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Protecting Project Pulp No. 15: Eric Taylor

October 23, 2012 by Frederic Himebaugh

Main Fiction: “Kali” by Eric Taylor, first published in All Star Detective Stories, November, 1929.

Narrator: Jeff Lane.

Thick mahogany doors, long stone passages, walls of concealed steel—what was the criminal secret of the Hindoo’s American house?

Comments

  1. Wow!!! What a fucking golden age was everything pulp back then. This story is an interesting resource for any scholar who wants to stumble upon another treatment of ethnic minorities by pulp literature. Really, the author conveyed very well the mood of an American girl (that may stand for every US’ s citizen) living with people of color in a position of power and dosmetic familiarity, without making her a simple reservoir of common prejudices and, let’s face it, a mirrow of the racial reality of the 1920s. Her reaction was more in response to the sinister energy giving out by the Hindu and the house than by his racial background. Amazing Final Thoughts, Dave… That should be the name of a new pulp magazine. Next week “Raider of the Spaceways by Henry Kuttner… Are you kidding me? I read tha story on a PDF vertion of the magazine in which it was published… Just imagine!!!

    • Odilius, you are fabulous, man! Thanks for your feedback AND your observations.

      The points you raised about the treatment and perceptions of races and cultures in pulp fiction have been on our minds since the onset of this podcast and Fred Himebaugh has done an amazing job of gathering tales that focus more on the story than the prejudices of the era. Much respect for noticing that subtle nuance of the story.

      Thanks for ALL your comments and feedback, Odilius… we appreciate it! :)

  2. Aloha Pulp Tribe!
    Great Story! I really dig stories about Kali. There’s a real, and an urban mythic aura around this deity. My best buddy is a big (6’5″) Pakistani dude. Tough guy, with a heart of gold. I’ve never seen him scared of nobody or nothing… except one thing. Let me give you a little background. He had a hard life; fought a long hard road to make his life a better one. Now he’s been an American citizen much longer than anything else, but way back in his childhood in Africa, India, and Pakistan, he remembers living through the problems between the Hindus and the Muslims. Being raised in a muslim family himself he felt the tension between the two religions. Now, all over the world, kids tell each other scary stories. I grew up in the midwest. We told stories about ghosts, witches, and the devil. He grew up in a place with tales of ghosts, witches, and evil jinns. But the worst of all was Kali.
    So, one night we were sofa surfing and watching a action movie. In the movie, one character turns out to be a devotee of Kali. They show her statue: the four arms, the terrifying face, the skulls. My friend jumped with a start. I looked at him in surprise. The movie wasn’t really scary, but in his eyes I saw he was spooked. He ran the movie back and we watched the scene again. I asked what was up. That’s when, for the first time, he told me about being a kid and hearing spooky stories, and the scariest were about Her. Kali the Destroyer.
    Interesting, that this fearless tough guy still has in him that wide eyed little kid jumping at stories of something like Kali the Mother of Death.
    Hmmm. Not sure now if I should rent “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” or not.

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