STEAMY EAST: Tracking the literature of Asia
One of the best websites devoted to books set in Asia is Steamy East. Behind the website are two expats, Mark Schreiber and William Wetherall. The content is divided: race, perils, places, sex, exotic, and genres. I found the website contents provides a good perceptive on the literature, writers, pitfalls, and refreshing candor. The Steamy East is a super genre consisting of many sub-genres, including action, adventure, erotica, fantasy, horror, mystery, thrillers, war, romance, historical and crime novels. Between Mark and William they have 5,000 English novels in their collection of Asian literature. Both are long-term Japan residents, and serious book collectors, reviewers, and commentators on novels set in the East.
A number of the categories promise more content is forthcoming.
In the section on Exotica, you will find William Wetherall’s take on the importance of getting the details of a culture correct. In other words, in fiction, accuracy does matter.
“Steamy East stories are full of descriptions of places and peoples the reader, and often the writer, has never been to or seen. Because they are fiction, they should be read as though ever word were a lie intended merely to entertain. Many stories, though, are also told to educate or even enlighten. In addition to being an entertainer, the writer is also some mixture of tour guide, teacher, professor, counselor, philosopher, politician, publicist, philosopher, brain washer and pimp.”
My favorite section is Who’s Who where many authors are listed along with their books. The section is heavily weighed toward settings in Japan and China. The authors mentioned include: contemporary authors such as Peter May, Christopher West, Li Yan, Margaret Campbell, and Janwillem van de Wetering. Authors from the past include, Richard Mason, Harry Stephen Keeler, and Onoto Watanna.
For anyone interested in exploring the range of literature in Asia, Steamy East is a must website and will introduce you to many books by expats living in this part of the world.