Tag Archives: lurid pulp covers

Pulp Friday: Sin in Hong Kong

“Lassington Dhal was condemned to die of pleasure. What was the secret that had earned him free grog, free women and a drunkard’s death?”

Today’s Pulp Friday is a wonderful specimen of Asian themed Australian pulp fiction, Sin in Hong Kong by James Workman, published by Horwitz Publications in 1965.

You can almost smell the polluted water of Kowloon Harbour and feel the beer sweat oozing from the pores of this book. The combination of the cover illustration and the suggestive title do a wonderful job of evoking a sense of the mysterious, sleazy Orient, one of the mainstays of pulp publishing in the fifties and sixties. Criminals, Communists, Asians. What’s the difference? Remember, this was 1965. The Cold War was in full swing, Vietnam was just starting to wind up, Australia was years away from recognising Red China, fear and ignorance of Asia was widespread (and it could be argued in some quarters still is).

As is the case with nearly every local Australian pulp cover I present on this site, I’ve no idea who did the art work for Sin in Hong Kong.

James Workman appears to have been one of the many house pseudonyms used by Horwitz. In this case, the real author appears to have been well known Australian novelist James Edmond MacDonnell.… Read more

Behind the bamboo screen: Asian pulp covers of the sixties and seventies

Regular readers of Pulp Curry will by now be familiar with my obsession with pulp paperbacks from the fifties, sixties and seventies (previous posts on which you can be see here, here and here).

The following selection, sourced from my collection, is one I’ve wanted to do for a while now – Asian themed pulp paperback covers from the sixties and seventies. These are mainly from the United States with a smattering of Pan Books from the United Kingdom thrown in.

Not surprisingly, given the hysteria generated by the Cold War, the threat posed by the so-called “red menace” is a key theme of most of these titles, such as The Bamboo Screen, the story of an innocent Westerner thrown into “a savage world of spies and Oriental beauty,” a place where “life was cheap and love was a tool”.

Hong Kong was a favoured location for many of the do or die battles with Communism, as can be seen in Assignment Hong Kong and Twelve Hours to Destiny. Operation Hong Kong is one of a number of titles put out by Solider of Fortune magazine in the seventies: “Rainey has to stop Chinese agents from turning Hong Kong into a bloodbath”.

Other popular locations were Vietnam (Simon Harvester’s Battle Road), and jungles of Malaya in Mark Darby’s The Tigress, a place where “death stalked…with a Sten gun in its hands.”

Inscrutable communists were joined a pantheon of other Asian themed villains.… Read more