Archive for moths

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!

Advertisements

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/

 

DESK JOB BLURB

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

BOOMERANG OF FIRE!

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

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

THE OFFICE CONTINUES TO BE A MOST CURIOUS PLACE!

Posted in art, Australia, Butterflies, desk job, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Moths, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
CREATURES OF THE NIGHT!

THERE ARE STILL WARRIOR WOMEN AND PRAYING MANTISES AROUND!

The office, indeed, continues to be a most curious place. In the first decade of the 21st Century computers have grown up. The screens are less bulky than they were in the mid-1990s. In some offices access to the internet is essential for up to date reasearch.

Whether an office worker has much of a life while alive in this first decade remains debatable. In some offices in the USA coffee breaks and toilet breaks came to be clocked and in other wats monitored. Any worker spending too much time with one or the other could either get demoted or sacked. Medical conditions, of course, were taken into consideration. Clocking office workers in this way by management in Australia was considered but generally rejected as a practice.

Back in the first ten years of the 21st Century there were call centers operating in New South Wales, Australia. Much of this work has moved overseas to places such as India and Pakistan. where they can be run more cheaply. By this period of time not much remained of the clothing manufacturing industry that showed so much promise in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Once it was the wool trade that kept the country economically viable. Today, in 2012, it is mining. This trend toward mining becoming so very important was noticeable in the early years of the 21st Century. Now, more than a decade after 2001, it looks like the mining boom is petering out. I cannot say what it will be replaced by if it peters out too much but it will then have to be replaced by something.

Today, in too many offices in major cities, there are still praying mantises doing their thing along with butterflies and moths. In too many work venues, including banking, there are caterpillars puffing away on their water pipes. In the better run establishments, of course, hawks run the business without the necessity of a caterpillar. Oh and you will occasionally meet a warrior woman with some substance along with a dung beetle of no substance whatsoever and that rareset of all creatures, a mule with wings.

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