East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Leave a comment

Yellow Peril

cover38282-mediumReading Yellow Peril! – An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear, by John Kuo Wei Tchen and Dylan Yeats, is a weird experience.
As the sub-title points out, this big book is a huge collection of texts and images mapping the relationship between the East and the West.
The East as imagined by the West, to be exact.

The effect can be shocking.
Especially for someone who grew up in a generally liberal household, in a country which had not (at the time) any experience with foreign immigration, reading old pulps – that’s me.

Understanding the actual racism behind some classic genre tropes is eye-opening, and helps put in perspective a number of cliches and stereotypes.

This is an important book, and highly recommended – but will raise a number of issues with the reader.
Which is a good thing, if not overly comfortable.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Fu Manchu, the 1938 serial

Here’s something pretty unusual – a restored first episode of Drums of Fu Manchu – the original, long lost 1938 movie serial, featuring Henry Brandon in the role of the Yellow Peril himself.
Note how the titles specify the story was “suggested” by Sax Rohmer‘s works.