Keeping the Genre Alive

Nostalgia fueled the origin of LCL back in 2002 when I was in Khartoum and got the idea. I had become acquainted with David Hatcher Childress that year and was inspired by his Adventures Unlimited Press. I thought, ‘Why not do for classic adventure what David had done for classic reprints of exploration and adventure travel books with AUP?’. Thus I stood up Lost Continent Library with the first five titles in my catalogue: The Sunken World, Atlantis Adventure, Secret of the Amazon Queen, Wonder of the Worlds, and The Hidden Trail. Twenty-one years later the LCL catalogue has grown, its major expansion into non-fiction under the Corvos imprint. It has been an eventful two decades and LCL continues onward.

But the adventure genre has changed quite a bit in that time. This intense tech era has brought us Lara Croft and other modern adventure heroes using gadgetry and digital wizardry to overshadow all the classic adventurers, save for Indiana Jones, himself barely present this century. New generations don’t relate to a world with unexplored corners or heroes limited to mechanical technology. So how do we keep the classics alive?

I see a few ways to keep classic style adventure alive. It’s worth preserving the classic literature so, naturally, keeping as much of it in print is the best first step. Publishing houses like LCL and others do just that with reprints. The next logical step is to encourage current authors to write classic style adventures, find a way to capture the imagination of the 21st Century readers. A simple good story and engaging characters do the trick. Steampunk is still a fantastic option. Another way to keep the genre alive is to adapt it to our times, ie tell stories of worlds not yet explored. This suggests, of course, a mashup of science fiction as to present generations the concept of new worlds literally means other planets — or dimensions. The new adventure writer’s task would be to use the science fiction trappings to get adventure characters to the new world and from there it can become essentially an adventure story. With interdimensionality in the mix, even an unexplored Earth of the past could be the setting of a ‘classic’ themed modern adventure tale.

Being a cinema fan, I always like to see classic style adventure movies being produced but it doesn’t happen very often these days. Indie cinema still being the saving grace of American film, we might see such adventure movies despite big studio reticence to put out anything but the perceived ‘sure thing’. Below are some links to classic adventure films to entertain and inspire.