East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

I caught the Pulp Fiction Bug


92184In Bruce Campbell‘s entertaining Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way. the author describes how he became sort of a healthy carrier of the B-movie bug: no matter how high-profile the production in which Campbell is involved, no matter how classy the leading actors, his sole presence on set is granted to turn the whole project into a B-movie extravaganza1.

I think I just caught a similar for of virus – the Pulp bug.
I tend to turn everything I touch into pulp adventure fare.

Consider the following…

I’m participating in a MOOC by the Manchester University – a wonderful course in Egyptology, taking a very different approach to the study of Egyptian history.
Part of the course requires me to write and upload a short essay, selecting and describing six objects connected with the history of Ancient Egypt.

pulp-egypt-May37s.jpg~originalFor reasons that I explained elsewhere, I decided to use six objects from the Turin Egyptian Museum.

First surprise: the Turin Egyptian Museum does not have an online catalog of its exhibits.
Or, the catalog is there, somewhere on the Museum servers, but it had not been linked and indexed.
All you get is an Under construction sign.
You can get to the photos by googling the exact name of the objects, but all you get is a ghastly photo with heavy watermarks.

Not one to be easily deterred, I searched for my six Turin-based objects, and soon drew a list of six papyrus documents from the 17th-19th dynasties.
Now the essay is ready and I’m about to post it on the MOOC website, but I had to reflect on the final contents.

True, through six papyri I can provide a vivid image of the New Kingdom, featuring religion, political and social issues, even everyday life and amusements.
And yet, my six documents feature…Female_topless_egyption_dancer_on_ancient_ostrakon

  • a lost gold mine
  • a mysterious obelisk buried under the sand
  • a palace conspiracy
  • a royal assassination
  • magic and mayhem
  • a revolt of the workers
  • naked sexy women

If this is not proof of the fact that pulp adventure follows me wherever I go, I really don’t know what it is.

PS: I will have to check the course rules – but if possible, I’ll upload my short essay for those of you out there that might be interested.


  1. read the novel if you want to learn more. It’s quite fun. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “I caught the Pulp Fiction Bug

  1. The link to the collection catalogue (I had saved it when it was still accesible by the old site; it is not really helpful, however).


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