This quirky little tale was inspired by my dear friend Pat Paone, a lady whose dedication to Ron Perlman and his career is unsurpassed. In a late-night telephone conversation, as we discussed Ron's various characters, she defended dear Amoukar after I said that perhaps he was none too bright. Pat's staunch reply had me falling about in hysterics.
"Ah," she said with a smile in her voice, "But he would have been regarded as quite a catch in his day!"
So there was the challenge, and it bugged me until I plucked up the courage to write Amoukar of the Quest. So don't laugh at me, dear readers and fellow Ronaholics, and try not to take this little tale too seriously and, at least, Amoukar finally gets the girl.
Author's note: It was once believed that Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis was a primitive race of early man that died out through being unable to compete with Cro Magnon Man, but today's anthropologists disagree with this view. Their tools are finely crafted , there is evidence of some sort of spiritual belief with the discovery of shallow graves, and academics are also tentatively thinking that they had a ritualistic society as the remains of pollen and flowers have been found in these graves. Music also became part of Neanderthal life with the discovery of a small bone flute, and beautiful carved animals have also been found in caves known to have been inhabited by Neanderthals.
On a lighter note, it has been discovered that the gene for red hair has only been found in DNA from Neanderthal remains and in no other DNA of ancient man - which means the Neanderthals mated with non-Neanderthals, and passed on the gene. So those of you who have red hair now know where it comes from
This story is based on Jean-Jacques Annaud's award-winning film Quest for Fire, and I have used the phonetic vocal language and complex body language developed for the film by zoologist/behavioural theorist Dr. Desmond Morris and novelist/linguist Anthony Burgess to convey the society of the Ulam tribe. Oh, and I haven't made the Ulam quite as primitive as portrayed in the film, as anthropology has advanced considerably since the making of Quest for Fire over two decades ago. I have tried to portray the Ulam as they would be regarded by today's anthropologists - intelligent, capable, and highly socialised.
Atlatl - a spear that rested in a notched stick held in the hand and used as a lever to propel the weapon swiftly and accurately into its prey.
Cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) - nine feet long and weighing up to a ton, the cave bear was far larger than today's grizzly bear. Primarily a herbivore, it was nevertheless a fearsome opponent and much revered by Neanderthals, as evidenced by the ritualistic display of cave bear skulls in caves known to be inhabited by them.