Thursday, September 19, 2019

Fantomas

Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre composed the 32-novel saga of Fantômas in the three years between 1911 and 1913. Over the course of the series, France's elusive master criminal commits a litany of heinous deeds that unfold at a baffling breakneck pace. The books are early examples of the crime procedural genre, putting significant narrative weight on forensic science, police methodology, and courtroom drama. Far from today's pro-authority narratives, however, the Fantômas novels incorporated Grand Guignol violence, mistaken identity, and social upheaval, making the titular character a favorite of the Surrealists. Jack and Kate tackle the first book in the series and get a taste of decadent, vintage criminality.
How hard is it for a Frenchman to pronounce "South Steamship Company" and can one of our listeners demonstrate this? When is a character a misunderstood genius and when is he just demonstrating a profound misunderstanding of detective work? What the hell is going on with the American Gladiator-style competition between those porters? How long will it take for this episode to descend into filthy-nasty Fantômas fanfic? All these questions and more will be answered in this month's episode of Bad Books for Bad People.
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7 comments:

  1. They wrote 32 novels in 3 years? Can I safely assume that these are on the shorter side of what counts as a novel? (Even still, one a month is a pretty breakneck pace!)

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    1. I'm not sure how long the sequels are, but the first one is not really even on the short side of being a novel! If they cranked out 30+ of these at this size...

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  2. Cool!!! ! I've been using Fantamos as a master villain in my Marvel Superheroes Game!

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    1. I hope he's more competent than the Fantomas in the book, heh.

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    2. HA! So far he has confounded everyone to the point they are thinking Fantamos is an organization of criminals. So far, his crimes have been a background element/side trek sort of thing ...

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  3. Is the OG Fanotomas like the "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" Eldritch Monster Fantomas?

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    1. No, not really. In the first book his "master criminal" status is a bit over-sold tbh.

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