Who Wants to Live Forever? The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned - AC04
Joel: The Articulate Coveen is the original unofficial podcast and fan community for An Rice's interview with the Vampire and An Rice's Immortal Universe from AMC and AMC Plus. Welcome to the Articulate Cove in the unofficial podcast for Anne Rice's The Vampire chronicles and the upcoming TV series based on Anne Rice's novels about the Vampire List at and the rest of the Articulate Cove. And we are your hosts. I am Joel Sharpton.
Ashley: Hi. I'm Ashley Wright Eiler.
Joel: And we are so glad to be back with you. We have heard your cries. We know that you are desperate for new podcasts, and here we are. With yet another episode. And this is a special one. Ashley, you and I were already doing research for the next episode. We're we're reading our travels, and then I messaged you and said, hey, let's change course. Let's let's shift course, midstream here, and we need to cover mummy. This is for the first time in our podcast a timely episode of some sort.
Ashley: Yes. Yes. And for me, I'm super excited because this was a first time read for me. So I'd never read the money before. And it's awesome.
Joel: So as I said, we do cover the Vampire Chronicles, the novels by Anne Rice and the upcoming TV series, spearheaded by Anne and her son Christopher. However, we also are going to, on occasion, cover the other novels written by Anne. This one is one of those. It's not in the Vampire Chronicles series, although, There are some connections that we'll talk about as we go. But this novel, the mummy or Ramsay's, the damned, was written in nineteen eighty nine. I didn't know it at the time, but in my research for this, it actually it never came out in hardback or or at least the first edition was not a hardback. The first edition was a large paper back. So it was sort of a pulpy novel from the very beginning. That was the way even the publisher viewed it, I think. It is set in the early twentieth century It follows the collision between a British archaeologist family and a resurrected mummy as you might imagine from the title. It does end on a bit of a cliffhanger and it includes the statement the adventures of Ramsey's The Dam shall continue. And now, almost thirty years later. Final. Yeah. We're finally gonna get a sequel. It's actually it's coming out on November twenty first two thousand seventeen. And and, actually, before we get into the book itself, I want to tell everybody that's listening listening to this. If you have not seen the news, they are actually running a special promotion. This is on Christopher's Facebook page is where I found this information, but you can if you preorder a copy of the novel, Ramsey's the damned, the passion of Cleopatra. That's the sequel, Anne Rice and Christopher Rice Writing together for the first time. If you preorder the book and then email a copy of your receipt. And he said, you know, you can mark out your specific details there. You don't have to actually email him the receipt itself. You just need to show improved that that you purchased a copy of it. But if you email that to ramzi's novel at gmail dot com, and I'm gonna put this in the show notes too. Once the book is out, they're gonna send you a copy of the manuscript, not the whole thing, but one page from the original manuscript and it'll be signed by both Anne and Christopher. So that's a really, really cool keepsake if you're a fan of these books, if you're a fan of these authors. Make sure and do that. So so make sure that that happens. Go to ramzi's novel at gmail dot com. That's the email. Send that email in when you preorder the book and you can get your copy. I did it the other day, Ashley. I'm so excited.
Ashley: I'm going to definitely preorder this bad boy now because I want it in my hands the second it's available.
Joel: So let's do a few spoiler free things here in case you're listening to this and you've never read money. And and before you get into our actual spoiler discussion, you want to go and check it out yourself. Then let's talk a little bit about how this sets it apart from the other the Vampire Chronicles books and what we thought of it overall and again, spoiler free. So the the first thing that stands out for me Ashley, there's a lot of sex in this one. If you're a fan of Anne's erotica books or some of the other writings that she's done outside of the Vampire novels, She is I mean, in the vampire books themselves are very sensual, but because of the nature of her mythology ofampirism, there's not really an opportunity very many times in the novels for a sexual encounter to take place. An actual sexual encounter, I should say. That's just not the way the vampires work. But these mummies they are the
Ashley: entities of that. Yeah. Morning mummies. Morning mummies. I make They make people horny for the mummies. So, yeah, there's a lot of a lot of sexy time in this book. In
Joel: many ways, I feel like we're gonna get into some specifics. But in so many ways, it does feel like Anne wanted to take all of the things about her vampires and just write the exact opposite of that. You know, while Ramsay's is a character that understands the weight of immortality, he does not dwell on good and evil in the way that almost any of the vampire characters do. This is not a novel that is really concerned with you know, the struggle for redemption. It is very much a rollicking adventure. And the immortals themselves, the way that their powers work. Is very, very much I mean, just point by point, it seems like exactly the opposite of the way that her vampires work.
Ashley: Definitely, to me, feels a lot different. When you when you called it more of an adventure. It's it really it feels that way and it reads that way. It read I read this book so quickly. I just devoured it because it was so much fun. Like, there's there is a level of, like, of, like, suffering and sadness about the immortality and things like that, but it's not anything like like dealing with, like, SADSAC Louie. You know, it's much more it's much more exciting and and I think because they're able to reveal themselves to people a little bit differently. It's I don't know. It's just it's a different
Ashley: a totally different feel. I had so much fun reading this book.
Joel: I I did too. And I had fun reading it again. So probably this read was my fourth time through the novel altogether, I would say, It is one that I've gone back to a few times, but it had been years and years probably ten or fifteen years since I'd read it again, and and I really, really did enjoy it. And so I'll just say this. If you've never read this book before, if it's one that you've passed over thinking mummies really aren't your thing or Egypt's not really your scene, so to speak. I would I would caution that if you enjoy Anne's writing, this is definitely one to take in, especially if you've enjoyed, I would compare it most of the vampire chronicles. I would say it compares most favorably to the tell of the body thief and that it is a
Ashley: that's what I thought too.
Joel: Yeah. It's all about plot. Right? I mean, it, like, it very it moves forward very quickly, and and it is very much an adventure story. A bits of mystery that are revealed. There are flashbacks to ancient times, which in many ways, mirrors some of the things that she's doing in the more modern vampire chronicles with Prince instead and and realms of Atlantis. But, yeah, anyway, it's there's a lot there for an anarized fan. So Our non spoiler conversation will just say, definitely check it out if you haven't checked it out before, particularly knowing that there's a sequel that's now available. You know, you you as as you said, Ashley, you didn't have to wait thirty years.
Ashley: Hallelujah, I'd be so pissed off if I had to wait that long for it. I mean, I would be livid right now if I was still if I had read it, you know, years ago and was waiting because that's how much fun I had reading it. And I'm I'm exactly the person you described mummies are not my thing. They're not my jam. I'm not a big fan of mummies in general. I will say that the Brendan Fraser Mummy movies really won me over and kind of turned me around on that. But I did I in no way expected to enjoy this book the way I did.
Joel: Alright. So let's just sound the spoiler horn so to speak and get into our specific discussion of the novel. Yes. So so first and foremost, let's talk about the the nature of immortality in this book compared to the vampires. So these immortals are literally powered by the sun. You know, the the story begins in nineteen fourteen, the Edwardian period in England, you've got Lawrence Stratford who has discovered a tomb and they unearth this mummy who the writings in the tomb with him claimed to be Ramsay's the second or or as he calls himself Ramsay's the damned. Now Ramsey's tomb had already been opened at this point and and the body of Ramsey's the great is on display, actually. It's an old man supposedly. History would tell us that Ramsey's was king for, like, sixty years. And that's what this mummy's writing said, except that he also claimed to be immortal. He faked his own death went on to counsel other kings and queens of Egypt and that eventually decided to seek his his rest in this tomb. So once he's brought out into the sunlight, Boom, you get a reinvigoration. The the mummy comes back to life, and then the story takes off from there. And as we already mentioned, these are horny mummies. The the the immortality, the the elixir that empowers this being and and the other beings that may or may not eventually take on this formula, They are never needing anything. They don't need air. They don't need food. They don't need water. They don't need sex, but they desire all of those things. They are never full. They eat voraciously. They are driven to have sex. At very in opportune wallets and
Ashley: They do not sleep.
Joel: No. They don't sleep. That's another thing that fascinated me. And especially as a young as a kid, I always I hated to go to bed because I just felt like I was missing something. Right? Like, there were there were things happening that I couldn't be a part of or couldn't be involved with if I was asleep. And even now when when you add up and you see those statistics, you spend, you know, a third of your life asleep or something like that. Years and years by the time you're an old man, you spend unconscious it seems like such a wasted thing. So the idea of an immortal being who doesn't have to sleep, who doesn't have to rest and can spend literally every moment in pursuit of knowledge or adventure or excitement or or or experience, whatever. That is really, really I am down for it.
Ashley: Yeah. Day and night, like, not only is the sun awesome, but I can go out in it without, you know, burning to a crisp. So I do enjoy that that they don't have in the limitations that the vampires have. You know what I mean?
Joel: Yeah. It's really So where did he get where did he get this power? The the ideas that Ramsey's as a as a young pharaoh, he began to conquer the hittites and he discovered rumors of a priestess who had the secret for eternal life. And he finds this woman. The woman laughs at him and says that this Elixir will destroy the world, and Ramsey's doesn't understand that at the time, but he begins to discuss it and and and wrestle with this idea over the course of the novel, you know, the the fact that this gift for him that will allow him to do anything and everything forever would if exposed to really anybody almost would lead to the literal destruction of the earth. You know, as he says in the book, immortals could over people mortals and very quickly fill up the earth. It would be it would be unbelievable. It would be a catastrophe. But he in his wisdom is able to sort of contain it. He he destroys the formula. He destroys the the records there after memorizing them. He kills the hittite pre priestess and then keeps this secret to himself. He reigns for a long time. And once his son wants to take over, he decides to wander the earth for a while. And then eventually, he comes back to Egypt and lives as this secret immortal counselor to the queens and kings of Egypt arising when they they call for him. Eventually, Cleopatra is one that calls for him and that's really where the crux of this story begins as the relationship with Cleopatra. So what did you think about well, first of all, what did you think about the historical figures period? The idea of using Ramsay's the second and cleopatra in particular as like these characters in a a fictional novel.
Ashley: Oh, I loved it. I think it's I think it's a brilliant, you know, a a brilliant way to keep to well, to get get you interested in something or something you're already invested in. You know, you've already heard we've already heard these stories. I mean, even if you don't know much about Ramsey's, you know everybody knows about Cleopatra, you know. So it's it's a quick easy way to get your reader sort of invested in something they already have a little bit of an understanding about. So it doesn't get too bogged down in the minutiae. You can kind of embrace the new information you're getting. It sort of romanticizes a very already romanticized historical figure for us, which is super cool, I
Joel: think. So Let's talk about the characters a little bit. Not just those two in particular, but the the mortal characters. So Should we
Ashley: talk about the very beginning of book and
Joel: how How
Ashley: I think Lawrence is gonna be, like, the main character and then they turn around and, like, eighty Slasher Filmy, and off him in, like, the first few chapters.
Joel: That's literally, like, the pro law.
Ashley: Yeah. It totally felt like scream. I was like, they just drew very word to me. Like, what in the hell just happened here? Because I was like, already in love with this dude so quick. I was like, this is like Adida Jones. This guy is so cool and I was super pumped about him and then he was dead, you
Joel: know, Well, it's like, they just He's so compelling too because it's it's not only that he's, as you say, he's sort of an Indiana Jones figure. He's here. He's tearing into the undiscovered tomb, but but you get to sort of hear it from inside his own head. Right? You get a lot of his back story there in that first chapter. You discover that he's got this long secret relationship with his friend slash lover that he's turned his back on because, you know, they're both upper class British men in a a certain age when that was not a proper thing that they could could do. But also, the fact that he turned his back on his fortunes and his career and his place in British society. Why? Because he loves the treasures and tombs of Egypt because he's he's madly in love with ancient Egypt. And all of that is super compelling. And yeah, as you said, you're like, this is a character that I could follow through the whole book. You get hints his daughter may be very like him and you're and you're like, okay. Well, the younger daughter and this older egyptologist, this could be a great pair. And then boom, he snuffed out, which The only thing that it does to the only thing that it serves to do is just to make sure that you absolutely hate Not Elliot Henry. You hate -- Henry. -- yeah. You know, just just to test him from the outing. And then and then
Ashley: I'm sure he's an ask.
Joel: He earns that and lives up to it again and again and again. And I gotta tell you, like, of all of the detestable characters that Anne Rice has written and she's written some real scoundrels. Right? This guy is just so unredeemable. He's so completely wallowing in his own detestability. And and especially when surrounded by such likable characters, his father, Elliot, you know, is is a a bumbler and he's a cheat and he's stolen a fortune from his friends and family and yet. You still like him. You you care about him and you think that he here the whole novel really is about Elliott trying to steal the elixir of life. Right? From Ramsey's, and yet you still like him even at the end. But Henry has none of that.
Ashley: No. No Indeed. No Indeed. He's he has he is absolutely irredeemable. And I kind of like that. You know, like, I think that, especially in this day and age, we deal with so much gray. Like, it was really nice to read something where someone's just obviously a douche bag. And then I don't have to, like, I don't have to give him grace. I don't have to try to see his point of view. He's just a dick and it's okay. You know what I mean?
Joel: Yes. Absolutely. So the the other thing that I I I wanted to say there though, is that I thought it was interesting that Henry is so anti intellectual too. And I I don't know that this was necessarily something that was a hot topic at the time that the novel was written, but it seems so currently a a hot topic. Right. It's very timely. Like, the idea that the the one truthfully bad guy in this whole book is a devout anti intellectual when confronted with the the idea that he has seen an immortal man, you know, a risen ancient pharaoh, he has no interest in the mystery of it at all. He has no interest in he doesn't even care. He never wants questions how any of it happened. Or whether he could get the elixir himself or none of that. He's just like I'm just
Ashley: trying to see how he can make
Joel: some money off. Kill it with fire. Kill it with fire. Basically, a run from it. You know? It's just it it is it is that was refreshing to me to see anti intellectuality, you know, punished like that. And his end for that matter while we're talking about Henry, let's just wrap it up there. The the fact that he ends up a mummy himself, I thought was very fitting. And, you know, again, like the fact that Elliot is confronted with his body at one point and all that stuff, I think it's just it is It's just right, man. It felt it felt to come up and stare was very good. In a book where there are not very many people punished and and things do not go exactly as you had planned or as you might have planned. This one is the one place where I was, like, utterly satisfied.
Ashley: Oh, for sure. For sure. Do you think there's a possibility of us seeing him resurrected in the next novel?
Joel: So it's possible, sir? Yeah. It's possible because you've got I mean, you know, you've got checkoffs in mortal elixir. Right? So at any point that could drop on anybody, but at the same time, I I don't think it's necessary. I think the when you have two characters who are as compelling and as healthy faceted as Ramsey's and Cleopatra. And there's at least the hint that there's another immortal in this next novel, in the sequel novel that is involved in the storyline. I don't think you're going to need a a mortal provocateur. Well, in that case, he would be immortal, I suppose. But I don't think you need to bring back that petty villain. I don't think it's necessary at all. And again, like, his his end was fitting. So, no, I hope that nobody
Ashley: goes back to work. I was.
Joel: Hope that nobody goes back. So I'm I'm I'm looking here. I don't have the book in front of me and I'm I'm googling rapidly because I'm not positive that I'm getting this name right. But Lawrence's friend and associate, his partner is Sameer. Is that right? Yes.
Ashley: Sameer who he works with. Yeah. Right.
Joel: Sameer is probably other than Ramsey's, my favorite character in the entire book. And the reason that I love him so much. First of all, I I I loved the idea that you had an actual Egyptian, egyptologist involved in this too. Yes. And in a especially in a time where you know that the study and the industry was full, mostly of Brits. The idea that there were some learned educated, you know, respected sort of native experts. I I really appreciated. The relationship between Sameer and Lawrence and Sameer and Julie, and and all of that is very very beautiful too. The way that he is so bent on enacting revenge and vengeance for the death of Lawrence. Once he discovers exactly what happened there, I really appreciate it and respected that too. But my favorite thing about Sameer is the way in which he responds to Ramsey's. You know, Ramsey's is very much a Mary Sue. Right? He's perfect in literally every way. Yes. He's beautiful. He's funny, he's wise beyond all comprehension, and yet he's got just enough of a flaw of humanity like he loves, and therefore that's his his tragic flaw. He's so deeply in love with Cleopatra that he makes a bumbling error and and tragedy ensues from it. And yet, you don't you don't ever hang that on Ramzi's. Right? You don't ever you don't ever feel bad for what he did. You're not angry with Ramzi's for doing this. And and that all of that together blows my mind. But everybody else responds to Ramsey's in different ways. Most people fall in love with him immediately. Even Julie's fiancee finds him compelling and funny and wants to be his friend and likes being around him, etcetera. Then you've got, you know, Elliot who is after the elixir. But even if he can't get the elixir, he says to himself, I want to just be with him. I want to soak up what it is like. To be around this ancient being, this this incredibly wise, this incredibly powerful being. But Sameer, Just wants to serve. He just wants to honor and respect and acknowledge the presence of royalty, really, when it comes down to it.
Ashley: Absolutely. And I think part of that too has to do with his respect for Oh, gosh. Lawrence? Lawrence? Yes. So Lawrence is work too. And, like, making sure that his work, his discovery, is honored. You know, I think that that's part of it as well because he has such lovely loyalty to to Lawrence as well. And you see that a little bit throughout, especially with the way he the way he tends to Julie and is trying to keep an eye on her and make sure she's okay and and and all of that. I think that he's just he's
Joel: a I agree with you. He's a fantastic character I absolutely absolutely adored him. So how surprised were you when We found Klipperta's body, and then when he actually decided to revive her.
Ashley: I Well, because I know the title of the next book, I I was not a shocked, but I think that What did surprise me was the like, because it was such a human thing to do of him, it was such a a mortal thing to do, not like a immortical wise being thing. It was such a, oh, wow. I I loved this person so much. And and and here she is, and here's this opportunity. And I owe her because she begged for it, and I wouldn't I wouldn't help, you know, I wouldn't help her lover and I punished her, you know, and so this was his way of making amends, which to me was so human and so not like this immortal creature. You know what I mean? And I I think that that was that was just yet another thing, like, this stupid mistake you made because of love, which all of us have done at various points in life. We can all relate to that. It's a very relatable thing even though it's a completely unrelatable situation.
Joel: So the thing that stuck out to me this time that has never been there in any of my readings before. And I'm sure it's it's about the current climate that we live in and my own evolution as a human being. It is a transgression, what he does to cleopatra. And and that occurred to me this time and I never did before. I never thought about him assaulting her when he gives her the elixir, but that is exactly what he's done. It's akin to rape. He Oh, she didn't ask that. She did not ask for it. She very specifically told him no. And when when he refused to give it to Anthony, she says, I'd rather die then. And she now in in her last moments, we we discover in the book, she tells Ramsey's that as she was dying, from the poison she then tried to ask for the elixir and was paralyzed. But but truthfully, that's not a I don't feel like that's a conscious sober moment. Right? If you're literally choking to death being asphyxiated because of a poison, you'd say lots of things. I imagine, everybody will struggle for life in the last moments. But what she had decided was she didn't want immortality without Anthony. Without
Joel: I think that's a wrong choice on her part. I think Ramsey's is absolutely right. And again, we only get his point of view really on this. But but from what how he describes Anthony to make him immortal would have been disastrous.
Ashley: That's correct. That would be incredibly
Joel: dangerous. And we see the danger and the damage that Cleopatra can cause stumbling, bumbling all by herself. And we don't believe we're not shown in the book that Cleopatra is inherently an evil being or desires to do evil or or whatever. She was someone that was ripped from a a a a perilous moment of death, a a painful, you know, chaotic moment of death. And then lost in two thousand years of blackness, basically, and then ripped back into life a painful, by the way, half life because she wasn't even fully formed. He didn't use all of the the vial. So the combination of all those things, I think, can excuse most of her violence and and casualness about human life. If she had been brought into immortality in the proper way, and Ramsey's had been with her. I think most of that would have been avoided. Having said all of that though, yeah, this is not her choice. Like, and it occurs to me now. This is I always felt like the failure of Ramsey's was to to do it halfway and to not
Ashley: That's a
Ashley: half past resurrection.
Joel: Yeah. Exactly. And to not be involved in her two etcetera etcetera in those in those first few hours so that he allows so many people to to die. But to me, that's not really his fault. The fault is going against her wishes. Making a choice, forcing her truthfully into immortality. And I do wonder if that won't be played out in a larger way in the sequel. If we won't if that won't be, in fact, the largest question. In many ways, didn't he do it again to Julie at the end of the novel as well. Like, she she jumps into the water. She does not know that Ramsay's is there.
Ashley: Right. She's trying to offer herself. Right. Snatches her. Snatches her up.
Joel: She it's not like she doesn't know that she could have the elixir. She's turned it down already. She's sent him away, so to speak, you know? And and the fact that he saves her, the fact that when literally faced with the moment of her death, she decides to drink the elixir. Again, I don't think that changes the fundamental questions of his his Ramsey's basically forcing these women into immortality. Now Elliott, that's not the case at all. Right? He gave him the vial and absolutely gave him a choice.
Ashley: A hundred percent.
Joel: But that's not the case for the two females. And it just I would blush my mind.
Ashley: With Julie, is it not more interest like like trying to intercede on a suicide attempt, and then at the end ends up I I don't know. I don't know that I feel as as bad about it with Julie because I feel like he I don't think I don't think you're wrong to try to save someone save someone from suicide. Yeah.
Joel: That that sort of like he didn't put her into this because of his presence and because of the events, he had put her into a chaotic mindset that she wouldn't if if she had never met him, she wouldn't have considered suicide in that moment. That's what you're saying. And so he's trying intervene there, and then they have a conscious decision about immortality. Maybe we're right. It's definitely it's definitely not to the level of pouring half the vial over a, you know, an ancient body.
Ashley: Here it will hope for the best. So we're happy
Joel: to hear
Ashley: it, hope for the best.
Joel: Lord Lord. But that that moment by the way is is the one moment in the book where I really do feel like though that Ramzi's becomes a fully three-dimensional character. He's not a Mary Sue in that moment because as you say, it is a very human decision. He's confronted with this lost love with with decisions that made that he's regretted now for two thousand years and given a chance to do something else, he tested out, right, to remind himself once more can it really bring back something that ain't it? Yes, it can. This real mommy hand is alive again. I've thrown it into the sea now. I'm gonna go bring back my my lost love. And then when he actually does it. He has another human moment by being confronted with the terribleness of what he's doing. He can't even handle it. He, the you know, Ramsey's the dam, stumbles back from this corpse that comes alive and and then is, you know, shot and confronted by the police that it's a whole big thing. But but I I do think it's the one it's the one scene that completely humanizes him for me. And so even though it's a big blunder, the fact that it gives us a cool row looking adventure story for the rest of the thing. I I I forgive him. How gross is it to have sex with a a half revived Cleopatra?
Ashley: On a scale of one to ten, I'm gonna give that about a twelve.
Joel: Right. Like, there's there's so there's so many moments in those scenes. You know, there's a couple of incidents there. There's one where, like, she seduces a guy on a street, then there's the time with Elliot. You know, there's like three incidences, I think, before she's fully reformed. And each one of them plays like you're the opening of American gods or something where the where the the Sheila character swallows the guy hole with her vagina or something. It's so terrifying. The the idea of like the random sexual encounter turning malicious. It reminds me of, again, this novel was something that I read pretty young. I was like thirteen fourteen, so I'm sure this has some effect of some effect on my own adult sexual growth, I'm sure. But The the other thing that it reminds me of is like the species movies. Right? The species, the first species maybe can now around the same time. And you've got this beautiful creature, this a face that'll launch a thousand ships literally. And yet, when the the the sexy happy time process begins, it's it always ends in tragedy and horror. It's an old trope. Right? Like women are scary. That's what men have thought for always. Right. Yeah.
Ashley: For sure. I mean, like, I don't know. That's I don't think I'm going to bed with Cleopatra just saying, like, that's not anything I'd I'd I'd pick to do. Yeah. I'm sure she's lovely. But yeah.
Joel: Well, I would wait till her cheek was whole at least. Like, that's the I I will say this. So I was searching for on our little project board, I was searching for an image to go for this episode, and there are a lot of great covers of the mummy. But one in particular that I started to use, and I think this is actually from, like, maybe an illustrated edition or something. But it's an image of Cleopatra with her headdress and everything except half of her face is still mummified and, like, there's an open wound in her cheek that sort of looks like, you know, two face from the from the dark matter, you know, it's it's it's crazy looking. I was like, yeah, man. Take that to bed. Absolutely. The
Ashley: image that really stuck with me was her having to, like, cover up her her, like, leg that's still just, like, bone and dust.
Joel: Like, the bone toes. The bone toes in the sandal. Don't
Ashley: know why that stuck with me so hard, but I was like, girl, you need to get yourself a nice full skirt and maybe put that put that bone foot in a boot. And it's gonna be fine.
Joel: So so we mentioned it sort of in passing at the beginning, but there's There's a lot of I say a lot. There is a decent amount of discussion of bisexuality in this book. Which is not a topic I think that you read a lot about in the eighties when this came out. But it is a theme that's very common in Anne's writing. I think Anne's sexuality itself is pretty fluid and almost all of her characters tend to be on that spectrum somewhere too. Elliot and Lawrence, we've already decided to describe they had a relationship as young men, but also Elliott had an affair with Henry when he was younger as well.
Ashley: Oh, yes. That's right. Yes. That that surprised to me. I did not see that coming.
Joel: Well, I I think the it it it layers on, and what it does is it'll it allows some believeability for the fact that all of these extended characters have allowed Henry to continue to sort of be this leech on their lives. You know, each one of them has their own reason for sort of ignoring it or looking the other way. And I think in particular Elliott, his reason is because they have had this past Dallas. And and I think And there there are some implications there that it's tied up in sort of, like, his own feelings for Lawrence and the fact that Harry maybe looked a little like Lawrence or something like that. And so there's there's the connection there. But the I I don't know. I felt like that was very that was humanizing for him. Sort of played in the novel, like, maybe on Henry's part, it was totally for money, and I hate I kinda hate that. I kinda like the idea that Henry is is fluid as well. And just happen to use it to his advantage because that's what he is. He's a terrible guy.
Ashley: Now he's a user for sure. I do love that Elliott was, like, not having it. When Henry tried to blackmail him. Oh,
Joel: he just straightened him and laughed at him. He's like, yeah, whatever.
Ashley: Should I should I tell your father first? Or Whatever that he knows.
Joel: Everybody knows I'm a fairy. Don't worry about it. Like, the inner like, that's not he was not concerned about any possible personal ramifications. He's like, I'm gonna live my life. You are ridiculous. I
Ashley: need basically laughs out of me. It's like you're gonna you're gonna blackmail me for five hundred pounds. You don't want more than that.
Joel: Yeah. You're not even a good blackmailer. So I I thought all of that was good, and and it it's interesting to see her continue to play with with some of these similar themes. I I'll be interested to see it's not openly stated, but it's sort of implied that Ramsey's might be fluid as well. It would be interesting, I think, to see if Ramsey's took a lover, a male lover as well in in the sequel. Where else there was one other point in here before we get to this to day new model that I wanted to make, and I can't remember, oh, okay, here here's the question. What what do you think confronted with this set of circumstances, let's put yourself in Elliot's position. Do you want the elixir? Do you tank the elixir?
Ashley: Oh. If I'm Elliott or if
Joel: I'm Ashley? Well, I guess I guess if you're Ashley. Let's say you're Ashley, but but you're like sixty five year old Ashley.
Ashley: If I'm Ashley, I'm only taking that elixir if I get to share it. You know what I mean?
Ashley: I'm not I don't wanna be immortal by myself. I think that would suck. I think it would really really suck. It's I mean, it I think that it sucks enough getting older and losing people that you love. Period. Like, I mean, I've lost so many friends over the past ten years. It just is ridiculous for someone that's r a. Do you know what I mean? I think it would be awful to be immortal alone. I would definitely want like, I would like to share it. I would do it if I could share it. I think it would be bad ass to, like,
Ashley: around with someone awesome for the rest of my life. You know, like, if I could share with my husband, Brett, who's amazing? I would love that. That would be amazing. But I'm not gonna drink that liquor and just say I'm gonna be a sad sack by myself.
Joel: No. I'm a thousand percent with you. The the idea of of coming into and out of civilization throughout eons, like of being able to experience different timelines and different ways that people perceive and interact with their world and interact with one another. I I that would be that would be amazing to me. But, yeah, I mean, I've seen enough of the highlander series to know that nobody nobody wants live forever. Right? I mean, that's the Queen song. Who wants to live forever? We'll talk about it. Yeah. Exactly. So so, no. Like, you you're you're absolutely right. Now the idea of being a Julie, for instance, and of finding this this perfect you know, a immortal being to shepherd you into it and to take you out of the fragility of mortal life. I think that would be very compelling. Do
Ashley: you think twenty two year old Ashley probably would do it? You know what I mean? Like Yeah.
Joel: Well, twenty two year old Ashley thinks she's gonna live forever anyway. Right?
Ashley: Right. Exactly. So, I mean, I probably yeah. Back then. But being old, Benweiser.
Joel: See, I don't know. But I feel like there's a there's a point. And again, this is this is my question about when you're sort of on death's doorstep. Is it are you even capable of making a rational choice or an actual decision? And I think about, let's go back to the vampire chronicles for a moment. You know, Lisette attacks. He says that he's gonna give Louis a choice. But he attacks him and kills him first basically, and then says, do you wanna drink my blood? When you're dying, I think it is in our nature. Right? We have a fight or flight reaction. The the the the reptilian part of our brain screams to live, I think. And so we can't make those higher function choices. And I feel like Elliott's basically in that position too, when you are daily confronted with your own mortality, when everything you do hurts. When you can feel your body beginning to shut down, which is the way that Elliott has described, especially towards the end of the book after some of their adventures. Of course, you're going to take the medicine. You know? All I have to do is drink this and all my pain goes away. All I have to do is drink this and the vigor of youth will return. It won't hurt when I bend over. It won't hurt to kneel down. I can jump. I can run. I can screw. I can fight. I can drink. I can smoke. Yes. Yes. Give me that back. So Yeah. Anyway, I think it's a I think it's a fascinating question and I love the way that it plays out with all of these characters. I especially love Sameer and his complete lack of interest in it. I want nothing to do with immortality.
Ashley: Yeah. I I think that that's that's how we know he's the best of these people, though too, is that he's he looks at things, I think, very with very different eyes than the rest of our characters
Ashley: I think he's he's a scholar and he is he's from a different world than they are, you know. I think that I think that's one of the signs that he that he is a a a great person, a good person. You know what I mean? At the core at the core he's playing the game fairly.
Joel: How badly do you feel for Julie's fiancee? We haven't really mentioned it, but all. He's he's sort of a oh, he's a bit of a Mary Sue in his own way too, except he's dumb. A box of bricks. A sweet guy, he is even gentlemanly and you know, polite in the way that he eventually gives way to Ramsey's when it's clear that that's the way things are gonna go for for Julie. And yet, I mean, do you feel like she did him wrong, or do you feel like that that he was just caught up in events and and that everybody treated him fairly as things went?
Ashley: Okay. I dated an Alex. I think I totally dated an Alex. I mean, he wasn't as good to you. She was as Alex, but totally dated an Alex once, and he was just boring. He just wasn't very fun to be around. He was and any of the fun was really manufactured and forced. You know what I mean? It was just he was a super nice guy. But he was really, really boring. And so and I think that he had to have known that that wasn't gonna fly with me for super long time. You know what I mean? Like, with my personality type. And I feel like Alex and his core had to have known that Julie was not the right fit for him. Like, on paper, it looks great. And And monetarily, it looks great. And it's one of those good matches as they like to say back in the day, you know, oh, you made a great match. But I think that knowing her and knowing her personality and knowing her sense of adventure and her lust for life I I just don't
Ashley: think deep down, he had to have known that that wasn't the right fit. Now, I do kind of feel bad for him that he gets dumped and then he ends up getting involved with Cleopatra almost immediately. And that's kind of this weird well, I I I can't even imagine where his his little head was when that that that whole thing starts up. You know what I mean? But I do like that even cleopatra is like, oh, I don't think I'm gonna kill him He's so sweet. He's adorable. I'm not gonna Not
Joel: just so sweet, but she and she makes references to the the fact that he has his own sort of quality. He's not Ramsey's. He's not Mark Anthony. He's not Julius Caesar. He he's not a a a man who will command, you know, attention throughout time and history. And yet, he does have a certain prince charming quality to him, and he is ultimately genteel. He is
Ashley: A gentleman. Absolutely.
Joel: Yes. And and genuinely cares about and longs for and seeks to bring about the happiness and pleasure of those that he cares for, whether that be Julie or Cleopatra or or or whatever. The the relationship with Cleopatra is very interesting to me. I knew some Alex's as it relates to the cleopatra relationship. I I knew some guys who were with a woman who was clearly beyond their their league, but also, like, it was it was convenient for her like, she had she has a puppy, you know, effectively. Absolutely. And and there is something some some some women women and men in fact like a relationship that is completely off balance like that. And it's interesting to see that play out in the novel. I will be interested to see if that character comes back and is involved in any great deal in the sequel. Because of the relationship to Cleopatra because of the nonsense that they fed him on his way back to England, it'll be interesting to see how he is affected by the sequels events. Now that, basically, everybody, all the main characters are immortal. So let's get to the the very conclusion. I like the fact that it it basically ends up in a misunderstanding and miscommunication. You know, Ramsey's is not really trying to harm her there. That is truthfully not their goal. He mostly wants to talk. She is so angry at him. She won't have it. Alex is in the middle. It all sort of explodes and then she just drives away. I I almost I thought about it a lot after I finished the novel this time. How else could you have concluded the book? You know, like, how else I mean, I guess they they could have if there was a volcano handy near Egypt, you could thrown her in a volcano or something like that. But, I mean, there's no molten metal factory like at the end of Terminator two to drop her in. Right? Because you you pretty much Like a train explosion is really the only way to make that happen in a plausible way that the characters could all walk away and go, well, she must have died.
Ashley: That must be it.
Joel: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I I I loved the way that that's the way that it played out. You know what? And and Ramsey's again. Is left with regret and the feelings that he was responsible for Cleopatra's death here again. You know, he allowed everybody once in the ancient world, he brought her back against her wishes into this half life. And then even after she's reformed, now he's erased her into he's chased her into this this train explosion. So I I think that's good. Anne is I'm sure going to play out when she confronts them in the sequel novel. What what are what are your hopes for that relationship? What do you what do you think that might go? How do you think that will be resolved?
Ashley: I have no doubt that she's probably gonna come out like gangbusters, you know, like guns blazing, like furious anger, the the fury of an immortal creature that's been wronged many times by the same dude. You know what I mean? But I I do hope that she doesn't end up getting super two dimensional. You know what I mean? I hope that there's still I hope that we don't lose depth. I hope we don't lose that. That the gray. You know what I mean? Like, I hope that she doesn't become a character sure. That's kind of what what I'm really hoping because I sort of feel like in this book, it didn't feel like she was the villain. You know? Like, air quotes around it. I felt like I felt like, well, Henry was our villain. You know what I mean? And then it was like she was this added delight that was, you know, very complicated. And and it was hard for me to look at her as as the bad guy. And I just hope that in this next book, it doesn't it doesn't turn into like, she doesn't turn into, like, a caricature of a moustached furling villain. You know what I mean?
Joel: Yes. No. Absolutely. I think it seems to me that it is very likely they end up going with basically the Avengers Formula. So I think the book is likely to start. The inciting incident will be basically a confrontation between Cleopatra and Ramzi's, and perhaps there will even be a couple of battle in one way or another between those two camps. And then both of them will have to turn their attention away from one another. They will have to resolve their differences and work together to confront a larger problem in whatever this this other immortal being. You know, the the the blurb about the sequel says something about another ancient queen that has plans for both of them. So I I think yeah. I think it's I think it's entirely possible that that is exactly where they go. I mean, that's that's the way Batman versus Superman works. Right? That's the way the Avengers movie worked. I think that's the way you do it when you bring these these huge characters together. I have a feeling that's exactly what Christopher and Anne are gonna do. Let me ask you this. What do you think the possibilities of this story are, especially with the the new novel coming out this month? Could you see this as a as a movie? Could you see this as a TV series? Where where would you like to see it adapted if they were gonna do something?
Ashley: I think it would make a fabulous film. I really do. I don't I don't feel like there's really enough there to make like a long term series. You could maybe do like a short limited run kind of a Netflix sort of like, you know, maybe eight episodes for both books. I just don't feel like you can really drag it out. It's It's I mean, I guess you could. But to me, I feel like the format would a film format would be fantastic for it. I feel like that last mummy movie with Tom Cruise. My favorite really did not bring it if you will. But I think I have such fond memories of the Brendan Fraser Mummy films, especially the first two that let's pretend like the third one didn't happen. It's like, rocky five. It didn't happen. It was not a thing. But those first two Brenna Fraser Mommie films were so much fun. And I feel like this book kind of follows that sort of that sort of adventure. You know what I mean? Absolutely.
Ashley: sort of turned my expectation around though because I was I went into this expecting the mummy expecting Ramsey's to be the bad guy, you know, because that's kind of how my brain was wired from previous mummy experiences. So it delighted me that that was not the case. But I do I do think these would make some fantastic films. Now after reading the second book, I may I may feel like, you know, like a good Hulu or Netflix series would be the best way to do it. But Well,
Joel: the the thing that occurs to me is this story is so self contained and it is so plot driven. It is it is, as you said, such a quick read, it feels very natural to turn this into a two two and a half hour movie. And then what you could do if you if you have six. The other thing is not gonna be an expensive movie to make. Either if you don't cast, you know, gigantic names as the stars, then Why would you? Right. There's not really a need. The special effects in this are not gonna be huge. The transformations are gonna be the only thing that are gonna be, you know, really sizable. And then and then the other thing is gonna be your design basically because you're gonna be talking about, you know, nineteen fourteen, nineteen twenties of of Egypt and London. You know, that would be your your primary expense will be costume and set design. But the idea I would think is that you could make one solid film out of this. If it's successful, if you have, you know, good response to the characters and the actors, then you could very easily make a film out of the sequel novel. Probably, we haven't read that one yet, but I'm assuming it's gonna be a similarly adventurous story. But you could even then go back if you wanted to and make a prequel or two telling the story of Ramsay's and Cleopatra, you could
Ashley: tell. Love.
Joel: Right? Wouldn't that be wonderful? Again, you could make you could make a because nobody wants to make a one off project anymore. Right? So there is the potential here where you could make several films, you could make a lot of money over the overall franchise. And yet, you wouldn't have to put hundreds of millions of dollars into any one production. And also, this isn't going to be some, like, you know, ten or fifteen year commitment. You're not gonna be locked into a a seven season series where the this are all gonna be making millions and millions of dollars by the end of the thing. Anyway, I I think I think it is ripe for adaptation. And I hope that the the sequel novel will get a good response from the public, and and therefore, maybe it'll gin up some more interest, especially in light of the fact that Anne and Christopher are working on the TV series now. I think they're in the right rooms to have these discussions. And so, hopefully, we'll hear more on this as well. So, I'm excited about all the possibilities. Overall, what would you say? Where would you put this in the rankings of your An Rice novels. I I know that's sort of hard to do because so many of the vampire chronicles, it's not just about the novel themselves, it's about what we think of the characters and our overall all sort of love for those stories. But to me, I I really do. I like this one. This is one of my favorites of hers. If you just take it as a novel, I'd probably put it I don't know behind MIMNOC and tail of the body thief, maybe the vampireist at, but other than that, I think it's probably my my fourth or fifth favorite favorite book that she's ever written.
Ashley: Yeah. It's definitely in my top five, but I have some weirdos in my like Pandora's in my top five. I love that. And this sort of had that same sort of feel to it to me, like, a a good stand alone, but still feels very much like an an you know, an it feels like in rice. I'd
Joel: like to point out I'd like to point out Pandora is like the one vampire book that's got sex in it too. So we know what you're about, Ashley. We understand.
Ashley: Sexy vampires, like the mummies. No. I but I I can't believe how much I love this. I really was surprised and delighted. It was so and and I guess, two, because this is the first time since we started doing this, but I've read something I haven't read at all. It was really fun for me. And so it it wasn't a reexploration. It was like this this first time experience. So I would definitely put it in my top five for sure. It might even it might even be in my top three, to be honest. Like, I was really really, really enchanted.
Joel: Alright. Well, I I think that's a a strong enough suggestion for it from us folks. Don't forget to not only go and check out the mummy or Ramsay's the damned, but also preorder your copy of Ramsay's the damned, the passion of Cleopatra by Anne Rice. And Christopher Rice coming out November twenty first this year twenty seventeen. And when you preorder, email your receipt to ramzi's novel at g mail dot com. Along with your name and address, by the way, and you can win a copy of a page of the man manuscript of Ramsey's The Dam, the Passion of Cleopatra signed by both Anne and Christopher Rice. So that's very, very cool. Ashley yes. I'm sorry.
Ashley: They are not doing a lot of book touring for this.
Ashley: I read that on. I think Christopher made a post a few days ago about that. But they are doing a book signing. I can't remember what bookstore But if you check out Christopher's social media, if you check out his Facebook page, there's some information on that if you'd like to get a signed copy of the book. How you can kinda go about that because they're trying to make it easy for people to get their hands on signed copies if they want even though they're not doing a big a big book tour for this one. And I think this one's being released in Paperback too. Like in Paperback released too.
Joel: Yeah. I'm I'm I'm ninety nine percent certain that you're right. I actually ordered the audible version. I ordered the audiobook version. I am bummed by the way. I'm gonna I'm gonna reach out to Christopher and Anne and tell them that they need to hire this audiobook narrator. I know named Joel to create a audiobook version of the original mummy, which is there is a a version that you can buy, but it is an abridged version. It's only about two and a half hours long, and it is is not the full novel by any stretch of the imagination. And it came out I think about the same time as the novel is from the early eighties. So definitely one that they need to update and put in those stores. I love the the audiobook versions and especially the vampire chronicles are so well narrative too. I'm sure that will be the case with the the mummy sequel as well. Ashley, any final thoughts on this one before we wrap it up?
Ashley: Just if you hadn't read it, read it, I I really highly recommend it. I think that it's such a it's such a delightful pleasure read. Like, I just I can't I can't overstate it, guys. It probably took me three hours to read, and it was just great escape fiction. And I didn't feel tortured about it. You know, sometimes I feel when I'm in when I'm hanging with my vampires, I feel a little tortured. This did not feel tortured at all.
Joel: Yeah. That is that's absolutely true. There's there's very little You know, there it's weird because there is pathos in this book. I mean, there is there there are deep ideas. There are, you know, considerations of immortality for instance. But it does it does not feel weighty at all. It does not feel like a chore. Yeah. Cannot recommend it enough. Check out the mummy or Ramsey's the damned. Alright. We will be back before too long with another episode of this wonderful podcast articulate Kevin. In our next episode, we're gonna be discove discussing the novel the Vampire List stat. Now we will eventually get around to discussing the sequel novel to this book. Ramsay's the damned, the passion of Cleopatra, but I think we're gonna give it at least six months or so, maybe even a year to make sure that everybody gets a chance to read it and catch up before we get there. That's definitely gonna be the case before we get to the Prince La Stad and and realms of Atlantis novels. So no rush on the new stuff folks. Take your time to read that. But do, if you haven't in a while, go back and check out the vampire list at so that you'll be ready to have that discussion with us. Of course, you can find us on Facebook. Search for the Articulate Cove and Facebook group, and we'll love to add you there. For the deal that Ashley mentioned ordering the Autograph copies of the sequel to Ramzi's. I'll put a link to the show notes as well so you can check it out there and go straight through and order your copy if you'd like to get an autograph copies since they aren't gonna be touring very much with this one. Ashley, appreciate you making some time for us this morning, and thanks for reading the money with me.
Ashley: Absolutely. It was a delight.
Joel: Alright. Until the next time, we have been the articulate coven. We are your hosts.
Ashley: Ashley Wright Eiler.
Joel: And Joel Sharpton, and this is the Articulate Covenant. Thanks for listening to the Articulate Coveen. You can join our community on Facebook by following the links in the show notes. Or searching for articulate coven on Facebook. You can subscribe to the show in Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts, or at articulate coveben dot com. And share us with your AmRice loving friends.