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
Phene, Phaster. Phaster Phene was created by the Indian author B.R. Bhagwat and appeared in a number of stories and twenty novels and short story collections beginning in the 1940s; Phene appeared in a television series in the 1980s.
Banesh “Phaster” “Fa Phe” Phene is a Superhuman. Phene is an Indian boy from Fursungi, a small village in Pune in India. Phene is also the fastest human in the world. He uses his speed to search for treasure across India, solve crimes, rob from the rich and give to the poor, fight Chinese spies, reveal the true identity of ghosts at oil wells, and in general have colorful adventures while acting like a combination of Tom Sawyer and Tintin (II).
* I'm including the Phaster Phene (sometimes "Faster Phene") stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because of their imaginative content. India in the 1940s is not the place to go to find imaginative fantastika content such as the Phaster Phene stories. Indian fiction during the 1940s had horror and mystery galore, but science fiction or merely stories with sfnal elements and tropes were rare. I think the Phaster Phene stories were likely the result of one of the British story papers being distributed in India during the war via England's colonial mail network and being read by B.R. Bhagwat--certainly Phaster Phene reads like an Indian version of something out of the story papers. The Phene stories themselves begin on a small scale but then gain a broader setting--all of India--and a greater horizon of expectations, as both Bhagwat and his readers realized and then embraced just how large scale Phene's adventures could be. In later stories Phene's a de facto superhero having superhero adventures, anticipating the 1960s explosion of comics in India by about a decade.
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