Tag Archives: Dan Cushman

Pulp Friday: more adventures behind the bamboo screen

The Turncoat

One of the most successful pulp fiction related posts to date on this site was a selection of Asian themed pulp fiction paperback covers I put up in 2011, Behind the bamboo screen: Asian pulp covers of the sixties and seventies.

For a while now I’ve been planning a follow up and here it is.

As was the case in the original post, the covers below portray the anti-communist hysteria created by the rise of the so-called ‘red menace’ as well the fate of innocent (and not so innocent) Westerners thrown into chaos and intrigue of the ‘Far east’, a place of intrigue, “notorious pleasure palaces” and “forbidden desire”.

Hong Kong was a popular setting of Asian themed pulp fiction, as evidenced by titles such as A Coffin From Hong Kong (“A seemingly innocent telephone call led him to the murder of a Chinese call-girl who had talked to much and into the teeming, sordid nightlife of colourful Hong Kong”).

Other locales portrayed below include, Korea (The Turncoat), China (Shanghai Incident – “I had two callers my first night in Shanghai – death and a honey blonde”), the “South Seas” (November Reef), India (Men and Angels), Burma (The House of Bamboo – “In a Burmese girl’s warm, seductive beauty he found escape from the flames of forbidden desire”), and Thailand (Port Orient).… Read more

Pulp Friday: Opium Flower by Dan Cushman

“They were out to hook the whole world with the filthy stuff – Ryan had to stop them even if it meant losing the most luscious play-mate in the Orient.”

There’s pulp covers and then there’s pulp covers and I reckon this one is a beauty.

It perfectly combines two of my main obsessions, sixties pulp paperback art and crime fiction set in Asia, in this case Laos.

Opium Flower was published by Bantam Books in 1963. Author, Dan Cushman, was a regular pulp writer for US outfits such as Bantam and Gold Medal, where he penned tough guy pulp stories. Many of them, including Jewel of the Java Sea (1951) and Port Orient (1955) were set in Asia.

The back cover blurb for Opium Flower is great:

“Opium. Somehow it was getting back to the State. From Harlem to Venice City, the hopheads were practically floating in it. Ryan was the only man who could stop the flow at its deadly source – Laos.

All he had to do was become the second son to the biggest opium dealer in the world, endure the most insidious tortures ever devised by man and fight his way out of the dirtiest double-cross ever invented.

If he survived, it was worth every excruciating minute.Read more