Some of you have read this story before. It's been posted here on SOL over a year ago, and then my wife convinced me to enter a contest for completed novels.
Having just completed this one, and having others that would take too long to edit into really decent shape, thus missing the deadline for that contest, I gave it a whirl.
Laz (your SOL owner/administrator) was kind enough to take this story down while it was in the contest. I made the semi-finals (pretty good!) with the story.
Then, I tried to sell it to a publisher (no dice — it's not a Young Adult fantasy, it's got sex and multiple partners as a major theme, and things have changed since Zelazny and Heinlein were published). I can't seem to get a Literary Agent's attention with it, since it doesn't have vampires (but it does have Undead), paranormal mysticism, and it's in the wrong genre (fantasy, not Romance).
So, here, a year later, a little wiser, I'm gifting it back to the SOL community. Wiser, since I probably won't try to sell anything else I've written for SOL as a mainstream effort.
The story is some14,700 words shorter, I've removed some of the heavy-handedness (where I beat you over the head with a concept — a byproduct of writing and posting a novel as a serial) and I've made the language a bit less difficult (it was really Tolkien-like). The plot's got some changes, too. Go and find those changes, and have fun doing it!
I mentioned Zelazny. If you didn't read this the first time around, it's in homage to that author. Some of the story structure is reminiscent of some short stories Roger Zelazny wrote in the late '50's through the early '70s. A lot of the of the situations the hero finds himself in are fairly iconic from that era of Fantasy. If you'd read stories from the era before, I think you'll find yourself nodding in recognition as you read along here.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this version. Anyway, I think it'll be posting one chapter a night for the next 30 nights.
Maybe by then I'll have something else new for you, who knows?
Sometimes, things get out of control. The limits of Hell aren't fixed. Instead, they seethe and writhe with the mass contained within. As unpredictable as those limits are, sometimes one standing very close to one of the boundaries may find himself suddenly standing outside the limits, and, if he is astute enough to run, may escape.
Sometimes, new arrivals in Hell are prepared for opportunity. And sometimes they make friends.
This was one of those times.