LibriVox: The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer

October 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxNow this is strange, I recommend you read this audiobook despite it having some pretty awful writing. I’ve never found myself rooting the the villain as much as with this book, a book in which the mostly off-screen antagonist outshines the on-screen protagonists. First published in 1913 the titular character of The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu (aka The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu) has come to epitomize a the embodiment of a socio-cultural meme known as THE YELLOW PERIL. The purported protagonists, Dr. Petrie and Sir Denis Nayland Smith, are a pair of casually racist assholes. They carry their ignorant colonial bully-boy tactics with them into every scene like a foul and infecting stench. Their agenda, to protect white supremacy at all costs, makes their foe’s vaguely villainous goals all the more palatable. But what is it that their enemy, Dr. Fu-Manchu, wants to do exactly? He is clearly ruthless. Is it simply world domination? Maybe. But even if that’s true, I can’t imagine he’d be as offensive as these two English assholes. When Fu Manchu does finally show up he seems more of a curious zoologist than an arch-fiend. It sounds bad, and it is, with bad writing for the most part, but it’s also very something iconic, and in that sense it is both important and worthwhile.

I think what Sax Rohmer did was write the novel, in earnest, from the heroes’ perspective – what time has done has has turned the heroes into villains and the villain into the hero.

We did couple of podcasts on this book and this subject earlier this year: The SFFaudio Podcast #051 and #052, and I’ve been thinking about the yellow peril again recently. After watching the glossily re-imagined Hawaii Five-O pilot (if you value your vaunted opinion of humanity’s as the paragon of animals stay far clear) I was reminded of the yellow peril’s turn in the original Hawaii Five-O TV series. It had a 13 episode arc that spanned from the first episode in 1968 to the final episode in 1980. That was good stuff. The racism that infects The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu had been replaced in the original Hawaii Five-O by a RED MENACE (guised as YELLOW PERIL). Since that last episode aired the USA has come a long way in the racism department, but bad writing, in books and television, will always be with us.

LibriVox - The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu by Sax RohmerThe Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu
By Sax Rohmer; Read by FNH
30 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 20 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 9, 2010
The first of the Fu-Manchu novels this story follows the two characters who are set against the machinations of the insidious doctor.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/3488

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Gesine and Leni!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Ian Fleming’s favourite novels (as a kid)

September 28, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James BondI’ve just started listening to Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond, a biography by Andrew Lycett, (available from Blackstone Audio). Here’s an interesting bit from early on:

“On Sunday evenings all the boys would gather in the hall of Durnford‘s [preparatory school] main building, a shabby 18th century manor house. Then, while her feet were tickled by some unfortunate child, Nell [the headmaster’s wife] would read them an adventure story. The general favourites were The Prisoner Of Zenda, Moonfleet and, towards the end of Ian’s time, Bulldog Drummond. Lawrence Irving, a pupil shortly before the Flemings, found that he ‘Never read those books again without hearing Nell’s tone and inflection.’ The same went for Ian, though he preferred the populist works of Sax Rohmer who opened up a more fantastic world with his yellow devil villain Doctor Fu Manchu.”

See that? There’s a nice direct connection between Dr. Fu Manchu and Doctor No. And, as I’m discovering by listening to Andy Minter’s reading of The Prisoner Of Zenda, you get a nice resonance between James Bond, playboy adventurer, and Rudolf Rassendyll, English gentleman.

In fact, as I’m writing this I’m very much enjoying The Prisoner Of Zenda, and am considering delving more deeply into the sub-genre it helped create: Ruritanian romance (a story set in a fictional country)

LIBRIVOX - The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony HopeThe Prisoner Of Zenda
By Anthony Hope; Read by Andy Minter
1 |M4B|, 22 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: December 16, 2006
The Prisoner of Zenda tells the story of Rudolf Rassendyll, an English gentleman on holiday in Ruritania, a country not a thousand miles from Bavaria. There, by reason of his resemblance to the King of Ruritania he becomes involved in saving the King’s Life and his Throne from the King’s dastardly brother and his allies. Woods, moated castles, pomp, swordplay, gallantry, villainy and a beautiful princess. What story could ask for more?

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/the-prisoner-of-zenda-by-anthony-hope.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LIBRIVOX - Moonfleet by J. Meade FalknerMoonfleet
By J. Meade Falkner; Read by various readers
24 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 17, 2008
The novel is set in a fishing village in Dorset during the mid 18th century. The story concerns a 15 year old orphan boy, John Trenchard, who becomes friends with an older man who turns out to be the leader of a gang of smugglers. One night John chances on the smugglers’ store in the crypt beneath the church. He explores but hides behind a coffin when he hears voices. He finds a locket which contains a parchment, in the coffin belonging to Colonel Mohune. Unfortunately after the visitors leave, he finds himself trapped inside, and is only rescued two days later when two of the smugglers, Ratsey, the sexton and Elzevir Block, the innkeeper of the Why Not?, the local pub, investigate his disappearance. His aunt insists he leaves her house and Elzevir Block takes him in to live at the pub.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/moonfleet-by-j-meade-falkner.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Bulldog Drummond by Herman Cyril McNeile (1920), isn’t yet available as an audioboook on LibriVox, but it is available (unabridged) from Naxos Audiobooks |HERE|.

The Insidious Doctor Fu Manchu (aka The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu) by Sax Rohmer (1913), is forthcoming on LibriVox, but is already commercially available through Tantor Media |HERE|.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #052

March 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #052 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Science Fiction author and YELLOW PERIL scholar William F. Wu.

Talked about on today’s show:
Isaac Asimov, the “Robots In Time” series, the “Robot City” series, The Twilight Zone (1985), Wong’s Lost And Found Emporium by William F. Wu, Allan Brennert, Prisoners Of Gravity, Clarion Writers’ Workshop, Amazing Stories, Harlan Ellison, the best adaptation of Tom Godwin’s The Cold Equations, The Yellow Peril: Chinese Americans In American Fiction 1850-1940 by William F. Wu, University Of Michigan, Eric S. Rabkin, invasion stories, San Fransisco, The Battle Of Wabash by Lorelle, Dr. Fu Manchu, 19th century, Chinese immigration to the USA, immigration, Blazing Saddles (1974), The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu, Charlie Chan, Sax Rohmer, comics, Marvel, DC Comics, Charlton Comics, Asians characters in comics, anglicizing Chinese names, David Lo Pan, Sui Sin Far (aka Edith Eaton), the co-evolution of Sax Rohmer and Dr. Fu Manchu, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, the best episode of Doctor Who episode ever: The Talons Of Weng Chiang, John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China, James Hong, Hong On The Range by William F. Wu, San Diego, ComiCon, Mister Ron, Peter Sellers, The Fiendish Plot Of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980), Christopher Lee, The Face Of Fu Manchu (1965), Master Of Kung-Fu, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Captain America, Bruce Lee, Enter The Dragon, Doug Moench, Starlog, the Marvel “no prize”, Julius Schwartz

Wong’s Lost And Found Emporium as adapted for an episode of The Twilight Zone (1985) Parts 1, 2 and 3:

Prisoners Of Gravity – Workshops/Clarion Parts 1, 2 and 3:

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFPRP: Smoke by Donald E. Westlake and more invisible men

January 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Luke Burrage, in the second of two consecutive shows with me as a guest on Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, is talking about Smoke by Donald E. Westlake and other stories about invisibility. We thoughrouly examine the invsiblity meme, discuss its strengths and weaknesses and chat about possible upcoming topics of conversation!

The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast SFBRP #079 – Smoke and more invisible men
1 |MP3| – Approx. 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: SFBRP.com
Podcast: Monday, January 18, 2010

Here’s what we talked about:
Luke’s The Invisible Man podcast (SFBRP#78), The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, Donald E. Westlake’s Smoke, invisibility, Freddie Urban Noon, crime, Smoke is an invisible man story done right, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man by H.F. Saint, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man (the 1992 film), invisibility in Fantasy (J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings), invisibility in Science Fiction (The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells), invisibility in a comic crime story, what are the problems with being an invisible thief?, humor, New York, Richard Stark, hard boiled crime, 5 Writing Lessons Learned from Donald Westlake, “When the phone rang Parker was in the garage killing a man.”, The Writing Excuses Podcast, Luke’s review of Makers by Cory Doctorow (SFBRP #74), big tobacco, Westlake’s way of telling a story “he went into the unspeakable kitchen.”, Westlake is a masterful writer of sentences, Peg Briscoe (Freddie’s girlfriend) is a competent confederate, how do you steal things when you’re invisible? (people will see the stolen goods floating down the street!), how do you sell stolen goods when you’re invisible? (you’ll need a confederate), invisibility is a small but well known meme, comparing the memes of invisibility and time travel, nailing small coffins and flogging tiny horses, The Man With The Getaway Face by Richard Stark, the Stark novels are faced paced and utterly absorbing, the differences between Stark novels and Westlake novels, The Hunter by Richard Stark, Payback (the 1999 film), more invisible men, Hollow Man (the 2000 film), Sony used a fake reviewer to shill its movies, unlikeable characters in novels vs. film, the concept of invisibility is a human concept and not a worldly phenomenon (and what that does to our perception of possibility), negating a phenomenon doesn’t create a new phenomenon, invisibility in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series, Jack Ward, The Sonic Society, Superman, why Superman is impossible, invisible men cannot smoke or drink or eat if they want to remain wholly invisible, Neil Morrisey, The Vanishing Man (1998), future memes and themes for podcasts: THE YELLOW PERIL, when will China take over the world? (soon), David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series, The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer, the Judge Dee mysteries, Starship: Flagship by Mike Resnick, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick |READ OUR REVIEW|, ***watch out for the false ending*** Alan Moore‘s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, Allan Quatermain, the National Treasure series, Indiana Jones,
6 Insane Fan Theories That Actually Make Great Movies Better, the best television show ever made: The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones, doing something with a television show that no-one has ever done on TV before or since, automating your podcast with Audacity, python.

http://www.sfbrp.com/?feed=podcast

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis