My mind’s eye, shuttered, shuddering with the expectation of surcease. A crystal ball splatters, the shards of dust and glass, the miasma of a life spent in ill purpose spewed forth. There is a shadow, it looms between the darkness and the doom. I can hear it’s breath, quietly, calmly, close – speaking words of villainy and despair. It cries out, it cries out, and the land is laid bare. It mocks me, with its simplistic thoughts, it’s maddening bent towards destruction – but I cannot stop listening. Its beat patter, rhythm, rhyme, the countless otherworldly time, boom boom boom, splat!
The names of generations of lost souls, spiraling down into the Abyss, purpose and goals lost and forgot in their descent. Past hope, past glory, past the possibility of redemption towards a place of no soul except that which is brought. A din of cries, a chorus of screams and countless maligned dreams. Witness the net result of perfidy, the final culmination of demesnes dire.
Well, if that ain’t enough of a cue, I’m talking about Hell. And guess what? I’m going to Hell! (Possibly in a hand-basket – those arrangements have not been made as of yet, but one can say that that would be spiffy!) And I’d like to share some of my journey there.
But, for those of you who may not be aware (or living in a distant space-time continuum in which these things do not occur), there is a series of books that began in the 1980’s called, “Heroes in Hell.” The main premise of the series is a compiling of stories of various famous (or rather infamous) historical characters and mythological beings, creatures, concepts, etc. and their myriad exploits in Hell. Because, that’s where the damned end up, right? In Hell. Tis no place for light, no tuppence, nor spirits bright.
The shared world anthology Heroes in Hell series, created by Janet and Chris Morris (originally published in from 1986 to 1989 by Baen) contains 12 books, of which 5 were full length novels and the remaining 7 were anthologies with contributions from various authors of the time (including: Gregory Benford, CJ Cherryh, Nancy Asire, David Drake, Robert Silverberg, Martin Caidin, Bill Kerby, Michael Armstrong, Robert L. Asprin, Brad Miner, Alexandra Sokolov, Lynn Abbey, Diana L. Paxson, Robert Sheckley, George Alec Effinger, Richard Groller, George Foy, and, of course Janet Morris and Chris Morris.)
I began reading this series when it came out; the covers captured my attention early on. (Yes, I’ve always been fascinated with the “dark” worlds and permutations thereof.) It was fun; there was Julius Ceasar, Napoleon and Wellington, Gilgamesh, Attila the Hun, Macchiavelli, Louis the XIV, Shakespeare, hundreds, thousands of classically recognized characters playing upon a field the size and breadth of … Hell! I remember thinking at the time, that this was a backdrop for a story that could have nearly infinite scope and the capacity to explore any type of story that one could possibly come up with. A story about the “good guys” would be boring, but here’s an entire Universe dedicated to the “bad guys”. The stories appealed to me …
So, that’s the back story. The history, as it were of why I’m writing this blog post.
Now, fast forward to last year. I was having a discussion with a friend online about books from the past, things we’d read and enjoyed. I told him about the Heroes in Hell series and who much fun the stories were. He had never heard of it before, so I used my Google-Fu and dug up some links and references to the series to share with him.
And then I read that the series was coming back, with a new book coming out in 2011!
I was, in current commentary, “OMG!” I had to know more … so I searched more, I looked and found some FaceBook pages talking about the series, and there was a number of posts with classical art pictures. I like art; I like to comment on FaceBook. So I started throwing random comments on the images, and that’s how I met Janet Morris online. At first, I did not know it was Janet; I was just having conversations with somebody online. From there, I was invited to join the group of authors currently gathered undergoing Hellish new story lines and more stories about Hell! Because, that’s where the fun is!
So, now I’m in Hell. Rogues in Hell, to be more precise. I have a story in this book, the 14th in the series, entitled, “Scent of a Weapon.” It’s a wee tale of Fionn mac Cumhaill’s travail to find the Spear of Lugh, a living weapon named Areadbhar. Along the way, with Brigid, he meets and befriends Caliban, son of Sycorax and together they find themselves in a frigid Hell of Anwnn … Fun, ensues.
I’m very jazzed about being in this book; to be included with an excellent bunch of awesome authors, and to be included in a series of such standing. It’s cool … I giggle with giddiness every time I think about it.
So come along, come with me, see what we can see as the zombie (that’s me) is out and about and having fun … in Hell!