Best 1941 Adventures (7)

By: Joshua Glenn
January 27, 2016

One in a series of 10 posts surfacing Josh Glenn’s favorite 1941 adventure novels. Happy 75th anniversary!

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herge star

Hergé’s sea voyage/sci-fi Tintin adventure The Shooting Star (serialized, 1941–42; as a color album, 1942).

In the opening pages of The Shooting Star, things are literally heating up: Car tires explode, rats flee the sewers, and Tintin’s dog Snowy gets stuck to the melting tarmac. It turns out that the heat is caused by the approach of a meteorite on a collision course with Earth. “Great heavens! But that’ll mean…” Tintin cries. “THE END OF THE WORLD, YES!” agrees an astronomer. Luckily, the experts have miscalculated. A fragment of the meteorite, which Professor Phostle has determined is made of a metal unknown to science, plunges into the Arctic Ocean — so Tintin and a crew of European scientists chase after it in Captain Haddock’s ship, the Aurora. Will they beat the competition (who’ll stop at nothing) to the meteorite? And once they find it, what weird properties will its alien metal reveal?

Fun fact: Inspired, exegetes tend to suspect, by the Radium Age-era Jules Verne novel The Chase of the Golden Meteor (190). Serialized during the German occupation of Belgium; this, and the anti-Semitic portrayal of the villainous financier Bohlwinkel, have made The Shooting Star a controversial installment in the Tintin series.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any 1941 adventures that you particularly admire.

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