Archive for the mythology Category

NIGHT TO DAWN MAGAZINE ISSUE 23

Posted in art, Australia, Barbara Custer, horror writer, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, set in Australia, Uncategorized, USA, Vampire author with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by ROD MARSDEN

NTD23frontcover-229x300
Nice colour scheme on the front cover art.

 

Of the interior art, David L. Transue’s noble knight on page 22 is well done. Marg Simon’s sketch on page 58 reminds me of the great Gene Colan back in his Tomb of Dracula days.

Of the stories Todd Hank’s one-pager Vampire Ferris Wheel comes with a nice twist to the tale.

A Road Less Travelled by Hal Kempla has some nice atmospherics. Careful how you go about ‘seeing America.’ Careful what you take for innocent.

Oh and it was wonderful to see my Midnight Gunslinger in print. Kansas really was known as bloody Kansas back in the days just before the American Civil War broke out. Perfect locale for a gun toting vampire.

Of the poems, Twisted Nursery Rhymes by Lee Clark Zempe hit the spot. This fellow does have a dark sense of humour.

I wonder if issue 25 will be a silver issue with a silver cover and silver stories inside.

Meanwhile I’ll look forward to issue 24 and what it has to offer. 

 

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/

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

QUEEN OF IRON YEARS BY LYN McCONCHIE AND SHARMAN HORWOOD

Posted in dark fiction writer, Great Britain, London, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Romance, Sex, United Kingdom, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2013 by ROD MARSDEN

QUEEN OF IRON YEARS BY LYN McCONCHIE AND SHARMAN HORWOOD

QUEEN OF IRON YEARS…A NOVEL BY LYN McCONCHIE AND SHARMAN HORWOOD

Queen of Iron Years is a bold move on the part of writers Lyn McConchie and Sharman Horwood. It is reminiscent of Ursula Le Guin’s 1969 masterpiece The Left Hand of Darkness.

In 2035 a new STD is claiming lives. It is Tensen’s virus. Transsexuals can get it and then pass it on to members of the general public. When non-transsexuals get it they die. There is panic. Plans are launched to put all transsexuals, whether they have Tensen’s or not, into camps supposedly for their own protection. Things aren’t looking good for thirty-year-old pre-op transsexual Cean Rowan and his transsexual friends. But what can be done about this situation?

A cure for Tensen’s might be years, even decades away. In the meantime transsexuals are having their jobs taken away from them, they are being bashed in the streets, and will soon be relieved of their liberty.

A plan is hatched for Cean to go back into the past and change history. But where was he to go and what was he to do when he got there?

Cean has always wanted to meet Boadicea, the iron age queen of the Iceni. She had fought against the Romans in her native Britain quite successfully for a while but was eventually defeated. The Iceni, for rebelling against Rome, were virtually wiped out. Cean is determined to stop Boadicea’s final fall at the hands of her enemies from happening and also save the Iceni from their fate.

After some difficulties in the England of his own day, Cean does go back in time and he does change the life of Boadicea and also the lives of the Iceni people. How he does this I will leave you, dear reader, to discover. Suffice to say both Boadicia and the Iceni are not quite what Cean expected to find. And Cean is not quite what Boadicia and the Iceni expected to come across in their day and age. Equipped with knowledge about the Romans, can Cean succeed in his mission and, if he does succeed, will his success have any bearing on how history will play itself out?

Much good historic research has gone into the making of Queen of Iron Years. But it is not bogged down in detail. In fact, once you pick it up its hard to put down.

Some of the subject matter may be controversial hence the boldness of it. Some readers will no doubt take this as being a dangerous book. If it is to be thus taken then it would have to fall in line with other books also considered dangerous in their day such as Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and of course Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness.

If you want a fast paced gallop into fresh, new concepts this one’s for you.

Queen of Iron Years by Lyn McConchie and Sharman Horwood

Kit Hill Publishing 2011

http://www.kitehillpublishing.com

AN ENGLISH SUMMER IN SCOTLAND BY NEIL. K. HENDERSON

Posted in Australia, dark fiction writer, Glasgow, Great Britain, horror writer, Knightswood, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, mythology, Neil K. Henderson, Scotland, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN

A HOLE IN THE FLOOR

Neil K. Henderson’s An English Summer in Scotland and Other Unlikely Events does have more than its fair share of the unlikely and also the just plain demented. Each story takes you on a trip into Henderson’s imagination and it is some imagination.

 

It seems that no one can put meaning to butter and parsnips the way this wild Scot from Knightswood can. Also, no one can put together a dream girl, a birthday and a quiet time at home with a hole in the kitchen and creepy-crawlies doing their thing quite the same way. The hole is so deep it may reach all the way to Australia! What’s more, there’s a candle of all things shedding some light at the other end, making the hole even more of a wonder.

Colour explodes. There’s a kind of magical mystery tour going on amidst ancient grim even though no one is going anywhere fast except the crepy-crawlies. Then the scene changes.

Does Bunchie Nuttall get Ali Butterfield in the end? Does he even want her in the end?

Also, what’s with this dead, demented zombie cat? Is witchcraft afoot in Scotland or is it just the heat?

Can you have a quick draw thing happening in Scotland? Well, there is a Quick Draw at the Lazy B.  Laundrettes are places where apparently a mamn has to do what a man has to do.

Bath-time in Hell can be a bad scene especially when the number one bad guy turn up.  Again there are the creepy-crawlies to consider.

There are The Cat with the Inside-Out Head and The Cheesey Buscuit Goblin to make you wonder or at least push you in that direction.

Henerson’s style isn’t quite like fantasy writer Terry Pratchett but, then again, Terry Pratchett is English and loves his swords as well as his sorcery. Also in style Henderson is definitely more over the top and a dozen or so valleys away.

This book could be compared favourably with The Steam-driven Boy and Other Strangers (1973)  by Englishman John Stadek. Also An English Summer in Scotland is Henderson’s salute to british writer Lewis Carroll in that it has a mysterious hole, a girl like Alice in Ali and creatures best read about in the context of this fiction. Be warned though that this is experimental stuff. If you want further comparisons than try A Spaniard in the Works by John Lennon (1965).

An English Summer in Scotland and Other Unlikely Events by Neil K. Henderson was first published in 2005 by Skrev Press. For further information on grabbing a copy go to:

www. skrev-press.com

or write to:

Skrev Press

41 Manor Drive

Hebden Bridge

HX7 8DW

Scotland

UK

 

DESK JOB REVIEW FRESH FROM SCOTLAND

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, birds, Butterflies, dark fiction writer, desk job, Glasgow, Great Britain, horror writer, Knightswood, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Moths, mythology, Neil K. Henderson, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, Scotland, set in Australia, Teresa Tunaley, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
DESK JOB

DESK JOB BY ROD MARSDEN

Review by Neil K. Henderson

Knightswood, Glasgow G13 4SB, Scotland, U.K.

DESK JOB: SARAH IN OFFICE-LAND by Rod Marsden, ISBN 978-1-937769-14-7 Night to Dawn Books, P.O. Box 643, Abington, PA 19001, USA (www.bloodredshadow.com) 243 pp.

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

Set in the offices of a big Sydney business concern in the 1990s, DESK JOB, by former Masque Noir editor Rod Marsden, reads like staring through a hothouse window at a weird menagerie of mismatched captive fauna. Among the exotic and nightmarish metaphors for office ‘types’ – such as praying mantises (women ‘of a certain age’ out for blood at a sniff of male impropriety), dung beetles (sycophants to the mantises), hawks (upwardly mobile managers), caterpillars (semi-comatose top brass), mules (disregarded drudges) and butterflies (pretty young do-nothings) and their older, drabber moth counterparts – real human souls live out daily dramas in this infernal inversion of Alice’s Wonderland. Animal behavior is controlled by the government-imposed political correctness dictates of the period. No-one dares infringe the rights of a ‘protected species’. On the other hand, it’s open season on the native wildlife. Tensions mount. Fear, paranoia and madness ensue, until one employee is murdered by another while most are too busy watching their own backs to notice. It‘s the kind of mess you’d need a psychic investigator to work out.

Enter Sarah Hollingsworth, who’s seen it all already in a dream. She can read people’s minds to present the reader with psychological profiles and biographical insights into the group of characters under the microscope. (She even interviews the victim!) This lets her give the kind of non-judgmental overview that keeps things nicely in balance and stops the reader (and some of the characters) from totally losing the plot. She also provides a few surprises along the way with her own interaction among the forces of the mystical realm. It’s a testament to Rod Marsden’s easy style, that the whole unfolding kaleidoscope of animal imagery, social comment and dark fantasy reads with a page-turning immediacy that keeps the attention gripped until a satisfactory conclusion is reached. (Not so much a Who Dunnit, this, as a Why Dunnit.)

But that conclusion is not the end of the book. What Marsden does with the remaining third is to literalise the previously metaphorical types as living dream creatures, in a totally fantastical coda  section reflecting back the Lewis Carroll motifs from a new perspective. Sarah here ventures through an interdimensional portal, like Alice’s looking glass, to interact with real mantises and beetles and a Queen of Hearts who wants to psych out the office workers visa computer consoles and hand-mirror gateways. A fast and furious fantasy adventure follows – ensuring the novel achieves a flying finish.

Sandwiched in between the episodic close-ups on specific cases in part one, collected quotes from contemporary Australian books on office psychology provide a comic Greek chorus to the developing drama. These interludes continue as a unifying factor through the second part. Here, the lika-lika bird (every conversation starts or ends with “Like a…”) rears her gorgeously plumaged head. She’s still young and uncorrupted, prior to landing that fatal office job. Her outside view is refreshingly alternative. There is also the graffiti-spraying mall rat, destined to become a mule, or even a hawk, someday.

It is difficult to encapsulate in a brief review the complex interplay of fantastical dream situations, figuratively represented actuality and actualised fantasy contained in DESK JOB. Odd magical moments come to mind, such as the vision of several ‘brown-nose’ dung beetles lining up to boil themselves in a cauldron because the praying mantis they worship likes soup. There’s also the annoying whistling man who appears in the office every so often, and is perfunctorily assaulted by a member of staff. Then there’s the cats which periodically pop through mirrors or get their tails pulled by startled mortals. Particularly amusing is the scene near the end of lika-lika birds all crowding round one such hand-mirror, convinced that the cat which just appeared was cleverly programmed in by the manufacturers. I can just see them haunting all the shops in Sydney asking for the mirrors with the pop-out cats.

Does that make sense? Not maybe on the face of things, but in the context of this curiously individual and delightfully engaging novel it makes perfect sense. If you don’t believe me, I recommend you take a psychic trip through the portal of its covers and experience it for yourself. DESK JOB is a book with “Read Me” written all over it.

 

Note: Neil K. Henderson cleverly ends his review with an off hand reference to the Alice books. Meanwhile Neil is busy on his own novels which are most curious and fun to read.

 

 

A TAIL TO TELL

BOTH A TAIL AND A TALE TO TELL. WHAT FUN!

NIGHT TO DAWN

Posted in art, Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Egypt, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, Teresa Tunaley, Tom Johnson, Uncategorized, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN

Night to Dawn is a semi-annual horror magazine put out by Barbara Custer. She goes to some effort to get the best stories, poetry and artwork from around the world. Though an American publication, it often contains stories from as far afield as Australia.

Starting out as primarily a vampire magazine, Night to Dawn has spread its black wings of late into other areas of horror. Tales dealing with zombies, ancient gods, and the Egyptian dead are now most welcome. Egyptian horror has, in fact, appeared in issues 21 and 22. As for what kind of story fits into the magazine, there’s everything from your classic romantic undead piece to a salute to Joe R. Lansdale’s Dead in the West.

Since 22 is the latest issue (It is dated October 2012 but I have an advance copy), I’ll pick out my favorite stories, poetry and illustrations within to give you an idea of the quality of Night to Dawn magazine.

The front cover to 22 is an eye catching red and gold. The illustration by Marge Simon appears to be reminiscent of the Roman era and puts me in mind of a female Roman vampire story I read ages ago. The back cover by Teresa Tunaley shows a female vampire with blood on her lips. The way her eye lids are painted, she might be off to some mardi gras celebration somewhere in the world.

In the editor’s section we learn about the latest round of books being published by Night to Dawn. They include Desk Job by Rod Marsden, City of Brotherly Death by Barbara Custer, and Tom Johnson and James Reasoner’s Jur: A Story of Pre Dawn Earth.

Of the interior illustrations, I am drawn to the third eye effort by David Transue (page 14), the all teeth and eyes freak out by Denny E. Marshall (page 32), and the zombied out mardi gras spectacular by Chris Friend (page 40).

In poetry there’s Tod Hanks’ splendid though traditional take on the vampire, Concubines of the Vampire (pages 6 and 7), Fatale by Cathy Bryant (page 14) which has a nice, bouncy rhythm, and Christmas Eve by Chris Friend (page 39) which is a delightful bit of fun with the spirits of the dead.

Of the tales I liked Rajeev Bhargava’s Mirror, Mirror on my Cellar Wall best. Here we have a touch of Greek mythology with a modern take on a particularly monstrous legend.

Coming up a close second is The Harlots of New Chapel Row by a writer going by the name Horns. It is a to be continued tale of bloody intrigue where lust and keeping up with your mates already goes terribly wrong.

A very close third is The Triangle by Derek Muk which hauls out the Bermuda Triangle for inspection. The suspense builds up in this one making it well worth the read.

For more information on Night to Dawn magazine and books check out these sites:

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

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/tom-johnsons-sf-and-adventure/jur-a-story-of-pre-dawn-earth/

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/

BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS

Posted in Australia, Butterflies, dark fiction writer, desk job, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Moths, mythology, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, set in Australia, USA, Writer with tags , , , , on August 19, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
BUTTERFLIES

BUTTERFLIES

 

In Desk Job butterflies flit about the office looking pretty but not actually doing much in terms of work. If they do get promoted it has a lot to do with getting to know the right people while the mules are slaving away. Butterflies are social creatures. They are also decorative.

According to sociologist Irene M. Debbie, butterflies can’t remain butterflies forever. There comes a time when they become moths. It is a natural development. No one can remain pretty forever. Moths, however, have as much of a work ethic as butterflies. The smart ones will have worked out a thing or two when they were in the butterfly phase and so can still flit around without having to do much else.

In nature butterflies and moths are far more industrious. This is understandable. It is apparently the bright lights of the city and the major towns that allows them to dance rather than sow.

Now you may want to know if all office butterflies and moths are female. The answer is no though there are offices that specialize in female butterflies and moths.

In the meantime, the caterpillar and his or her most prized hawks are the protectors of many of the butterflies and even the moths you see about. All of this is, of course, corruption but nothing to worry about, nothing new in the world of the office. Perhaps, as in Desk Job, your office has butterflies and moths? I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

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

 

LOVE – DESK JOB STYLE

Posted in Australia, birds, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Love, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, set in Australia, Sex, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
THE BLOOD OF A STUPID MULE

LOVE IN THE WORLD OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS CAN END IN SOMETHING THAT WOULD MAKE THE ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE LOOK TAME IN COMPARISON.

Decades ago there was this television show titled Love – American Style. In the lyrics of the song accompanying the show we were informed that this love is stronger than the red, white and blue meaning the American flag. I suppose the idea here was that without love there wouldn’t be an America or at least an America anyone would care to live in. I could follow this logic trail when a kid without too much difficulty. It was a silly show but fun in places. Like Captain Nice,  it isn’t likely to return to television and rests comfortably in the hearts and minds of certain old timer couch jockeys. Even so, it did evoke a certain pleasant attitude to both love and, yes, sex which may not have stood the greater test of time.

My Desk Job is set in the mid-1990s, long past the Hippy era with its Laugh-In and its Love – American Style and its Captain Nice. And long past when John Lennon and Yoko Ono could make some kinda political statement about peace by being in bed in front of the whole world.

Love and romance are forbidden on the three floors of Desk Job. Rules and regulations are against the male mules fraternizing with the female mules even on their coffee breaks. The male hawks sometimes get away with fraternizing with female mules and, when something goes wrong with the relationship, a praying mantis is born.

Praying mantises enforce the rules and regulations. They are followed around by the dung beetles who adore them. Nothing is lower or more worshipful of your average praying mantis than your dung beetle. Even so, praying mantises do not care for dung beetles. They have no interest in love or romance except to put an end to it. This they are generally good at doing. They love the smell of fear in the morning.

Every once in a long while, however, two mules rise up and declare their love for one another in defiance of authority.The praying mantises then must act before this defiance spreads.

Now you might think that there’s a lot of sexual activity going on in the office between the female butterflies and the male hawks. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes,  the butterflies do use their sexuality in order to do as little work as possible. This does, in a way, make them the whores of the office. Even so, they are only just smart enough to realize that the tease is all they need to get their way and they need only have sex with a hawk if that’s what they really want to do. Besides, the praying mantises and their faithful dung beetles are always on the look out for bad behavior.

Meanwhile the moths, remembering their glory days as butterflies, manage to get by on the memories of old timer hawks and mules. Also the sympathy of younger hawks and mules. They are far more skilled at the art of getting others to do their work for them than the butterflies but, then again, they need to be. Even so, good looks fading or not, a hawk or a mule might take a romantic or sexual interest in a moth. It could happen.

The grand old caterpillar is generally above matters of a sexual or romantic nature. He is content to puff away on his water pipe and let the hawks and the praying mantises keep his floors in good order. If, of course, he were to show an interest in romance it would be with someone of at least hawk status. To find another caterpillar to romance, especially a female caterpillar, he would have to go to another building. This is a lot of effort for a caterpillar. What’s more, there are very few female caterpillars around though numbers of them, year by year, are on the increase.

So, if you are a mule then head down and get on with your computer work. There are praying mantises cruising by with their dung beetle sidekicks. The hawks need your help if they are to soar high and you must keep your job. And do be careful on those lunch and coffee breaks. Be sure not to say anything inappropriate that might give away your humanity. You need to be seen as a good, hard working mule and nothing more. You never know who may be watching and listening. Mules have been betrayed by mules and hawks by hawks. And waiting with her spiked forearms in the background is the ever menacing praying mantis. Snip! Snip! 

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