Archive for the mythology Category

GHOST DANCE by ROD MARSDEN

Posted in Australia, dark fiction writer, horror writer, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , on August 22, 2010 by ROD MARSDEN

GHOST DANCE

Available through AMAZON and also Night to Dawn

A novel that takes you on an epic journey from Australia to Germany on a quest to save a young man from lycanthropy and also defeat a modern day warlock.

GHOST DANCE

GHOST DANCE 

Introduction

The menace of the vampire has been with us for a very long time. Over the centuries, various societies have developed their own methods of dealing with it. The Japanese in the 17th Century created the Rising Sun Group of specialist ninjas and samurai. In the British Empire and then the British Commonwealth the Secret Compass, an offshoot of Freemasonry, came to the fore. It now has many branches including the Scottish Maclean branch. In and around Greece there were the Greek mystics who eventually formed an alliance with INTERPOL and then with the Sydney, NSW branch of the Secret Compass. In the USA there was the Pinkerton Detective Agency out of Chicago followed by the FBI and the CIA. Over time such organizations have come to share information, resources and even personnel in the continuing fight.

The events mentioned in this book primarily take place in 1975. The events of the previous novel, Disco Evil: Dead Man’s Stand, take place between the years 1976 and 2010.

In 1975 Lilith and Paul Priestly can be seen at The Blue, an inner Sydney disco but have yet to meet up and form an alliance. Lizzy, Miles Henry’s niece, can also be seen doing her thing at The Blue. Her fate has yet to be sealed. It will be soon enough in 1976.

Helen Kiln, a Secret Compass psychic, knows The Blue in 1975 as a place that might attract the undead. Miles Henry and Frank Long are field agent partners in the Sydney branch of the Secret Compass and have worked together off and on since the Korean War. They are both attracted to Helen. Miles and Long, however, are not the only field agents working for the Secret Compass.

Note:

“Bring back the buffalo,” was the cry and the hope of a generation of North American Indians. “Bring back love and hope,” was the cry of a different people of a different generation. It was more universal but just as heart-felt. Both people, both generations thought they could do it through music and movement. They thought the Great Spirit would weave magic their way and it would be done. They were wrong. Both are examples of the now traditional ‘GHOST DANCE’.

There is, however, another version that is just as well known and just as traditional. It is part of Mardi Gras and the Venetian Carnivale. In both instances it evokes the meeting of two worlds – the living and the dead. Both sides are masked. Both sides are to be revealed. If properly executed, it is quite a powerful dance and the results are totally unpredictable. It is the dance of the present, the past and the future. It can be joyful or the complete opposite. It is the dance of the living hand-in-hand with the dead. At such events the ungodly need to be wary.

If Helen Kiln wanted a quiet, no-nonsense life she should never have become a psychic for the PSI division of the Sydney, Australia branch of the Secret Compass. Of late there were ghosts to sort out, vampires on the loose, a Gypsy warning to heed and a young man becoming a monster to befriend. With any luck she’d get in her morning cup of coffee and donuts!

Frank Burkhard, the young man, and Petra Card, a female vampire, were expected in Worms (Voems), Germany where they were hopefully going to save the world. There was also a warlock out to save humanity by killing off a lot of people. In all of this Helen could envisage, through her powers, a dead man about to make a stand. Helen knew this for a certainty. It just wasn’t clear to her who it was going to be.

Rod Marsden

Check out Disco Evil: Dead Man’s Stand by Rod Marsden….published through Night to Dawn and available right now through Amazon.com.

Also check out Undead Reb Down Under Tales by Rod Marsden…published through Night to Dawn and available right now through Amazon.com.

….For a short story with bite there is a tale by Rod Marsden coming out in the next issue of the vampire magazine Night to Dawn which will be out shortly.

Night to Dawn

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

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).

REVIEW OF DISCO EVIL…

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, set in Australia, Sex, Uncategorized, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
DEAD MAN'S STAND

cover to Disco Evil

Disco Evil: Dead Man’s Stand by Rod Marsden

Night to Dawn Books
www.bloodshadow.com
Paperback
$16.50
244 Pages
Horror / Dark Fantasy
Rating: 3 Cups
He vowed this would be the last time he stepped into the disco club, The Blue, but Paul Priestly never guessed how right and wrong he was. So many rejections can make a man do some crazy things, but when that man becomes a vampire, the world better stop and take notice.

Never one to take the easy route, Miles Henry becomes one of the elite undercover operatives for the Secret Compass. Their mission is to eradicate the vampire vermin from the earth. However, his mission is much more personal, and he vows to take out the one vampire who murdered his niece.

Paul admits to making a multitude of mistakes after his turning, but he cannot understand the personal vendetta the Secret Compass seems to have against him. He moves constantly to avoid their attacks, and over the span of many years, he circles the globe. The close calls happen with frightening frequency and still Paul manages to escape, much to the frustration of Miles and the Secret Compass. Miles knows his age is catching up with him, and if he cannot fulfill his personal vow, he can only pray that his great nephew will continue the fight…World history seems to be the reigning theme, the detail of which is well researched and delivered with a true sense of imagination and knowledge.

Lototy
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

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BACK COVER BLURB TO DISCO EVIL BY ROD MARSDEN

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Love, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, New York, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, set in Australia, Sex, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
vampyre

THE VAMPIRE

“Make Love, not war” was the catch cry of a generation. Growing up, it meant everything to Paul Priestly but nothing to those who owned and managed The Blue, an inner city Sydney disco.

When Paul became a vampire, he swore to avenge himself on the destroyers of make love, not war. In many cities of the world, such as London, New York, and San Francisco, he would seek them out and take their blood. He would recruit from the living to aid him in this great work. In other words, as a walking cadaver, a mobile corpse, he had made a stand – a dead man’s stand.

Night to Dawn

P.O. Box 613

Abington, P.A 19001

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Extract from DISCO EVIL BY ROD MARSDEN

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Love, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, set in Australia, Sex, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
flight of the vampire

The vampire: flight toward revenge

Extract…Disco Evil: Dead Man’s Stand

CHAPTER  ONE

Sydney, The Rocks, the first Friday in November, 1976

The dock rats were still around but in fewer numbers than before. The smart ones had already staked their claim to the Hyde Park area and to the railroad tunnel system between Town Hall and Circular Quay. There people dumped plenty of food in quarter, even half filled packets. Also, there were lots of dark, safe places to get some sleep during the day.

The Rocks area of the docks, however, had retained some nocturnal life. It had, in fact, built upon certain beliefs in humans and had flourished. Strangely enough, like the rats of yore, certain comings and goings were not only of the night but also took place beneath the pavement where life could be chilly in winter and muggy in summer. There was even the mating dance, not dissimilar to the one performed by the rodent only crueler in its promises and in too many of its outcomes.

For Western style humanity the summer of love had died, killed by a number of movements including disco, a less than amiable bowel movement. Even so, young men still went along to the below ground venues of false light and loud music for the remnants of the hippy dream. They wanted to howl at the distant moon like lycanthropes or maybe at the giant ball that rotated in all such places as a cold, rotund ice goddess. It was all so similar to the North American ghost dance and the hope of turning back the world to a better time that one could choke on the tears it invariably elicited. Yet dance cannot turn back the clock or the calendar. Dance can neither bring back the buffalo to the American prairie nor can it take us to that oh so special summer in which the best of emotions reigned. So what, in the end, is the use of it?

The young men at the disco were told that how you danced no longer mattered and were then judged on how they danced. The scotch served early in the night was of a cheap brand no matter what was on the label of the bottle it came in and got progressively weaker from being watered down as the night progressed. It was a rip-off from start to finish but, hey! Where else did you go to meet girls? And they were girls and you were not quite a man but, oh so anxious to become one, God help you!

Listening to the recorded music was like having two gallons of corn syrup from the ‘States or forest honey locally produced dumped on you. The senses quickly became blocked with all the phony sweetness. A hole to breathe through could be cut with a glass or two of bourbon but the ensuing alcoholic haze carried its own falsehoods. The bourbon in the gut, in the end, held best the lies one tells one’s self when things are not going well. Only one usually has the common sense to keep those lies to one’s self. It was amazing what one might say while in that haze and to whom. It could be down-right tragic or, if not tragic, then comical in an executioner’s joke book sort of way. And who needs a laugh more than the guy about to get it in the neck?

Sure, I’m Bogart looking at some tall, luscious babe. Sure, I’m Sean Connery going after some hot dame who knows something. Sure, I’m Mad Max only not so mad. And all in one night folks! All in one single night and without strings! All happening right here, right now, this night folks!

Here there was a nasty cycle of unrealistic promise followed by despair followed by more unrealistic promise. Only the elite got anywhere but very few participants understood this. Plenty of fools thought they could make their dreams come true and their money was as good as anyone else’s. Others knew from night one the odds against them were ridiculously high but gambled anyway because there was nothing else they could see themselves doing. Besides, didn’t Batman always fly home a winner to the bat cave? Was it then so impossible to meet a nice girl you could actually have a good time with? Did the success stories all have to be about supermen with their Lois Lanes?

‘The Blue’ was once part of a warehouse. It was the below ground part where coal was once stored. Since becoming ‘The Blue’ there had been a glittering sign on the street pointing downwards to the action. From there stairs descended into what appeared at first to be a dark pit lined with old, cheap carpet. The carpet was red and the stairs always smelled. Sometimes they smelled of vomit but more often than not of cleaning alcohol or industrial strength antiseptic. No one commented going down and once down it was hard to communicate with anyone save whoever was serving the drinks. The management liked it that way. There wasn’t a cover charge. Obviously watering the drink at the appropriate hour was enough.

Paul Priestly had taken the stairs a dozen or more times. On the last night he’d truly be himself he said to that inner voice he’d never, ever do it again but that would not be entirely true.

He was on his own. He was a small, skinny guy always alone and he wanted to change that. He had come to realize, however, that this was not the right venue for him. Maybe it wasn’t the right venue for anyone with a soul. Maybe this realization at last made him smarter than some of the other people who tried their luck there but he was still dumb enough to turn up one last time just in case he was wrong. It was pathetic. Hope burned and the intensity of the flame meant he had to have at least one more throw of the dice he knew had to be loaded against him.

The only thing he could think of to make himself feel better about where he was and what he was doing were the bizarre murders he’d read about in the paper. They had taken place less than two blocks away and involved a jock football player who had had his right arm broken in three places before being siphoned of blood. Also a female tennis player had had her neck broken before being emptied the same way. Paul didn’t see himself as the type this killer or killers were after but that could change. At present, however, they seemed to be after people he had no reason to like and that suited him fine.

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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!

A SALUTE TO MY FRIENDS UP NORTH

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, New York, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, set in Australia, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN

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I grew up in a suburb of Bankstown in New South Wales, Australia. My fondest memories of childhood, however, were those Autumn holiday trips up north. Every year my dad would travel further and further up north until he came to Iluka, in NSW. My parents fell in love with this wonderful fishing village and, when they retired, that’s where they moved to.

Nowadays my youngest sister lives at Maclean, not far from Iluka. She is married with three kids that are not really kids any more. One will some day soon become a primary school teacher.

In my novels and short stories the Clarence River area of New South Wales gets some mention. It remains a beautiful part of my home state and I can’t see this changing much in the future. Look for references to Maclean, Iluka, Yamba and the Clarence River region in Disco Evil, Ghost Dance, and Desk Job. My latest work, Desk Job, is my salute to Lewis Carroll.

And speaking of up north, I have friends in Scotland and also in the USA. Hence Scotland and the USA also feature in my writing. I visited the USA way back in the ’70s so I do have some personal experiences there. Mind you I have friends in the USA who do tend to keep me up to day as much as news reports, fresh new novels by American writers, and the internet. And my Scottish friends do keep me informed of what is happening in Britain.