Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Li Shoon. Li Shoon was created by H. Irving Hancock (Dave Darrin, Frank Manley, Motor Boat Club, Dick Prescott, Tom Reade, Square Dollar Boys, Uncle Sam's Boys) and appeared in three stories in Detective Story Magazine in 1916 and 1917, beginning with “Under the Ban of Li Shoon” (Detective Story Magazine, Aug. 5, 1916).
Li Shoon is a Yellow Peril. He is tall, stout, and thoroughly wicked, and has "a round, moonlike yellow face" topped by "bulging eyebrows" and "sunken eyes." Li is the commander of the Ui Kwoon Ah-How society, a group of thousands of "Orientals"--Chinese, Malays, Japanese, Filipinos, Indians, and every other ethnic group of the East--all of whom instantly obey his smallest commands and who will kill for him. Li does what he does not for mere wealth alone; his goal, and that which he works for and collects so much money for, is to make the Ui Kwoon Aw-How the richest and most powerful group on Earth, and to return China to its place of power over Asia. Li Shoon is aided by two men: Weng-yu, his lieutenant, and Ming, a squat Mongolian who is Li Shoon's chief torturer and executioner. Both make use of Li Shoon's gas gun, which kills tracelessly, and lachesis venom, which bloats those it kills.
Li Shoon’s enemy is Donald Carrick, the "Human Hound," a gentlemen adventurer. After a prolonged series of chases by car and airplane, piracy and explosions, Li Shoon is killed. Then brought back in a sequel and killed again.
* I'm including Li Shoon in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of his archetypal nature. Li Shoon is the archetypal pulp Yellow Peril, second only to Fu Manchu (I). Li Shoon was made in imitation of Fu Manchu (I), of course, but H. Irving Hancock did the imitation so well, and ladled on enough venom, that Li Shoon gains a life of his own in the three stories in which he appears. Li Shoon is a deeply racist creation, and no doubt a reflection of H. Irving Hancock's beliefs about Asians, and outside of purely literary consideration Li Shoon is a reprehensible, foully racist character who ought to be forgotten and whose creator ought to be shamed forever more. But speaking only from the point of view of purely literary consideration, Li Shoon is the second-best example of a common pulp character type.
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