Category: Investments & Securities
- Type: Paperback
- Pages: none
- ISBN: none
- ASIN: B005U5MM24
- Edition Language: English
The review from afar вЂ“ No. 11Re-revised forward to these overseas reviews:As I emulate a yo-yo, I continue to rely on an old-style Kindle 3G for any non-technical reading. I tip my hat to the fine folks at Project Gutenberg: virtually every title I have or will be reading in the near future comes from them.The Hand of Fu Manchu (UK title, The Si-Fan Mysteries) is the third installment (and ends with the temporary halt) in the duel between Colonial Police Commissioner (with a Royal Roving License) Denis Nayland Smith and his friend and associate (and narrator), Dr.
Petrie and the sinister mastermind Doctor Fu Manchu.For this outing, the prolific and imaginative Sax Rohmer (neeвЂ™ Arthur Henry Ward) chose to mix things up. Dr. Petrie has been sojourning in Egypt of all places and must journey back to England at Nayland SmithвЂ™s call. While the game may not have been afoot, trouble was stirring and it had a name: Doctor Fu Manchu.
And behind the brilliant mind there is the Si-Fan; the organization that holds his allegiance and directs his efforts. Unlike the previous two novels, we see the organization and learn what the Doctor expects from it (and in turn is required to provide).
He is to be elevated to a high status within it, but by luck or fate he loses the one thing he must have and instead it comes under the ken of our heroes.There is still plenty of acrimony between the actors as well as grudging respect, but we see Nayland Smith and Petrie beginning to gain the upper hand. Here, they are not rescued by the diminutive and beautiful Karamaneh, instead they must rescue her (and about time, too!) Just when all seems darkest for the Dark Genius, he is saved by horse-trading by our stalwart Englishmen.
(Of course they are compelled into the compact by their own needs, but that doesnвЂ™t abate any of the delicious irony вЂ“ Fu Manchu has been put in the position of granting them clemency more than once before.)In addition to putting his standard plots on their heads, our author had one more trick up his Oriental robe: at the end of the novel we believe that Fu Manchu has surely met his end. Like Conan Doyle before him, Rohmer had wearied of the character, the demand for more, and possibly the notoriety that it had garnered (it was even then a low-brow attitude towards the Celestials that he was preaching, after all.) So, in this novel he buried the Evil Doctor and planned to leave him there for all time.Like Sauron, even named evil has a way of re-constituting itself.
In the end, Rohmer resisted the siren calls for 3 (if you count to the publication of The Return of Sherlock Holmes) or 5 (if you count to the вЂњprequelвЂќ, The Hound of the Baskervilles) years longer that Conan Doyle managed. I havenвЂ™t yet read any of these later works, but like ACD, there are more of the post-break tales than there are of the earlier ones. TheyвЂ™re on my list.As before, the stories were written for serial publication, so the novel is the agglutination of these novelettes.
Was the tale planned out in advance, or was it just extended as each new deadline loomed? I canвЂ™t tell. If done as a full book, it would still need to be sliced into attractive (i.e. thrilling) segments that were long enough to carry their own tune, but not so long that they took up the entire publication.
If done per deadline, then there would have to be some thought (perhaps a smidge more than what Michael Moorcock has described in his pressure-writings) of the overall continuity and final outcome at each step.
Without detailed notes from the author it matters very little how the story arouse. What does matter is does it fill the readerвЂ™s appetite for action, adventure, and alliteration. (Okay, that last one was just pure indulgence on my part.)But indulgent is one way of looking at these stories. Here we see an author successfully meet the needs of his readers. Does Sax Rohmer have to be the vilest, meanest racist on the planet to broadly and subtly denigrate other races and cultures?
Of course not. Is he a product of his times and the misgivings of the West about the East? Yes, most certainly he is. But I also think that he knew, knew and played these threads to create the story that the buying public wanted. Were they manipulated and fed tales about the вЂњYellow PerilвЂќ? Definitely. Was pandering to this a dive to the sewers (you philosophers can say it is another fallacy of sweeping generalization) in the expectation of selling magazines and books?
You betcha!Show me a writer that has never taken up a popular genre or theme when faced with objective proof that it sells. ItвЂ™s good enough for the TV News & Sunday Papers (in the guise of вЂњif it bleeds, it leadsвЂќ), so I think that itвЂ™s good enough for popular fiction, too.
Sax Rohmer raised himself up from being a music hall writer to the creator of fiction that sold and sold well. I think that deserves recognition no matter what he built his fame upon.Fu Manchu is a blackguard, a fiend, a criminal who stops at nothing and no one. But he is more than that. He has standards and scruples. They may be (*ahem*) inscrutable until voiced, but they exist.
He seeks what he has been directed to and yet, at the same time, He is the archetype for brilliant, evil, fiends bent on world domination. No whack-job with a garrulous streak, he does however spin off into the occasional soliloquy. But when he did it only a few notables had done so before him: Captain Nemo, Professor Moriarty, and so on. On our side of the Pond, it was still вЂњBefore the Golden Age of Science FictionвЂќ and Dashiell Hammett was writing, but not Raymond Chandler.
To be there when these stories were first published would have been a real treat. Despite the rough edges (part of their appeal originally), these are good stories and Doctor Fu Manchu is a most wonderful adversary!Three (3.0) Solid Stars for the actual writing, but Four (4.0) Stars awarded for creating one of the Baddest of the Bad Guys of All Time.You can get this story for free from the Gutenberg Project site.