So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Boy Fortune Hunters in Yucatan. L. Frank Baum

Originally published in 1910 under the pseudonym Floyd Akers, Hungry Tiger press makes this volume in The Boy Fortune Hunters Series by L. Frank Baum available again with a new Foreward by David Maxine and a new cover illustration by Eric Shanower. The author wrote various adventure series under pseudonyms, while publishing his more famous Oz novels under his own name.

In this volume the boy fortune hunters team up with a Navy Lieutenant and a Central American Indian prince to find Tcha, a hidden Atlantean city in the heart of the Yucatan jungle. Equipped with lighter-than-air flying suits and electric stun-guns, fanciful inventions of Baum's fertile imagination, the group of nine adventurers take on two native Indian tribes and the secretive Atlantean culture to garner some of their fabulous wealth of gold and rubies. They overcome mosquitoes, warrior bands, blood sacrifices, and even an earthquake on their way to their goal.

The white male chauvenism of the early 20th century is evident in the writing, but can more interesting than offensive as a period piece that illustrates the prejudices of the time. Baum's take on Atlantean culture is certainly the most intriguing part of this standard boys' adventure. David Maxine in his Foreward draws some interesting parallels between this real world fantasy and Baum's magical land of Oz. Most outstanding of these are that the Tcha people are ruled by a teenage girl and live in a communist society in peace and happiness. This is a book that will interest Baum fans like me and those interested in adventure stories of the past.


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