action-packed literature throughout history

Never mind Cloverfield or Transformers or The Passion of The Christ. For sheer action, with high production values and incomprehensible plot points, I recommend the following highlights from the Western canon:

1. Epic of Gilgamesh (~2000 BCE): The ultimate buddy movie. Grumpy King Gilgamesh and wild Enkidu get crazy in ancient Mesopotamia. They fight, argue, move mountains, kill monsters and do tons of things that make no sense at all. If Bad Boys II were a one-man show starring and directed by Nicolas Cage, Gilgamesh would be the result.

2. The Odyssey (~700 BCE): What happens when you irritate the gods on your way home from the Trojan War? You spend twenty years pinballing around the Mediterranean and smacking into every nutbar island the ancient world had to offer. Odysseus and his crew go from one bad situation to the next and handle it all with Jedi-like aplomb.

3. The Revelation of St. John (~68-95 CE): Even if you factor out the begats, the Hebrew and Christian scriptures probably contain more action per page than any work of literature on the planet. But there’s no Happy Meal quite so crunchy as The Revelation of St. John. Best summed up as "What the hell just happened? Beasts and signs and vials being poured out on the Earth? A harlot sitting on the water? Was I reading or did I just get beaten on?"

4. The Inferno (1308): Dante gets lost on a walk and ends up bushwakking through Hell with Virgil’s ghost. Stinging wasps, rivers of boiling blood and sinners abound. By the time he reaches the ninth circle at the centre of the Earth, he has the most freakishly overdeveloped legs you’ve ever seen. Does he challenge Satan to a kicking contest? I wish.

5. In Search of Lost Time (1913-27): A man bites into a piece of tea-soaked cake and his memory erupts like a volcano, spewing out a novel in seven volumes. Remarkably, none of the tea gets spilled.

6. Finnegan's Wake (1939): One drunken night the English language stages a riot at a stand-up comedy bar. The rest of the Indo-European languages join in, all of them screaming at once for more drink. This goes on for hundreds of pages. There must be some action in there somewhere.