Rakshasa (also Rakasha, Rakshi, Kravyads, and more) are fascinating little buggers. A big part of several Hindi myths, they’ve been categorized as demons, gods, totem spirits, faeries, ghosts (hungry or otherwise), shapeshifters, ghouls, djinn and combinations of any or all of the above. They’re practically ripe for the picking, begging someone to use them. But unfortunately, they often go by the wayside in favor of more generic versions of most of those monster “types.”
Sad, really. There’s some great myth backing them up, and c’mon… you have to admit that the idea of a tiger-shifter with illusionary powers and a narcotic venom that not only paralyzes the victim or puts them in a state of ecstasy, but actually makes them want to be killed and devoured is pretty cool, and not nearly common enough.
Enter Robert Davis. Having had several very interesting conversations with the man – and gotten a few “sneak peeks” at his other works (jealous? You should be. 😉 ) – I’ve determined he’s probably just as warped as I am. That’s a compliment, in case it was in doubt. He has an affection for the weird with a dash of gruesome – or sometimes more than a dash – combined with a pinch of sarcasm and a knack for creating suitably oppressive settings. You wouldn’t think the wide open jungles of India would induce claustrophobia, but in Rakasha, his first published work, he manages to sell the idea.
With a variety of settings and characters ranging from a meth-peddling biker who kicks off our tale to a church-backed monster slayer with echoes of James Woods in Vampire$, Rakasha manages to be seductive, funny, worrisome and frightening, often simultaneously. I found the book to be fresh and interesting, coming at a point where I was resorting to rereading Necroscope due to the sad lack of properly disgusting and disturbing horror of late. It struck a chord, and if those of you out there are fans of Lumley’s alien invaders, the work of Gary Braunbeck, had a taste for the slasher flicks of the 80s (preferably with a hefty dose of disturbing sexuality), then I advise you to check Rakasha out. If you’ve got a weak stomach, scowl at foul language or sexual content, or don’t think characters in horror novels should be allowed the occasional joke or snarky remark, probably best to look elsewhere.
In the course of my discussions with Mr. Davis, he pointed me in the direction of what I suspect may be the oddest word – and fetish – it’s ever been my misfortune to encounter. Since I like weird and very narrow-use words, I’m sharing it with you. Odaxelagnia. It’s a fetish that relates to biting or being bitten, but more specifically, is commonly used to refer to such for the specific purpose of consumption. We’re not talking hickeys, love bites or even vampire-style bloodsport. We’re talking about eating people. Or parts of them, anyway. And that’s just bizarre. But I find myself strangely satisfied that I know this word. I’m not well, I freely admit this.
For now, I’m off – trying to hunt down an older piece I did about Harold and Larry from The Stand, plus owe Rotten Apple a chapter or two – I’ve been bad, due to too many dishes coming to boil simultaneously and health issues – so for now I’m going to leave you with this, because Google images coughed it up and it’s entirely too awesome not to use, even if it’s not directly related. As per the usual, drop your comments, critiques, flames and questions in the magic box below, if you’re of a mind. And check out Robert Davis’ site, if you’re of a mind, whet your appetite, as it were, for his upcoming projects.