiction adventure When the World Shook. When adventurers Bastin, Bickley, and Arbuthnot are marooned on a South Sea island, they discover two Atlanteans in a state of suspended animation. One of the awakened sleepers, Lord Oro, is a superman. The other is Oro’s sexy daughter, Yva. Using astral projection, Lord Oro determines whether or not he should once again employ an infernal chthonic machine to drown the worthless human race! (Reissued by HiLoBooks.)
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  88. 1920/1921. Karel Čapek’s Radium Age science fiction play R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots expressed the Czech litterateur’s fear of social disaster and the unlimited power of corporations — and gave the world the term “robot,” which the author’s brother, Joseph, coined (from the Czech for “corvée labor”) to describe manufactured, exploited humanoids.
  89. 1921. John Dos Passos’s WWI adventure Three Soldiers, in which an Italian American, an Indiana farm boy, and a Harvard graduate become disillusioned in different ways. According to H.L. Mencken: “At one blast it disposed of oceans of romance and blather. It changed the whole tone of American opinion about the war; it even changed the recollections of actual veterans of the war.” Very un-romantic, but a terrific read.
  90. 1921. Ben Hecht’s comical adventure Erik Dorn. Before he became the Hollywood screenwriter famous for Scarface, The Front Page, Some Like it Hot, and His Girl Friday, Hecht wrote a popular novel in which a cynical journalist abandons his wife (and mistress) for the excitement of revolutionary Europe! Call it an ironic homage to the genre.
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  92. 1921. Yevgeny Zamyatin’s Radium Age science fiction adventure We. Circulated in samizdat for years — in which form it influenced George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four — this dystopian novel extrapolates from the rhetoric of communists who advocated extending Taylorism, Fordism, and other (capitalist) scientific-management techniques beyond the factory into all spheres of life. It’s set in a totalized social order whose citizens eat, sleep, work, and even make love like clockwork.
  93. 1922. Cicely Hamilton’s Radium Age science fiction adventure Theodore Savage. When war breaks out in Europe, British civilization collapses overnight. The ironically named protagonist must learn to survive by his wits in a new Britain… one where science and technology swiftly come to be regarded with superstitious awe and terror. (Reissued by HiLoBooks.)
  94. 1922/1926. Franz Kafka’s posthumously published Das Schloss (The Castle). The protagonist, K., struggles for unknown reasons to gain access to the mysterious authorities of a castle who govern the village. Sardonic inversion of an adventure — the protagonist can’t get started. Brian Aldiss writes, of Kafka’s oeuvre: “the baffling atmosphere, the paranoid complexities, the alien motives of others, make the novels a sort of haute sf.”
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  96. 1922. John Buchan’s adventure Huntingtower, published between the third and fourth Richard Hannay novels, is the first of several adventures featuring one of the most unlikely heroes ever, retired Scottish grocer Dickson McCunn. When an exiled Russian noblewoman is imprisoned — in a Scottish tower — by Bolshevik agents, McCunn and unsuccessful poet John Heritage, aided by a troupe of Glasgow slum children, ride to her rescue.
  97. 1922. Karel Čapek’s Radium Age science fiction adventure The Absolute at Large describes how a near-future Greatest War (during which worldwide civilization collapses) is sparked by the manufacture of an atomic reactor whose unintended byproduct is the spiritual essence that permeates every particle of matter: i.e., God. An absurdist tour-de-force.
  98. 1923. E.V. Odle’s Radium Age science fiction adventure The Clockwork Man. Years from now, advanced beings will implant devices into our heads. At the cost of a certain amount of agency, this technology will permit us to move unhindered through time and space, and to live perfectly regulated lives (hello, Singularity). However, if one of these devices should ever go awry, a being from the future might turn up in the 1920s. (Reissued by HiLoBooks.)
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  100. 1924. Johnston McCulley’s historical swashbuckling adventure The Mark of Zorro. The first novella featuring Don Diego de la Vega, a Californio nobleman who, wearing a black mask, defends the people of the land against tyrannical officials. Batman and The Lone Ranger were inspired in part by Zorro, and McCulley’s other pulp inventions were influential too.
  101. 1924. P.C. Wren’s French Foreign Legion adventure Beau Geste, in which three brothers, each of whom is convinced that he is saving the other two from prison (a precious jewel has gone missing) by doing so — flee Britain and join the Foreign Legion. In French North Africa, a sadistic officer attempts to discover which of them (if any) possesses the jewel; meanwhile, bloodthirsty Tuaregs besiege their little garrison at Fort Zinderneuf.
  102. 1924. John Buchan’s Richard Hannay adventure The Three Hostages. In his fourth outing, Hannay must rescue the kidnapped children of three prominent people. Also, it seems that a sinister criminal organization is tapping into the psychic disorder caused by the Great War! Hannay’s wife, Mary, and his comrade Sandy Arbuthnot, master of disguise, join him in his quest.
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  104. 1924. Richard Connell’s adventure story “The Most Dangerous Game.” One of the greatest examples of the hunted-man sub-genre. It’s so iconic that I’m breaking the rule against including stories (as opposed to novels) on these lists of mine. Collected in the definitive 1945 collection The Pocket Book of Adventure Stories, ed. Philip Van Doren Stern.
  105. 1925. Earl Derr Biggers’s Charlie Chan mystery/detective adventure The House Without a Key. The first in a series of six novels. The character of Charlie Chan was in part designed to counteract the British adventure’s tradition of the sinister, untrustworthy Oriental.
  106. 1927. Muriel Jaeger’s Radium Age science fiction adventure The Man with Six Senses. When Hilda, a beautiful young member of England’s cynical postwar generation, meets Michael, a hapless mutant capable of perceiving the ever-shifting patterns of electromagnetic fields, she becomes his apostle. (Reissued by HiLoBooks.)
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  108. 1928. Leslie Charteris’s light-hearted mystery/crime adventure Meet the Tiger. Here, for the first time, we meet the wealthy adventurer Simon Templar (known as The Saint), his manservant ’Orace, and young socialite Patricia Holm. Templar, a thief who steals from thieves, aims to settle an old score with a mysterious individual known as “The Tiger.”
  109. 1928. W. Somerset Maugham’s espionage adventure story collection Ashenden. Partly based on the author’s WWI experience as a member of British Intelligence in Europe. Again breaking my rule against including stories — as opposed to novels — on these lists.
  110. 1929. Ernest Hemingway’s hardboiled WWI adventure A Farewell to Arms. “I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain… I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it…” The section on the Caporetto retreat is one of the greatest fictional depictions of warfare.
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  112. 1929. Erich Kästner’s YA adventure Emil and the Detectives. En route to Berlin from the provinces, schoolboy Emil Tischbein is robbed of his mother’s salary, which he was bringing to his grandmother. Emil’s cousin, a tomboy named Pony, helps him gather a posse of Berlin street urchins; together they set a trap for the thief.
  113. 1930. Philip Gordon Wylie’s Radium Age science fiction adventure Gladiator, in which a young man who is nearly invulnerable and can leap trees fights in WWI — as a member of the Foreign Legion. Later, he plans to adopt a secret identity in order to fight crime in New York. A major influence on Siegel and Shuster’s 1938 Superman comic.
  114. 1930. Arthur Ransome’s YA adventure novel Swallows and Amazons. During holidays in northwestern England, the Walker siblings and tomboys Nancy and Peggy Blackett roam around in sailboats. Their imaginative, grownup-free adventures are influenced by their mutual love of Treasure Island. Which is to say, Ransome was writing meta-fictional adventure.
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  116. 1930. Dashiell Hammett’s hardboiled crime/treasure-hunt adventure The Maltese Falcon. Grittily realistic, morally ambiguous; considered by aficionados to be the standard by which all subsequent American mysteries must be judged. The only novel featuring the character Sam Spade.
  117. 1931–32. Hergé’s bande dessinée adventure Tintin in America serialized. Sent to Chicago, young reporter-adventurer Tintin and his dog Snowy tackle Al Capone’s mob, pursue another gangster across the country, encounter a tribe of Blackfoot Indians (who get exploited), and also evade a lynch mob and a wildfire! Published as a color album in 1945.
  118. 1931/1936. H.P. Lovecraft’s Radium Age science fiction adventure At the Mountains of Madness. A team of explorers from Miskatonic U. arrive in Antarctica… where they discover the frozen bodies of ancient monsters. They accidentally thaw one out. Plus, an abandoned city whose technologies reveal the true origins of intelligent life on Earth. Spoiler: It was ancient astronauts.
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  120. 1932. Aldous Huxley’s Radium Age science fiction adventure Brave New World. In the year 632 A.F. (After Ford), extra-uterine babies are the norm and conspicuous consumption is the law. Everyone is content… until a Shakespeare-quoting Savage questions whether all this progress is worth it. The one sf novel that everyone knows — and one whose predictions (unlike those of Nineteen Eighty-Four) are uncannily accurate.
  121. 1932–34. Hergé’s bande dessinée Tintin adventure Cigars of the Pharaoh serialized. In Egypt, Tintin and Snowy discover a tomb crowded with mummified Egyptologists and stashes of opium-filled cigars. They then pursue the Kih-Oskh drug smuggling cartel, whose members wear hoods and robes adorned with a sinister symbol — across the Arabian Peninsula and through India. Published as a color album in 1955.
  122. 1932. Edwin Balmer and Philip Gordon Wylie’s Radium Age science fiction adventure When Worlds Collide. Scientists rescue a group of men and women, and bear witness to the collapse of civilization, just before the Earth is destroyed.
  123. endore werewolf

  124. 1933. Guy Endore’s horror/historical adventure The Werewolf of Paris. In a city besieged by the Prussian Army, a young man — who might or might not be a werewolf — begins to feed upon the blood of his willing, perverted lover.
  125. 1933. James Hilton’s adventure Lost Horizon. A kidnapped Englishman who is temperamentally — thanks to his WWI experience — a philosophical ironist (but not a cynic!) discovers, in a remote Tibetan valley, a quasi-monastic community for whom philosophical irony has been elevated to a noble Weltanschauung.
  126. 1933. James Hilton’s Buchan-esque espionage adventure Knight Without Armour. A British secret agent in Russia rescues the daughter of a Tsarist minister from Bolshevik revolutionaries. Adapted into a fun 1937 movie starring Robert Donat and Marlene Dietrich.
  127. cain postman

  128. 1934. James M. Cain’s hardboiled crime adventure The Postman Always Rings Twice, in which a drifter conspires with his lover to kill her husband, the owner of a roadside sandwich stand. The author’s first and most enduring book.
  129. 1934–46. Milton Caniff’s hardboiled adventure comic Terry and the Pirates. Terry and his tutor, Pat Ryan, arrive in China seeking a lost gold mine. Accompanied by their interpreter Connie, the two get into one scrape — complicated by a beautiful woman, including spoiled Normandie Drake, the thief Burma, and the bandit queen Dragon Lady — after another.
  130. 1935–36. Robert E. Howard’s atavistic fantasy adventure Conan the Conqueror (aka The Hour of the Dragon), serialized in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, is the author’s only full-length novel about the Cimmerian who evolves from a barbarian to a mercenary and thief to conquering king. Published in book form (Gnome Press) in 1950.
  131. stapledon odd

  132. 1935. Olaf Stapledon’s science fiction adventure Odd John. Led by the titular teenage mutant “supernormal,” a group of evolved misfits form an island colony, where they experiment with telepathic communication and “individualistic communism.” Don’t kid yourself they belong to you / They’re the start of a coming race!
  133. 1936. John Buchan’s Richard Hannay novel The Island of Sheep, in which Hannary and his old comrade Sandy Arbuthnot — plus Hannay’s teenage son — must protect the heir to the secret of a great treasure from a sinister conspiracy. The action takes place in Scotland and the Faroe Islands. The modern Scottish tradition of adventure romances draws to a close….
  134. 1937–38. Hergé’s Tintin adventure The Black Island. Wait, here’s one more adventure romance set in Scotland! I’ve long suspected that The Black Island — in which Tintin escapes from an evil German doctor who runs a mental institution, then busts up a forgery racket in an abandoned castle on an island off the coast of Kiltoch (Scotland), is an homage to Buchan. Published as a color album in 1943.
  135. Hobbit1

  136. 1937. J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy adventure The Hobbit, in which stay-at-home halfling Bilbo Baggins is persuaded by the wizard Gandalf to travel across Middle Earth and burgle the dragon Smaug’s treasure hoard. Along the way he and his dwarven companions encounter elves and trolls, goblins and wargs, talking spiders, and the twisted creature Gollum.
  137. 1937. John P. Marquand’s Mr. Moto espionage adventure Think Fast, Mr. Moto, by the Pulitzer-winning author of The Late George Apley. Sent from Boston to close down a Hawaiian casino run by a distant relation, who turns out to be a beautiful woman, hapless Wilson Hitchings stumbles upon a Manchurian money-laundering scheme. Japanese super-spy Mr. Moto to the rescue!
  138. 1938. T.H. White’s fantasy adventure The Sword in the Stone. It may have been adapted into a Disney movie, but it’s not for kids. Merlin is weird and wise; Maid Marian is a leather-clad bad-ass; Colonel Cully (a hawk) is insane; King Pellinore is a bumbling fellow who can’t give up his search for the “Questin’ Beast.” From these and other marvelous characters, the Wart learns to be a great king.
  139. ambler epitaph

  140. 1938. Eric Ambler’s espionage adventure Epitaph for a Spy, the simple declarative style of which — “I arrived in St. Gatien from Nice on Tuesday, the 14th of August. I was arrested at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, the 16th, by an agent de police and an inspector in plain clothes and taken to the Commissariat.” — signaled the genre’s break with cloak-and-dagger melodrama. A teacher on vacation is coerced into assisting with a counter-espionage operation.
  141. 1939. Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled crime adventure The Big Sleep, in which we first meet wisecracking PI Philip Marlowe. This complex, amusing, thrilling story — whose characters double-cross one another at every turn — is one of the best novels of the century. Plus, Howard Hawks’s 1946 adaptation is terrific.
  142. 1939. Eric Ambler’s espionage/crime adventure The Mask of Dimitrios; US title: A Coffin for Dimitrios. On vacation in pre-WWII Turkey, crime novelist Charles Latimer begins researching a master criminal and spy who has recently died. As he enters his subject’s criminal underworld, Latimer realizes that his own life may be in jeopardy.
  143. household rogue

  144. 1939. Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, the most exciting hunted-man adventure since Buchan’s Thirty Nine Steps, is one of my favorite novels. A big-game hunter stalks a European dictator (presumably Hitler), gets caught… then escapes back to England. Thanks to top-notch fieldcraft, he eludes his pursuers by going to ground like an animal.
  145. 1940. Michael Innes’s espionage adventure The Secret Vanguard, a sardonic inversion of John Buchan-style stories, complete with German spies, a chase through Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and a heroine on the run (in Scotland, of course). This might be a controversial pick, on my part, because many Innes fans dislike it. But it was a turning point in the author’s career, a transition from whodunnits to thrillers; and it was a key influence on Graham Greene.
  146. 1941. Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp’s fantasy adventure Land of Unreason. An American diplomat is wounded during a WWII air raid in England; while recuperating in Yorkshire, he is transported to the land of Faerie. There, he is recruited by Titania and Oberon, who send him on a secret mission to the totalitarian Kobold Hills (i.e., Germany).
  147. long ships

  148. 1941/45. Frans G. Bengtsson’s atavistic adventure The Long Ships (or Red Orm; original Swedish: Röde Orm), which is perhaps the definitive Viking novel. Set in the 10th century, the tale follows the adventures of Red Orm… and traces Scandinavia’s transformation from a pagan to a Christian civilization. Reissued by the New York Review of Books!
  149. 1941. Helen MacInnes’s espionage adventure Above Suspicion. A British spy working covertly in Germany is missing, so a young British couple are asked to turn their summer vacation into an undercover mission. Considered exemplary because of the author’s nuanced understanding of history, politics, culture, and geography, this is MacInnes’s first novel.
  150. 1941. Agatha Christie’s espionage adventure N or M?, which features a hunt for two of Hitler’s top secret spy agents in Britain. Fun fact: MI5 investigated Agatha Christie because a character called Major Bletchley appeared in her N or M?. MI5 was afraid that Christie had learned of Britain’s top-secret codebreaking center, Bletchley Park.
  151. macinnes

  152. 1942. Helen MacInnes’s WWII adventure Assignment in Brittany. In this story about a Francophone British soldier sent to spy as part of the resistance to the Nazi occupation of northern France — because he looks just like an injured Breton soldier — MacInnes strikes a dynamic balance between Buchan-style romance and Ambler’s hardboiled style. PS: The book was required reading for Allied intelligence agents sent to work with the French underground.
  153. 1943. Graham Greene’s espionage adventure The Ministry of Fear, which Fritz Lang adapted for the screen in 1944. At a charity fête held in wartime London, Arthur Rowe wins a cake that contains a secret message. As German bombs rain down on the city, Rowe is pursed by Nazi spies. NB: Greene credited Michael Innes’s The Secret Vanguard as his inspiration.
  154. 1943. Carl Barks’s 10-page Donald Duck comics are among the greatest achievements in the history of the medium. Barks didn’t invent the character, but he placed Donald in the city of Duckburg, which he populated with Uncle Scrooge McDuck, the sinister Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, and many others. Plus, Barks sent Donald (and Donald’s nephews, armed with their Junior Woodchucks Guidebook) on great adventures — often treasure hunts.
  155. macinnes

  156. 1944. Helen MacInnes’s WWII espionage adventure The Unconquerable (aka While We Still Live). A British woman in Warsaw becomes a double agent — working for Germany while passing along secrets to the brave Polish resistance. Neither side trusts her, so when she is pursued by a German officer through the forests of Poland, she’s on her own… almost.
  157. 1945. E.B. White’s children’s fantasy adventure Stuart Little. A mouse born to a human family races a sailboat in Central Park, gets shipped out to sea in a garbage can, and sets out — several years before Kerouac’s On the Road — on a cross-country odyssey. The book was criticized, at the time, by the New York Public Library’s influential children’s lit expert for being nonaffirmative, inconclusive, and unfit for kids.
  158. 1946. Kenneth Fearing’s noir crime adventure The Big Clock. George Stroud, a disaffected wage slave, must solve a murder… in which he is the chief suspect. Meanwhile, his boss, who’s assigned him the task, wants to pin the murder on him. Stroud is trapped in an invisible prison — the “Big Clock” of the title is short-hand for bureacracy.
  159. vian

  160. 1946. Boris Vian’s (as Vernon Sullivan) noir crime adventure I Shall Spit on Your Graves. Lee Anderson, a light-skinned black man, sleeps with the daughters of a plantation owner who’d orchestrated the lynching of Anderson’s brother, thus setting the scene for an orgy of violence. It’s been described as “a fusion of prime US pulp and French sado-eroticism.”
  161. 1946. Michael Innes’s fantastical WWII crime/espionage adventure From London Far, an ironic homage to the adventures of John Buchan. A middle-aged scholar of classic literature stumbles upon a massive art smuggling operation in war-torn London; he pretends to be a member of the smuggling gang, and winds up at an isolated Scottish castle housing foreign agents.
  162. 1947. Michael Innes’s espionage adventure The Journeying Boy. Why does Humphrey Paxton, son of one of Britain’s leading atomic boffins, insist that he is being persecuted by spies? His new tutor, Mr. Thewless, “a man almost irrationally determined to deny that the universe holds anything dangerous or surprising,” suspects that Humphrey is a fantasist and a delinquent — and so does the reader, at first. Ironic homage to the adventure genre.
  163. innes white

  164. 1949. Hammond Innes’s survival adventure The White South. Duncan Craig, captain of a whaling ship, is trapped in the Antarctic — along with the crew of an enormous factory ship. “I can still hear the roar of the ice as the great bergs close in upon those stranded men of the whaling fleet,” Daphne du Maurier said of this novel… which the author researched on location.
  165. 1937–49. J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy adventure The Lord of the Rings was written during these years. A posse of easy-going hobbits must destroy the One Ring, the ultimate weapon created by the Dark Lord. They are aided by the superhuman ranger Aragorn, the Human Boromir, the Dwarf Gimli, the Elf Legolas, and the wizard Gandalf. The book began as a sequel to The Hobbit, then turned into an epic. Published as a book in 1954–55.
  166. 1949. Robert Lawson’s YA adventure The Fabulous Flight. When young Peter P. Pepperell III shrinks until he’s pocket-sized, he befriends a slang-talking seagull named Gus. Learning that a reclusive middle-European scientist has invented a tiny, super-powerful explosive, Peter and Gus volunteer to steal it away from him. To this day, the compartment in which Peter rides on Gus’s back makes me gnash my teeth with envy.
  167. greene

  168. 1950. Graham Greene’s crime adventure The Third Man, a treatment prepared by the author as he was writing the screenplay for the suspenseful 1949 movie of the same title. In postwar Vienna, Rollo Martins, a British author of pulp Westerns, discovers that his old friend Harry Lime is dead… and that he’d been suspected of being “the worst racketeer who ever made a dirty living in this city.” Martins begins an investigation to clear his friend’s name.
  169. 1950. Nevil Shute’s WWII adventure A Town Like Alice. Having served as a prisoner of the Japanese in Malaya, a young Englishwoman returns after the war to build a well in a village… then travels to Australia, in search of a former fellow prisoner whom she had believed dead. Once there, she makes improvements to a primitive town in the Queensland outback. An endearing combination of a prisoner-of-war adventure with an entrepreneurial Robinsonade.
  170. 1950. Patricia Highsmith’s crime adventure Strangers on a Train, which was adapted as a film in 1951 by Alfred Hitchcock. Guy Haines wants to divorce his unfaithful wife, Miriam; while on a train, he meets Charles Anthony Bruno, a sociopath who proposes an idea to “exchange murders” — it seems his wants his father killed. Guy doesn’t take Bruno seriously… but when he returns from a trip to Mexico, he discovers that his wife has been murdered!
  171. cruel sea

  172. 1951. Nicholas Monsarrat’s WWII sea-going adventure The Cruel Sea, which draws on the author’s own wartime experience on anti-submarine escort ships. A young naval officer, Keith Lockhart, is given command of an unglamorous little corvette, complete with an inexperienced crew. For years, they battle U-boats and fierce storms… until they are torpedoed.
  173. 1951. Mickey Spillane’s crime adventure One Lonely Night, in which ex-WWII assassin Mike Hammer so frightens a woman he was trying to rescue that she leaps to her death from a bridge. Discovering that the woman was a Communist, Hammer attends a meeting… and is mistaken for a spy from Moscow. Meanwhile, the FBI is searching for lost secret papers and the career of a popular politician is threatened.
  174. 1951. C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower historical sea-going adventure Lieutenant Hornblower, serialized. Probably my favorite of the series. Unique in being told from a perspective other than Hornblower’s… which allows the author to sustain a mystery about how Captain Sawyer, a paranoid schizophrenic, came to be injured. Published in book form in 1952.
  175. Household_Rough_Shoot

  176. 1951. Geoffrey Household’s espionage adventure A Rough Shoot (aka Shoot First). A Buchan-esque thriller — written to be serialized — in which Roger Taine, a Dorset salesman, accidentally kills a man (while hunting) who turns out to be a neo-Nazi. The dead man’s comrades want revenge — and hunt Taine across the rooftops of London. The first of two short adventures, published one after the other, about the same protagonist.
  177. 1951. John Wyndham’s post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure The Day of the Triffids, in which a man whose eyes are bandaged escapes a world-wide epidemic of blindness (caused by a meteor shower). Not only does civilization collapse, but the blind are helpless to resist the depredations of a bioengineered species of plants known as “triffids.” Rival colonies of survivors are formed, some more humane than others.
  178. 1952. Alfred Bester’s science fiction adventure The Demolished Man, serialized. A police procedural set in harshly capitalistic future world where widespread telepathy has rendered deceit and crime impossible — and privacy a thing of the past. When Ben Reich, a young businessman, decides to murder a rival, he hires an Esper (telepath) to hide his murderous thoughts. Published in book form in 1953. NB: Winner of the first Hugo!
  179. thompson

  180. 1952. Jim Thompson’s surreal crime adventure The Killer Inside Me. Lou Ford, a cliché-spouting deputy sheriff in a small Texas town, is secretly a sadistic sociopath. Stanley Kubrick’s blurb: “Probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered.” Credited with spawning the serial-killer adventure sub-genre.
  181. 1953. Ray Bradbury’s science fiction adventure Fahrenheit 451. Published shortly after McCarthy’s speech about Communists making policy in the State Department, Bradbury’s best novel takes as its theme censorship and the threat of neo-fascist book burning in the United States. But it’s also an exciting hunted-man tale: Who can forget the robot dog, with its hypodermic snout!
  182. 1953. Poul Anderson’s fantasy adventure Three Hearts and Three Lions, serialized. Holger Carlsen is an Allied covert operative who winds up in a parallel universe, one whose historical past is the Matter of France. There, he must prevent the evil of Faerie from encroaching on humanity. Expanded and published in 1961. NB: The Dungeons & Dragons alignment system was influenced by this book.
  183. anderson broken

  184. 1954. Poul Anderson’s fantasy adventure The Broken Sword. Michael Moorcock declared The Broken Sword superior to Tolkien, calling it “a fast-paced doom-drenched tragedy in which human heroism, love and ambition, manipulated by amoral gods, elves and trolls, led inevitably to tragic consequences.” PS: It was influenced by H. Rider Haggard’s 1891 Viking adventure The Saga of Eric Brighteyes.
  185. 1955. Crockett Johnson’s children’s dream adventure Harold and the Purple Crayon. A four-year-old with a purple crayon draws an adventure for himself. Along with Ruth Krauss, P.D. Eastman, Syd Hoff, Leo Lionni, Lilian Moore, and William Steig, Johnson (who was author, from 1942–52, of the great newspaper strip Barnaby) was a leftist who raised questions — in an ostensibly playful manner — about our taken-for-granted forms and norms.
  186. 1957. Alistair MacLean’s WWII commando adventure The Guns of Navarone. New Zealand mountaineer-turned-commando Keith Mallory, American demolitions expert Dusty Miller, and Greek resistance fighter Andrea are sent on a mission impossible: to destroy a seemingly impregnable German fortress that threatens Allied naval ships in the Aegean Sea. Adapted as the 1961 movie starring Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn.
  187. tintin tibet

  188. 1958–59. Hergé’s Tintin adventure Tintin in Tibet, the author’s own favorite of his books. A strange adventure without an antagonist (unless the Yeti counts?), without Calculus or the Thompsons. Just Tintin, Haddock, Snowy, and the sherpa Tharkey, trekking across the Himalayan mountains in search of the sole survivor of a plane crash. An emotional, mystical, funny, weird voyage of redemption. Published as a color album in 1960.
  189. 1958. Graham Greene’s espionage adventure Our Man in Havana, a sardonic inversion of the genre. In this black comedy, which Greene considered an “entertainment” rather than a “novel,” Greene mocks intelligence services, especially the British MI6 (for whom he’d worked during WWII), and their willingness to believe reports from local informants. Adapted as the 1959 movie starring Alec Guinness.
  190. 1959. Philip K. Dick’s science fiction adventure Time Out of Joint. Ragle Gumm believes that he lives in the year 1959 in a quiet American suburb. His repeatedly wins the cash prize in a newspaper competition, “Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next?”. Confusion gradually mounts for Gumm. Adapted as (actually, baldly ripped off by) The Truman Show. Except Gumm’s occluded reality is much weirder than Truman’s.
  191. manchurian

  192. 1959. Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidate, a political thriller about the son of a prominent US political family who is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for a Communist conspiracy. Condon’s over-the-top style is strong medicine; as much as I like the 1962 John Frankenheimer movie adaptation, the novel is much better. “Raymond stood as though someone might have just opened a beach umbrella in his bowels.”
  193. 1959–60. René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s historical adventure Asterix the Gaul. The story was first published as a serial in Pilote magazine, a Franco-Belgian comics magazine founded by Goscinny and others. Published in album form in 1962. The English translation was first published in 1969.
  194. 1960. Donald Hamilton’s espionage adventure Death of a Citizen, the first in a long-running (27 titles) series featuring assassin Matt Helm. The title refers to the metaphorical death of peaceful citizen and family man Matt Helm and the rebirth of the WWII killer. NB: In the late 1960s, several comedy movies — sardonic inversions of the genre — starring Dean Martin were produced.
  195. Household_Watcher

  196. 1960. Geoffrey Household’s hunted-man adventure Watcher in the Shadows, his second best novel (after Rogue Male). Zoologist Charles Dennim is sent a mail bomb — why? Turns out that during the war, he was a double agent working for the Allies as a Gestapo officer in a concentration camp. Now the husband of one of the Gestapo’s victims wants revenge.
  197. 1960. Jean Lartéguy’s military adventure The Centurions, which concerns paratroopers in Indochina and Algeria. Lt. Col. Pierre Raspeguy must transform a military unit accustomed to conventional warfare into one that can handle the complex, dynamic challenge of defeating an insurgency. The book, which includes the first use of the so-called “ticking time bomb” scenario, was adapted in 1966 as the movie Lost Command.
  198. 1962. Lionel Davidson’s adventure The Rose of Tibet. A Haggard-esque yarn in which an English man travels to Tibet searching for his missing brother. He is mistaken for a god; he falls in love with a high priestess; he is entrusted with a treasure; and he in the end, he must flee the invading Red Chinese army. Graham Greene: “I hadn’t realised how much I had missed the genuine adventure story until I read The Rose of Tibet.”
  199. lengle wrinkle

  200. 1962. Madeleine L’Engle’s YA science fiction adventure A Wrinkle in Time. Fourteen-year-old Meg Murry is shy, awkward, and too good at math to be considered cool. When their scientist father disappears, Meg and her genius baby brother travel through space and time to rescue him — with the assistance of two weird neighbors (Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who), and a basketball-playing jock.
  201. 1962. Eric Ambler’s crime adventure The Light of Day. A petty crook in Athens, Arthur Abdel Simpson, preys on an international jewel thief — who blackmails him into driving a suspicious car across the Turkish border. Caught by the Turkish police, Simpson is coerced into spying on his erstwhile colleagues. Adapted by Jules Dassin as the light-hearted caper movie Topkapi.
  202. 1962. Len Deighton’s espionage adventure The IPCRESS File is a sardonic inversion of the genre… but still an exciting thriller. The plot involves mind control, the titular acronym standing (absurdly) for “Induction of Psycho-neuroses by Conditioned Reflex under strESS.” The novel’s protagonist if nameless; he works for an intelligence agency with the unexplained acronym WOOC(P). Adapted in 1965 as the popular Michael Caine movie.
  203. HunterPocket

  204. 1962. Richard Stark’s (Donald E. Westlake) crime adventure The Hunter. Parker, a brutal thief, is shot and left for dead by his partner and wife. He recovers, then embarks on a relentless quest to retrieve his money and get revenge. Westlake would write 23 other Parker novels over the next half-century; he is credited with having made it OK for readers to root for the bad guy. Adapted in 1967 as John Boorman’s excellent movie Point Blank.
  205. 1963. Thomas Pynchon’s apophenic adventure V. — published on the cusp of the Sixties. I am fascinated by fiction from ’63 — including YA lit — in so much of which we find a volatile admixture of seriousness (not earnestness) and irony. In Pynchon’s début novel, which details the picaresque exploits of schlemiel Benny Profane and the Whole Sick Crew, in and underneath New York, characters in search of a plot (in the paranoid sense of the term), jazzman McClintic Sphere articulates Pynchon’s cynical-yet-innocent worldview: “Keep cool but care.”
  206. 1963. Helen MacInnes’s espionage adventure The Venetian Affair. Though she got famous writing WWII anti-Nazi espionage adventures, some consider her Cold War anti-Communist books to be her best. In this one, set in picturesque Venice, a resourceful, intelligent amateur gets into a situation where a skilled agent would fear to tread. Adapted into a film in 1967 starring Robert Vaughn and Elke Sommer.
  207. grifters

  208. 1963. Jim Thompson’s crime adventure The Grifters. A lollapalooza, in which a young con artist’s half-hearted efforts to go straight are stymied by his youthful con artist mother — who strongly resembles his girlfriend. Crime, sex, murder, crime, sex, impersonation, incestuous desire, murder. “There is no ease on Uneasy Street. The longer one’s tenancy, the more untenable it becomes.”
  209. 1963. John Le Carré’s espionage adventure The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, in which the head of the West Berlin office of the British Secret Intelligence Service, is recalled in disgrace… but then asked to stay “in the cold” for one last mission. A sardonic inversion of the genre, one which de-glamorizes the spy and spy-craft — and at the same time a suspenseful, elegantly plotted, morally ambiguous thriller. Publishers Weekly named it the “best spy novel of all-time.” Adapted as an excellent 1965 movie.
  210. 1963. Maurice Sendak’s children’s fantasy adventure Where the Wild Things Are. Forget the self-consciously sad live-action 2009 Spike Jonze/Dave Eggers feature-film adaptation — please! Dressed in a wolf costume, Max goes wild — and is sent to his room, which transforms into a jungle. Max sails to an island inhabited by magnificently grotesque Wild Things, whom he (the most feral thing on the island) subjugates. A Wild Rumpus ensues.
  211. fitzhugh harriet

  212. 1964. Louise Fitzhugh’s YA espionage adventure Harriet the Spy. Perhaps my favorite YA novel ever. Harriet is an amazing character. She’s praiseworthy in her intrepid, self-motivated, eccentric (and un-supervised) adventuring; a talented crafter of gnomic aperçus; a loyal friend and a terrifying enemy. And yet, she’s in the wrong; the reader knows it, and so does everybody else in the book. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride.
  213. 1964. Thomas Berger’s revisionist Western Little Big Man. Jack Crabb, a 111-year-old survivor of Custer’s Last Stand, narrates his mock-heroic, picaresque adventures. As his roles vary over the course of his wanderings, from Cheyenne warrior to Army scout to small-time huckster, so does the style of Crabb’s (unreliable) narrative. Adapted as a movie in 1970 by Arthur Penn.
  214. 1965. Philip K. Dick’s science fiction adventure The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Via an odyssey of nested hallucinations, the Gnostic idea that the world is the creation not of God, but of an evil, lesser deity, is burned forever into the reader’s mind. The title character is a demiurge who brings to mankind a “negative trinity” of “alienation, blurred reality, and despair.”
  215. warriors

  216. 1965. Sol Yurick’s hunted-man adventure The Warriors, which was loosely based on Xenophon’s Anabasis — which recounts the travails of Greek mercenaries betrayed and stranded deep within enemy territory. After an assembly of gangs devolves into chaos, the Coney Island Dominators, a black/Hispanic gang of murderers and rapists, must trek home from the Bronx — all the while defending their thuggish sense of manhood — through gang turfs. Adapted into the cult 1979 movie of the same title.
  217. 1965. Frank Herbert’s science fiction adventure Dune, a potboiler about one family’s declining empire, a mythology-saturated fantasy about the founding of a new social order, and a band-of-brothers yarn (Thufir Hawat, the human computer; Gurney Halleck, the troubadour warrior; master swordsman Duncan Idaho). It’s also a criticism of humankind’s despoliation of nature in the name of progress. Plus: Alia, a telepathic four-year-old girl, roams the battlefields of Arrakis slitting the throats of imperial stormtroopers! The Bene Gesserit, who subtly guide humanity’s development! The worm-riding Fremen! Wow.
  218. 1966. J.G. Ballard’s science fiction adventure The Crystal World. In the Cameroon Republic, a British doctor discovers that entrance to the forest is being discouraged… but he can’t figure out why. Seeking his friends, who run a leper colony, he travels upriver and discovers a forest of glass. Trees, grass, water, animals and men are slowly encased in glittering crystals. The universe, its myriad of possibilities, is crystallizing into sameness. Serialized in the first Moorcock-edited issue of New Worlds.
  219. pynchon-lot49

  220. 1966. Thomas Pynchon’s apophenic adventure The Crying of Lot 49. California housewife Oedipa Maas uncovers a centuries-old conflict between two mail distribution companies; or perhaps she’s detecting signals where there is only noise. “The ordered swirl of houses and streets, from this high angle, sprang at her now with the same unexpected, astonishing clarity as the circuit card had. Though she knew even less about radios than about Southern Californians, there were to both outward patterns a hieroglyphic sense of concealed meaning, of an intent to communicate.”
  221. 1966. Richard Fariña’s comical picaresque Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me. The adventures of undergrad Gnossos Pappadoupoulis in the American West, in Cuba during the revolution, and at an upstate New York university. The author was a folksinger who died in a motorcycle accident two days after this first novel was published.
  222. 1966. Lionel Davidson’s hunted-man adventure A Long Way to Shiloh (aka The Menorah Men). Caspar Laing, a British professor of Semitic Languages, is asked to translate an ancient scroll found in Israel — which appears to give directions to the hiding place of a sacred menorah rescued from the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD. The Jordanians are also hunting for the menorah… and what’s worse, the scroll is purposely misleading. Veers from deadly cat-and-mouse chills to hermeneutic thrills. Also, it’s funny!
  223. reed

  224. 1968. Ishmael Reed’s African-American postmodern Western adventure Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down. Set in a time warp, it concerns the battle of black cowboy The Loop Garoo Kid against an evil rancher. It introduces Reed’s concept of HooDoo, i.e., the primitive forces of life pitted against the white Christian tradition.
  225. 1968. Charles Portis’s satirical Western adventure True Grit, which is told from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl seeking retribution for the murder of her father. Considered one of the great American novels. John Wayne would win a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 movie adaptation; the 2010 Coen Brothers adaptation is also excellent.
  226. 1969. Kurt Vonnegut’s science fiction adventure Slaughterhouse-Five. Billy Pilgrim witnesses the firebombing of Dresden in WWII while “time-tripping” to the distant planet of Tralfamadore, where he is put in a zoo and mated with a movie star. Sardonic inversion of the genre; considered the author’s masterpiece.
  227. leguin left hand

  228. 1969. Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish science fiction adventure The Left Hand of Darkness. A much-admired novel set on a frozen planet whose denizens are neither female nor male: they have gender identities and sexual urges only once a month. When a Terran envoy, Genly Ai, and an exiled native politician, Estraven, escape from a prison together, they battle snow and ice together; and as Estraven changes from male to female, Ai questions the binary assumptions that structure his own worldview. Harold Bloom said, of this book: “Le Guin, more than Tolkien, has raised fantasy into high literature, for our time.”
  229. 1971. Walker Percy’s satirical science fiction adventure Love in the Ruins. When Sixties-type political and cultural divides lead America to devolve into chaos, a small-town Louisiana psychiatrist sets up a love nest at an abandoned motel — and uses his invention, the Ontological Lapsometer, to diagnose and treat the harmful mental states at the root of the social crisis. “For the world is broken, sundered, busted down the middle, self ripped from self and man pasted back together as mythical monster, half angel, half beast, but no man….”
  230. 1971. Lionel Davidson’s frontier adventure Smith’s Gazelle, which should be much better-known. A 9-year-old Bedouin boy and a 9-year-old Israeli kibbutznik runaway meet in a hidden ravine in the Israeli desert, which is rumored to be haunted by djinns; though Ishmael and Jacob have been raised as foes, they become friends. Turns out that a reclusive, crazed, and deformed Bedouin shepherd has bred a herd of gazelle in the ravine; an Israeli officer and others are searching for evidence that these gazelle — a species thought to be extinct — do in fact exist. And then the Six-Day War happens.
  231. thompson

  232. 1972. Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Subtitled A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, the novel is a sardonic inversion of the picaresque. Raoul Duke, a journalist who bears a striking resemblance to Thompson, and his attorney, Dr. Gonzo (based on Oscar Zeta Acosta), arrive in Las Vegas to report on a motorcycle race. Loaded to the gills with LSD, ether, cocaine, alcohol, mescaline, and cannabis, they destroy hotel rooms, wreck cars, experience visions in the desert, and comment on how the promise of the Sixties — not to mention the American dream — hasn’t panned out.
  233. 1972. Ishmael Reed’s metafictional crime adventure Mumbo Jumbo, which is set in 1920s New York — locus of a virus known as “Jes Grew,” which influences people to listen to ragtime and jazz, dance, and be happy. (It also infects the book — whose format is disrupted by radio dispatches, photographs, drawings, footnotes — itself. Agents of the white, western, Christian hegemony attempt to suppress the virus. Other agents — including the Mu’tafika, who steal historical artifacts from Western museums and return them to their places of origin — work against the hegemony. PaPa LaBas, a Voodoo practitioner, is drawn into the conflict.
  234. 1972. Richard Adams’s epic talking-animal adventure Watership Down, sometimes called the rabbits’ Aeneid. A group of rabbits escape the destruction of their warren and journey across south-central England in search of a new home. Along the way, they encounter predators, snares, and automobiles; and they’re tempted to join un-free rabbit societies; the monstrous rabbit leader of one of these societies leads an attack on their new warren. Fortunately, the nomadic rabbits are resourceful and brave… and they’ve learned how to survive and thrive from the lapine mythology of El-ahrairah the trickster.
  235. eiger

  236. 1972. Trevanian’s espionage adventure The Eiger Sanction, the author’s first novel. In this sardonic inversion of the espionage sub-genre, an art professor and mountaineer who doubles as a hired assassin for a CIA-like government agency, is tricked into a hazardous “sanction” that involves an attempt to scale one of the most treacherous peaks in the Swiss Alps. Trevanian (film scholar Rodney William Whitaker) has been called “the only writer of airport paperbacks to be compared to Zola, Ian Fleming, Poe and Chaucer.” The book was adapted into a weird, vapid 1975 movie directed by and starring Clint Eastwood.
  237. 1973. Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Set during the waning days of WWII, Pynchon’s infamous masterpiece is an espionage adventure revolving around the quest to uncover the secret of a mysterious device (the “Schwarzgerät) that is to be installed in a German V-2 rocket with the serial number “00000.” (The book’s title refers to the parabolic trajectory of a V-2, as well as to the introduction of randomness into physics via quantum mechanics.) But the book is also a picaresque adventure following naive Tyrone Slothrop, a naive Allied Intelligence operative, as he wanders — under surveillance — around London and Europe.
  238. 1973. J.G. Ballard’s survivalist adventure Crash… whose theme I describe as “survivalist” because the author’s earlier novels were sardonic inversions of Adventure’s survivalist sub-genre. Whereas those other books (The Drowned World, The Crystal World, etc.) were cataclysms set in the future; Crash takes place in the cataclysmic present, i.e., in a social order where catastrophe has become normalized. When “Ballard,” our narrator, is involved in a car crash, he is drawn into the orbit of Dr. Vaughan, leader of a cult of crash victims who are sexually aroused by re-enacting fatal celebrity car crashes.
  239. stone dog

  240. 1974. Robert Stone’s crime adventure Dog Soldiers. Set in Vietnam and the United States, it concerns a heroin deal that goes violently awry. Its theme, meanwhile, is the decline of the promise of the Sixties: the death of the counterculture in America, mistrust of authority figures, and the end of youthful American optimism. Published in the cusp year of 1974, Stone’s book signals the emerging tone of Seventies-era adventure.
  241. 1974. John le Carré’s espionage adventure Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. George Smiley — the pudgy, cuckolded, anti-James Bond — is recalled to the British Secret Intelligence Service to hunt down a double agent… one of his own ex-colleagues. After The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, this is the second-best novel by the author… who worked for MI5 and MI6 in the ’50s and ’60s, when Kim Philby was exposed as a KGB mole. The 2011 movie version, starring Gary Oldman, was pretty good; so was the the 1979 miniseries with Alec Guinness.
  242. 1974. Ursula K. LeGuin’s anarchistic science fiction adventure The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, a pointed critique of typical utopian narratives. It’s set on Annares, a planet whose inhabitants value voluntary cooperation, local control, and mutual tolerance — but who have preserved their grooviness through an entrenched bureaucracy that stifles innovation. Le Guin’s protagonist temporarily abandons Annares for a nearby world, one that is superior in certain respects because its inhabitants value the free market. How to reconcile?
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  244. 1975. J.G. Ballard’s atavistic adventure High-Rise. An ultra-modern apartment block in London populated by well-to-do yuppies who rarely leave the premises gradually becomes a self-sustaining vertical city. At which point social relations between different groups of tenants worsen; they stratify into three castes — depending on which floor you live on. A new social order emerges, one in which “all life within the high-rise revolved around three obsessions — security, food and sex.” Sardonic inversion of the atavistic sub-genre.
  245. 1975. Peter Matthiessen’s frontier adventure Far Tortuga, an impressionistic, minimalistic novel concerning the events leading up to the death of the crew of a turtle-fishing boat in the Caribbean. The author, best-known today as a highly decorated nature and travel writer, has said: “I was feeling my way toward a spare form, with more air around the words, more space: I wanted the descriptions to be very clear and flat, to find such poetry as they might attain in their very directness and simplicity.”
  246. 1975. Jack Higgins’s WWII commando adventure The Eagle Has Landed. An IRA operative and team of disgraced — because they’re too kind-hearted, and anti-Nazi — German commandos are recruited to infiltrate an English village, where Winston Churchill is going to spend a weekend. Their objective is to kidnap him and smuggle him out of the country. Adapted in 1976 as a movie starring Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, and Robert Duvall.
  247. abbey monkey wrench

  248. 1975. Edward Abbey’s anarchistic adventure The Monkey Wrench Gang. Four ecologically minded misfits team up to use sabotage (bulldozers and trains) as way of protesting environmentally damaging activities in the American Southwest. The Monkeywrench Gang despise liberals — particularly the Sierra Club. The book, which is very funny and exciting, inspired the formation of the direct-action environmentalist group Earth First!
  249. 1976. Samuel R. Delany’s Foucauldian science fiction adventure Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia. A post-structuralist novel set on a Neptunian colony where no one goes hungry and everyone is sexually confused. The subtitle signal’s the author’s critique not only of utopian narratives but of Le Guin’s vestigial nostalgia for pastoral communes. Political tensions between Triton — where one can change one’s physical appearance, gender, sexual orientation, and even specific patterns of likes and dislikes — and Earth lead to a destructive interplanetary war.
  250. 1977. Philip K. Dick’s science fiction adventure A Scanner Darkly. Set in a barely futuristic suburban LA of 1994, Scanner tells the story of “Fred,” a disillusioned narc who enjoys the company of the addicts with whom he lives as “Bob” — whose own drug intake contributes to a toxic brain psychosis complicated by Fred’s new assignment… to spy on Bob. The book ends with a dramatic dedication to Dick’s many friends who’d been killed or permanently damaged by drug abuse; the author’s own name is on the list.
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  252. 1977–on. Gary Panter’s comic Jimbo. Panter’s “ratty line” illustrations helped define the style of L.A. punk. But the appeal of Jimbo — an all-American, freckle-faced punk wandering through a post-apocalyptic social order on Mars known as Dal Tokyo — is timeless. The first Jimbo comics appeared in the zine Slash and in Spiegelman/Mouly’s Raw; they have been collected in Jimbo (1982), Invasion of the Elvis Zombies (1984), Jimbo: Adventures in Paradise (1988), and Jimbo’s Inferno (2006). Panter is still producing Jimbo adventures today!
  253. 1979. Gilbert Sorrentino’s meta-fictional adventure Mulligan Stew. On loan from Fitzgerald, O’Brien, Joyce, and Hammett, the characters in a “new wave murder mystery” rebel against its author. The book turns into an improvised soup of journal entries, erotic poetry, parodies of all kinds, love letters, interviews, lists, and — above all — intentionally bad writing, from incoherent ideas to clichés to stupid metaphors.
  254. 1980. Geoffrey Household’s occult adventure The Sending. When Hollaston, an ex-Indian Army colonel, inherits a dead friend’s polecat, he discovers that he has suppressed shamanistic powers… and what’s more, he’s being targeted — via psychic transmissions — by a cult! Four decades after Rogue Male, another great yarn from the great Household.
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  256. 1980. Octavia E. Butler’s Patternist science fiction adventure Wild Seed. Anyanwu, a 350-year-old shapeshifter who can absorb bullets and heal with a kiss, is lured from an African jungle to the colonies of America by the ruthless Doro, an immortal entity who changes bodies like clothes — and who wants to use Anyanwu for his breeding experiments. The history of slavery, recapitulated as alien abduction! The prequel to Mind of My Mind (1977), Clay’s Ark (1984), Survivor (1978), and Patternmaster (1976).
  257. 1980. Umberto Eco’s historical/hermeneutic adventure The Name of the Rose, set in the early 14th century. As the Sherlock Holmes-like Franciscan friar William of Baskerville (get it?) arrives at a Benedictine monastery in Italy, several monks die under mysterious circumstances. William and his novice, Adso, explore a labyrinthine medieval library containing forbidden literature, discuss the subversive power of laughter, and confront the intolerance of the Inquisition… but is there a mystery to be discovered, after all?
  258. 1980. T. Coraghessan Boyle’s semi-fictional historical adventure Water Music, which follows the parallel adventures of Scottish explorer Mungo Park and a London criminal, Ned Park, in 19th-century London, Africa, and the Scottish highlands. A riotous, erudite, imaginative yarn loosely based on the real-life Mungo Park’s Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa. The author’s first novel.
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  260. 1981. Alasdair Gray’s postmodernist fantasy adventure Lanark. In two of this epic tome’s four sections, a young Glaswegian is driven mad by his inability to form relationships; in the other two sections, Unthank — a Glasgow-like fantasy civilization — disintegrates for the same reason. Are the two narratives connected? Perhaps, perhaps not. In the Epilogue, the author himself tells the protagonist: “A heavy book will make a bigger splash than two light ones.”
  261. 1981. Jean-Patrick Manchette’s “neo-polar” crime adventure The Prone Gunman. Martin Terrier, a young hitman eager to retire, returns to his home town. There, he loses the woman he loves, the money he’s saved, the one friend he has left, and finally, his marksmanship. A violent, existentialist exploration of the human condition and French society; the author’s last completed novel. French cartoonist Jacques Tardi’s adaptation of The Prone Gunman is great; check out Fantagraphics Books’ 2011 English-language edition.
  262. 1981. John Crowley’s fantasy adventure Little, Big. The complex, sprawling, quasi-mythic story of an eccentric family’s relationship with the occluded world of faerie. The family’s members believe that they are each part of a grand supernatural Tale, and that their fates are intertwined with the faeries’ hidden universe. According to Harold Bloom: “A neglected masterpiece. The closest achievement we have to the Alice stories of Lewis Carroll.”
  263. V+for+Vendetta

  264. 1982. Alan Moore’s graphic novel adventure V for Vendetta, set in a near-future United Kingdom, ruled by the fascist Norsefire Party, which came to power after a nuclear war. An anarchist revolutionary, who wears a Guy Fawkes mask and calls himself “V,” begins a campaign of terrorism designed to bring down the government — and revenge himself on the scientists whose experiments led him to develop superhuman abilities. Illustrated mostly by David Lloyd.
  265. 1982. Paul Theroux’s The Mosquito Coast. A sardonic inversion of a cozy-catastrophe-type Robinsonade. The patriarch of a would-be Swiss Family Robinson tells his family that civilization has been destroyed — although it hasn’t. Before that, he tries to bring an ice machine to the natives of a Central American jungle village; so it’s also a sardonic inversion of a frontier epic.
  266. 1983. Terry Pratchett’s comical fantasy adventure The Colour of Magic, the first book of the Discworld series. Caught up in a boardgame played by the gods of Discworld, the incompetent wizard Rincewind journeys across the Disc with wealthy tourist Twoflower. A sardonic inversion of fantasy; Pratchett has described the book as “an attempt to do for the classical fantasy universe what Blazing Saddles did for Westerns.”

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

MORE LIT LISTS FROM THIS AUTHOR: Index to All Adventure Lists | 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 | 70 Crime | 65 Fantasy | 60 Espionage | 40 Atavistic & Historical | 25 Frontier & Western | 20 Avenger & Artful Dodger | 20 Apophenic & Treasure Hunt | 20 War & Ruritanian | 18 Picaresque | 11 Robinsonade & Survival. ALSO: Best YA Fiction of 1963 | Best Older Kids’ Lit 1964 | 10 Best 1964 Adventures | 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 |

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