Saturday, 4 January 2014

Stars of Adventure

Like most magazines, Adventure had a core group of authors who wrote an amazing amount of fiction for the magazine. The top 20 appeared at least 50 times each in the contents page with a serial, novella, novel or short story.
 
These writers wrote more than a quarter of the fiction appearing in 753 pulp issues of Adventure. They appeared over 2100 times on the contents page (I counted each serial instalment once).

Hugh Pendexter
W.C. Tuttle
Gordon Ray Young



Talbot Mundy
Georges Surdez
Arthur O. Friel

Talbot Mundy (153)


 
Arthur D. Howden Smith
Harold Lamb

F. St. Mars (86)


Gordon MacCreagh
H. Bedford-Jones


H. Bedford-Jones (77)

Thomson Burtis (76)
J. Allan Dunn
Raymond S. Spears


Raymond S. Spears (73)

Hapsburg Liebe

W. Townend (64)


George E. Holt
 

George E. Holt (51)

Ared White (51)

Some stories have not aged well. The spy stories of Ared White focus on cipher systems that today’s technology has made obsolete. Likewise Thomson Burtis’ aviation stories no longer have the power to excite us – flying is routine.

The rest more than make up for that.  Many of the top authors wrote historical fiction – Pendexter (American frontier), Mundy (Tros of Samothrace), Howden Smith (The sword Grey Maiden, Swain the Viking), Bedford-Jones (History and Battle anywhere, anytime), Buckley (Medieval Italy) and Harold Lamb (Khlit the Cossack).
Others chose exotic locales – Young (South Seas), Surdez (Foreign Legion), Friel (Amazon Jungle), MacCreagh (Africa, East Asia, South America), Allan Dunn (South Seas), Holt (Morocco). Tuttle, Young and Liebe wrote westerns. They are historicals for us now.

I’m looking forward to reading a lot more stories by these masters of pulp adventure over the coming year. I’ll be posting more reviews (including some older issues of Adventure, Blue Book etc.) and stories and less author backgrounds – it’s becoming more difficult to find out information about long-dead authors who wrote only a few stories. Where possible, I’ll scan and post the author information I find in the Campfire column.

Let me know what you think of the changes in the comments.
 

2 comments:

  1. This listing of the most prolific ADVENTURE writers include most of my favorites though there are a couple I never cared for like St. Mars(I'm not a big fan of stories told from the animal's viewpoint) and Ared White(The spy theme seems dated for me). You are right about Burtis; the flying stories were big back then but now are dated.

    There is one you forgot: J.D. Newsom had a little over 50 stories. He wrote mainly about the Foreign Legion. Some of my other favorite ADVENTURE authors may have had less than 50 stories but I can't resist the urge to mention them.

    Leonard Nason was one of the very best WW I writers who wrote stories stressing the bizarre black comedy of war. His enlisted men were often goof offs and goldbrickers who just wanted to avoid duty and skip the fighting. Many of the stories are available in out of print hardcovers. He had at least 45 stories in ADVENTURE.

    Robert Simpson had around 40 stories and wrote mainly about white traders in Africa. He died an early death or he would have written a lot more. Same with Charles Victor Fischer who was killed by a car while walking. He had 30 stories, all about modern day navy life.

    Other favorites with high totals are Captain Frederick Moore with 38 stories about the sea; John Webb with 35 stories about the sea, many starring his series character "One-Two Mac"; and Sidney Herschel Small who wrote about 36 Asian stories, many with a Japanese setting.

    There are others but the above are just some favorites. I'm looking forward to your reviews. This was an excellent article and I would love to see similar ones on BLUEBOOK, SHORT STORIES, ALL STORY, ARGOSY, POPULAR MAGAZINE.

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    Replies
    1. I have not read many stories from Newsom, but the few I've read have certainly been good. I think he wrote mainly about the French Foreign Legion, which is a sub-genre I like.

      Re: Nason, having read a couple of books of his, I do think he is unjustly forgotten and I will put together an article on him and perhaps one or two of this books sometime this year. I was lucky enough to get a set of his books on EBay at a reasonable price.

      The thought about doing similar articles on the other magazines is a good idea, and I'll work on that. I don't collect Blue Book and Short Stories as they don't show up much on EBay, and with Argosy the high number of serial stories puts me off. So I might need some help with those articles.

      If I ever manage to show up at one of the pulp conventions, this might change quite rapidly :-)

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