Best 1941 Adventures (1)
January 21, 2016
One in a series of 10 posts surfacing Josh Glenn’s favorite 1941 adventure novels. Happy 75th anniversary!
Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp’s fantasy adventure Land of Unreason.
When Fred Barber, an American diplomat, is wounded during a WWII air raid in England, he is sent to recuperate at a country home in Yorkshire. There, on Midsummer’s Eve, he irreverently drinks a bowl of milk left as an offering for the fairies, substituting liquor in its place. Offended, the intoxicated fairies whisk Barber off to the illogical, ever-changing, Midsummer Night’s Dream-esque Land of Faerie. He is recruited by Titania and Oberon, who send him on a secret mission to the totalitarian Kobold Hills… where it is rumored that swords are being forged for war against the fairies (who cannot resist metal), and where an ancient enemy may have returned. Along the way, Barber encounters dryads and sprites, nympholepts and leprechauns, ogres, and a talking whirlwind. After undergoing a number of transformations, he begins to wonder who he really is… and so do we.
Fun fact: First published in the October 1941 issue of the fantasy magazine Unknown Worlds. It was reissued by Ballantine Books’ Adult Fantasy series in 1970. Cover art shown here by the great illustrator Boris Artzybasheff.
Let me know if I’ve missed any 1941 adventures that you particularly admire.