Fu Manchu: Sandy reviews the entire series!

FUN MANCHU by Sax Rohmer fantasy book reviewsFU MANCHU by Sax Rohmer

The FU MANCHU novels that English author Sax Rohmer wrote over the course of nearly half a century are much beloved today, although their notoriously un-P.C. content has made them the subject of dispute for many years. It has been a while since I have read the 13-book series, and have decided to place all my old thoughts on these books in one place for the FanLit reader who may not be familiar with these works. This overview, by no means in depth, can serve as your one-stop shopping destination for all things Fu. There remains one book, an anthology of short Fu Manchu stories, that I will deal with elsewhere. But here are the 13 novels in the main series, and my quick thoughts on each of them:

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu (aka The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu) (1913)

It’s amazing how much action Sax Rohmer crams into this short, 192-page book. In it, Commissioner Nayland Smith and his cohort, Dr. Petrie, travel around London trying to rescue various chaps from murder, kidnapping, memory loss and assorted attacks perpetrated by the evil Chinese mastermind, Dr. Fu Manchu. The pace of the book is quite breathless, and before all is said and done, we have dealt with poisonous centipedes, opium dens, trapdoors, memory drugs, mummies, poison gas, thugees and dacoits, ship raids, hashish, zombies, poison mushrooms, swamp adder drugs and on and on. Like I said, Rohmer throws a lot into this one, all for the pleasure of the adventure-loving reader. Who cares if it’s not PC? This is a ripper of a yarn, as they used to say, and a nice intro to the other books in the Fu Manchu series.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Return of Dr. Fu Manchu (aka The Devil Doctor) (1916)

This is the second of the Fu Manchu books that Sax Rohmer gave us. Like the first, it is very episodic in nature, revealing its origin as a series of short magazine stories. A reading of the previous book WOULD be helpful for a full enjoyment of this volume, but is not absolutely necessary. Like the first book, this one is jam-packed with fast-moving action and bizarre adventure. It is surprisingly well written; sometimes even elegantly written. Just note the description of the seedy East End in Chapter 11 and you may want to upgrade your assessment of Rohmer as a wordsmith. Anyway, this particular installment of Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie’s war against the evil genius Fu Manchu includes kidnappings, wire-jacket torture, poisonous cats, snake murders, albino peacocks, killer apes, quicksand, a haunted house, rat torture, mummy attacks and on and on. It’s really remarkable how much stuff Rohmer packs into one short book. You won’t be bored, that’s for sure!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Hand of Fu-Manchu (aka The Si-Fan Mysteries) (1917)

In this third Fu Manchu novel, Comm. Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie continue to battle the evil genius Fu Manchu. This book introduces the Si-Fan, a mysterious Eastern organization dedicated to conquering the Western world. The book follows directly from the previous two volumes, and includes several familiar characters. Thus, a reading of the previous books is recommended before going into this one. I’d give this book one star less than the previous two, if only because, as good a writer as Rohmer is, some of the sections of the book are, for me anyway, too vaguely drawn. The geography of the Si-Fan house and of the chapel of Monkswell, for example, are quite hard to picture; your imagination will be working overtime in these sections. (Perhaps this is deliberate on the part of the author?) Several plot points (Hale’s mysterious chest, a woman who may or may not be a supreme Empress of sorts) are left in the air, possibly to be resolved in future volumes. There ARE some outstanding set pieces in the book, including the forced operation on Fu-Manchu’s bullet-ridden skull and the insect-guarded labyrinth under Graywater Park. The book also features poisonous flowers, an opium den, mysterious codes, a hashish house, kidnappings, fires, leopards, storms and on and on. The pace, as usual for the Fu books, is quite breathless. There’s no way that a reader will be bored.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Daughter of Fu Manchu (1931)

This fourth novel represents something of a departure from the previous three. For one thing, we have a new narrator in this book. Shan Greville, assistant of the Orientalist Sir Lionel Barton (who figured prominently in books 1 and 3), has taken over the narrating duties from Dr. Petrie. For another thing, a good deal of the book’s action takes place in Egypt, as opposed to England. AND, this book seems to hold together more as a novel, rather than as a group of linked stories. Fu Manchu himself, believed to be dead after the events of book 3, barely appears in this volume, but his daughter, a chip(py) off the old block if ever there were one, has picked up were Pops left off, and makes things pretty hot for Nayland Smith, Petrie, Inspector Weymouth and some of our other old friends. As usual, the pace is swift, with some outstanding set pieces, including the infiltration of the Si-Fan council in the el-Kharga oasis, and the ultimate appearance of Pops Manchu himself. We are also treated to mummy tombs, zombie drugs, assassins of various sorts, hypnosis, poison sprays and so on. All in all, this is a very good entry in the Fu series.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

The Mask of Fu Manch is a direct continuation of the previous entry, The Daughter of Fu Manchu. Thus, a reading of that earlier story is fairly essential when going into this one. Shan Greville again narrates, and all our old friends are back: Nayland Smith, Dr. Petrie, Orientalist Lionel Barton and his niece, Rima. Comm. Weymouth and Karameneh make only token appearances in this work. Thanks to the essential oil of a rare Burmese orchid, Dr. Fu has attained a new lease on life in this book, and is both stronger and more active than ever. You might call him a brand-new Fu! Fah Lo Suee, his evil but hot-blooded daughter, makes some nice eerie appearances in this tale, as well.

The story this time concerns Fu’s attempts to steal the so-called relics of El Mokanna from Sir Lionel. These relics will enable him to foster an Islamic uprising that will sweep the world. The action jumps from Persia to Cairo, to adventure on the high seas and then back to jolly old London. Mixed in with the usual fast pace we are treated to Ogboni killers, mind-control drugs, dervishes, metal dissolvers, a “ghost mosque,” and amnesia. One of the high points of the novel is a midnight ransom meeting with Dr. Fu Manchu in the heart of the Great Pyramid; a very memorable sequence indeed. Rohmer even manages to throw in a nice sentimental ending of sorts to this story, in which Fu gets to show what a classy dude he is capable of being. I am docking the book a star because several of the events are not explained (how did Fu get out of the Great Pyramid, anyway?), and because the writing in one or two scenes was a bit fuzzy (I still can’t figure out that Ogboni spider-thread pendulum trick). Still, these are minor quibbles. This is essentially a mighty fun read, and a worthy addition to the Fu saga.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Bride of Fu Manchu (1933)

The Bride of Fu Manch is perhaps the best of the Fu Manchu books so far for the simple reason that we see more of the good Dr. in this tale than in any of the others. The best parts of any Fu Manchu novel are always when Fu himself is present, talking and scheming and gloating and explaining, and in this book we see a LOT of him. This book marks another departure in the series, in that we have a new narrator (the third so far in the series): Alan Sterling, a botanist buddy of our old friend Dr. Petrie. The setting of the book is unique, too — the French Riviera. As has already been observed, the plot of this book — spreading biological plague throughout the world — does seem to have influenced Ian Fleming in his later Bond novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But there are other parallels as well. Fu Manchu’s garden of deadly plants could be seen as a precursor to Blofeld’s suicide gardens in You Only Live Twice, and the character of Fu Manchu himself, as has been pointed out elsewhere, would seem to be an inspiration for the later Dr. No. Does anybody out there know whether or not Fleming was a Rohmer fan? Anyway, this is a terrific and fast-moving tale. The high point of the book occurs when Fu Manchu takes Sterling on a tour of his laboratory, showing him all the plant and animal monstrosities that he has created. This section takes up fully 1/4 of the novel, and is a real showstopper. We are also treated to the usual array of Burmese thugs, knockout drugs, opium use, hypnotism, “the Blessing of the Celestial Vision,” a sea chase, and even (finally!) the arrest of Fu Manchu himself. Does Fu Manchu get convicted and serve a kajillion years in the slammer, as he deserves? With eight more books in the series to go, what do you think?!?!?!? Anyway, this is an exceptional entry in the Fu Manchu series.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Trail of Fu Manchu (1934)

The Trail of Fu Manchu finds the good Dr. in pretty desperate straits following the events of book #6, The Bride of Fu Manchu. In this installment, he is a hunted man, cut off from his funds, the bulk of his Si-Fan associates, and the elixir vitae that is preserving his life. This book is something of a radical departure from the previous six in that there is no first-person narrator, but at the same time hearkens back to the tone of the first three volumes in the series, in that the action takes place in the Surrey and Limehouse regions of London. Nayland Smith, Dr. Petrie and Alan Sterling are all back, as are Fleurette and Fah Lo Suee. This book introduces the character of Inspector Gallaho from Scotland Yard, as cool and tough an ally as any bunch of Fu fighters could hope for. The story this time concerns Fu Manchu’s kidnapping of Fleurette Petrie away from her father. There is also a wonderful side plot in which it is discovered that Fu has been making his own gold, alchemist style, in an abandoned tunnel under the Thames River. The raiding of this factory takes up fully 1/4 of the book, and is a very well done and suspenseful set piece. Multiple narrative strands converge here in bravura manner; a first-person narrative could not have allowed for these wonderful scenes. One of the long-standing characters in the series meets an end here, and it is a shocking moment when it comes. There are, however, several instances of inconsistency and fuzziness in the book that prevent me from giving it a top grade. For instance, in one scene Smith and Co. visit the doctor who bought Petrie’s practice many years before. His name is Dr. Norton. However, in book #3, The Hand of Fu Manchu, we were told that this man’s name was Dr. Murray! Inconsistencies like this can drive an alert reader crazy! There is also no reason why there had to be two completely unrelated characters named Preston in the current novel; it only leads to reader confusion. Also, and this is a small but annoying thing, Rohmer uses words like “settee” and “divan” interchangeably in the same scene, so we never know which he is talking about. But these are quibbles. Minor cavils aside, this is a very suspenseful and memorable entry in the Fu saga. 

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsPresident Fu Manchu (1936)

President Fu Manchu, the 8th book of the Fu Manchu series, the good doctor hops “over the pond” and sets his nefarious sights on no less a prize than the conquest of the United States! This book marks yet another departure in the Fu Manchu series: It is the longest of the books, the most detailed, possibly the best written, takes place in the U.S. for the first time, and is the most political book in the series thus far. In this one, the Fu-man, through “the League of Good Americans,” backs a presidential candidate who will, in time, become his puppet dictator. Our old friend Sir Nayland Smith is back, trying to stop this conquest; he is aided by Federal agent Mark Hepburn. For the first time in the series, Dr. Petrie does not make even a token appearance. This book features the typical fast pacing and grotesque action that have become familiar at this point in the series. We encounter numerous killings with poisonous spiders, a raid on a NYC Chinatown catacomb lair… a “Manchurian Candidate”-style assassination of a presidential hopeful (almost 30 years before that classic movie), a boat chase down the Niagara rapids, and much more. As I said, there is a great wealth of detail and incident in this installment. Fu, at one point, even takes time out of his busy agenda to operate on a dying, diphtheritic boy; just Sax Rohmer’s way of showing us that there is some good in the old doctor, after all.

I did have some minor problems with this Fu installment, however, good as it is. There really is no reason for there to be two characters named Wu Chang; this just leads to confusion for the reader! Also, at one point in the book, Fu Manchu tries to brainwash Hepburn from a hotel window one floor below where Hepburn’s room is. A few pages later, it is said that Fu was TWO floors below! Also, the description of Wu King’s underground Chinatown lair was, for me anyway, a bit hard to follow. But all in all, this is a mighty fun and involving book. And I just love the line that Fu Manchu delivers to Nayland Smith, right before attempting to blow him up with that bomb on top of the skyscraper (remember that this line comes after eight books’ worth of chases and incredible adventure): “Our association, if at times tedious, has never been dishonorable.”

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Drums of Fu Manchu (1939)

In The Drums of Fu Manchu, we find that Fu has decided that, in the interests of world peace, all warmongering European dictators must be brought to task, and either desist in their belligerent ways, or die a macabre death. Actually, it isn’t so much genuine world peace that the good doctor is interested in, but rather a state that is more conducive to the eventual takeover by his Si-Fan organization. While the book does seem to make the case that Nazi and Fascist dictators are preferable to the “yellow menace” as represented by the Manchu man, it still shows those men to be overbearing, arrogant and ripe for being brought down. The book is certainly racist (to a degree, all the other entries in the series are, too), but at the same time it does make a plea for peace and sanity in the year before WW2 broke out…and that’s not too bad a message for any novel.

In this book we have a new narrator, the journalist Bart Kerrigan, who joins Nayland Smith on his seemingly endless quest to foil the Doctor’s plans. The action hops around quite a bit in this installment, from Essex and Suffolk to London, from Venice back to London, and finally off to (not so) gay Paree. The action is fairly relentless, the book’s real saving grace. What with Green Deaths, a run-in with the Doctor on the Essex marshes, brainwashing via television, a new kind of superrifle, the Ericksen disintegration tube, torture chambers under creepy Venetian palazzos, a yacht trap on the Adriatic, killer pygmies and on and on, this book really keeps the reader glued to the page. One of our old friends from previous volumes makes a return in this book, and it’s a real stunner when this character does reappear. So despite the racist elements, the book entertains.

I did, however, have more serious problems with the book than just the racial comments. There are numerous inconsistencies with previous entries that just bug the bejeebers out of me. For example, in one scene of this volume, Fu Manchu refers to “the Seven Gates,” a grisly rat torture used on Nayland Smith in book 2, The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu. But in that earlier volume, it was called “the Six Gates.” Grrrrr. In the current book, Smith is referred to as a “deep, silent sleeper,” while in the previous book, #8 (President Fu Manchu), he is referred to as a light, “hair trigger” sleeper. Huh?!?!? Fey, Smith’s manservant, in previous volumes, has had a rather normal pattern of speech. In this volume, his speech is telegraphic and robotlike all of a sudden. What!?!?!? These kinds of inconsistencies can and do drive alert readers bonkers. But the worst thing of all in this book is when Smith tells someone that a description of a Japanese suspect is not necessary, as all descriptions of his “countrymen sound identical.” Jeeeeezzzzz!!!!! Get past these groaners, though, and you’ll have a fun time. I did.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Island of Fu Manchu (1941)

The Island of Fu Manchu is a direct continuation of the previous installment, The Drums of Fu Manchu. Hence, a reading of that previous volume is fairly essential before going into this one. In the present volume, Sir Dennis Nayland Smith continues his ongoing battle against the evil doctor, aided again by narrator Bart Kerrigan and by Europe’s foremost archeologist, Sir Lionel Barton, who figured so prominently in books 1, 4 and 5 (The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, The Daughter of Fu Manchu and The Mask of Fu Manchu). This book is the wartime entry in the Fu series, and takes place in blackout London; it then hops over the pond for action in the Big Apple, the Panama Canal Zone and in Haiti. This time around, the Fu man has completed his air and naval forces and has concentrated them in a base hidden in an extinct Haitian volcano. His goal seems to be to stymie America’s naval forces from his Carribean base. This Fu novel is the most sci-fi-oriented in the series thus far, what with Ericksen disintegrators, the Vortland (invisibility) lamp, antigravity devices, futuristic planes and ships and so on. The volcano lair is reminiscent of Ayesha’s home in the great great H. Rider Haggard novel She, while the showdown at the end of this book, in that volcanic hideaway, would in turn seem to be the inspiration for Dahl’s screenplay for the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice.” As in book 6, The Bride of Fu Manchu, the high point of this book occurs when Fu takes our narrator on a tour of his laboratory grounds, showing off his assorted experiments and biological creations. The book also boasts one of the most suspenseful sequences in the entire Fu series thus far, that in which Smith and Kerrigan infiltrate a voodoo ceremony high atop a Haitian mountain. This sequence is genuinely creepy and exciting. The book also offers Snapping Finger deaths, a treasure map, a mysterious floating green hand, zombies AND a featured role by Peko, Fu’s pet marmoset from previous volumes. The reader is always kept engaged by the fast-moving shenanigans, par for the course for a Fu Manchu novel.

I did have some quibbles with this installment, however; these quibbles mainly take the form of internal inconsistencies and inconsistencies with previous books in the series. For example, at one point, Smith refers to his adventure in Khorassan with Lionel Barton. However, in book 5 it is clearly stated that Smith teamed up with Barton in Isfahan, Iran AFTER Barton returned from Khorassan! In another section of this book, Kerrigan refers to his second meeting with Ardatha (in book 9) by a river in Norfolk. However, it was on the Essex marshes that this meeting took place. Kerrigan elsewhere thinks to himself how a street in Panama reminds him of Clovelly in Cornwall; however, a look at a map will show that Clovelly is really in nearby Devonshire. Shall I go on? At one point in the book, Kerrigan is locked in Fu’s warehouse and is looking DOWN at the Thames far below. Later on, it is said that he was locked BELOW the warehouse, under water level. HUH!?!? In the Panama scenes, Flammario the dancer is described as wearing a sable cloak. This, after the author speaks of how hot the tropical night was. Does this make sense? Howzabout this: In London, Smith & Co. follow up a clue at 39B Pelling St. A few days later, in New York City, they follow up some clues at 39B Sutton Place! Is this just a crazy kozmik coincidence in the wild wild world of Fu Manchu, or just lazy forgetfulness on the part of the author? Who knows? I might also go on to add that the antigravitic substance in this novel, swainsten, is a bit too similar to the Cavorite in H.G. Wells’ wonderful First Men in the Moon novel, or that the resolution of the Snapping Fingers deaths doesn’t really hang together logically, or that the ending of this book comes too suddenly, but I think you get the idea. The book is certainly flawed. But you know what? Even with all that, Rohmer carries it off, due to his great imagination, wonderful characters and rat-a-tat-tat pacing. The man could have used a better editor, but as far as telling a thriller of a tale goes, the man was tops. And this is yet another fine entry in the Fu Manchu series.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Shadow of Fu Manchu (1948)

This 11th book is a short and minor entry in the Fu saga, but nonetheless a compact and suspenseful one. In many of the previous books, the Fu man sets his sights on a scientific genius and designs to either kidnap him, steal his invention or kill him in a macabre manner. This action is usually given a chapter or two and takes the form of an unusual episode in the larger scheme of the plot. This time around, the entire book is concerned with Fu’s plans regarding Dr. Morris Craig’s new energy weapon. While the weapon’s ultimate use is never really spelled out, it seems to be some kind of disintegrator that can also be used as a potential source of limitless energy. This is the type of book that can be called a whodunnit,as well as a howdunnit and a whydunnit; all of the characters can be viewed as suspects. Even the characters that we are pretty sure are “good guys” can be guilty of misdeeds, given the Fu man’s powers of hypnosis and mind control. Thus, the reader is unsure till the very end of the book why people do what they do and act the way they act. Who is the British agent? Who is the Russian agent? Who is the secret FBI agent? You get the idea. The Fu man’s main goal in this book seems to be to thwart the Communists from getting control of Dr. Craig’s energy weapon; thus, he comes off a little more sympathetically than in some of the other entries in the series. The action this time takes place in the Big Apple and in a country estate in the Connecticut countryside. The estate scene is a very suspenseful sequence indeed. The book also features a memorable character named M’goyna, a Turkish zombie who is more gorilla than man. He is one of Fu’s more remarkable henchmen. Also featured is a Sevillian torture chair that lowers a skull-crushing canopy onto the occupant; one of the Dr.’s more grisly inducements.

The book contains fewer inconsistencies than others in the series. I did notice some things that bothered me, however. The author often refers to Fu Manchu speaking sibilantly, but often this will happen when the sentence Fu has just spoken contains no “s” or “sh” sounds at all! How can this be? Also, in one point of the book, Nayland Smith, our eternal Fu fighter, says that Fu’s drug for paralyzing the speech muscles wears off with time. He says that Fu told this to him. However, we are never shown Fu saying this, and indeed, when Smith was thus paralyzed, he needed an antidote injection to counteract the effects of the drug! It also doesn’t make sense that {WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD} Fu Manchu has already possessed the prototype of Craig’s invention for many years. Why hasn’t he taken over the world decades ago, with an invention such as this? But quibbles aside, I feel that any fan of fast-paced action, with a tinge of sci-fi and mystery thrown in, will enjoy this short but fun entry in the Fu series.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsRe-Enter Fu Manchu (1957)

Re-Enter Fu Manchu, the 12th book in the Fu Manchu series, is, like number 11 (The Shadow of Fu Manchu), a short, minor but nevertheless compact entry in the Fu saga. This time, the Fu man attempts to wrest control of his native China from the pesky Communists who have taken his country over. The book features one of the most complex plots of any Fu Manchu novel; indeed, it can be accused of being overplotted! But what makes this book so interesting, and sets it apart from all the other books in the series, is that we don’t know until the very end whether or not Nayland Smith, our eternal Fu fighter from all the previous novels, is indeed Nayland Smith OR, as has been subtly hinted, a DOUBLE that Fu Manchu has concocted via plastic surgery. Brian Merrick, the young grad student who is enlisted by Smith to help him, is in a similar quandary, never knowing what the heck is going on, and the reader shares his puzzlement. Without knowing for sure whether Smith is indeed Smith, all stability is pulled out from under us, and all characters become suspect. The book is a true mystery that keeps you guessing, the action jumping from London to Cairo to the Big Apple.

This time around, there are practically no internal inconsistencies or inconsistencies with previous volumes. Nevertheless, there are one or two goofs. At one point, FBI man Harkness tells Smith that he has 11 men on the case: 4 FBI and 9 police. Does something not add up here or is it just me? Also, the description of one of Fu Manchu’s agents, Nadia Narovska, with amethyst eyes and auburn hair, sounds exactly like the character of Ardatha in several of the previous volumes. Perhaps Sax Rohmer just had a thing for red-headed women with violet eyes. In any case, this is yet another fun thriller in the Fu Manchu saga. 

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsEmperor Fu Manchu (1959)

This 13th and final Fu novel is unique in that it is the only one in the series that actually takes place in China. In this one, Nayland Smith and American agent Tony McKay try to rescue an entomologist from Fu’s lair; stop the kidnapping of a German physicist; AND destroy a Russian germ warfare research station in the jungles of the Chinese wilderness. The book is kind of a half and half affair, as in the first part of the novel, all Smith and McKay seem to do is traipse back and forth around Szechuan province, from one rendezvous to another. But then the book really gets going, as our heroes penetrate Fu’s lair and are shown the secret of the doctor’s “Cold Men”: the zombie army that Fu Manchu has resurrected from the dead. The finale of the book is actually quite suspenseful. However, the book does contain the usual Rohmeresque errors. For example, Fu’s referring to the rat torture of book 2 (The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu) as “the Seven Gates of Wisdom” instead of “the Six Gates of Wisdom”; Fu’s comment that the goal of the Si-Fan is to overthrow Communism, when in previous books it was to overthrow the West in general and restore China to its former glory; the use of a peach tree as a landmark in one section of the book later turning into a pear tree(!); the ability of a character to discern another’s eye color and skin color in a dark room; and so on. And howzabout this for a sentence: “…presently, she said, ‘Were you angry with me for being such a liar?’ she asked.” Things like this can drive a reader to distraction. Sax Rohmer was a terrific writer of thrillers but, like most writers, his work needed copyediting, and I don’t think it ever received such attention. His descriptions of geography throughout the entire series are problematic at best. In this book, for example, we are asked to picture a river that becomes a creek, joining up with a streamlike brook that becomes a miniature bay. Whew! Anyway, quibbles aside, this is a fun ending for the Fu Manchu novels, a series that I highly recommend being read in consecutive order for maximum impact.


SHARE:  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail  FOLLOW:  Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrsstumblr
If you plan to buy this book, you can support FanLit by clicking on the book cover above and buying it (and anything else) at Amazon. It costs you nothing extra, but Amazon pays us a small referral fee. Click any book cover or this link. We use this income to keep the site running. It pays for website hosting, postage for giveaways, and bookmarks and t-shirts. Thank you!

SANDY FERBER, on our staff since April 2014 (but hanging around here since November 2012), is a resident of Queens, New York and a product of that borough's finest institution of higher learning, Queens College. After a "misspent youth" of steady and incessant doses of Conan the Barbarian, Doc Savage and any and all forms of fantasy and sci-fi literature, Sandy has changed little in the four decades since. His favorite author these days is H. Rider Haggard, with whom he feels a strange kinship -- although Sandy is not English or a manored gentleman of the 19th century -- and his favorite reading matter consists of sci-fi, fantasy and horror... but of the period 1850-1960. Sandy is also a devoted buff of classic Hollywood and foreign films, and has reviewed extensively on the IMDb under the handle "ferbs54." Film Forum in Greenwich Village, indeed, is his second home, and Sandy at this time serves as the assistant vice president of the Louie Dumbrowski Fan Club....

View all posts by

4 comments

  1. susan emans /

    I read the Fu Manchu books multiple times, starting in about 6th grade. I am so glad someone is giving this great series some well-deserved attention. Books such as these must be read with an understanding of the times in which they were written. I bought the original paperbacks when I was a kid, and they are cherished.

  2. Sandy Ferber /

    I agree, Susan. Faults and all, it is a wonderful series; so much fun, even 101 years after the Fu man’s initial appearance….

  3. Sandy, you are amazing! Can we assume you will review *all* the REH Conan stories here soon?

  4. Sandy Ferber /

    Thanx for the kind words, Marion. I don’t know about the quality of this piece, but I sure gave our FanLit readers some QUANTITY here, didn’t I? LOL! As for Conan, it has been some 40 years since I tore through those books as a kid, and would love to revisit them someday. More immediately, I am reading a 400-page book of Robert E. Howard short stories right now, so you can expect a review on those pretty soon….

Review this book and/or Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *