Best 1928 Adventures (4)
April 7, 2018
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1928 adventure novels. Happy 90th anniversary!
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Radium Age sci-fi adventure When the World Screamed (1928).
Narrated by a drilling engineer, the fifth and final Professor Challenger adventure takes us not outward (e.g., to a South American plateau crawling with dinosaurs), nor inward (e.g., to an airtight chamber, while the Earth passes through a poison belt), but instead downward. Challenger, here described as “a primitive cave-man in a lounge suit,” while also “the greatest brain in Europe,” proposes to drill his way from a tract of land in Sussex (England) eight miles beneath the planet’s epidermis. Why? In order to prove his hypothesis that the world is itself a living organism. In the end, Challenger becomes “the first man of all men whom Mother Earth had been compelled to recognize.” A novella, rather than a full-length novel, like all of the Challenger books the author’s goal — in addition to entertaining — is to demonstrate the superiority of abductive (logical yet intuitive) to inductive (purely scientific) reasoning.
Fun fact: Some historians of science note that Doyle here challenges both the disregard for ecological thinking in his own time, and the role scientists play in the changing relationship of humankind to nature. Serialized here at HILOBROW.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.