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Friday, 24 April 2009

Adventure Stories and Rider Haggard


In March I entered this year’s Rider Haggard Short Story competition run by the Rider Haggard Society. The entry fee was £10 which may have put off many contenders.
There were eight entrants and six were on the short list and received consolation prizes.
As it transpired, I was on the short list but didn’t win first prize.

The winning entry, Look for me in the Mountains, by Maureen Osborne will be published in the quarterly Society Journal. (Of no consequence whatsoever, the title reminded me of another title - Watch for me on the Mountain (1978), a book about Geronimo by Indian born Forrest Carter).

The society’s website is http://www.riderhaggardsociety.org.uk/.

Rider Haggard's first book was published when he was 26 and in the period 1882 to 1890 he published sixteen books, among them five books which became the sensation of his age. These were King Solomon’s Mines, She, Allan Quartermain, Jess and Nada the Lily. Within that same period he also wrote Eric Brighteyes, The World’s Desire and Allan’s Wife. In all, between 1882 and 1924 he had 68 books published (10 of them non-fiction).

To many, Rider Haggard is one of the great fathers of the adventure story, mixing daring, courage, exotic locations, esoteric characters, strong females and supernatural themes.

Now that we’re seeing the emergence of a new adventure hero in Gabriel Hunt (Hard Case Crime publishers), maybe it’s high time that Haggard’s body of work is reappraised.

There are certainly plenty of adventure lovers out there – witness the popularity of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider. Sadly, the online magazine Blazing Adventures bit the dust, which was a pity. It would be wonderful to think that somebody with financial clout and a love of adventure stories could bring out a magazine featuring just that – imaginative adventure with heroes and heroines doing what they do best, fighting and overcoming evil in all its guises.

3 comments:

David Cranmer said...

Interesting and thanks for the link. Maybe I will try my hand at it next time.

ARCHAVIST said...

Shame you didn't win but making the short list is cool.

Nik said...

Thanks, David and Gary - though it was quite a long shortlist for the number of participants!