In the nineteenth century European colonisers went to the most isolated parts of the planet, often but not always with predatory intentions. How could they communicate with Stone Age people, whose ways of thinking and languages were utterly different?
That is just one of the elements in my novel Fatal Empires, a sweeping story of exploration, racism, and anti-racism set in that decisive stage of history.
Imagine you were an Australian Aborigine living in the 19th century on territory occupied by your tribe for perhaps millennia. Suddenly people of a totally different culture appear and aim to expel you, kill you, or “tame” you and take over your land. What would you have done? Could you do anything but become an “outlaw” according to the invaders?
Read about the decisions made by a charismatic young man named Yungaburra. It’s in the novel Soaring With Cockatoos.
What prepared Jesus for his mission (if you do not believe he was God)? Was he a confident young man who knew early in life what his mission was? Or was he an itinerant searcher who was looking for something, though he was not sure what? The gospels tell us next to nothing about his development.
Read an imaginative reconstruction of his early years — and his activities before his death — in Reluctant Messiah.
The story of the extermination of the Tasmanian aborigines is almost unbearably sad. Its telling can be relieved only by a certain ironic attitude. The hero-villain of the book, George Augustus Robinson, is partly a resourceful knave, partly an admirable adventurer, partly even a figure of fun. The doomed Tasmanians are not all tarred with the same brush either: Trukanini has to decide whether to cooperate in the capture of her fellow Aborigines and be spared the worst herself. Other blacks are persuaded that a short removal from their ancestral land will save them from slaughter by the whites; they do not suspect the fate that awaits them.
Much more is to be found in the story Paradise Stolen.
For a few days in August 1991 the fate not just of the Soviet Union but potentially of the whole world hung in the balance. For the second time in Russian history — the first was not the Bolshevik putsch but the spontaneous popular uprising earlier in 1917 — the mass of the people opposed state pressure and won. But even then there were ominous signs of how things might go wrong under Boris Yeltsin.
That too is portrayed in Love Amid The Ruins.
Who remembers what life in the Soviet Union was like in 1990-91, as Gorbaĉov struggled to hold on to power while threatened by pressure groups on all sides? Everybody felt that something had to change, but in what direction?
That is the background to the novel Love Amid the Ruins, a love story based on real events.
This 2-volume work presents the lives of the members of an Australian family, starting at the beginning of World War 11 and continuing to the present. The novel has an abundance of styles, and the characters, though they grow up in the same setting, are vastly different and mirror different lifestyles and political and religious attitudes of the period. Humour, pathos, tragedy, irony — it’s all; there in “The Photo Album” (available only as an e-book).