About Me

Rob Pincombe is a prolific television writer, recovering comedian and sometime comic artist/storyboard artist who just wasn't satisfied with a single blog. He writes about sci-fi and fandom at rebelalert.com, Canadian comics at comicanuck.com, and shares thoughts and insights on writing at starkravingadventure.com

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Reading : Leiningen versus the Ants and The Most Dangerous Game

Welcome to the rebellion.

In keeping with the last post about a giant colony spanning the globe, we suggest taking a little time to enjoy one of the greatest, short, action stories ever written, Leiningen versus the Ants by Carl Stephenson.

Just under 9000 words of pure adrenaline first published in the December, 1938 issue of Esquire magazine.

Most of Stephenson's books were non-fiction works on Mediaeval Europe and according to his author bio, his literary agent suggested that Leiningen was be the only story he "would allow to be published in his lifetime."

Then again, the story is perfect and any other attempts to craft another would likely pale in comparison so it's hard to blame the intense German for stopping there.

The crackling tale was made into The Naked Jungle with Charlton Heston and Eleanor Parker in 1954. In 1954, the great Steve Ditko provided his own variation of the tale for Charlton Comics' Strange Suspense Stories #20. But the lead character in "Von Mohl vs the Ants" suffers a somewaht less heroic fate than Stephenson's lead.

And while you're at it, check out my latest www.comicanuck post, which recommends one of the most famous short stories of all-time, Richard Cornell's The Most Dangerous Game, also known as The Hounds of Zaroff. The tale is rightly famous for its own tension-packed prose but even more so for spawning a cottage industry of endless remakes of its plot!

The first film officially based on the story (The Most Dangerous Game) was shot in 1932 at the same time as King Kong, and utilized the same sets as a cost-saving measure. It starred Joel McCrea and Faye Wray did double scream duty on both films.

Do these tree bridges look familiar?

Since then, we've seen endless versions of that tale, in which a hunter stalks the world's most dangerous game, man! (Cue tense, thriller music)

Cornell was one of America's most noted short story authors but was also a successful journalist and screenwriter, including Tropic of Capricorn and Meet John Doe.

The best solution I've heard for dealing with an ant attack was to pour chocolate over them and feast! Bwa-hahaha!!



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