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The Big Book of Adventure Stories Paperback – May 31, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Otto Penzler lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030747450X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307474506
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop (www.mysteriousbookshop.com) in New York City and is regarded as the world's foremost authority on crime, mystery and suspense fiction. He founded The Mysterious Press in 1975, which he later sold to Warner Books (1989). He reacquired the imprint in 2010 and it now publishes original books as an imprint at Grove/Atlantic, and both original works and classic crime fiction through MysteriousPress.com (www.mysteriouspress.com), in partnership with Open Road Integrated Media.

Penzler is a prolific editor, and has won two Edgar Awards, for Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection in 1977 and The Lineup in 2010. The Mystery Writers of America awarded him the prestigious Ellery Queen Award in 1994 and the Raven--the group's highest non-writing award--in 2003.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is, without doubt, the finest collection of adventure stories ever published. All the stars are here, from Jack London to Cornell Woolrich, a full range of the best adventure stories money - and not all that much of it considering the breadth and quality of these stories - can buy. It was such a pleasure to be with such heroes of Bulldog Drummond and the the Cisco Kid again, a lovely stroll down memory lane that brought back that first youthful sense of peril. Here is high adventure as it once was written by the greatest of its practitioners. Frankly, nostalgia was never more fun. Thank you, Mr. Penzler, for this gift.
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Format: Paperback
Adventure stories? I thought. Well, I'll give it a try, but I was wary.

These are the kind of stories you always knew were out there, but you just never read. If you don't live in a tree you've heard of Tarzan, Conan, King Kong, or the Cisco Kid. But except for Hollywood's interpretations of these characters, most readers today are unfamiliar with their origins in prose.

To me, Tarzan was somebody a bunch of swimmers and body builders played in a string of cheap movies (Or in the case of Graystoke, the Legend of Tarzan, not so cheap). So who knew Tarzan was as clever as James Bond and as savage as Conan the Barbarian? And who knew I would enjoy this new anthology by Otto Penzler even more than The Big Book of Pulp Stories?

Some of these classic tales are amazing, others are interesting but lacking a certain zing (sorry Talbot Mundy). But because of the stories I read in this book, I've already placed orders for more stories by Robert E Howard. I'm on the lookout for more Philip Jose Farmer. I finished Mr. Farmer's "After King Kong Fell" and decided I can never watch the Fay Wray King Kong movie the same way again.

Anyway, this book is highly recommended. You might not enjoy everything but the book is so BIG you'll find something to love!
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At the age of 78 years, I am entering my second childhood...and the Big Book of Adventure Stories is the greatest gift I could have received. Stories by authors I enjoyed in my pre-teens and early teens: E.R.Burroughs, Saki, P.C.Wren...and a host of authors I missed as an avid young reader! This book is a treasure! I only hope that Mr. Penzler is considering compiling Volume 2 in the near future....second childhoods don't last forever.
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Format: Paperback
Here's a simple test to see if this is the book for you. Have a look at the cover (yes I know the old saying). If you are horrified by the caucasian male protagonist being attacked by a gang of scantily clad and barely SFW native girls (either to sacrifice or ravish him, or possibly both, but not in that order) while trying to rescue his friend from snarling panthers, all under the gaze of a forgotten god, as horribly intolerant, patriarchal, and colonialist...well, perhaps wander over to the sections on various "isms" and poke around there. If, on the other hand, you think all that looks kinda cool (and wonder what's keeping those necklaces in place on the native girls) then click through the table of contents and see if you like what you see.

If you don't know a name from the table of contents, check out the back cover, with a list of the "characters" you will find. Really, almost every story is either by a famous writer (ie Alastair Maclean), features a famous character (Buck Rogers) or both (Robert E Howard's Conan, Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan).

In short, its 700 pages of short stories by a whole bunch of names, some famous, some not. Then there is 150 pages of Tarzan novel. Its all good, even if some is a little dated - most of this stuff dates from the first 50 years of the last century; some is older, some is later. But it is a product of its time and writers: that means there is some casual racism in places, and there are not a lot of female protagonists here (although the book does open with one). There is a memorable female villian, and some eye candy, and in some - perhaps even most - stories no women at all.
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We bought this anthology for our 10-year-old son to take with him to overnight camp for a week. He loved reading it there, and was still poring over it for days after we picked him up. He seemed to find the way the stories were categorized very enticing, and he enjoyed encountering authors with whom he was not familiar. He is already a fan of Kipling, which we've read aloud to him at bedtime; he likes Kipling's language so much that he wanted to save the Kipling selection for bedtime reading. But in general, he found the stories utterly absorbing for reading to himself.
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Great and I mean great collection of stories of this type, bar none. The editor Otto Penzler has put together a wonderful variety of different kinds of adventure tales. They are divided into the following categories.
Sword and Sorcery
Megalomania Rules
Man VS. Nature
Island Paradise
Sand and Sun
Something Feels Funny
Go West Young Man
Future Shock
I Spy
Yellow Peril
In darkest Africa.
In each of these are several tale representing each category. They are all wonderful. Concluding the In Darkest Africa section is a complete Tarzan short novel titled "Tarzan the Terrible" by Edgar Rice Burroughs of 131 pages of sheer delight. But than again this could be applied to this whole collection. I only wish there was a second collection in the works because this is simply not enough! Bravo!!!
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