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Literature / Adventure Series

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The "Adventure" series, by Willard Price, was a series of 14 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 (they are initially stated as just taking a year off to get first-hand experience, but that year is dragged out over the course of the books).

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.

The series was revived in 2012, with new author Anthony McGowan writing four books about Hal and Roger's children continuing in their parents' footsteps.

The original books provide examples of:

  • Androcles' Lion: Gorilla Adventure is complicated when the gorilla Gog is left enraged at the loss of his family and the pain of a bullet-wound, blaming Hal and Roger for his situation by mistake, until the boys are able to capture him and treat his injury.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Entitled Bastard: In Arctic Adventure, Zeb, one of the Hunts' current team, insists on getting paid extra for any dangerous animals they encounter even when he's never in any danger himself; Hal explicitly muses at one point that Zeb basically expects to be paid for doing nothing more than hiding away.
  • 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.
  • Great White Hunter: The boys have shades of this, although they don't often hunt with the intent to kill.
  • 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.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kraggs has a habit of doing this in Cannibal Adventure, when he manipulates the warden of his prison into believing that he's reformed and then escapes to go after the Hunts.
  • 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: A few of the Hunts' allies in more primitive cultures, such as Roger's friend in Cannibal Adventure.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Roger has never heard of a unicorn.* Shout-Out: In South Sea Adventure, the boys make explicit references to Robinson Crusoe.
  • Red Herring: In Diving Adventure, the seedy-looking Oscar Roach applies for a naturalist job that some suspect he is unqualified for, and shows visible anger at having to be a dishwasher as long as Hal is filling the position (and interest at the comment that they'll reconsider his application if anything happens to Hal). Shortly afterward, Hal nearly dies under mysterious circumstances, but Roach is innocent, soon gets the naturalist job once Hal is ready to move on to something else, and proves to be surprisingly good at it.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Invoked in Cannibal Adventure; during Kraggs' initial escape attempt, he uses a name that he doesn't even know how to spell as his initial alias, and lets the man writing it down spell it however sounds best. Later on, he adopts the Lazy Alias of "John Smith" as he chooses a name he knows he can spell.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: May be Kraggs' attitude in Diving Adventure; he at least claimed that he was trying to move on from his criminal past after his time in prison, but when his criminal history is exposed to the head of Undersea City, he concludes that the Hunts have betrayed him and decides to go after them in revenge (in reality someone else exposed his real history).
  • Tropical Island Adventure: Most notably the South Sea Adventure and Cannibal Adventure.