Best 1943 Adventures (6)

By: Joshua Glenn
June 15, 2018

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1943 adventure novels. Happy 75th anniversary!

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1953 edition

Fritz Leiber’s fantasy horror adventure Conjure Wife (serialized 1943; in stand-alone book form, 1953).

Norman Saylor, a science-minded professor of Sociology at Hempnell College, discovers that his beautiful young wife, Tansy, has been practicing conjure magic — using vials of graveyard dirt, horseshoe nails, and their acquaintances’ hair cluppings — in what he feels is a silly superstitious effort to help him navigate departmental politics. He demands that she cease and desist; after all, he’s an expert on the “parallelisms of primitive superstition and modern neurosis.” Things begin to go badly after that. Norman attempts to rationalize the increasingly weird occurrences, but when Tansy seems to fall victim to a a curse cast by a trio of witchy professors’ wives who see Norman as a threat to their own interests, he must engage in occult warfare!

Fun facts: Conjure Wife was published in the April 1943 volume of Unknown Worlds; and it was adapted as the excellent 1961 horror movie Burn, Witch, Burn. Lynn Peril wrote about the book for this website’s CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM series.

A scene from BURN, WITCH, BURN

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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.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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