Rossdavidh's Reviews > Adventure Stories from the ‘Strand’

Adventure Stories from the ‘Strand’ by Geraldine Beare
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What to say about this book? It is harder to know than for most.

What it is, actually, is easier to state. It is early 20th century (mostly pre-WWII) short-form adventure fiction. There are spies, thieves, explorers, soldiers, and rogues of many different types. They lie to one another, steal from one another, try to kill one another in some cases, and discover the truth, the treasure, or the solution.

If this sounds grim, it is not; this is adventure fiction with a mostly jovial spirit. There are occasional bits of terror or grief, but for the most part the protagonists swash and buckle without as much anxiety as the typical early 21st century real-life citizen of the western world spends on topics like "do I check my email too much?" The denizens of these stories are living in a dangerous world, and for the most part they are fine with that.

They are, also, so far as one can tell, all fairly racist.

Fortunately, race plays a minor role in all of these tales. I am guessing that the editors of this book selected from the decades of short stories which appeared in "The Strand" magazine those which were least likely to offend modern readers. They did not entirely succeed.

However, given that there are only a few sentences in the book which you have to wince at, shake your head as if to fling off a foul scent, and then proceed onwards to the next sentence in the hope that there will be no ethnic slurs for the rest of the story, I found that I was able to enjoy the good parts, and otherwise enjoy that standards on race had changed for the better in the last hundred years.

Surprisingly, the standards in regards to sex were considerably better. There were several female protagonists, and they were all different from one another, but all interesting and talented and courageous in their very different ways.

But, political correctness aside, there are a lot of fun stories here, and only a few moments in the book which are unfortunate. If those few moments are a few too many for you to enjoy reading it, you have my full sympathy, and I won't try to argue you out of your opinion. But I believe it is possible to enjoy the 99% good in spite of the 1% distasteful, and I only wish that there were more of that 99% being written today.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 22, 2019 – Shelved
February 22, 2019 – Shelved as: green

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