What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* I am a surgeon and author. I’ve written five books, two short stories and numerous articles on a variety of topics. I spend most of my time attending to sick people, but commit my sometimes bizarre thoughts to paper when I find the time.
* Bio follows: David Gelber, a New York native, is the seventh of nine sons and one of three to pursue medicine. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1980 and went on to graduate medical school in 1984 from the University of Rochester.
* He completed his residency at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, followed by three years as attending surgeon at Nassau County Medical Center in Long Island, N.Y. Gelber has since joined Coastal Surgical Group in Houston, Texas.
* Gelber has been a surgeon for more than 20 years, but over the last few years he began to pursue his passion for writing, initially with his debut novel, "Future Hope" (Emerald Book Company, January 2010). The novel speculates about future Earth and what the world might have been like if man had not succumbed to temptation in the Garden of Eden. "Joshua and Aaron" is a sequel to "Future Hope" and follows the battle of wills that transpires between unsung hero Joshua Smith and satanic Aaron Diblonski.
* Dr. Gelber has added two books about surgery, "Behind the Mask" and "Under the Drapes", both of which provide the reader with a view of the world of surgery rarely seen by those outside the medical professions.
* "Last Light" is an apocalyptic short story which starts off asking the question: "What would happen if nobody ever was sick or injured?"
* Gelber was raised in reformed Judaism, but joined the Presbyterian Church 15 years ago. He is married with three teenage children, four dogs and 24 birds of various species. His interests include horse racing, mechanical Swiss watches and, of course, writing.
What book are you going to tell us about today?
* Minotaur Revisited starts as a retelling of the Minotaur myth from Greek mythology, which then takes off on a wild ride over thousands of years of history. The noble Minotaur helps shape and reshape history as we know it, offering new perspective and insights into everything from Moses to Dracula and the Holocaust.
How'd you/your muse come up with this story?
* My Muse, people always ask about my Muse. She’s such a devilish little imp. She shows up at the most inopportune times. There I was, deep in the pelvis of a very sick lady, trying to liberate a particularly nasty colon, when who shows up. You guessed it, good old Muse. As I was trying to concentrate on the surgery at hand, this devilish lady starts whispering in my ear. “make the Minotaur meet Picasso. Picasso loved to draw him.” Needless to say I waved the pesky lady away and went back to trying to save my poor patient (who pulled through, by the way). But later on I realized that my pesky little Muse was right. Picasso became part of the story.
* Serously, I started to write a satirical short story which reversed the roles of Theseus and the Minotaur of mythology. The Minotaur was a mythical monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull. He was locked away in the Labyrinth and every seven or nine years a tribute of Athenian maids and youths was devoured by him. In Minotaur Revisited, however, the Minotaur is a far different beast. He is gentle and sensitive, while Theseus, his supposed slayer, is the real scoundrel. Theseus allows the Minotaur to escape the Labyrinth. After his escape the story was supposed to end. Instead, it just kept going and blossomed into a novel.
Describe the hero in five words.
* Half bull half man
Describe the heroine in five words.
* Beautiful, hairy wolf girl
Who's your favorite character in the book & why?
* Alena, blind orphan raised by the Minotaur. She uses her disability to her advantage, is assertive and eventually becomes Queen of Sheba. She is abandoned by her family at age two, because of her blindness. The Minotaur is living in the African jungle at the time and discovers her among the abandoned huts. His first thought is to leave her alone to die. She clings to his chest, however, and his heart melts for her. She grows into a truly great woman of power.
What's your favorite line in the story?
* I was born the Minotaur and I’ll die the Minotaur. I’m not a handsome noble prince or King trapped in an enchanted, beastly body.
A look into the story
* “Ladies and gentleman, I present to you ‘The Minotaur,’ the half-bull half-man resident of the Labyrinth of Crete, beast of myth and legend.”
* A well-dressed being approached the podium. He was over six feet tall with the body of a man and the head, neck, and shoulders of a bull. Fingering the lapel of his perfectly-tailored black suit, his fingers were neatly manicured with a gold band on the left fourth finger and a gold watch on his left wrist. His polished and pointed horns sparkled from the stage as he began speak:
* Let me just say from the start that the majority of the writing and artistic depictions of me have been utter lies; fabrications woven by jealous and envious individuals who cannot believe that someone who is different from the norm can be anything but a monster. I mean, look at me; does the sight of me make you want to run and hide? I admit I’m different, but aren’t we all different outwardly. It’s really what’s inside that counts. At least that’s what people say, all those clichés that do nothing but irritate me: “Beauty is only skin deep; beauty is in the eye of the beholder; it’s what’s in your heart that counts,” and on and on. Let me tell you up front that I did not choose to look this way. My odd appearance is purely an accident of birth. One is never allowed to choose one’s parents, and in my case my exact parentage can only be called, at best, murky.
* It seems my mother, Pasiphae, times being what they were, was not averse to sharing her affections with any willing person. She was not what one would call “discriminating,” even though she was married to the king. And King Minos, from what I was told, was more concerned with affairs of state, than affairs of the heart. It seems that over the course of a week or so, Pasiphae shared her affections with no less than twenty different suitors and she did her best to bestow favor on each. One of them was somewhat “bullish” in his affections, at least that is how she described his advances.
* Perhaps, my unusual appearance is a joke played by the gods. Perhaps the particular suitor who fathered me was one of the gods. Or maybe I’m simply a genetic freak, a mutant. I do know for a fact that she did not mate with the famed white “Cretan Bull,” that particular story being part of the myth that surrounds me. Of course, the origin of my unique physique (how clever, that rhymes) is of no consequence. I am what I am, to quote Popeye, and that’s all that I am. I’m Quinton, the Minotaur Man. In actuality, my name is Quinton Arbus Taurus Aegus Minos, but please, just call me the Minotaur; the name commands respect.
* At least far more than “Quint.”
* I was lucky my mother was the Queen. If I had been born of the common folk, no doubt, I would have been cast into the sea to drown; it seems that a mother’s love had some limitations in those days. However, being a prince, of sorts, I was safe. My mother treated me as every mother should; she protected me, kept me safe, guarding me and threatening any would be assailant with summary execution should they attempt to harm me in any way. She did her best to educate me, but she herself was not the brightest star in the sky. Still, she was my mother and I wouldn’t be talking to you today except for her. However, even a queen has restrictions to her influence. Minos saw me as a means to establish political order and maintain his power throughout the ancient world. When I was twelve, he built the Labyrinth and shut me inside. It was quite an elaborate maze, really. Its sides were nearly twenty feet high and were composed of dense shrubbery barbed with razor sharp thorns. The only escape was to find one’s way through the complex maze and, trust me, this was a daunting task. I was in there for years and I never found my way. And believe me, I searched and studied endlessly. I tried to mark my trail, but there was something about those bushes that made fruitless any and all attempts to escape.
* All I could do was wait. I wasn’t completely idle, however; I tended a garden in the middle of that enormous maze, growing figs, dates, olives, and grapes. A colony of bees settled nearby and every autumn treated me to combs of very fine honey. The stories accusing me of devouring young maidens and feckless youths are pure lies. Surely, you are aware that we bovines are strictly vegetarian. I know what you’re thinking; I’m at least partly human, but you can surely surmise that I am not such a barbarian as to be a cannibal? Those young people were delivered into the Labyrinth; that much is true, but I rarely saw any other human. They usually died of exposure and malnutrition, being lost for days and weeks among the endless twists and turns. Once in a while I would encounter a young lad or maid and would do my best to help, but they would flee in fright, and more than once they were flayed open by the razor-sharp spines that grew on that accursed hedge. Thus, my reputation was born. I was the feared Minotaur who devoured his victims every nine years. And what did I do all the rest of the time? Sit in the center of the Labyrinth, howl at the moon, and do Soduko? Give me a break; I’m not a beast, you know. These stories acted as propaganda spread by Minos to maintain control of his conquered territories. The implied threat, that the fierce Minotaur would be released and wreak havoc on the helpless inhabitants of the ancient world, was all Minos needed to maintain his power. And it would have continued for years if it hadn’t been for that scoundrel, Theseus.
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Thank you for joining us here today, David! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your story.
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