Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure
Author: Michael G. Munz
Genre: Contemporary Mythological Fantasy
Release date: July 21st, 2014
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Length: 446 pages (paperback)
The gods are back. Did you myth them?
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!
An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State in 1977 at the age of three. Unable to escape the state’s gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.
Michael developed his creative bug in college, writing and filming four exceedingly amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories that give to others the same pleasure as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.
Michael has traveled to three continents and has an interest in Celtic and Classical mythology. He also possesses what most “normal” people would likely deem far too much familiarity with a wide range of geek culture, though Michael prefers the term geek-bard: a jack of all geek-trades, but master of none—except possibly Farscape and Twin Peaks.
Michael dwells in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguine.
Find out more about him at michaelgmunz.com. While there, it wouldn’t hurt to get a FREE copy of Mythed Connections, the spiritual prequel to Zeus is Dead.
What was your inspiration for this novel?
My inspiration for Zeus Is Dead has come in little chunks ever since the mid-1990s. I knew I wanted to write a new myth with characters from Greek mythology, but I wanted to develop my abilities for a while in order to do it justice. In 2002, when I first wrote the short story “Playing With Hubris,”—in which a modern man meets two people in a café claiming to be Apollo and Thalia—I realized the potential that lurked within putting mythological characters into our modern world. I played with the concept in a couple more short stories until, in late 2008, I decided it was time to use the concept in a novel-length tale.
Once I realized that Apollo, who seemed to have far more things to keep track of than the other gods, would have so much more to do with so many more mortals in the world, everything just fell into place after that.
Why did you decide to become an author?
I’ve always had a compulsion to write creatively. As a kid I liked writing stories, I made a radio play with a friend when I was 12, and even wrote and filmed some amateur movies in college. Yet I didn’t really decide to make becoming a full-fledged author a goal until the summer after my freshman year of college when I was staying at my parents’ house and feeling pretty isolated. (I should mention that it wasn’t some sort of Harry Potter-esque forced-to-live-in-a-closet-all-summer sort of deal. My parents are great people, and even if they had forced me to live in a closet, I’m sure it would have been a very comfortable closet. I was just having trouble dealing with being away from everyone that I’d gotten know that year.)
Reading was, therefore, one of my refuges against my late-teen/early-adult angst. I have a vivid memory of eating popcorn in my bedroom while reading Terry Brooks’s The Elfstones of Shannara for the first time. When I took a moment to reflect on how much I was enjoying it, I had this watershed moment and realized how fulfilling it would be to give others the same enjoyment via my own writing.
What are some writing tips and tricks you learned along during the process?
Here’s one that seems obvious to me now, but I really did have to learn: Get someone to read your writing that you can trust to be honest. Apart from just telling you how your writing is in general, they can help you figure out if you got the vision in your head onto the page. When you read your own writing, your imagination will fill in the details from both sources, but your reader only has the one.
Here’s another: Before you start writing a character, create a profile of that character with physical, sociological, and psychological categories. Fill out those categories with as much detail as you can, because all of these shape who your character is. Even if you don’t get the fact that your character ran track in high school or has a fear of squirrels because of a childhood prank someone played on them, just knowing those details will bring them to life in your mind and help you adequately portray them on the page.
What’s your favorite genre and why?
Sci-fi/fantasy. (Can I cheat by squeezing two of them together?) It doesn’t have to be too far removed from our own world. (The Dresden Files adds magic to our own world. Zeus Is Dead adds the Greek gods running around in the public eye.) I like the extra bit of imagination that future technologies, magic, or supernatural entities can add to a story. Never let anyone tell you that sci-fi or fantasy can’t adequately speak to the human condition. Sometimes, with extra angles from which to view the trials we face in the real world, they can even do it better.
Any writing quirks and superstitions?
I prefer to write outside of my home, usually in cafés (cliché be damned). For one thing, despite the additional stimuli, there are fewer distractions for me than there are at home, and I can really get into my “author” mindset. But not any café will do. I can get picky about the décor. The best places to write are visually warm, cozy but not claustrophobic, and vibrant but not crowded. I also can’t write with my back to the room. The thought of people looking over my shoulder as I write—even though they likely have better things to do with their time—is too distracting.
Plus I learned from Frank Herbert’s Dune never to sit with my back to the door. Assassins, you know.
What’s your favorite book and who’s your favorite author? Why?
I always have trouble with this sort of question, because it’s difficult for me to narrow things down to a single pick. But since you asked so nicely, at this precise moment my favorite book is The List of Seven, by Mark Frost. It’s a supernatural thriller set in Victorian England with Arthur Conan Doyle as the main character. It’s a potboiler, but an excellent one, and a must-read for anyone who enjoys either Sherlock Holmes (which, of course, Doyle created) or Twin Peaks (which Mark Frost co-created with David Lynch).
As for my favorite author… Well, you just can’t go wrong with Douglas Adams.
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“Zeus Is Dead is full of laugh-out-loud moments, lashings of sly wit, moan-worthy puns, and a complex, fastpaced storyline. There aren’t very many humorous fantasy murder mysteries out there, especially not as intricately constructed as this one. Michael G. Munz takes a ’What if,’ and runs with it like a toddler with Mom’s smart phone. He evokes a pantheon of characters including, well, the actual Pantheon, plus modern characters who will ring the bell of familiarity without being trite or clichéd. Munz knows his craft as well as his Greek mythology, pop culture, and dysfunctional family dynamics. The guffaw-worthy throwaway bits (stay tuned for the battle sundae) will remind you of Douglas Adams. A very enjoyable read.”
—Jody Lynn Nye, author of View from the Imperium and co-author of the Myth Adventures of Aahz and Skeeve
“Not since the people of Atlantis predicted ‘low humidity’ has there been such an original twist in Greek Mythology. This book is also far more amusing.”
—Brian Rathbone, creator of the bestselling Godsland Fantasy Series
“Zeus Is Dead is a book about the return of old gods, but Cthulhu is not in evidence, and it did not drive me to the very edge of madness. Instead it is a hilarious, satirical, page-turning romp through a world beset by plagues of monsters, egotistical gods, and reality television shows. I highly recommend this book to those who value both their sanity and a hearty guffaw. ”
—Seamus Cooper, author of The Mall of Cthulhu
“Delivering us from a sea of endlessly morose and self-important supernatural fiction, Zeus Is Dead understands that Greek mythology is more than a little bit insane and—rather than ignore the unseemly aspects—embraces them with the appropriate level of snark and style. Munz’s tale echoes the bureaucratic insanity of Douglas Adam’s creations, the banter of Grant and Naylor’s Red Dwarf, and the cynicism of Ben Croshaw in order to bring us a clever, hilarious tale of adventure and grudging heroism.
I guess what I’m saying is that unless you really like your supernatural fiction all mopey and dull, you’ll findsomething to love here.”
—Jonathan Charles Bruce, author of Project Northwoods
“A hilarious mythological tale of god-like proportions. Munz has crafted a tale of bizarro comic fantasy that sits comfortably among the ilk of Gaiman and Pratchett.”
—Andrew Buckley, author of Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish
Check out my review of Zeus is Dead, too!