As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a true-blue fan of intermediate-reader adventures published during the Sixties (1964–73). Attribute this, if you will, to the fact that these books were popular when I was an impressionable adolescent in the late 1970s. The fact remains, the Sixties were a cornucopia producing a flood of extraordinary titles: Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series, Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles series, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wind in the Door, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Sure, I dig older kids’ lit from other eras, too. But nothing compares.
In anticipation of their 50th anniversaries, this year, here’s my list of the Best Older Kid’s Lit of 1966. Please let me know which favorite titles of yours I’ve overlooked!
OLDER KIDS’ LIT on HILOBROW: Best of 1963 | Best of 1964 | Best of 1965 | Best of 1966 | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince (serialized) | YA Sci-Fi | ALSO SEE: Best 1966 Adventures (for Grownups).
In no particular order…
René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s bande dessinée Asterix adventure Asterix the Legionary.
The tenth Asterix story is a particular favorite of mine — because it is a sardonic inversion of one of my favorite sub-genres of adventure: the all-for-one, one-for-all argonautica
. In order to rescue a Gaul who has been conscripted into the Roman army and shipped to North Africa, where Julius Caesar was battling Metellus Scipio, Asterix and Obelix enlist in the army themselves. Read the rest
The 60s wasn't just hippies and Woodstock. It was also the Golden Age of children's literature.
Joshua Glenn shows why 1965 was a very good year for science fiction, comic books, and spy novels.
Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen recommend their favorite cooperative board games.
[I really want Save the Adventure to be a success! For just $25, you'll get a year-long (12-book) subscription -- Mark]
Only 10 days left, before it's too late!
Singularity & Co., the Brooklyn-based science fiction bookstore that a year ago launched the digital book club Save the Sci-Fi, is kickstarting a brand-new digital book club, Save the Adventure.
Because they like what I've done with HiLoBooks's Radium Age Science Fiction Series (paperback reissues of forgotten sci-fi novels from 1904–33), the folks at Singularity & Co. have asked me to be Save the Adventure's founding editor.
The goal of Save the Adventure is to rescue out-of-print adventure stories from copyright limbo. Each month (assuming we raise sufficient funding), I'll choose an out-of-print but amazing adventure novel — at which point Singularity & Co. will track down the rights-holder, clear the electronic publishing rights, scan and proof the text, and make the novel available as an e-book.
The campaign deadline is November 9th. Rewards ship in December — a subscription to the Save the Adventure book club will make a perfect holiday gift.
Read the rest
Several years ago, I read Brian Aldiss's Billion Year Spree -- his "true history of science fiction" from Mary Shelley to the early 1970s. I found Aldiss's account of the genre's development entertaining and informative... but something bothered me, long after I'd finished reading it. So much so that I've since spent hundreds of dollars on forgotten, out-of-print books; I've written dozens of long, scholarly posts about the thing that bothered me so much, for io9 and my own blog, HiLobrow; and this year I've even launched a money-losing publishing imprint in a quixotic effort to set the record straight.
Aldiss's book is terrific on the topic of science fiction from Frankenstein through the "scientific romances" of Verne, Poe, and Wells -- and also terrific on science fiction's so-called Golden Age, the start of which he, like every other sf exegete, dates to John W. Campbell's 1937 assumption of the editorship of the pulp magazine Astounding. However, regarding science fiction published between the beginning of the Golden Age and the end of the Verne-Poe-Wells "scientific romance" era, Aldiss (who rightly laments that Wells's 20th century fiction after, perhaps, 1904's The Food of the Gods, fails to recapture "that darkly beautiful quality of imagination, or that instinctive-seeming unity of construction, which lives in his early novels") has very little to say. "Hm," I thought, when I noticed that. "That's an awfully long stretch of science fiction history to overlook, isn't it?"
Aldiss seems to feel that authors of science fiction after Wells and before the Golden Age weren't very talented. Read the rest