After avidly reading the selections within that anthology, I devoured other, similar stories of outdoor adventure such as Jack London’s (1876 – 1916) The Call of the Wild (1903), and White Fang (1906).
Those tales featured genuine simplicity -- or clarity -- of theme and morality, and to this day, I find that writing voice and style appealing.
Almost universally set in a harsh climate or natural terrain, these “adventures for boys” also concerned, specifically, a character’s rite of passage, even if the character in question happens to be a canine.
M. Night Shyamalan’s much-maligned science fiction movie After Earth (2013) is an affair in an almost identical vein. It’s a boy-against nature, rite-of-passage movie, and one uncluttered by story fat or extraneous plotting and incident.
In fact, After Earth is a stream-lined, enjoyable adventure for boys and gir…