Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Rohmer, Sax

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Pseudonym of prolific thriller-writer Arthur Sarsfield Ward (1883-1959), best-known for a long series featuring Fu Manchu. Most of SR's imaginative fiction is Occult Fantasy or borderline sf, but some of it invites consideration as fantasy proper, especially that which draws on the folklore of the Near East. The Quest of the Sacred Slipper (1914) is his most substantial work in this vein. Other notable items can be found in Tales of Secret Egypt (coll 1918), The Haunting of Low Fennel (coll 1920 UK) and Tales of East and West (coll 1932; the 1933 US coll of this name is a selection from the UK coll and the previous item). A few of the Occult-Detective stories in The Dream Detective (coll 1920) and some of the stories in The Wrath of Fu Manchu and Other Stories (coll 1973) are also fantasies. She Who Sleeps (1928) is a rationalized romance of Reincarnation involving a Mummy; it is inferior to the melodramatic Brood of the Witch Queen (1918) and the rather slapdash The Bat Flies Low (1935). Another mummy is featured in Seven Sins (1943), the last of the Gaston Max series, none of which is fantasy – although The Day the World Ended (1933) is marginal sf. The Sumuru series is of fantasy interest in that it features an exotic Femme Fatale: Nude in Mink (1950 US; vt Sins of Sumuru 1950 UK), Sumuru (1951 US; vt Slaves of Sumuru 1952 UK), The Fire Goddess (1952 US; vt Virgin in Flames 1953 UK), Return of Sumuru (1954 US; vt Sand and Satin 1955 UK) and Sinister Madonna (1956).

The Fu Manchu series runs: The Mystery of Dr Fu-Manchu (fixup 1913; vt The Insidious Dr Fu-Manchu 1913 US), The Devil Doctor (fixup 1916; vt The Return of Dr Fu-Manchu 1916 US), The Si-Fan Mysteries (fixup 1917; vt The Hand of Fu-Manchu 1917 US), Daughter of Fu Manchu (1931), The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), Fu Manchu's Bride (1933 US; vt The Bride of Fu Manchu 1933 UK), The Trail of Fu Manchu (1934), President Fu Manchu (1936), The Drums of Fu Manchu (1938), The Island of Fu Manchu (1941), The Shadow of Fu Manchu (1948), Re-Enter Fu Manchu (1957 US; vt Re-Enter Dr Fu Manchu 1957 UK), Emperor Fu Manchu (1959) and the first four stories in The Wrath of Fu Manchu and Other Stories. The first three items are collected in The Book of Fu-Manchu (omni 1929 UK; the 1929 US edition includes also The Golden Scorpion [1919], a thriller). Cay Van Ash, co-author with Elizabeth Sax Rohmer of the SR biography Master of Villainy (1972) added the Sherlock Holmes versus Fu Manchu novel Ten Years Beyond Baker Street (1984). [BS]

other works: The Sins of Sévérac Bablon (1914); The Orchard of Tears (1918); The Green Eyes of Bast (1920); Bat Wing (1921); Fire-Tongue (1921); Tales of Chinatown (coll 1922); Grey Face (1924); The Emperor of America (1929); The Sax Rohmer Omnibus (omni 1938); Salute to Bazarada and Other Stories (coll 1939); Wulfheim (1950) as Michel Furey; The Moon is Red (1954); The Secret of Holm Peel and Other Strange Stories (coll 1970).

Arthur Sarsfield Ward


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.