Dreamers in Hell

Dreamers in Hell

This latest collection in the very popular “Heroes in Hell” series from editor Janet Morris features my story “Hell, I Must Be Going” in which Groucho and Chico infiltrate the bureaucracy of Hell with unpredictable results.

The Heroes in Hell series has included many noted authors over the years, such as Robert Silverberg, CJ Cherryh, Gregory Benford, Robert Asprin, Lynn Abbey, and many others.

This collection also features the following stories:

“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.’

Click here to read the first few pages of “Hell, I Must Be Going”

Paperback / Kindle / Nook

“Welcome to Hell–a place of swords and automatic weapons, of sorcery and science, catapults and computers, and demons. In Hell, all things are possible. In Hell, many of the damned believe they have been wrongly sent there, while others accept their fate and try to make the best of a bad situation. There is no death in Hell: in the Mortuary, the Undertaker giveth and taketh away, revives and reassigns the damned–again and again–so they can continue their dance with the Devil. There is too much overcrowding in Hell for Satan’s liking. So he sets into motion plans to prove that Humankind is unworthy of redemption, and deserves only oblivion. Yes, welcome to Hell–where rogues and heroes and fools quest for a way out, and Satan plots to storm the Gates of Heaven.

Ah, but wait . . . Heaven has decided that Hell has become too comfortable. Infernity is in trouble. El Diablo is lying down on the job. Heaven has sent Erra, Babylonian god of plague and mayhem, and his 7 Sibitti Enforcers to dish out further punish, and they do so with great glee. They are Hell’s judge, jury and executioners. Satan wants to rid Hell of Humankind, so the Netherworlds won’t be plagued by Erra and his 7 Auditors from Above running amok throughout his rightful domain.

Dreamers in Hell is the 14th volume in this best-selling series, which has seen stories nominated and winning Hugo and Nebula awards. It is also the most ambitious book to date in this highly successful and most brilliant shared-universe of all.

Each story is top notch. Perhaps I should say each chapter, for this is truly a shared-universe that reads like a novel, rather than an anthology. The stories are all very good, many are great, some are superb. The beauty of the “Heroes in Hell” series is that all genres work in Hell, and no genre has been left undone. You’ll find horror and science fiction here, fantasy and historical drama, satire and action/adventure thrillers–even romance. These metaphysical, “mythical epics” are character-driven, thoughtful, intelligent, and insightful. They examine the nature of Man, and the nature of good and evil. These are fables and morality tales, a look into the soul of humanity. Yet for all its torments and punishment and betrayals and violence, there is friendship and loyalty in Hell, courage and honor, and even love. And above all, Hope persists. For even in Hell, the damned can and do hope for redemption and salvation.

In Hell, the Devil is not mocked. So have some sympathy, some courtesy, and give the devil his due. Check this one out, folks. – Joe Bonadonna, author of Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser

“In Hell, anything goes – and probably will – ‘badly’ for most.
You think that might be the end of it. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Death?

Sadly, it’s not that easy, for in the Underworld, the already dead can’t die. Those that think of taking the easy option to escape their fate are horrified to discover they come under the auspices of the Undertaker, Satan’s failsafe, who reassigns the damned – again and again – so their suffering can be fine-tuned, personalized, and compounded beyond their worst nightmares.

But, what happens when the Devil himself starts to feel that Hell is too overcrowded, and that the ranks of his worthless minions need to be thinned?
The very worst, of course, for Satan sets in motion a series of events that he hopes will prove just how unworthy of redemption they are.

Things are bound to get…unsettled. And they do, but not in the way Satan had hoped. Why?

Well, put it this way. Heaven has also been watching events down below. The general consensus is that Hell has become overcrowded because Satan hasn’t been doing his job properly, so, Erra – Babylonian god of plague and mayhem, and his 7 personified weapons – the Sibitti Enforcers, are sent to wreak mayhem on an already unstable world.

With what results?

Punishment galore – Pandemonium aplenty – and panic without end.
Take a dip into the shared world of Dreamers in Hell. You’ll be glad you did, for even in the darkest of places you find the human spirit clings to the hope of redemption.” – A. Weston


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