Here’s a sneak-peek to wet your interest, “A young man pursues a murderer across a dystopian slum city, but he can’t escape his own past… Expect sexual references, lots of violence, blood and death.”
The increasing number of LGBTQ characters in speculative fiction and other media has grown in a slow, labored process that mirrors changing attitudes as a whole. From Anthony Burgess’s fascist, gay dystopia The Wanting Seed to Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior’s use of sexual stereotyping in their depictions of a rapacious gang of leather clad bikers lead by Lord Humungus (seen here in a harmless retro 6 bit animation), science fiction, fantasy, and horror have come a long way to show more representative, diverse, and nuanced portrayals of LGBTQ characters.
This year I have been lucky to read a long list of excellent speculative fiction that explored issues of sexual and gender identity, discrimination, post gender societies, and general all out badassery by gay, lesbian and trans-gender characters.
Kameron Hurley has quickly become one of my favorite writers. She builds strange, immersive worlds inhabited by exotic and well developed characters that challenge the traditional tropes of fantasy writing. In her latest novel, The Mirror Empire, three distinct societies coexist with very different gender systems. The remote people of the Dhai have a five gender system that includes female assertive and passive, male assertive and passive, and the ungendered. In Dorinah, traditional gender roles are reversed. The rare third sex in the realm of the Saidan can change anatomy with the shifting of the moons. Hurley weaves a powerful narrative that will challenge your notions of traditional gender roles. She is a master.
A Land Fit for Heroes is an epic series by Richard K. Morgan that tells the story of three war veterans coming together to fight a dangerous threat from their world’s past. Its main character, Ringil Esquiath, is a deadly warrior armed with a wicked sense of humor and an alien sword. Estranged from his homeland because of his sexuality, he lives the life of a knight errant drinking, whoring, and scrambling from one fight to the next. Another of the main POV characters, Arceth Indaminarmal, is a half alien advisor to the imperial court left behind by her alien brethren. Her proclivities for daggers and women and are both legendary. A Land Fit For Heroes’ three books are packed with sex, violence, and thrilling fight scenes. They were a rolling good time.
The Imperial Radch Trilogy by Ann Leckie has won every speculative fiction award under the sun and for good reason. Her blockbuster space opera is one of the best examples of contemporary science fiction out there. In Leckie’s books, Radch space is ruled by a culturally genderless race that do not outwardly distinguish their citizens through gender. In the first book, Breq, a gun toting AI with a personal vendetta, finds it difficult to tell the difference between them.
In television its much the same, from the psycho-sexual hive-mind orgies of Sense 8, to the range of diversity of characters on shows like Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black, LGBTQ friendly speculative fiction and media is steadily on the rise. Characters like that of Mad Max 2’s Lord Humungus are quickly becoming extinct: Dead as dodo.
Bloom deep-throats the barrel of a gun and pulls the trigger. His body nosedives in a kamikaze drop to the darkest pits of the nine known Hells…
Coffin Riders is a modern take on Dante’s classic Inferno. Dante maps out nine circles of hell that tunnel like a drill into the earth, each getting closer and closer to the heart of this violent, terrifying underworld.
Nine Hells. Nine prisons. Nine ways to go insane in the darkness. A maze with no escape without redemption.
I re-imagined these nine dark,often ironic landscapes of torture, violence, and despair and gave them a new bent, trying to create a fresh feel for each hell within the traditional canon of Dante’s story.
Will it be Lust, Violence or Languishing in Limbo? What sin’s your poison? Which one of these Hells do you belong in?
Paradise Cove (Limbo)
An assisted afterlife facility masquerading as a beach resort. Enjoy languishing with the rest of the unhappy stiffs in Paradise Cove. Have a pink cocktail. You’ll be here for a while.
Dante envisioned Limbo as the resting place for unbaptized babies and virtuous pagans. Plato and other wise men from antiquity are stuck here, so it can’t be all bad.
The Wilderness of Desire (Lust)
Condemned to the Wilderness of Desire? The one you lust for is waiting for you somewhere in this thick jungle. Go on and find them. But don’t mind their tails. Or their piles of bones.
Dante’s place for ‘carnal malefactors’. You know who you are.
The Maws of the Beast (Gluttony)
Sentenced for the crimes of Gluttony? Welcome to your worst nightmare. Be careful what you eat, and what can eat you back.
Dante sees this underworld as a prison for sinners guilty of excessive self indulgence. Food’s not the only self indulgence that counts.
The Facility (Greed)
The Facility is a strange, industrial complex near the core of the underworld. A place where the dead power the afterlife.
Dante’s cell block for the sin of avarice. Neither the avaricious nor the miserly were forgiven here.
The Roiling Sea (Anger)
The Roiling Sea is clogged with a mess of bodies fighting their way to the surface. Will you make it out or sink with the rest of them?
Dante’s hell for the sin of Anger is located in the dark waters of the infamous River Styx. Hell’s only navigable river leads the way to the lower parts of hell and inside the walls of the the dead city of Dis.
The Last City of the Dead (Heresy)
Welcome to the Last City of the Dead. Black winged Reapers watch over the ramparts. Are you worthy to cross the bridge and step inside?
Dante places this circle of hell inside the underground citadel of the devil, the unholy city of Dis. Here, heretics are burned inside their tombs.
Hell’s Arena (Violence)
A massive coliseum for the entertainment of the reapers, demons, and lost souls of hell.
Thumbs Down! Condemned to the Arena. Can you survive against the freakish monsters & gladiators of this underworld?
In Dante’s version, the entrance to this cursed place is guarded by the deadly Minotaur. Rivers of boiling blood and fire burn behind him.
The Storm of Faces (Fraud)
Sentenced to the Eighth Netherworld? Hope the storm of the ghosts from your past don’t drive you mad.
Dante envisioned a motley crew of charlatans, seducers, witches, corrupt politicians, and false prophets to inhabit this particularly jam packed circle of hell.
The Tundra (Treachery)
Welcome to the last charted hell on the map. A vast, frozen tundra. Something lurks out there in the ice. Enjoy the end of the world.
Dante’s last turn of his spiral into the underworld. The resting place of the Devil himself.
Get Coffin Riders today and find out which Hell your soul is bound for!!!
I always like getting seduced by a book cover. It’s like locking eyes with that hot stranger across the bar. Possibilities endless because its still all in your head.
Eric Nyquist’s eerie nature scenes for the Southern Reach Trilogy, Richard Anderson’s inspiring fantasy tableau for the Mirror Empire, and Matthew Revert’s punk artwork for the Long Lost Dog of It show that 2014 was a great year for book covers in mainstream and indie publishing. I’ve seen some amazing book covers come out in 2015 already.
I’ve been very lucky to have worked with two talented artists that brought my books to life.
Eric Wilson captured the desolate beaches of hell for Coffin Riders with his wicked sensibility for dark fantasy and horror. The artist and musician has created some of the most terrifying book covers of 2015. Visit his Facebook Page to check out his work.
Mariusz Siergiejew aka Noistromo created the disturbing cover for the Red Light Princess. The illustrator, graphic designer, and concept artist currently lives in Krakow, Poland, creating amazing monsters, aliens, robots, and strange creatures from the dark matter of his brains.
Thanks to Promote Horror for showing Coffin Riders some love on their site, and helping #spreadthehorror. Please visit their sites to check out the best in horror films, television, games, and fiction, and follow them on twitter @PromoteHorror.
Horror Society, one of my favorite horror news hangouts, ran an awesome spotlight on the release of Coffin Riders.
Thanks to everybody for their support.
That’s it for this update of Prometheus Has No Liver. More Soon!
Check out my interview on Ginger Nuts of Horror where I talk about such weighty issues as what literary character would make a bad neighbor (I’m looking at you Miss Marple), my favorite horror movie (Alien, all the way), and my love for replicant violence (I’m looking at you Leon Kowalski. You were a bad-ass replicant combat model ).
Coffin Riders comes out today from Necro Publications!!!
Follow Bloom’s downward spiral into hell. Coffin Riders re-imagines Dante’s Inferno and its seminal geography of the nine circles of the underworld. Together with awesome some artwork by the bad-ass Erik Wilson, Coffin Riders will transport you deep into the bowels of the earth to those dark and dangerous regions were only dead things dare to dig.
The worst part about hell?
There aren’t enough towels.
Bloom deep-throats the barrel, and pulls the trigger. He waits for Lorraine to follow him into the afterlife, just like they planned, but she never shows. Death has no pay off.
He drops down to the underworld, a place called Paradise Cove, an assisted afterlife facility masquerading as a cheap hotel deep in the bowels of the earth. A modern day Dante, Bloom searches desperately for a way out of hell. He journeys through the nine known underworlds in a mad search for his lady love to take the revenge he thinks he is owed.
Death is a spiral: the deeper you go the worse it gets