Archive for the Sex Category

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

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/

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…

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

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/disco-evil-dead-mans-stand-excerpt-reviews/

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

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

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.

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

THE 20th AND 21st CENTURY VAMPIRE!

Posted in art, Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Marvel Comics, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, Sex, United Kingdom, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
VAMPYRE

VAMPYRE

Television in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries has been a good source of vampire action. In the British television show Doctor Who there have been a number of exceptionally enjoyable outings with the fanged ones. The First Doctor, William Hartnell, came across a mechanical Count Dracula in an amusement park while being chased by Daleks. The mechanical Count Dracula with his buddy, a mechanical Frankenstein monster, actually aided the Doctor and his companions. The Daleks wouldn’t be scared and they wouldn’t play nice so they got knocked about.

The fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, ran into a nest of vampire like aliens on an alien space ship that had seen better days.

In Sylvester McCoy’s time as The Doctor, there was terror during the 2nd Wortld War in a small British village. Ace was there as his companions and, once again, it was an alien presence with fangs to sp;are.. Faith was the main weapon used against these particular crreatures. What you had faith in didn’t seem to matter though without it you were likely to end up dead.

One of the earlier adventures of the present day Doctor, Matt Smith, which was set in 16th Century Venice, had outer space vampires infecting humans to transform them into blood suckers.

Apart from Docror Who, there have been a number of horror shows, such as Night Stalker, that occasionally have an episode with vampires in it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when it came out in the 1990s, changed the way many viewers and writers think about the undead. Only one vampire, Dracula, ever appeared in this show as the type of male blood drinker reminiscent of the late 19th Century type and the type favoured by the Universal movie makers in the 1930s and ’40s. There was one female vampire, Drusilla, who sometimes dressed as if she belonged to the Victorian age but this was understandable since she had not only been around for a while but was positively insane. Sure, Drusilla, as played by Juliet Landau, was attractive but you could never really tell how the cogs in her head were turning at any one time. She could be playful and cruel and even a little pathetic all at the same time.  Spike, who was her vampire boyfriend for a time, tended to dress very punkish and contemporary despite how long he’d acrtually been around. His eventual falling in love with the slayer made for moments of humor as well as pathos in the show.

A spin off to Buffy was Angel which didn’t quite work as well. Here was a show about a male vampire with his soul returned to him. Angel, as played by David Boreanaz didn’t quite work for me. I prefer Boreanaz as an actor in the television show Bones. Even so, Angel was successful though not as successful as the show it had spun off from. Charisma Carpenter, as the flip and trendoid Cordelia Chase, did a lot to make both Buffy and Angel work as well as they did.  Sarah Michelle Gellar played Buffy very well.

Sanctuary, a Canadian science fiction/fantasy extravaganza, started in 2007. Starring Amanda Tapping, it is about a place and the people dedicated to preserving the strange and the odd from humanity and also, at given times, protecting humanity from the strange and the odd. There are a number of vampires and vampire like creatures in the show.

Being Human started out as a quirky British television show where a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost set up house and try to live as ‘normal’ as life as they possibly can. Of course outside forces will not allow this to happen. The show kicked off in 2008. There is now also an American version.

There have been numerous paperback books dedicated to the Doctor Who television series involving the undead as well as novels dedicated to the  Buffy television series.

Since the 1980s, Terry Pratchett with his Discworld series has been playing merry hell with the vampire. In The Truth (2000) for example he has a vampire photographer keen on photography but also a bit of a masochist. Every time he uses a flash he screams and goes to dust and has to be brought back with droplets of blood. In his novel Monstrous Regiment (2003) there is a vampire who has taken the pledge stay off the blood (he’s an official black ribboner) but because of this has a mad obsession when it comes to coffee. Oh, and as the story develops we discover that this vampire isn’t a he at all but a she. In Monstrous Regiment there are, in fact, a lot of shes masquerading as hes. It makes for a very strange and funny read.

In 2003 Twilight Healer by Barbara Custer came out and gained some market appeal. It dealt with the vampire and also the ailing hospital system in the USA.

In recent years the novel Twilight by Stephanie Myer (2005)  has brought the vampire novel alive for teenage girl readers.

Now let us go back in time and see how the 19th Century writers left their mark on our views of horror and also how the latter 20th Century writers and fiulm makers also left their mark.

The 19th Century ended at a time when new technology was coming in to make life more exciting. The novel was doing very well. Stage plays dealing with horror had their place in society. Dracula by Bram Stoker, for instance, had gone from novel to play without much difficulty. Stoker was, in fact, well aquainted with theatrical life and knew how to promote his vampire as a stage phenomenon. The idea of having nurses in attendance, for example, for women in the audience  who might get over excited during a performance and faint was a stroke of genius. Of course nothing like this actually did happen but the result of having the nurses there was curious women packing into the theatre every night.

I picked up this bit of information about the nurses from a pamphlet I read while watching an Australian stage play production of Dracula way back in the 1970s. The very idea stuck with me because of not only the absurdity value but also the blatant showmanship of the thing.  Stoker did write short stories dealing with other vampires but he will best be remembered for Dracula.

Moving pictures were just starting up in the late 19th Century but had become a real and powerful though silent art form in the first couple of decades into the 20th Century. The Germans flirted outrageously with horror. Their use of shadow in what was then basically a black and white era of cinematography was extraordinary. In fact American horror cinematography in the 1930s that had to be more suggestive because of censorship restrictions, owed a lot of its atmospherics to the German trail blazers.

Early vampire films include: The Vampire’s Trail (1910), Saved from the Vampire (1914), A Night of Horror (German classic 1916) and Drakula (1921).

Nosferatu (1922) was a German cinematic masterpiece than ran afoul of the by then late Bram Stoker’s estate for copyright violations. Even so, it rates high today as a triumph of early cinema nastiness. Unlike Dracula, the vampire Nosferatu is far from handsome with a bald, rat like face. Instread of being killed by a stake he neglects the time due to the beauty of his would be victim and thus the rays of the rising sun give him his second and perhaps final death.

The 1931 Dracula had sound as well as what was for the time great special effects. It  came after the play Dracula’s recent and  successful run in the USA. Believe it or not, back then Bela Lugosi was considered by many female horror fans to be a sex symbol of the dark, forboding but still fun kind. Women wanted to be seduced by him.

Meanwhile unsuccessful attempts were made to put the female vampire onto the backburner. There was a scene filmed in the 1931 Dracula movie where you did have three rather attractive female vampires vamping it up but the censorship boys did the snip! snip! and we only have the stills and the original script to give us some indication of what this scene was like.

There were Vamps (dark, mysterious females with an edge) in the silent films and in the photographs that made photographer Manray famous but the beginning of the talkies  era was no place for females with fangs.

The silent film A Fool There Was (1915) has Theda Bara as a predatory but charming Vamp with a whip.

Vampyr (loosely based on Carmilla, a 1872 novella  by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu) was cinematically released in 1932. It had  a charming female blood-sucker in the lead role. Dracula’s Daughter, a film based on one of Stoker’s short stories, came out in 1936.

In the 1939 novel, Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood, there are female as well as male Cabaret singers and dancers poking fun at life in Germany in the 1930s but also vamping up the night. The film Caberet (1966) is roughly based on this book.

With the end of World War Two and the coming of the atomic age, the vampire took a curious turn. Could radiation produce vampires? Could vampires come from outer space?

In the 1950s there were a number of films dedicated to the outerspace bloodsucker including: The Thing From Another World (1951) and Not of This Earth (1957).

In some ways Richard Matheson’s 1954 science fiction novel, I am Legend, is as much about the futuristic vampire as it is about the futuristic zombie.

In 1976 British science fiction writer Colin Wilson’s The Space Vampires saw print. These, however, are energy leeching creatures rather than blood-suckers. Even so, they should not have been brought back from outer space to menace humankind. Astronauts need to be careful what they bring with them to earth. In 1985 the book was made into a rather mediocre film, Lifeforce.

Not all vampire movies can be taken seriously as horror and, in some cases, we know the intention drifted more toward horror comedy. Good examples of these type of films include: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948),  Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966), Dracula Meets the Outer Space Chicks (1967), and Blackula (1972).

Of the horror novelists of the 20th and 21st centuries Stephen King’s approach to the undead is somewhat unique. Salem’s Lot (1975), with its vivid descriptions of a small town in the USA gone mysteriously wrong, helped to revive the vampire for American readers.

Meanwhile in Great Britain Hammer was producing some of the best vampire films to be made in the 20th Century. These included: Horror of Dracula starring Christopher Lee (1958), Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1965), The Scars of Dracula (1970),  Lust for a Vampire (1970),  The Vampire Lovers (1970),  and Dracula A.D 1972 (1972). There was a fire which ripped through the Hammer studios and this, in part, ended the Hammer reign of visual terror. There was talk a few years ago about reviving Hammer but as far as I know nothing has come of it.

In the 1970s Marvel comics did well with its Tomb of Dracula series. The main illustrator was Gene Colan and the main writer was Marv Wolfman. An offshoot of this series are the successful Blade vampire slayer movies.

One of the better magazines to deal with vampires that has come out in the last decade or so is Night to Dawn. just about every issue has at least one vampire and, though it is an American magazine, both the writers and illustrators come from all over the globe. There are even one or two Australian writers.

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

Vampiric  books from Night to Dawn include:  Trilogy of the Dead (2012) and City of Brotherly Death (2012), both by Barbarta Custer.

In the Night to Dawn range there is Undead Reb Down under Tales (2009), Disco Evil (2009) and Ghost Dance (2010) by Rod Marsden.

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

My latest novel, Desk Job, is a salute to Lewis Carroll and, strictly speaking, doesn’t have vampires running around within its pages. It does, however, have humanoid praying mantises that are rather nasty.

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

SPACE…THE FINAL FRONTIER

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, desk job, Great Britain, Japan, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, mythology, New York, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, set in Australia, Sex, Tom Johnson, United Kingdom, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
Evil in the night...

EYE IN THE SKY!

Today, thanks to e-books and modern technology in general stirring up the imagination, there’s a lot of science fiction around. Some of it is very good. Check out Starship Invasions and also Alien Worlds by Barbara Custer and Tom Johnson.

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Let us now look at the pioneers that kick started it all.

Science fiction as we know it began in the late 19th Century. It was spearheaded by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. This does not mean, however, that the notion of landing a man on the moon belonged completely to either Verne or Wells. The playwright Edmond Rostrand in his 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, had Cyrano, as a pretend madman, tossing around various notions on how to get a man to the moon. These notions were comical but they were there.  Also, Verne may have come up with an almight submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) but there had been submarines in action during the American Civil War.  In his novel, The Shape of Things to Come ( 1933), H. G. Wells was speculating on the possibility of a very long war in which modern weaponry devastates our world. There had been such long wars in the past that Wells could easily draw comparisions with. It is our good fortune that such a war, lasting many decades, did not come to pass.

In the Back to the Future series of American films, both Jules Verne and H. G. Wells were honored. It can also be said that in one episode of the long running British television series, Doctor Who, H. G. Wells was, for a short time, a traveller in the TARDIS.

In 1898, H. G. Wells depicted trouble from outer space in his novel, The War of the Worlds.

The developing moving pictures added something special to science fiction. In an early silent colour film, men are depicted landing on the moon. In the silent movie J’accuse (released 1919) the dead of the First World War rise up in protest to the development of a new weapon and quite possibly the creation of a new war.

In 1901 an Australian woman by the name of Anne Moore-Bentley wrote A Woman of Mars which was in praise of an outer space culture in which intelligent females have more say than they do on Earth.  In science fiction, however, martians have had a tendency to be hostile rather than friendly possibly due to the fact that their planet is named after the god of war.

In 1901, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan made his entrance into the world of fiction. He was followed by John Carter, an Earthling having adventures on Mars. Burroughs is best known for his Tarzan stories but his stories about Mars were also quite spectacular.

During the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, movie serial based lightly on science fiction became popular. The 1939 Buck Rogers movie serial starring Buster Crabbe was popular. So in fact were the two earlier Flash Gordon serials which also starred buster Crabbe. In the movie serials and also in the comic strips there were unfriendly as well as quite friendly aliens out there. Hence the Earth had a need of her champions to combat the not so nice aliens.

Fictional pulp heroes with scientific knowledge also arose. There was, for example, Doc Savage, the man of bronze. He was a genius on many levels and also an adventurer. Here we’re talking about special bullets that don’t kill, special surgery on the brains of criminals to make them into honest citizens (a little creepy this one), a unique helicoper, plane and submarine. Doc’s men are all experts in their own fields. Monk for example is a chemist and Ham a top-notch lawyer. There also Doc’s cousin, Patricia Savage whom you might consider to be the woman of bronze. Doc was in the pulps for a long time and made appearances in the comics in the 1940s. In the 1960s, the adventures of Doc savage came out in paperback. Marvel Comics revived Doc in the 1970s and, some time later, D. C. Comics took over the character for a while before independent comic publishes tried their hand. There has been one Doc Savage movie made that I know of and it was not a great success.

During the pulp magazine boom, which started in 1901 and came to a close in the 1950s due to a paper shortage, there was lots of inexpensive science fiction around. A lot of big names such as Issac Asimov and Ray Bradbury got their start in these magazines. Asimov is perhaps best know for his ideas concerning robots. Bradbury may best be known for his novel Fahreheit 451 ( 1953) in which fireman don’t put out fires but burn books. His book people, though implausable, still bring a tear to this writer’s eye. Fancy becoming the essence of a book so that the book won’t die. He is also known for The Martian Chronicles (1950).

ROCKET MAN

THIS WAS HOW A MAN COULD FLY IN THE LATE ’40s and EARLY ’50s

In 1949 republic released the movie serial King of the Rocket Men which starred Tristram Coffin. In this serial a scientist invents a jet pack and uses it as Rocket Man to foil the dastardly deeds of Doctor Vulcan, a fellow scientist gone wrong. There are some nice cinematic moments here of Rocket Man in flight plus, like all movie serials of the time, there was plenty of action. There followed a whole slew of Rocket Man like adventures in other serials such as Radar Men from the Moon (1952) and Commando Cody: Sky Mashal of the Universe (1953). Today only King of the Rocket Men remains worth watching.

Paperbacks took over from the defunct pulp magazines as the major written source of science fiction.

In 1951 Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham saw publication. Here the plants are in revolt against humanity. In this same year The Day the Earth Stood Still, starring Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, saw release. Here humanity is on trial and must somehow rise above its own pettiness to take its place evenually among the other civilizations out ther in space.

In 1953 the American comedy duo Abbott and Costello end up out of this world in the hit movie,  Abbott and Costello Go To Mars.

In 1956 Forbidden Planet, starring Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis, came out. It featureed the mechanical wonder, Robby the Robot. Here the wonders of an alien race prove to be rather deadly to humans. This is great science fiction that was not appreciated as much as it should have been when it was first released. In fact, when released in Australia, some scenes were censored. It is possible today, however, to see this movie everywhere in its full glory.

In 1957 The Invible Boy, starring Richard Eyer and Diane Brewster, made it debute. This was the second outing for Robby the Robot. A super computer with delusions of grandure decides to take over the world. Before commencing, he instructs Robby on how to, yes you got it, turn a boy invible.

Robby the Robot also made appearances in the television show, Lost in Space.

In 1959 an Australian children’s show involving an alien from the moon whose nose was a pencil was born. Every episode he’d travel from the moon to the earth just to draw. The show was Mr. Squiggle and it lasted until 1999. It was light but fun science fiction for younger viewers and, as noted by its long run, it was highly successful.

DOCTOR WHO

DOCTOR WHO AND A DALEK

In the 1960s television started to take science fiction a bit more seriously than it had in the past. In Britain there was Doctor Who. It was a show about a mysterious other worldly time and space traveler and his companions. When William Hartnell, the original Doctor, needed to retire for health reasons (he loved the show too much to retire from it for any other reason) the notion that the Doctor could regenerate into another body when his body was no longer any good was born. There have been many Doctors since Hartnell and most of them have given excepionally fine performances. The Doctor and his TARDIS, which is shaped like an old fashioned police call box, have reached legendary status. Darlek, the name of the Doctor’s number one enemy race, has gone into the Oxford Dictionary because of its popular and continuing usage. The Darleks were, are, and will be creatures inside machines who lack feeling for others and wish to become the dominant, if not the only living crreatures in the universe. There have been recent references to the Doctor in American shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Criminal Minds.

Out of Japan in the 1960s came some fantastic animation. The first to hit television in Australia was Astro Boy, the little robot with plenty of heart and get up and go. The fast paced opening number by Tatsuo Takai and Don Rockwell to the 1960s mainly black and white television show (one colour episode) went like this:

There you go, Astro Boy,
On your flight into space
Rocket high,
through the sky
For adventures soon you will face!
Astro Boy bombs away,
On your mission today,
Here’s the countdown,
And the blastoff,
Everything is go Astro Boy!
Astro Boy, as you fly,
Strange new worlds you will spy,
Atom celled, jet propelled,
Fighting monsters high in the sky!
Astro Boy, there you go,
Will you find friend or foe?
Cosmic Ranger, laugh at danger,
Everything is go Astro Boy!
Crowds will cheer you,
you’re a hero,
As you go, go, go Astro Boy!
The 1980s colour series of Astro Boy was a let down in opening lyrics, sound track and action. It was basically awful. The 2003 colour series was a much better effort. The 2009 animated Astro Boy film went back to basics and
had the fast pace older as well as younger viewers wanted.

After Astro Boy, the huge robot operated by the son of a scientist, Gigantor, came to Australia.

In 1962 a visitor from Mars (Ray Walston) came to stay with a young American reporter ( Bill Bixby) in what had probably been up to then a quiet suburb. The television show? My favorite Martian.

In 1965 the Robinson family, with Robot and sinister then silly Doctor Smith, came to be Lost in Space.

Then in 1966 there was Star Trek. The introduction to this show spoke of space being the final frontier. It also came with a fantastic new design for a ship that moves between the stars and various exciting aliens, The star ship Enterprise. It was on a five year exploratory mission. The star ship Enterprise had its own resident alien in the half Human and half Vulcan,  Spok. There have been a whole slew of off-shoot movies and television series.

One of the most confronting novelists of the 20th Century was American science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin. Her novel, The left Hand of Darkness, first came out in 1969. Here the nature of the roles of the male and the female are explored in strange, alien ways. When Le Guin first started as a writer it was suggested to her to write under a male name. This she refused to do but became a well known and respected science fiction writer anyway.

In 1970, a not very successful Australian science fiction outerspace television show, Phoenix Five, went to air. It not only looked cheap but came with dialogue and characters that didn’t help much. It starred Mike Dorsey and Patsy Trench.

In 1977 the long running British comic paper, 2000 AD was launched. Here Judge Dredd first saw the light of day and creative forces such as Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman first got their chance to shine. In 1995 a Judge Dredd movie, starring Sylvester Stalone, came out. Apparently Stalone practiced looking at himself in the mirror just to get that famous Judge Dredd scowl right.  Now there is a new 3D Judge Dredd movie out starring Karl Urban. So all you citizens who smoke where you shouldn’t watch out, the Judge is back in town.

In 1977 Star Wars starring Mark Hamill changed the face of cinematic science fiction forever. It was a space opera, a cowboys and Indians epic only in white costumes and ultra-modern space craft. A great deal of money was spent and it paid off. The franchise of films, etc created by this superb effort continues to this day. As I am sure the director, George Lucas would have it, may the force be with you.

In 1978 it was no longer safe to got to your average video arcade. It had been invaded. Yes, Space Invaders had arrived. First this game took Japan by storm then it spread out and eventually engulfed the USA, Great Britain and Australia.

In 1984, Starman,  a rather unusual slant on the alien on earth came out. This movie starred Jeff Bridges as an unusual but sympathetic creature from out there.

In 1993 Babylon 5, a show set to challenge the Star Trek franchise, came out. It was about the last of the Babylon stations and it was the last great hope for peace in a troubled universe. An off-shoot of Babylon 5 was Crusade which took off for a short run in 1999. Why it had such a short run I don’t know because the episodes that were made are great science fiction.

In 1994 Ocean Girl made its debute. This Australian effort about a girl from outerspace with special gifts marrooned on Earth touched a nerve with people living in Germany and Great Britain. It was shot in some truly amazing locales in Queensland and that remains part of its charm. It also came with excellent scripting and  great acting on the part of Marzena Godecki, David Hoflin and Jeffrey Walker.

Recently my novel, Desk Job, came out. It is my salute to Lewis Carroll. Since in the last chapters it does touch upon string theory it can be labeled in part science fiction.

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DEK JOB BY ROD MARSDEN

DESK JOB BY ROD MARSDEN