Archive for praying mantises

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/

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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/

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/