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Literature / Adventure Series

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The "Adventure" series, by Willard Price, was a series of self-contained individual novels published between 1949 and 1980, about two brothers named Hal and Roger Hunt, who travelled around the world to all sorts of exciting locations picking up exotic (and more often than not extremely rare) wildlife specimens to sell to zoos and circuses.

How did they get this dream lifestyle? It's their father's business, but he doesn't do much, and teenagers are more exciting to read about anyway, so Hal and Roger merrily drop out of school with alarming frequency to go and wrestle giant snakes and tigers and so on.

Hal is the typical hero; tall, handsome, clean-cut, with a lovely caring and trusting disposition and an almost limitless knowledge of whatever it is they have to deal with on any given day , while Roger fell into the Audience Surrogate role, with a side dose of The Watson, and also provided the fun and games, playing ridiculous jokes and pranks on his brother and other characters whenever the action lulled.

These books provide examples of:

  • Bring It Back Alive: the basic premise of the series. Frequently lampshaded along with one or both of the boys insisting that this makes their job much harder, often when a local or trigger-happy tourist is inclined to scoff at their lack of desire to kill things.
  • Chaste Hero: Hal is a healthy, active, strapping 19-year-old who travels the world leading a very dramatic and exciting lifestyle hunting dangerous wild animals in exotic locations with almost no parental supervision & only a young brother to be responsible for. However he shows next to no interest in girls whatsoever & his behaviour even borders at times on Ambiguously Gay.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Roger has never heard of a unicorn.
  • The Dragon: The main villains in each book often have a hired thug around to intimidate the opposition.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: parodied and played for laughs with the bumbling 'Colonel' Bigg in African Adventure.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Roger, to an occasionally ridiculous degree in a series which tries to remain for the most part grounded in the realms of scientific possibility.
  • Girl of the Week: averted, see Chaste Hero.
  • Great White Hunter: the boys have shades of this.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Hal is relentlessly determined to think the best of anyone and everyone, even if they have in the past tried to murder him, as with reoccurring villain Merlin Kaggs.
  • Informed Ability - John Hunt is described in most of the books as a skilled & respected animal collector. Which is fine, & you would expect the boys to get their ability from somewhere, except that throughout the series he does pretty much... Nothing. About his most significant role is to break his leg or get sick with startling frequency so the boys have to take on the world alone, send congratulatory telegrams at the end of each book after he gives up coming altogether and eventually change the sign on the gate to read 'John Hunt and Sons', which, considering who's been doing all the work for the last 6 books or so seems more than a little overdue. Hand Waved occasionally with the observation that he's 'getting old' for the very active job of animal collecting, but still.
  • I Know Karate: Hal's knowledge of hand-to-hand combat gets the boys out of a few sticky situations, most notably with the unpleasant captain of the whaler in "Whale Adventure"
  • Ironic Name/Meaningful Name: Hal and Roger, well, hunt.
  • Long-Runners: 14 books published between 1949 and 1980.
  • Mr. Exposition: Hal's extraordinary knowledge of the appearance, habits, life cycle, biology & evolutionary history of any animal you happen to run across in any given country in the world.
  • Noble Savage
  • Shout-Out: In South Sea Adventure, the boys make explicit references to Robinson Crusoe.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: Most notably the South Sea Adventure and Cannibal Adventure.