East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Heatwave at the Keep

Heatwave is the title of a song by a band called the Blue Nile that I discovered in the version by Dave Stewart (not that one, the other) and Barbara Gaskin.
Not that you care, I guess.
An heatwave is also what’s hitting Europe in this moment – we are at 38°C here in Astigianistan, with a staggering 58% of humidity (that goes up to ‘70% in the evening). It will get hotter in the next days.
People will die, like it already happened in 2003.

All we can do is stay indoors, use the fan in moderation, and try to go through these days. I’ve work to do, and I’ll do it in the night.
In the meantime, I pass my time listening to old records and reading a chiller – because, well, one can try and get chilled at least ideally, right?

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Three for the Dragon Tong

I first discovered F. Paul Wilson by way of a novel called The Keep.
Nazis, supernatural evil, some nice references to assorted Yog-Sothotheries.
My kind of thing*.

Ever since The Keep, while I’m not an assiduous reader, I’m quite happy to pick one of F. Paul Wilson stories once in a while.
He’s good at what he does, he writes good solid horror, and we are clearly members of the same tribe.

sex-slavesThis is particularly evident in the elegantly-titled Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong, a small collection packing three novelettes under a suitably lurid cover.

These are three Fu Manchu apocrypha – but the Lord of Strange Deaths is never mentioned by name, which is a fine touch.
Three stories, involving three characters facing the Yellow Peril, and chock full of references and inside jokes, referencing, tongue firmly in cheek, just everything from The Shadow to Hammett’s Continental Op .
There’s enough stuff in these three shorts to fill a much longer work – but here, brevity is one of the winning traits of the collection.

Wilson plays with the old style of the classic pulps – which means we get a brief but fun introduction, to warn off oversensitive fools and people missing historical perspective.
Yes, this is a slightly politically incorrect book.
But that’s another one of its charms.

A good addition to my pulp library.

* Yes, I know there was a movie made from the novel, but it was badly mangled by the production.