The Emerald Princess and Other Decadent Fantasies

Félicien Champsaur, trans. from the French
by Brian Stableford. Snuggly, $14.95 trade paper (178p) ISBN 978-1-943813-51-3
The career of Champsaur (1858–1934), a journalist and novelist most widely known as a writer of light erotica, was a bit late to be classified as truly a part of the French decadent movement, but the decadents were certainly his greatest influence. This collection includes several short and inconsequential sketches, a long and intensely visual—but ultimately merely pretty—prose portrait describing the commedia dell’arte clown Pierrot rising from the grave to attend the Paris Opera, and the titular short novel, which contains the sort of enjoyable excess that would have made a great Busby Berkeley musical. The Emerald Princess rules a desperately poor city from which she occasionally selects young men to be her husbands. They then mysteriously disappear. In an effort not to select Myram, the pearl fisher whom she truly loves, she takes his brother instead, and the result is pitched somewhere between Turandot and Conan the Barbarian. Orientalism and archaic language mar an otherwise enjoyable pulp fantasy that fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard will appreciate. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017
Release date: 11/26/2017
Genre: Fiction
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