Cahill (Pecked to Death by Ducks, 1993, etc.) delivers all the goods--vibrancy, wit, intelligence--anyone could hope for from adventure travel writing in this, his fourth, collection. There is not a turkey among these tales (which have appeared in magazines, mostly in Outside). A few of them are snappy little deskside essays--concerning malaria, how to keep Congolese bees from entering your nostrils, a testament to the family values of New Guinea's Dani people. But most concern Cahill's forte, ``remote travel oddly rendered.'' There he sits, curled in the bow of a boat drifting through the unspeakably rotten weather of a Montana spring: ``It was beautiful in a savage and entirely unsettling manner''; or he may detail how sea-kayakers climb the front of monster waves, punch through the crest, and ride a rainbow of spray back to the sea's surface; he concocts a thralling fantasy of landing a small airplane after the pilot's gone and died on you (``when Geraldo Rivera calls to ask you to be on his show, you get to turn him down flat''). And there is a long piece set in Honduras, on a prospecting mission for an eco-tour group, that's all rough edges, a dispatch direct from the field, appealingly jagged, utterly memorable. Cahill's writing gets better all the time, his storytelling style evolving into an art form, his cracking-wiseass humor bevelled by every manner of nuance; waggish he may be, but he's also got a lot of brains. And what more could one ask? He's willing to die for his art. In the end, many of these adventures come down to ``one of those intangible things I'll own forever because I've paid for it, paid for it in equally intangible dues.'' Cold comfort for Cahill, high entertainment for his readers.