Vintage Crime, $25.00, 878 pages
Danger! Lust! Bloodthirsty Villains! Exotic Lands! The Big Book of Adventure Stories, edited by Otto Penzler, is so enthralling that once you open it, you may never be seen again! What do adventure stories offer? They serve as an escape from everyday existence. They aren’t realistic and they are not supposed to be. Where else can you encounter lost cities, beautiful heroes and heroines, impenetrable jungles, and wondrous expeditions? Where else does good trump evil and the damsel in distress is always rescued? This collection features stories from the heyday of pulp adventure (1850s – 1920s) when there were still real world explorations happening and blank places on the map still existed. There are famous writers (O. Henry, H.G. Wells, Jack London, and Rudyard Kipling) and little known authors that may become new favorites. Reunite with old friends – Tarzan, Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, Zorro, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Conan the Barbarian, and King Kong. The tales are divided into sections that embody the greatest themes of the genre: Sword and Sorcery, Sand and Sun, Island Paradise, I Spy, and Future Shock. Readers nostalgic for a simpler time will find what they are searching for in The Big Book of Adventure Stories.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin