Tuesday, September 20, 2016


This 1923 Adventure has at least one thing I'd really like to read, and more besides. The sure thing is the last installment of T. S. Stribling's serial Fombombo. The issues with the first two installments of this four-parter have been uploaded and disseminated online, and Fombombo was a highlight of both -- which is saying something because those two issues also introduce Arthur D. Howden-Smith's Swain the Viking.  Largely forgotten now, Stribling is the author the pulp world would have considered their prize pupil in their own time; he won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1932 novel The Store. Fombombo is a sort of mock epic based on the high concept of throwing a Babbitt like ugly American salesman in the middle of an archetypal Latin American revolution and having him experience a slow-motion moral awakening. Half of it is great stuff and I hope to find out about the other half eventually. Along with Fombombo this issue boasts novelettes by Arthur O. Friel and Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, the start of a Hugh Pendexter serial, a Mohamed Ali tale by George E. Holt, and stories by H. S. Cooper, Walter Inland, Thomas Samson Miller, Frederick Moore, William Byron Mowery and John Webb. I don't know all of these writers, but this is Adventure in its peak years, so I'd guess they all have something going for them.


  1. This is one of Adventure's best issues. Not only do we have the Stribling serial and a novelet by Brodeur but there also is the beginning of the "Black White" series by Friel about a white man who has his skin turned black by a spurned woman. He goes insane and wanders through the jungle. There also is what may be the best of the Hugh Pendexter serials, OLD MISERY. The Campfire includes a 4 page letter by Friel about his trip through the jungles of South America. I've reread the Friel and Pendexter stories a few years ago and they held up well to a second reading.

  2. Walker, that Friel letter sounds like a tremendous bonus I would not have known about otherwise. I've read a later Black White series and was quite impressed.

  3. In 1924, the very next year, Arthur Friel wrote an excellent travel book about his trip. It's called THE RIVER OF THE SEVEN STARS and stresses the dangers that he encountered. The biggest annoyance had to be the insect bites which almost drove him crazy. Before the internet I spent a couple decades trying to find a copy of this book but now copies are listed on the second hand market.