This Halloween I’d like a copy of The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction Vol. II, edited by Rakesh Khanna, and translated by Pritham K Chakravarthy. The cover was drawn by Shyam Shankar, and is also available to purchase as a poster, on the publisher’s website. The company’s based in India, so I’m not sure about postage and packing, but it seems ridiculously cheap, if my currency converter is to be believed!
To crib shamelessly from an article in The National:
“The book is the latest title from Blaft Publications, an independent publishing house in Chennai, India’s southernmost city. Its English-language versions of Tamil pulp fiction are reviving interest in this once wildly popular form of writing, which was at its peak from the 1950s to the 1980s – the days before cable television. Printed on cheap paper (hence the name), the books were published in pocket-sized versions convenient for long-distance journeys on buses or trains… The stories were family sagas, romances, rural dramas with undercurrents of the occult or racy urban thrillers with macabre twists, their plots adapted from British “penny dreadfuls”. They were cheap, sensational fiction aimed at working-class adolescents – and given a Tamil context, usually featuring a cast of loose women, thieves and detectives. Most of the modern stories would start with a murder, a few burglaries and arson with, of course, lots of titillation. Social messages were not welcome.”
My own scripts are veering towards a sort of pulpy “Indian Gothic” vibe at the moment, and just yesterday I picked up a book about Indian myths and legends (cunningly titled Indian Myths and Legends), which I’ll work my way through at some point… but this sounds much more fun. Personally, I prefer to lather my work with “social messages”… but then, I am writing satirical comedies, rather than straight genre stories, so hopefully that won’t put people off too much…?