Archive for the Lewis Carroll enthusiast Category

DESK JOB BLURB

Posted in Australia, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN

BOOMERANG OF FIRE!

Lewis Carroll’s Alice thought Wonderland was strange. Sarah Hollingsworth knew her adventures in Office-land were twisted and downright bizarre. The office of the 1990s was a hunting ground where the unprotected were bagged and disposed of. The trick was not to be one of them. Hawks flew high, mules slogged away on their computers and praying mantises searched for prey. Butterflies and moths danced in the neon light. And the old caterpillar looked on passively to various unfolding dramas. Meanwhile mall rats and lika-lika birds, growing up in this decade, fervently hoped that everything about the office would become more civilized by the time they had to get a DESK JOB. Whether or not the office has really changed much since the 1990s I will leave to you, dear reader, to decide.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

BIG BROTHER?! AGAIN! OH! BROTHER! OH! BOTHER!

Posted in Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lied to and tricked via television, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, rip off merchants, scam artists, set in Australia, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
BIG BROTHER WATCHING

YOU WATCHING BIG BROTHER AND BIG BROTHER WATCHING YOU. ALL POLITICALLY CORRECT!

In Australia Big Brother is due to return to television. The show that trivialized George Orwell’s warning to the future is back. Games will be played during the daylight hours in some house setting and gross things will no doubt happen at night. In any event, George Orwell’s 1984 warning to the future, our present, will be distorted once more and thus reduced.

Contestants in search of a brain will get on their soap boxes to talk a lot of deep and meaningful rubbish about current affairs they don’t understand and there will be tears on cue. The brain washing of a generation of young people will be sickeningly revealed. There will be propaganda.

What’s more, those who don’t want to watch the show will not be able to escape this fate except by turning off the screen all together and grabbing a book to read. Yes, during commercial time for any and every other show you will be pelted with reminders that Big Brother is on and you need to either support or evict via phone this loony or that loony. (And you will no doubt be expected to pay a lot for making these calls.) Wait! It gets even worse! Big Brother of old had a nasty habit of running overtime. Thus you are sitting there waiting for the show you want to watch to finally come on and, in the meantime, you have to put up with 10, 15, even 30 minutes of Big Brother you hadn’t bargained on watching at all. AAAAARRRGGHHH!

Back in 1948 George Orwell wrote 1984. He warned against being part of a government that spied continuously on its citizens without just cause and tended also to promote war over peace, hate over love. Make a man feel bad about having any affection even for his own wife then put him in a uniform and send him out somewhere to do some killing. Use religion, any religion, to beat any sense of real decency out of him. Also do the same to her. This is how warrior races are made and are perpetuated. Then, to make sure it all sticks, have words that could do future harm to this set up outlawed for everyone’s own good. Oh, and to top it all off, re-write history continuously to continually suit the government.

1984 was first published in 1949. It would have been published earlier save that the publisher wanted to be very sure that nothing in it could be thought to support Communism in any way. In his early years Orwell did have Communist leanings but these were knocked out of him when he learned how Stalin had treated his own people in the 1930s.

To George Orwell our best defense against a nightmare state are our own memories, histories, sense of right and wrong, and our free flowing, warts and all, language.

From the early 1990s, efforts were made to introduce political correctness where academics and politicians thought it would do the most good. Born out of a desire to do right, political correctness has mostly shown, at least in Australia, that Hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

Through political correctness, some workplace personnel became protected species while others were given little protection at all from anything. The result was a double standard that had not previously existed. What’s more, the language was tamed making it even harder for some individuals to cry out against injustice. And there was monitoring of behavior for some but not for others.

Today, in many offices, political correctness is merely a sick joke from the  recent past. It is still there, however, waiting to be relaunched with the old vigor.

There was talk in the news in August of 2012 of government initiatives in Australia to reinvent political correctness. It would, of course, go under another name as yet to be decided or no name at all but still be out there attacking the rights of some individuals and supposedly protecting the rights of other individuals. According to the news report a quarter of the the country’s population would immediately be better off. This of course means to me that three quarters of the country’s population would no doubt be forced in the end to crawl rather than walk, to listen rather than vent their own views, and to generally be second class citizens in their own country.

This initiative has come about in a similar way to the old political correctness. It is going to be pushed by academics, politicians, groups likely to benefit from such actions, and brain-washed school kids venturing forth to become brain-washed college and university students. The truly sad thing is that many of the kids that will find themselves as part of this initiative if it really does get off the ground will unwittingly be selling their collective future to hostile interests without even knowing it. By the time they figure it out it will be too late. It appears to be an attack or series of attacks against racism in Australia but it comes with the dangerous assumption that only certain types can be racist and that one quarter of the present population are victims or are to be victims if something isn’t done.

The truth is that everyone can be a racist or act in a racist manner. If this is not recognized then the folly that was and to some extent still is political correctness will definitely make a return though most definitely, in some quarters, in action rather than name.  There is likely to be the return of the ‘protected species’ that can do no harm and will not be called upon to account for their actions when they do in  fact do harm. Television is already geared up to promote and apply this new initiative.

In my novel, Desk Job, I deal with political correctness and how it can destroy lives. How close to reality my fictional office is for the mid-1990s and for now I will leave up to the reader to decide.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

THE CAT’S MEOW! From Egypt to England to an Australian DESK JOB

Posted in art, dark fiction writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, Writer with tags , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN

SMILEY CAT

The Cat’s Meow! The Cat’s whiskers! The Cat’s pajamas! These are good British expressions that tend to put a smile on the dial of certain readers and, at the same time, conjure up pleasant if somewhat unusual images.

The there’s the childhood story of the kitten who lost his mitten that no doubt came out of some golden book edition. Nowadays, thanks to the Americans, the puss in boots is a rather dashing expert with the foil. In the hit television show The Big Bang Theory we have a song about a soft kitty who is warm. In the hit television show The Simpsons we have cats going through their nine lives rather quickly.

A cat once wanted to visit the Queen of England while yet another fur ball was happy to curl up on a mat near the fireplace.

In the USA there was a cartoon tom by the name of Sylvester who, on numerous occasions, mistook a kangaroo for an extraordinarily large bouncing mouse and there have been quite a few American felines, in fiction and real life, who have inherited great fortunes.

Some years ago I was asked to write some stories for an anthology titled: Cats Do it Better. One of the stories I wrote for this American book dealt with a cat that was an old salt and had the run of the ship he was on. Why was the cat an old salt? Well, many a sailing vessel in the old days did have a cat on board as a mascot. It wasn’t just a matter of companionship for the crew. A cat had a practical use. If you want to keep mice and rats out of the scullery and thus out of the sailor’s food they are the natural and also the most economical way of doing so. In fact, our long standing relationship with felines probably began when it was discovered that they could be of use in protecting the harvest.

In ancient Egypt, no doubt because of the importance of the grain, cats were at one time worshiped. No grain, no bread and the end result of that, of course, is starvation. Hence a small, usually furry, creature that can keep the vermin at bay and thus keep the grain safe has to be considered. at the very least, as asset worth keeping around. I say here usually furry because there is a hairless type of Egyptian cat. The hairless Egyptian, in fact, was in one of the Austin Powers movies as a regular cat who had supposedly lost his fur after being frozen then thawed out. In any event, the hairless Egyptian is ideal for the cat lover who happens to be allergic to cat hair.

Black cats for some time have been associated with witches and witchcraft. The idea that a black cat crossing one’s path will bring trouble is a very old superstition. The word catastrophe has cat in it.

Even so, a lot of nice things over the years have been written about cats and writers, such as New Zealand novelist and researcher Lyn McConchie, have been responsible. Her cat Thunder is amazing but, then again, many of the other animals on her farm are most unusual as her book Farming Daze would tend to point out.

Of late I have been examining the two Alice books by 19th Century British writer Lewis Carroll. They are not without cats. The best noted cat in them, of course, hails from Cheshire. Among other things, he has a great big grin and a marvelous disappearing act. He is also rather mysterious and cheeky. Naturally, when I decided to write my salute to Carroll a Cheshire like cat or two was definitely called for. I would not want readers to feel they were short changed in any way. Besides, my niece, Aila, has a new pet cat and that was also a pretty good reason to sneak at least one fur ball into the book.

In my novel, Desk Job, There are four felines that fit the bill. Two have fur coats and the other two seem to get along quite nicely without them even though neither happens to be Egyptian. In any event, a certain fictional office in Sydney, Australia would not be complete without at least one tail to balance out the overall tale.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

DESK JOB BY ROD MARSDEN

Posted in dark fiction writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Writer with tags , , , on June 23, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
COVER TO DESK JOB BY ROD MARSDEN

DESK JOB BY ROD MARSDEN

Desk Job (excerpt from pages 11 and 12)

 

When she reached the bottom of the slope, she came across two hundred mules tethered to two hundred desks. They were facing two hundred computers. Every once in a while they moved keys on the keypads with their snouts. She asked a stout looking male mule what he was doing. “Navigating for my hawk!” snorted the male mule. “It’s a living!”

“Are all you mules navigating for hawks?” asked Sarah.

“Yes!” snorted the male mule. “My hawk has a dozen navigators!”

“Careful!” sniffed a nearby female mule. “They may hear you!”

“Oh dear!” snorted the male mule.

Among the mules there were a dozen human sized praying mantises. They were cracking whips with their spiked forelegs and reading out loud from a book of rules.

“If I am seen talking to you, Human beast,” said the male mule Sarah had been chatting with, “they will punish me! If they ask you, could you please tell them that you talked to me first!?”

“Why?” asked Sarah.

“We’re not supposed to talk unless spoken to first!” he told her. “It’s one of the rules!”

“I shouldn’t have spoken to my mule friend!” confided the female mule who had spoken. “I shouldn’t be talking to you!”

“Are there many rules?” asked Sarah.

“Lots!” said the male mule. “I’d best get on with my navigating!”

“Goodbye,” Sarah told the mules as she began to walk away. “Good luck with your navigating.”

Then, from the other side of the hill, came the roar of a dozen low flying World War Two Japanese Zeros. They were being chased by a dozen American Hellcat fighter planes. The Hellcats were hot on the tails of the Zeros and managed to shoot down two before the remaining planes disappeared into the distance. One Zero did drop a bomb before going away. It exploded a short distance from the mules.

     This has nothing to do with Pearl Harbor, thought Sarah. Hellcats didn’t come into that war until much later. Even so, these Hellcats are like dark mules with wings and the Zeros are like great big butterflies with bombs and a work ethic strange for butterflies.

Out of the bomb dust a figure stirred. What was it? The sky was darkening and a savage wind was stirring. It hammered at the desks of the mules and threatened to drive the hawks from the heavens. Then a flash of lightning revealed the presence in the bomb dust of an old Asian witch with her face painted white and her lips decorated a cherry red. She had on a white flowing gown that moved swiftly. It moved as rapidly as her black fluid hair. 12 She ventured closer to the mules. As she got nearer to them the intensity of the wind increased.

A desk was overturned in the ensuing gale, freeing a mule from his tether. The mule then kicked the witch, sending her into a dozen computers. Sparks flew as the witch, choking to death from a crushed windpipe breathed her last.

“God help us!” cried the male mule that was closest to the dead witch. “God help the one responsible!”

The mule who had kicked the witch, who also happened to be a male, cried out: “No! I didn’t want to do it! I didn’t mean to do it!”

“She was bad,” said Sarah.

“Was she really?” questioned one of the praying mantises. “Or was she simply doing what one would expect a wind witch to do?”

“A wind witch?” questioned Sarah.

“Yes,” hissed the praying mantis in Sarah’s face. “Would you deny a wind witch her ancestry? Would you deny a wind witch her culture? Would you do these things for the sake of some puny computer slave? Well! Would you, my dear, would you?!”

“I don’t know!” cried Sarah in confusion as the wind faded to nothing and hideous insect like orbs bored into her eyes.

“I don’t know!” Sarah screamed after a moment of heavy silence as the air became still, the fog came in and so did the static.

 http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

THE CROWDED CITY AND THE NEED SOMETIMES TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
VOICES!

VOICES!

The city is where most of us make our living. The little luxuries of modern life are all tied up in the ‘Big Smoke’. Luxuries such as the internet and television.

It is good sometimes to get away from the crowds and go some where you can be more yourself. I virtually grew up with a fishing rod in my hand. Fishing has always been my sport. When the big city gets to be too much it is great to go away somewhere and do some fishing.  I am a salt water fisherman. I have had nothing to do with fresh water fishing though I might have a go at it some time.

While fishing it is possible to contemplate the universe and your place in it. With beautiful surroundings you can relax and, if the fish are biting, there is excitement.

Of late I have been collecting WW One and WW Two fighter planes. They worm their way sometimes into my fiction.

Occasionally the great Clarence River and the people living there make their way into my books and so do the people of the Wollongong area.

I remember my last visit to the USA and that also helps my writing.

 Right now there are some nice Agatha Christie novels in reprint coming out. I’ve picked up the first in this series more out of curiosity than anything else. It has been a while since I read any Agatha Christie.

I have also laid my hands on the latest Terry Pratchett novel. If anyone knows the strangeness of modern life and can write about it it would be Pratchett. An earlier Practitioner of this would be Lewis Carroll. I have a shot at it in my latest novel, Desk Job. http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

RATS! By ROD MARSDEN

Posted in art, Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, pulp fiction writer, set in Australia, Sex, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
Madness

MADNESS IN MUSIC

 

 

RATS!

Two men sitting on a park bench, Ken and Ian. Both are ratty looking with long scraggly hair and grimy clothes.

Ken: “I tell ya, mate. With inflation and devaluation of the dollar the rats are gonna take over.”

Ian: “No!”

Ken: “They really are gonna take over! They’ve been planning it for decades. Decades, I tell ya! Look! First there was rock-an’-roll – the devil’s music. Then it got heavy! It began to bruise the minds of its listeners.”

Ian: “Yeah?”

Ken: “Ever heard of a group called Deep Purple? What do you think the Rolling Stones’ ‘Black and Blue over You’ was all about? I tell you it was diabolical.”

Ian: “Diabolical you say?”

Ken: “Then came Punk, in protest. But it didn’t work! Then came New Wave, also in protest, but that didn’t work, either. I guess Madonna was just too much. You see, she used the ultimate weapon. Something we had no way of shielding ourselves against.”

Ian: “What was it?”

Ken: “Sex. Oh, the fiend! And she played the appealing innocent so well until she whipped off her disguise to wildly applauding fans. And now…?”

Ian: “Now what?”

Ken: “No one’s protesting anymore, Mate. Its too late for that. Back in the ‘60s they – the evil ones – used to pick guitar with their fingers. Now they pick with other people’s digits and… their teeth!”

A hoard of rats swarm into the park.

Ian: “You irritate me with your hysteria.”

Ken cries out in surprise mixed with anguish as he is attacked by thousands of rats who are, for the moment, not at all interested in Ian.

Ian: “And stop screaming at me. If you’ve got something to say, say it.”

The rats, all of them, wander away leaving Ken a skeleton sitting next to Ian.

Ian: “And, Ken, you can take that silly grin off your face.”

THE END

REVIEW OF DISCO EVIL: DEAD MAN’S STAND

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Glasgow, Great Britain, horror writer, Knightswood, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Neil K. Henderson, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, Scotland, set in Australia, United Kingdom, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
Disco Evil

Disco Evil back cover art

Neil K. Henderson

Knightswood, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

6th Sept. 2009

Dear Rod,

Finally getting the chance to comment back on DISCO EVIL: DEAD MAN’S STAND…You have certainly taken an interesting angle on vampire culture, with not only the uncompromising contemporary setting, but the ‘moral code’ adhered to by your (anti-) hero. Indeed, the entire novel has a ‘both-sides-to-the-story’ aspect which leaves one finally unable to take sides. As in life, no one is either all good or all bad. You make this point repeatedly, and stress the need for mutual understanding and co-operation. This indeed comes to pass not only between the Secret Compass and Rising Sun Group, but with Muslim and non-Muslim Australians…

I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed being transported around the globe for a bat’s-eye view of human existence in recent times. I like the way you handled differing timescales, with life going on as normal in NSW, while Paul maintained eternal youth. The only fault I found with this was that it didn’t leave enough scope for in-depth vampire adventure on those travels. That’s an unavoidable problem, I suppose, since too much time spent with Paul would unbalance the structure of the novel. He did at least have some exciting near-misses with the forces of Life and Order. I have to say, I didn’t fancy his chances with those Maclean fellows one bit…

Anyway, I’ve had a ball reading your book. I found myself drawn into your fictional world and engaging with your characters in a way that says plenty for your descriptive skills. I hope you have a great success with it, and that it leads the way for many more.

All the best,

Neil

Neil k. Henderson is the author of a number of fictional works including MALDEHYDE’S DISCOMFITURE, or A LADY CHURNED (Pentagraph Press, Brighton, 1997), FISHWORSHIPPING – AS WE KNOW IT (Regent Books, Wolverhampton, 2001), AN ENGLISH SUMMER IN SCOTLAND AND OTHER UNLIKELY EVENTS (Skrev Press, 2005), and HORMONES A-GO-GO (Atlantean Publishing, 2009).

BIO ROD MARSDEN VAMPIREBIRDIE

Posted in Australia, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, London, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, New York, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, set in Australia, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
art by Rod Marsden

A fanciful medieval style set of glass panels in an ancient church

Bio: Rod Marsden

Rod Marsden was born in Sydney, Australia. His very early influences were his father, Charles, who taught him how to fish and how to appreciate nature and his mother, May, who helped him to value the written word. Other early influences include writer Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby and Gene Colan. He has three degrees; all related to writing and to his other passion, history. His stories have been published in Australia, England, Russia and the USA. His written work includes short stories in Cats Do it Better. Undead Reb Down Under and Other Vampire Stories is a collection of his stories on vampirism. His novel Disco Evil: Dead Man’s Stand is his first venture into the vampire novel. His  Ghost Dance is his first go at a dark quest style novel. His Desk Job is a salute to Lewis Carroll and some indication of how insane life got in the office in the mid-1990s.

Back in the 1970s, Rod took a trip to the USA and still has fond memories of his time in New York and San Francisco. He also visited Bali way back in the 1970s.  He would love to visit Britain and this desire does appear in his work.

Rod Lives on the South Coast of NSW, Australia and still occasionally puts a line in the water. He has a fondness for the Wollongong area but an abiding love for the more northern Clarence River region of his home state.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/

SAIL AWAY!

Posted in Australia, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, set in Australia, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN

Of times to come...

Who wouldn’t want to sail away to another land? Who wouldn’t wish to explore the heavens when the sky is clear of humanity’s pollution?  Writers have been putting together tales of adventure and daring-do now for centuries.

Enya’s singing of Orinoco Flow (Sail Away!) still inspires this writer as I am sure it continues to inspire other writers. I live in the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. I am not one for putting up the sails but I do enjoy the sea in my own particular way. I enjoy fishing and just being out there were you can smell the salt off the waves.

Of the writers hit by the travel bug it is hard to go past Geoffrey Chaucer. He was there when the English language was coming together in a written form that contained French ideas as well as Latin and Greek. He understood the importance of keeping the old Anglo-Saxon traditions going yet bringing across new ideas from overseas. For the grandest example of all this there’s The Canterbury Tales.   For a grand Italian example of this sort of thing there’s The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio.

Through these two men of vision story telling in English as we understand English today (Chaucer) and Italian as we understand Italian today (Boccaccio) began. Middle English Chaucer style is difficult to read but it can still be read by people today even though most of us prefer a modern translation of a work so large and impressive as his The Canterbury Tales.

Possibly the first recognizable novel that wasn’t simply a large poem or an assortment of short stories roped together was Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – a tale about being shipwrecked and discovering new vestiges of one’s own humanity. It has long since been condemned as having elements of racism but it still stands up in the literary world as a grand experiment in writing of the time.

In Spain Don Quixote came into being for the public in 1605 (book one) and then in 1615 (book two). The author, Miguel  de Cervantes, had traveled and because he had he was able to instill in his major work much of his experience of the world at this time. The Middle Ages had come to an end and with it the illusion of knight inspired chivalry. Even so, people still clung to the dream of chivalry and to send this up Cervantes created a wonderful madman who saw the would not the way it was but, according to chivalry, the way it should be. Personally, I prefer the second book to the first because there’s more action and less explanation. Regardless, Don Quixote has been published in just about every European language and there have been at least on musical and successful movie made about this tilter of windmills.

Mark Twain made much of a river journey in his famous and also rather infamous American novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This is a book about freedom and the right to be free. It was once banned in the American south. In recent times it has come under attack because of some of the period language used but academics that know their business have defended it. Also it has been defended some time ago by the writers and cast of the American sit-com, Family Ties and by those responsible for the 1997 movie, Pleasantville. Next time you view Pleasantville do look for a visual reference to Mark Twain and Adventures of  Huckleberry Finn. Its there along with other most excellent works that were once banned by small minded people.

Lewis Carroll in the 19th Century took his readers on a number of weird and wonderful journeys with his Alice books.  And yes there was a real Alice. It is said that the Alice books began in a boat on a river in England where Carroll was entertaining a group of children with the strangest of tales. He was urged to write down the unfolding tale that became Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. After these adventures in Wonderland were published they caused a sensation thus prompting the second Alice book.  Modern surrealism was born with these books though the term was yet to be coined. Also the tale of the Jabberwocky with its nonsense words came to show just how versatile sound was and also how powerful language can be in the right creative hands.

In the 1930s in there was high adventure in the pulps. For mystery there was H.P.Lovecraft and for Sword and Sorcery there was Robert. E. Howard. For scientific wonders and adventure in numerous countries there was Doc Savage.

Today adventure can be found in the printed and ebook works of Terry Pratchett (U.K.), Peter David (USA) and Terry Dowling (Australia.) Also do check out Desk Job by Rod Marsden.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

WALKING LIKE AN EGYPTIAN IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND, FRANCE, AND EGYPT

Posted in art, Art Deco, Australia, Cleopatra's needle, dark fiction writer, Egypt, France, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, London, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, New York, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, Set in italy, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
Evil in the night...

THE MYSTERIES OF ANCIENT EGYPT

When artifacts from Ancient Egypt turn up at at major city in Australia, such as Melbourne, Sydney or Canberra there is always great excitement. It seems as if there has always been a lot of interest in things ancient and Egyptian.

Ancient Greek travelers made a fuss about Egypt describing it as a place of wonders. They were right on the mark. Then, some time later, the Romans came along and were impressed by what they saw. They also took home with them artifacts they felt said something about power and majesty.

For a while Egypt was the bread basket of the Roman Empire. This was so to the extent that if there was a famine in Egypt or the grain ships from Egypt would not sail, then there would be starvation in Rome.

Today, in Rome, there are still ancient Egyptian artifacts on display that are left over from the Roman Empire days.

Ancient Egypt appears in the Bible and hence has that connection with at least the Christians of the western world. Then there is the alchemy connection and also what Hollywood studios and British studios have made, since the 1930’s, of the possibilities of walking mummies. The notion of ancient evil rising to attack the present world has been the bread and butter of many a writer including American pulp genius of the haunting,  H. P. Lovecraft.

Everyone loves a good mystery and fiction writers adore a great locale for their fiction. Agatha Christie, for example, made much of Egypt as a backdrop for her murder mystery, Death on the Nile (1937).

The present day fascination with Ancient Egypt really began with Napoleon and his scholars wandering through what was then modern Egypt in the 18th and early 19th Century (1788-1801). British warships made the complete conquest of Egypt by the French impossible. In face Napoleon was lucky to get out of Egypt without getting captured by the British. Even so, some spin had to be put on the Egyptian campaign in order to save face but how to go about doing so was the big question. What the campaign lacked in military value it could, to some extent, make up for in scientific and historic value. Hence the craze to know and understand Ancient Egypt swept France in a way it had never done before.

Note here that Napoleon adopted the symbol of the bee, thinking it was an Egyptian symbol for power. Later it was discovered that it was actually a symbol for one of the two Egyptian kingdoms.

The main treasure of the French Egyptian campaign, the Rosetta stone, fell into the hands of the British and still rests in a museum in London. Even so, this clue as to how to read Egyptian  Hieroglyphics first came into French possession after many centuries of  either being buried or ignored by the locals, and it was the French who first took the necessary 19th Century steps in figuring out the ancient writings that had puzzled visitors to Egypt for centuries. The British, Germans and Italians took their best shots at working out the meaning of Egyptian Hieroglyphics but it was a Frenchman by the name of Jean-Francois Champollion who eventually succeeded. Also thanks to Champollion and his predecessors, the Louvre in Paris has a fantastic Egyptian wing.

Both the French and the British went wild  for things Egyptian in the 19th Century much the way the Romans had gone wild for things Egyptian in earlier centuries. The British moved the obelisk known to them as Cleopatra’s needle from Egypt to London. Not to be out done by the British, the French also moved an obelisk they thought of as Cleopatra’s needle from Egypt to Paris. Then there is the obelisk known as Cleopatra’s needle which was moved from Egypt to New York also in the 19th Century.

Incidentally,  the London obelisk was falsely named Cleopatra’s needle but still stands as an incredibly old and powerful symbol of what the Ancient Egyptians were capable of doing. Moving these giant obelisks without smashing them up was and is considered some feat by the engineers who did so in the 19th Century.

Meanwhile Australia wasn’t to be completely left out when it came to obelisks. At the entrance to Hyde Park in Sydney (intersection of Elizabeth St and Bathurst Street) there stands a most unusual but still impressive obelisk. It was modeled on the obelisk the British took to London but the materials used in construction are very much 19th Century and of the country where it was made rather than of ancient Egypt. It is primarily made of sandstone with a bronze pyramid on top.  It is also adorned by sphinxes and serpents. It was meant to serve as a sewage vent to eliminate noxious gases from the sewer underneath though it has never fulfilled this function very well.  It was first unveiled to the public in 1857 and today it is in need of some maintenance. Even so, it is still a magnificent sight and well worth checking out if you are visiting Sydney.

In 1922 the discovery of the burial place of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in Egypt caused a great stir of excitement and new interest in Ancient Egypt. Among the treasures found there was a magnificent golden mask.  The discovery coincided with the art deco movement which began in Paris in the 1920s and spread out from there. Ancient Egyptian symbolism and hieroglyphics tended to go well with this new art form. Pyramid designs became popular everywhere as did the ankh which appears in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics but also on its own as the symbol of life. It remains today a popular symbol worn by many people throughout the world.

Today, outside the Louvre in Paris, there is a rather strange and controversial glass pyramid.  It was completed in 1989 proving that even toward the end of  the 20th Century interest in Ancient Egypt remained solid at least with the French. In Dan Brown’s 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code,  you will find more than passing mention of this glass edifice.

Every now and then the subject of pyramid power arises. Does the very shape of the pyramid evoke forces we have yet to fully understand? Can even sitting under a makeshift pyramid meditating lead to better health? In A Country Practice, an Australian television soap set in a country town in the 1980s, a doctor’s receptionist, Shirley Gilroy (as played by Lorrae Desmond), believed in the healing powers of the pyramid. It was a sort of running joke with always the possibility that it might indeed be true. Mind you, as far as I am concerned, the major benefit, if the is one, to sitting under a makeshift pyramid is the belief factor that it will do you some good.

In 1986, just to prove that there was still some excitement to be generated by anything even remotely to do with Ancient Egypt, the band The Bangles had a hit with the song, Walk like an Egyptian. It was a silly, fun bit of business with none of the American girl members of the band coming anywhere close to looking and, for that matter, actually dancing like what an egyptologist might envision how ancient Egyptians dance. Here, of course, the operative word is fun and it is obvious there was no desire to even attempt to get it, let along keep it, real. Sometimes you need to let people have their fantasies and their fun.

In 2011 one of my nieces came back from Egypt and presented me with a small glass pyramid from Egypt. It doesn’t date back to ancient times but I do feel good when I look at it. I think this has more to it being a treasured gift than anything else. Mind you it would really be something if it did, in fact, have mystical powers of healing and promoting good health. Well, this particular niece used to walk like an Egyptian before visiting Egypt and, at times, she still walks like an Egyptian.

Among present day Australians with an interest in ancient Egypt there is television personality Molly Meldrum.  In recent times Molly has shown enthusiasm for Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s story plus the golden age of Pharaohs.

As for ancient evil, this is really something that belongs in western fiction beginning in the 1920s and continuing to this day. It started with the belief in the mummy’s curse attributed to disturbing Tutankhamun’s resting place and went from there. Mind you, the old gods of Egypt are rather fierce and not to be casually mucked about with.

The symbol of Life – Egyptian style!