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).

The bad guys include the usual assortment of Red Chinese communist agents, assorted scheming femme fatales and evil Asian crime lords.

If this post has wet your appetite for more Asian themed pulp, you’ll find much more here on my Pinterest site.

A Coffin from Hong Kong

Shanghai Incident

Here Comes a hero

The Chinese Visitor 1

The Chinese Visitor

Men and Angels

Port Orient

Jewel of the Java Sea

The House of Bamboo

The Slaves of Sumuru

Emporer Fu manchu

The Yellow Snake

November Reef


6 Responses

  1. I sometimes think these pulp covers, as fun as they are, aren’t appreciated quite enough. I can’t think of any other advertising art form that managed to create consistently outstanding images that also worked superbly as a sales tool; I mean, I know most of these books are crappy, but against my better instincts I want to read them all. You get the feeling that the artists who created these covers had a ball doing it. My only pulp cover obsession is with the pulp covers of the Doc Savage covers done by James Bama in the 1960s. The Savage books were originally published in the ’30s, but were reissued by Bantam in the ’60s. The books sold themselves thanks to Bama’s covers. When I was kid my dad used to read them out loud to me. They were a world away from the Hardy Boys. Here’s a link to someone’s Pineterest page that’s got most of the covers.


  2. Port Orient sounds like it could be an interesting read

  3. philip coggan

    Love the covers, bound to be collectibles. I remember reading Fu Manchu from the bookcase in my grandmother’s house, long ago – I was about 9 I think. And I’d love to get hold of House of Bamboo – that cover is so totally un-Burmese, obviously it’s all just Asia.

  4. Love me some Sumuru! One of the few cases where the movie outshone the book.

  5. I didn’t realize there was a Sumuru movie. any idea were i could find it. I love the old Sax Rohmer books.I think they could be spiced up a bit but I guess they are a product of there times and while that is part of the attraction it also has some drawbacks

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