Dr. Fu Manchu is a fictional character introduced in a series of novels by British author Sax Rohmer during the first half of the 20th century. The character was also featured extensively in cinema, television, radio, comic strips and comic books for over 90 years, and has become an archetype of the evil criminal genius while lending the name to the Fu Manchu moustache.
The Glad Books series by Eleanor H. Porter is about a young orphan, Pollyanna, who goes to live in Vermont with her wealthy but stern Aunt Polly. Pollyanna’s philosophy of life centers on what she calls “The Glad Game” (an optimistic attitude she learned from her father), which consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation. Pollyanna has been adapted for film several times, with the best known being Disney’s 1960 version starring child actress Hayley Mills, who won a special Oscar for the role.
Hopalong Cassidy is a fictional cowboy hero created by the author Clarence E. Mulford, who wrote a series of popular short stories and many novels based on the character. In his early writings, Mulford portrayed the character as rude, dangerous, and rough-talking. Later he would revise and republish his earlier works to be more consistent with the character’s new, polished on-screen persona.
A novel in seven volumes, recounting the experiences of the Narrator while growing up, participating in society, falling in love, and learning about art. Prousts most prominent work, known for its theme of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the “episode of the madeleine.” The novel began to take shape in 1909 with Proust working on it until his final illness in 1922. The last three volumes contain oversights and fragmentary or unpolished passages as they existed in draft form at the death of the author; the publication of these parts was overseen by his brother Robert.
Inspector Gabriel Hanaud is a fictional French policeman depicted by the British writer A. E. W. Mason. He was modelled on two real-life heads of the Paris Sûreté, Macé and Goron and has been described as the “first major fiction police detective of the Twentieth Century”. The inspector has been seen as one of a number of influences on the creation of Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
Narrated by the wealthy, scatterbrained Bertie Wooster, this is a series of stories and novels from P.G. Wodehouse that recount the improbable and unfortunate situations in which Wooster and his friends find themselves and the manner in which his ingenious valet Jeeves is always able to extricate them. These are Wodehouse’s most famous stories and are a valuable compendium of pre-World War II English slang in use, perhaps most closely mirrored in American literature by the work of Damon Runyon.
Joseph Rouletabille is a fictional character created by Gaston Leroux, a French writer and journalist. Rouletabille is the nickname of 18-year-old journalist Joseph Josephin, who was raised in a religious orphanage in Eu, a small town near Fécamp.
Unfortunately only two English translations are currently in the Public Domain.
“I’ve seen all the great cities of the Hyborians, the Shemites, the Stygians and the Hyrkanians. I’ve roamed in the unknown countries south of the black kingdoms of Kush, and east of the Sea of Vilayet. I’ve been a mercenary captain, a corsair, a kozak, a penniless vagabond, a general …”, but now Conan is striking for the throne of Aquilonia.
Ruritania is a fictional country in central Europe which forms the setting for three books by Anthony Hope. Although the first and third are set in the recent past—between the 1850s and 1880s—the second is set in the 1730s, although it refers to subsequent events that happened between that time and the time of writing. The kingdom is also the setting for sequels and variations by other writers. It lent its name to a genre of adventure stories known as Ruritanian romances, and is used in academia to refer to a hypothetical country.
The Leatherstocking Tales is a series of novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper, set between 1740 and 1804. Each title featuring the main hero Natty Bumppo, known by European settlers as “Leatherstocking”, “The Pathfinder”, and “the trapper” and by the Native Americans as “Deerslayer”, “La Longue Carabine” and “Hawkeye”. The Natty Bumppo character is generally believed to have been inspired, at least in part, by the real-life Daniel Boone.
The Lensman series is a serial science fiction Space Opera by Edward Elmer “Doc” Smith. Set two billion years before the present time, the universe has few life-forms aside from the ancient Arisians, and few planets besides their native world. The peaceful Arisians have foregone physical skills in order to develop contemplative mental power. The underlying assumption for this series, based on theories of stellar evolution extant at the time of the books’ writing, is that planets form only rarely. (source: Wikipedia)
The three books of the Miss Billy series follow the adventures of Billy Neilson, an 18-year-old girl whose entire family has died. Her only hope is her late father’s best friend (William Henshaw), whom she writes and, without telling him she’s a girl, hopes he can take her in. Henshaw agrees, finding to his consternation that young Billy is a girl, who soon turns his world upside down with her ways.
A series of three books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Billy Byrne is a low class American born in Chicago’s ghetto and grows up a thief and a mugger. “Billy was a mucker, a hoodlum, a gangster, a thug, a tough”, he is not chivalrous nor kind, and has only meagre ethics - never giving evidence against a friend or leaving someone behind. He chooses a life of robbery and violence, disrespecting those who work for a living and has a deep hatred for wealthy society.
The Oz Books form a series that begins with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and relates the fictional history of the Land of Oz. Oz was created by author L. Frank Baum and went on to write fourteen full-length Oz Books. The first book was famously adapted to film by MGM in 1939, starring Judy Garland as Dorothy.
The Palliser novels are six novels, also known as the “Parliamentary Novels”, by Anthony Trollope. The common thread is the wealthy aristocrat and politician Plantagenet Palliser and (in all but the last book) his wife Lady Glencora. The plots involve British and Irish politics in varying degrees, specifically in and around Parliament. The Pallisers do not always play a major role; in The Eustace Diamonds they only comment on the main action. (source: Wikipedia)
Parade’s End is a tetralogy (four related novels) by the English novelist and poet Ford Madox Ford published between 1924 and 1928. It’s set mainly in England and on the Western Front in World War I, where Ford served as an officer in the Welsh Regiment, a life vividly depicted in the novels.
Pellucidar is a fictional Hollow Earth milieu invented by Edgar Rice Burroughs for a series of action adventure stories. These initially involve the adventures of mining heir David Innes and his inventor friend Abner Perry after they use an “iron mole” to burrow 500 miles into the Earth’s crust (“At The Earth’s Core”). Later protagonists include indigenous cave man Tanar and additional visitors from the surface world, notably Tarzan, Jason Gridley, and Frederich Wilhelm Eric von Mendeldorf und von Horst.
Professor Challenger, is a fictional character in a series of science fiction stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Unlike Conan Doyle’s laid-back, analytic character, Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger is an aggressive, dominating figure. The first book in the series, “The Lost World” has been adapted many times to film and radio.
The Psammead Trilogy is a remarkable series of fantasy novels for children by an equally remarkable writer, Edith Nesbit, probably Nesbit’s best-known and most beloved books, with memorable comic moments, character-testing adventures, plausible child characters with real feelings and real limitations, and interesting and challenging thematic material. “Five Children and It”, the first book of a trilogy, has been adapted to both film and television.
Rupert Psmith is a recurring fictional character in several novels by British comic writer P. G. Wodehouse, being one of Wodehouse’s best-loved characters. The P in his surname is silent and was added by himself, in order to distinguish him from other Smiths. A member of the Drones Club, this monocle-sporting Old Etonian is something of a dandy, a fluent and witty speaker, and has a remarkable ability to pass through the most amazing adventures unruffled.
Major-General Sir Richard Hannay, KCB, OBE, DSO, Legion of Honour, is a fictional character created by Scottish novelist John Buchan. In his autobiography, Memory Hold-the-Door, Buchan suggests that the character is based, in part, on Edmund Ironside, from Edinburgh, a spy during the Second Boer War. (source: Wikipedia)
Ruth Fielding is a series of children’s novels written under the pseudonym of Alice B. Emerson. The series follows the life of Ruth Fielding from the time that she becomes an orphan, through her schooling and her first success as a moving picture writer, and finally to her success as the owner of her own company. It is considered an important series because it influenced several other major series that came later, including Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, and _Beverly Gray. Ruth Fielding is a strong-willed young woman, just like Nancy Drew, and she is also a career woman like Beverly Gray.
During 1907 Wallace travelled to the Congo Free State to report on atrocities committed against the Congolese under King Leopold II of Belgium and the Belgian rubber companies. Isabel Thorne of the Weekly Tale-Teller penny magazine, invited Wallace to serialise stories inspired by his experiences there. These were published as his first collection Sanders of the River , became a best seller and was adapted into a film starring Paul Robeson in 1935. Wallace went on to publish eleven more collections. These are tales of exotic adventure and local tribal rites, set on an African river.
Wodehouse published six novels with all the action set in public schools for boys, which include; St. Austin’s, Beckford College and Wrykyn. The school story is a fiction genre centering on older pre-adolescent and adolescent school life, at its most popular in the first half of the twentieth century.
Sherlock Holmes is a London-based “consulting detective” whose abilities border on the fantastic. Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases. Traditionally, the canon of Sherlock Holmes consists of the 56 short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Skylark is a four book Science Fiction Space Opera which describes the conflicts between protagonists Seaton and Crane, and antagonist DuQuesne. It tells the story of the progressively increasing scales of conflict (equalled by progressively-increased technology) between themselves, individually and collectively, and a series of non-humans bent on universal conquest. When forced to co-operate against an alien species, which had conquered one galaxy and was expanding into others, the characters conclude that the universe is large enough to allow peace.
The Solar Queen is a Science Fiction series by Andre Norton about Free Traders who have adventures on uncharted planets. Dane Thorson, “Apprentice Cargo-master, is caught in a quandry; on a world of perpetual night, how do you initiate trade with people who can’t seem to be found?”
Tales of my Landlord is a series of novels by Sir Walter Scott that form a subset of the so-called Waverley Novels, and were supposed to reflect aspects of Scottish regional life. They were so called, because they were supposed to be tales collected from the (fictional) landlord of the Wallace Inn at Gandercleugh, compiled by a “Peter Pattieson”, and edited and sent to the publisher by Jedediah Cleishbotham. This is gone into in great depth in the introduction to The Black Dwarf.
Tarzan (“…the Apeman”) is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani “great apes”; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in twenty-five sequels, three authorized books by other authors, and innumerable works in other media, authorized and not. (source: Wikipedia)
A series of connected historical novels consisting of three novels: And How She Came to Court, Privy Seal and The Fifth Queen Crowned, which present a highly fictionalised account of Katharine Howard’s arrival at the Court of Henry VIII, her eventual marriage to the king, and her death.
“History, that great fictitioner, surely did not create the honest, stubborn, beautiful, and saintly Katharine Howard, so richly realized she might have had some other life outside imagination, yet so near perfection we could not wish for her a lesser world to drag a dress in.” – William Gass (1986)