Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Oy vay, steampunk? What is up with the title, Hand of Miriam, A Bayla and the Golem Novel?
If you have not heard about steampunk, it is Victorian era science fiction/alternative history. Steampunk is a wide spectrum with many subgenres but it would take several weeks to explain. Keep an eye out for local steampunk conventions or look up in the sky for airship pirates.
My story leans more toward the gothic paranormal romance dark urban fantasy spectrum. My world has many paranormal romance elements, which include werewolves, vampires, demons, angels and a secret society known as the Grigori (the sons of Fallen Angels).
Hand of Miriam then takes a different fork from the average paranormal romance, not because it takes place in an alternative late Victorian era England but because I also include Jewish elements. The Hand of Miriam or a hamsa, is a small amulet shaped like a hand and embedded with an eye on the palm. It is common amulet used to ward off evil or the evil eye throughout the Middle East. My main character, Bayla finds an ancient hamsa in the Negev Desert, and is imbued with the knowing eye. She can detect evil, which places her in peril from said evil people and creatures.
Faced with new danger, Bayla awakens the golem to protect her. The golem character is based on the Jewish mythology that tells of a creature made of inanimate matter such as clay or mud. Golem myths date back to early Judaism and there are many versions of a golem story. Even several romantic ones.
The most famous story is the Golem of Prague. In the late 16 century, Rabbi Lowe created the golem to guard the Jewish ghetto against anti-Semitic thugs. There are numerous other versions, including one in which the golem falls in love and becomes violent. My golem is based on a mixture of several versions, but I then add my own new twist into the old legend and explain who the golem really is. No spoilers, but my golem turns out to be more than just a man of clay.
I have been in love with golem stories for years. I even had the chance to visit Prague a few years ago, where the golem still rests, so they say. Here is the little golem I brought back from Prague.
According to one rumor/urban myth, the Nazi's entered the Alneuschul's ( a medieval synagogue, where the golem is kept) attic, perhaps looking for the golem. The two SS officers who entered disappeared and the dogs they brought with them to search ran away yelping. Fiction or non-fiction? I for one believe the golem smashed them to bits. What do you think?