by Alison Armstrong
Links to some of my other Web sites
Journal on Dark Muse Topics by Alison
"On "Placental Consciousness"
The following is a quote from the author J. G. Ballard in his book The
Drowned World, which I find particularly relevant to my interests in
myth, psychology, "dark muses," and art works originating from our
"The brief span of an individual life is misleading. Each one of us is as
old as the entire biological kingdom, and our bloodstreams are
tributaries of the great sea of its total memory. The uterine odyssey
of the growing foetus recapitulates the entire evolutionary past, and
its central nervous system is a coded time scale, each nexus of
neurones and each spinal level marking a symbolic station, a unit of
In this book Ballard describes a future in which global warming has
made almost all of the planet uninhabitable except for the arctic and
antarctic regions. Since the polar ice caps have melted, much of the
earth is a boiling lagoon, filled with primeval life forms. Human
consciousness, like the plants and animals of the external world,
seems to be drifting towards a prenatal,placental state , a solipsism
in which the boundaries between dream and reality are dissolving.
This world is an autistic oasis, each invidual in his/her own oceanic
universe. Such is the world as depicted in the works of Expressionistic
artists--the painter Edvard Munch, the poet Sylvia Plath, the films
of David Lynch, as well as the ancient shamanic maskmakers. These
works summon the urges, the wild, tangled, seductively ensnaring
roots of our earliest memories.
Dreams, memories, images from films, notes of music, dust on a
fireplace mantel, stained and fading photographs, the endless,
indifferent stars--all these shape and define me. As a child, my favorite
book was Thomasina; as an adolescent my other favorite was Dracula.
I love animals, vampires, the supernatural, mythology, the arts, the
surreal, the mystical, the sublimely unexplained.
Excerpts from reviews of Revenance:
"Armstrong manages to pack into this little book an impressive amount
of social criticism along with her exploration of the human psyche,
working in references ranging from the Disney classic movie
"Thomasina" to "Sid and Nancy," from St. Theresa to the tooth fairy.
It's so dense that it's like the much-referenced teaspoon of black hole
that by itself would weigh more than our solar system."
"This unique, deeply heartfelt novel satisfies both crucial tests for good
fiction: it is so readable and compelling from the standpoint of pure
interest that it is hard to put down, AND so meaningful, genuine and
deep that it qualifies as serious literature. "
"Readers accustomed to the plentiful vampire novels and films that have
suffused our culture over roughly the past fifteen years will find an
entirely different -- and entirely welcome -- work in Alison Armstrong's
Revenance. . . . Armstrong's writing style has many strengths, the
standout being her exquisitely poetic language. . . . This book is highly
recommended for readers interested in vampires, fresh literary voices, or
simply a satisfying read."
"Armstrong's prose is hauntingly poetic, far more literary than most
vampire fiction. She draws upon elements from psychology, literature,
and pop culture to create a tale that sparkles with an entrancing glow of
death, sensuality, hunger, and desire, weaving a dream world through a
real world, dancing nimbly between life and death as her characters do."