Saturday, February 20, 2016


There are five issues of Adventure dated February 20, published between 1922 and 1926, when the magazine was coming out three times a month. None of the covers are really spectacular or weird, so how do I decide which one to put on the Calendar? It came down to which issue had the best lineup of writers, and this 1922 issue has the big two for small-a adventure fans, Harold Lamb and Talbot Mundy, with complete stories. On top of that, this number has two of Adventure's most popular western scribes, Hugh Pendexter (continuing a serial) and W. C. Tuttle. On top of that you have J. D. Newsom, an author I like very much, and five more stories by writers I'm less familiar with. The chances are that Charles Victor Fischer, E. E. Harriman, Harrison S. Howard, Robert Simpson and William Wells all had something going for them to make it into an Adventure from the magazine's golden age. You'd think the lion would be more excited!


  1. Though Charles Victor Fischer and Robert Simpson might be fogotten today, back then they had two excellent series going in ADVENTURE. Both wrote quite a bit for the magazine: Fischer's specialty was stories of the US peacetime navy and Simpson wrote stories about the African trading company, Marsden & Co.

  2. This is a great issue of Adventure at its peak, and the cover is a slightly worried lion. It has the first appearance of J.D. Newsom, with a story set in the Far East, a departure from his line of Foreign Legion stories.

    For fun, I decided to copy out the first lines of every story here:

    Fish for the Gunner · Charles Victor Fischer · ss
    By all our grandmothers used to tell us, Blackie's left ear must have been ringing that afternoon.

    A Burned Steak · E. E. Harriman · ss
    PRIMARILY it was a very good steak, thick, red and juicy.

    The Best Bet · Harrison R. Howard · ss
    When the district man and his attendant unexpectedly put in their appearance at Whiptown, in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, and took over the duties of Ranger Bradley of the old Forest Service, gossip began to smack its ready lips upon the hint of scandal, savored with mystery.

    The Gate in the Sky · Harold Lamb · ss
    The long night of Winter had begun.

    The Seventeen Thieves of El-Kalil [Jimgrim] · Talbot Mundy · ss
    STEAM never killed romance.

    The Odyssey of Chandar Roy · J. D. Newsom · ss
    IF Chandar Roy, the babu, had not used his official position as a civil servant in the service of the British Crown to smuggle rifles and ammunition across the border to the people of the Ally Musjid territory, this account would never have been set down.

    The White Dawn [Part 2 of 4] · Hugh Pendexter · sl
    SALEBY Butler, Maugem and I returned to the King's Arms and had something to eat.

    Up-Stream · Robert Simpson · ss
    The practice of ordering one's own coffin in advance is not popular even in the mangrove swamps of the Niger delta where oblong pitch-pine boxes of prescribed length are in more hurried demand than anywhere else on earth.

    Wise Men and a Mule · W. C. Tuttle · ss
    She's the beautifulest story ever wrote.

    The Closed Trail · Wm. Wells · ss
    A thousand head of beef, three-year-old steers, sleek and fat, the first drive of the season from Upper Verde, came slowly in a mile-long string down the desert trail.

    They don't write them like that anymore.

  3. These first sentences of each story manage to give a hint as to the high quality of the fiction. It's hard to stop reading when the beginning lines are so well written.

  4. I really like Harriman and Pendexter's opening; food makes a great hook. Simpson's is cool, too. You can tell, though, that Lamb and Mundy already have nothing to prove with an opening sentence. Sai is very correct about nobody writing like that today. Today, the first lines would be an italicized time and location. Ugh.