Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Yellow Danger by M. P. Shiel

The Yellow Danger - Shiel's most successful book during his lifetime.

The Yellow Danger - a part of a relatively new literary genre, the British speculative future war novel. Interpretated in many ways - fin-de-siecle, technophobia, critiques of British imperialism - they anticipated modern science fiction.

The book takes great pains to explain the “character” of the Chinese and Japanese. Much made of the Chinese love of money, nationalism, and cruelty (the later becomes key when we get to the invasion of Europe) and the idea that a single race must dominate the Earth. The British character explored too, in more glowing terms, our hero a genius sailor named John Hardy who also has a meteoric rise.

Much of the book blown on sea-battles in the English channel, which I guess are supposed to display Hardy's tactical genius. Despite diagrams and a lot of ship stats, you might say I was “all at sea” during these parts.

Aside from the expected racism in this kind of text, a real new level of cringe reached. When John Hardy finally meets Dr. Yen How and tries to talk to him in “pidgin-english”, even after How speaks to him in proper English. It makes some of the torture scene that follow pretty sweet.

No comments:

Post a Comment