The “Heroes in Hell” anthology series launched in 1986. The theme features the denizens of Hell and how they continue to live their evil lives in the afterworld. This allows for hugely creative stories featuring the famous and infamous.
The series, edited by Janet Morris, has seen some of the biggest names in the genre, including Robert Silverberg (who won a Hugo award for his “Hell” story), C.J. Cherryh, Gregory Benford, David Drake, Robert Asprin, George Alec Effinger, and now, some guy named Michael A. Ventrella.
I remember reading these books way back when. I never thought I’d ever be in them as an author.
Below is a list of the stories you’ll find in this collection. I asked each author to give me a short description of their stories, and the ones who responded are included.
“Barefoot, on Brimstone” by Sara M. Harvey
“In the Shadow of Paradise” by Jason Cordova: The only way to escape Hell is by redemption. But how can a man who is irredeemable escape? Ponce de Leon must answer this question as he struggles to find another way before he is damned forever.
“Face of the Enemy” by Leo Champion: Che Guevara discovers an appreciation for capitalism with the success of a revolution-branded T-shirt factory – but an old victim is plotting revenge.
“Siegfreid’s Blade” by Petra Jorns: Once in hell, Kriemhild finds out that she herself was guilty for Siegfried´s death, her beloved, and this is her own, private hell.
“More Light! Goeth” by Bettina Meister: To his great dismay Goethe, the poet laureate, finds himself in hell instead of heaven. This can not be accepted. After all, he is The Goethe – poet, scientist, master sorcerer. Brace yourself, Goethe, for hell knows every secret of yours!
“Alms for Oblivion” by Janet Morris: The Devil and the Angel of Death conspire to expose the unrepentant damned.
“Fools in Hell” by Janet Morris and Chris Morris: Shakespeare and Marlowe must write a new play to please Satan.
“The Unholy Hole” by Nancy Asire
“Ophie and the Undertaker” by Shebat Legion: It’s a face off between Ophelia and The Undertaker! Will the rebellious Ophelia still have a face when they are done?
“Hell I Must Be Going” by Michael A. Ventrella: Groucho and Chico Marx cause havoc in the Bureau of Hellish Assignments, but their chaos has a purpose …
“Blood and Ash” by Tom Barczak: Beowulf, Boudica and Joan of Arc find a common bond, and some unexpected help from Lewis Carroll to escape the Gates of Hell.
“Just Dessert” by John Manning: Joseph Mengele and the other Nazis are forced to do scullery work supervised by the Purple Gang’s Jewish mobsters while Matthew Hopkins and John Stearns attempt to assassinate Satan at the grand reopening of the Hellexandria Memorial Library.
“The Wager” by Deborah Koren
“The ITTT” by Michael H. Hanson: The Institute of Terrified and Tortured Technicians is throwing its annual convention: Sergei Korolev, Father of the Soviet Space Program, is crashing the party.
“Zero Sum Game” by Richard Groller: Nikolai Tesla and Thomas Edison re-fight the “War of the Currents” with disastrous results for New Hell City.
“Essence Helliance” by Yelle Hughes: Where you donate to receive a break. Maybe.
“And the Truth Will Set You Free” by Jack William Finley: Some times the greatest wisdom in life or death is in knowing what questions should never be asked, because sometimes the truth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
“Stairway to Heaven” by Ed McKeown: Frank Hopkins and the demon Smoke are drawn into Emile Du Chatelet’s plan to escape hell and demand redress in heaven, or failing that, to depose God.
“Head Games” by Bill Snider: Fionn mac Cumhaill learns what happens when two sentient weapons meet; and, he gets to meet Caliban’s Mom … Freud also asks: Got Wood?
“Knocking on Heaven’s Gates” by Larry Atchley, Jr.: Anton LaVey gets psychotherapy from William James to help him battle with his inner demons, while Guy Fawkes leads the vanguard of an assault on Heaven in an attempt to escape Hell and confront the God who damned him.
“The Knife Edge Bridge” by David L. Burkhead: William Dunlap Simpson, Jim Bridger, and Perseus, Son of Zeus, fall off the Knife Edge Bridge into a terrifying deeper level of Hell.
“Hellexandria the Great” by Sarah Snyder Gray Hulcy: Preparations for the reopening gala of the Hellexandria Memorial Library are racing to a finish… and so are some of the guests.
“Hell Bent” by Janet Morris: Hell’d over, by unpopular demand: the play that proves Christopher Marlowe’s point: ‘Hell is just a frame of mind.’
Filed under: writing | Tagged: Bettina Meister, Bill Snider, Chris Morris, David L. Burkhead, Deborah Koren, Dreamers in Hell, Ed McKeown, Heroes in Hell, Jack William Finley, Janet Morris, Jason Cordova, John Manning, Jr., Larry Atchley, Leo Champion, Michael H. Hanson, Nancy Asire, Petra Jorns, Richard Groller, Sara M. Harvey, Sarah Snyder Gray Hulcy, Shebat Legion, short stories, Tom Barczak, Yelle Hughes |