Best 1942 Adventures (7)

By: Joshua Glenn
January 11, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1942 adventure novels. Happy 75th anniversary!



Isaac Asimov’s Golden Age sci-fi adventure Foundation (1942–1950; as a book, 1951).

When I published a list of 101 Science Fiction Adventures at I did not include a single Isaac Asimov title; and readers were outraged. In my defense, although it has its dramatic moments, Foundation, for example — a collection of interlinked short stories, the premise of which is that 50,000 years from now, an expert in “mathematical sociology” will have predicted the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, and a dark age for humankind lasting 30,000 years… and that this interregnum can be shortened to a mere 1,000 years if a colony of talented artisans and engineers tasked with preserving and expanding on humanity’s knowledge is established at the extreme end of the galaxy — is mostly not an adventure. It’s a philosophical novel, bursting at the seams with dialogue and telling-not-showing. That said, I like it! It’s a fun think-piece.

Fun fact: Originally a series of stories published in Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950. io9 included the book on its list of “10 Science Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read.” After 9/11, there was a pretty compelling theory floating around that Osama bin Laden was influenced by Asimov’s Foundation series when he founded Al Qaeda… whose moniker means “The Foundation.”


Let me know if I’ve missed any 1942 adventures that you particularly admire.


Adventure, Lit Lists