Junior Mad Scientist – Lab Notes

Book Review: The Big Book Of Adventure Stories

August 1st, 2011 by Weber


Special thanks to Agent Joe for picking this one up for me. He said that when he found this while wandering though a St. Louis bookstore, he figured, “I must be in the Brad section.”

I showed it to my wife and she said, “Where’d he find this — the Brad section?”

And here I thought the Brad section was full of unread Anger Management books . . .

The Big Book Of Adventure Stories is the third collection of pulp-era/pulp-flavored goodness from the folks over at Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. The other two on your local bookstore shelves are The Black Lizard Big Book Of Pulps and Big Book of Black Mask Stories.


The tropic-toned cover art sets the right atmosphere for these golden-age adventure tales. And having finished only three of the book’s 47 stories —“After King Kong Fell,” “The Golden Anaconda,” and “The Slave Brand of Selman Bin Ali” — it’ is easy to say the collection lives up to its name. Plus, the fact that these are short stories lets me finish one, at lunch or before bed, without being compelled to stay awake all night or not being able to get back to work on my own writing.

The Big Book Of Adventure Stories was edited by Otto Penzler, the same guy who did the other two. He does a fine job of briefly introducing each story and its author, then letting the reader get on with the action. The forward by adventure/thriller author Douglas Preston adds an interesting fillip, especially his thoughts on the dates most significant to the adventure genre (1853 through 1922). This one far and away satisfies all three of my copyrighted Three Best Things Anybody Can Ever Say About A Book*:

I would pay full cover price, including applicable sales taxes.
I would give this book as a gift.
It was worthy of the time spent reading it.

Per some data on the book’s final page, two more Vintage Crime/Black Lizard collections are on their way: Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! and Agent Of Treachery: Never Before Published Spy Fiction form Today’s Most Exciting Writers. (UPDATE: Agents is in bookstores now!)

One can only hope there is a Big Book of Western Stories slated for the very near future. Because if there is, I’m getting one.

P.S. — if ever a publisher’s logo deserved its own t-shirt, it’s Black Lizard: black shirt, lime green lizard, Web address printed underneath. Just sayin’ . . .

*The Three Best Things Anybody Can Ever Say About Any Book is copyright/Keep-Yer-Grimy-Hands-Off-My-Intellectual-Propertied 2011 by Bradley James Weber. The broadcast, re-broadcast, use or invocation of the listed listing device, its title, or any variation thereof without prior written authority from, and excessive payment to, Bradley James Weber is strictly prohibited.

Posted in Book Reviews | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. Agent Joe Says:

    All new bookstore floorplans include a “Brad” section. While the contents of said section vary from bookstore to bookstore, most contain the following and not in any order of importance: political rants, conspiracy diatribes, Gonzo journalism, adventure stories, bizarre secret histories, Westerns, S/F & Fantasy, horror, YA & children’s books, travelogues, literature, both modern and classic, and biographies. No sports, poetry or cookbooks. Thankyou.

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