I am excited to welcome author Michael G. Munz who is here to share an exclusive look into his new novel, Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure.
You probably saw the press conference. Nine months ago, Zeus’s murder catapulted the Greek gods back into our world. Now they revel in their new temples, casinos, and media empires–well, all except Apollo. A compulsive overachiever with a bursting portfolio of godly duties, the amount of email alone that he receives from rapacious mortals turns each of his days into a living hell.
Yet there may be hope, if only he can return Zeus to life! With the aid of Thalia, the muse of comedy and science fiction, Apollo will risk his very godhood to help sarcastic TV producer Tracy Wallace and a gamer-geek named Leif–two mortals who hold the key to Zeus’s resurrection. (Well, probably. Prophecies are tricky buggers.)
Soon an overflowing inbox will be the least of Apollo’s troubles. Whoever murdered Zeus will certainly kill again to prevent his return, and avoiding them would be far easier if Apollo could possibly figure out who they are.
Even worse, the muse is starting to get cranky.
Discover a world where reality TV heroes slay actual monsters and the gods have their own Twitter feeds: Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure!
In the story of Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, the Olympian gods have returned to the modern world via a chain of events that began with the mysterious assassination of Zeus, the king of the gods, just nine months prior. Now the remaining Olympians, having gained near-instant celebrity status, revel in their new temples, casinos, and media empires. It’s a world where reality TV show heroes slay actual monsters and the gods have their own Twitter feeds.
Yet not all of the Olympians are happy. Millennia ago when Apollo chose to become the god of the sun, truth, light, prophecy, archery, healing, gelatin desserts, and at least seventeen other things, the global mortal population was far more manageable. Yet now there are nearly seven billion mortals aware of him and begging for favors on a daily basis.
This exclusive Zeus Is Dead excerpt finds the overwhelmed Apollo, wrestling with a decision that may either save his sanity or get him murdered like Zeus, returning to his quarters on Olympus…
Excerpt from Chapter 5 of Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure
(a comedic fantasy of epic proportions)
Apollo made his way to his own quarters, located in the eastern wing overlooking the secondary stables. He was out of time for the moment. Work awaited him, again. Dreading the number of messages surely stalking his inbox, he climbed the stairs past the Muses’ quarters on the way to his office.
“Are they insane?” The question burst from the Muses’ quarters, leaving no doubt about the opinion of the one posing it. “How is that the same? No, answer me! How is that the same!”
Apollo halted his climb and turned instead toward the doorway to poke his head through the silk divider curtains. Thalia stalked back and forth in the middle of the atrium, red hair blazing behind her in the sunlight. She focused all her attention on the phone clutched in her hand.
“No, look!” Thalia caught sight of Apollo and put him off with a nod before directing her ire back into the phone. “I don’t care how much of an advance he’s getting. You tell those producers the character stays as is or you’re backing out! . . . Who cares if there’s a contract? This is—I’m a Muse! I inspired that whole story! I—” She squeezed her eyes shut to trap welling tears and turned her back. “Fine!” she managed. “Just—fine! You just tell Mr. Brown he’ll—he’ll have to write the next book without me!” She jammed a finger at the screen to end the call and took a few steps toward the window, her breath ragged, her back to Apollo.
“Thalia?” he tried. “Are—?”
She cut him off with a scream culminating in her hurling the phone against a nearby couch. It barely bounced, landing on the cushion in still-pristine condition. She turned on him.
“If you take the character of a jaded, balding, wheelchair-bound mathematician in his late fifties and turn him into a female twenty-two-year-old blonde ex-gymnast stripper who’s just ‘good with numbers,’ how does that possibly retain the spirit of the story? Why can’t so-called ‘creative’ executives leave well enough alone? Or hurl themselves off a cliff? Can I shove one off a cliff, Apollo? It would make me ever so happy.” She smiled with one of her better doe-eyed expressions.
He smiled back, despite his troubles. “Probably not the best idea, Thalia.”
She heaved a sigh and picked up her phone again to polish it. “It wouldn’t have to be a big cliff.” Eyelashes fluttered at him.
She wiped the remnants of a tear. “No, me? Stressed? No, not at all. Why do you ask?”
She hurled herself backward onto the couch. “It’s not that every single mortal seems to be invoking us for inspiration for their work. It’s really not. I mean it’s positively risible that every single slack-jaw on the Internet begs for comedic inspiration each time they make a smart-assed crack on a forum; I can more or less keep my sanity by just ignoring them. But dear gods, it’s having to sift through it all!”
“Reminds me of—”
“But hey, I’m a big girl. I can do that, right?” She thrust her fingers into her hair and mussed it, her coiffure looking like a poofed dandelion as she cut him off. “I mean sanity’s overrated anyway, isn’t it? Got to find the really deserving writers and such out there amid the offal, don’t we? Very well, so I’ll miss a few gems in the sifting, but hey, them’s the breaks, that’s luck, not meant to be, right?”
Thalia suddenly caught her reflection in the mirror that made up half of one wall, and her tirade of annoyance continued unabated with a, “Sakes alive, look at my hair!” In a single sweep of her hand, it was perfectly coifed again. Thalia launched a wide-eyed grin at him that all but screamed, “Ta-da!”
Apollo tried to stay on topic. “I suppose that given—”
“But it’s—ugh! It’s those executives!” She jumped to her feet again. “Those studios and producers and focus groups and—and just the diabolical dumbing-down that everyone seems to think is compulsory! It’s driving me positively ape-shit! I mean, excuse me, I know that’s not very becoming, but oh my gods, Apollo!” She unscrewed a bottle of ambrosia and began to pour out a glass without offering any to him. “You just shouldn’t take a 1,000-page novel and turn it into a two-hour movie! It doesn’t work! Do you know how many scripts I’ve inspired since we came back? I mean just scripts, not even books being made into scripts! Every single one of them altered by philistines who think they know better than a Muse! More breasts! More explosions! More fart jokes! Fart jokes! Jiggle-boom-fart-bounce-fart! It’s the nimrod anthem!” She suddenly stopped, considering. “Nimrod.” She giggled. “I like that word.”
As Thalia took the opportunity to down the ambrosia, Apollo took the opportunity to get out a full sentence or two. “You’ve inspired scripts that were changed before. Before we came back into public awareness. It didn’t seem to bother you so much then.”
Thalia finished the glass and poured another. “Yes, but it’s happening more now. Cumulating, drop by drop!” She sighed again, looking at the full glass before setting it down. “Anyway, I’m being boorish, aren’t I? Hi there. How’re you?” She forced a dazzling smile and flashed her lashes again.
He laughed. “Trust me; you don’t want to know.”
“Oh hmm, that certainly doesn’t make me curious at all.”
“I’ve been a bit out of touch. Do you know if your sisters are having the same cliff-shoving urges?”
She shrugged. “More or less. I mean except Urania. You know, I still don’t see why I got science fiction and she didn’t.”
Years ago, as the modern genres came into being, the Muses each took on new duties. Thalia added sci-fi to her existing purviews of comedy and poems about farming.
“You picked it yourself. You like science fiction.”
“Oh there you go, bringing facts into the argument. She muses astronomy; you should’ve made her take it. She’s got, like, zero workload.”
“You drew lots. She picked last. It’s your own fault.”
“She’s only got to worry about astronomy texts, calendar photos, and those stupid little sayings on coffee cups!”
“And bathroom wall graffiti.”
Thalia snorted and then blushed at the sound. “Oh, yeah. Maybe she’s been talking to those executives.”
Apollo walked to the window and gazed out over the stables. Thalia, perhaps sensing he was weighting some sort of decision, said nothing. Her uncharacteristic silence was actually more distracting.
“Thalia,” he said at last, “gather your sisters. There’s something we must speak about. Don’t tell anyone else.”
“Ooh, secretive. Sounds like fun. Give me a couple of hours to get them all here.”
Apollo shook his head. “Not here. Not on Olympus.”
Thalia nodded, perplexed. “Would this have anything to do with cliffs?” she asked. “I’ve got one all picked out.”
Meet Michael G. Munz!
An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz is also fascinated with Greek mythology. Michael also possesses what most “normal” people would likely deem far too much familiarity with a wide range of geek culture, though he prefers the term geek-bard: a jack of all geek-trades, but master of none. Or mostly none. There are exceptions. He dwells in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini.
Want to purchase Michael’s novels?
Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure
The New Aeneid Cycle