Writers of grown-up fiction should be bold enough to match the active and adventurous female protagonists of children’s literatureI inherited from my Dad a love of good old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure stories. Little Women and Wuthering Heights sat cheek by jowl on my teenage bookshelf with King Solomon’s Mines, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Treasure Island. Lost worlds, battles between good and evil, extreme landscape, mystery, swords and spears and guns, these were epics, not domestic stories. Allan Quatermain and Axel and Jack Hawkins got to do things. As I got older, I turned to Ice Station Zebra and Wilbur Smith’s The Seventh Scroll, as well as Tolkein’s Middle Earth. Even then, though, I realised that girls were thin on the ground. The dedication at the beginning of King Solomon’s Mines is to “all the big and little boys who read it.” But what about the girls? And where were the female adventure heroes?There are certain characteristics common to the best adventure stories, not least of all a “hero” – the protagonist who carries the story (and the readers’ affections). There’ll be danger and jeopardy, an unequivocal sense of right and wrong, a compelling sense of place. …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books