Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 (6)

By: Joshua Glenn
November 25, 2019

For several years now, I’ve argued — here at HILOBROW, as well as in the UNBORED books I’ve co-authored — that the Sixties (1964–1973) were a golden age for YA and YYA adventures. This post is one in a series of 10 identifying my favorites from 1971.

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John Christopher’s Sword of the Spirits sci-fi adventure Beyond the Burning Lands.

By the end of The Prince in Waiting (1970), the first installment in the Sword of the Spirits series, our teenage protagonist Luke has seen his father, Prince of Winchester, murdered. When Luke’s half-brother, Peter, engineers his own succession as the new Prince, Luke flees to the Sanctuary of the High Seers, near Stonehenge — where he learns [SPOILER] that their true purpose is restoring science and knowledge to the world, which has reverted to a post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval social order. When a peddler arrives in Winchester, claiming to have crossed the volcanic wasteland to the north — i.e., where Bath and Bristol used to be — Peter sends Luke on an exploratory mission to the long-inaccessible “land of the Wilsh” — which is to say, Wales. Culture has evolved somewhat differently, in the city-state of Klan Gothlen (Llangollen); it’s less uptight, more progressive. But Luke’s old-school virtues serve him well, there; when he kills the Bayemot (that is, Behemoth), a kind of giant amoeba wreaking havoc on land, he is betrothed to Blodwen, the beautiful daughter of King Cymru. At this point, perspicacious readers will recognize that Christopher is rebooting the Arthurian mythos; Llangollen, after all, is the legendary home of Arthur’s Queen Guenevere! Returning home, Luke discovers that the Seers intend him to be Prince, after all.

Fun facts: Christopher (the pen name of Samuel Youd) also wrote about the enduring consequences of natural catastrophes in such non-YA sci-fi books as The Year of the Comet (1955), The Death of Grass (1956), The World in Winter (1962), and A Wrinkle in the Skin (1965). The final installment in this trilogy is The Sword of the Spirits (1972).

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Let me know if I’ve missed any adventures from this year that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists.

BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA: [Best YA & YYA Lit 1963] | Best YA & YYA Lit 1964 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1965 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1966 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1967 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1969 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1973. ALSO: Best YA Sci-Fi.

The 200 Greatest Adventures (1804–1983). THE OUGHTS: 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS: 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES: 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES: 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES: 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES: 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES: 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES: 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. THE EIGHTIES: 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993. THE NINETIES: 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003. I’ve only recently started making notes toward a list of Best Adventures of the EIGHTIES, NINETIES, and TWENTY-OUGHTS.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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