When Zeus is away…
Michael G. Munz’ book, Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, opens with a simple premise. Sick and tired of hanging out on Mount Olympus, eating ambrosia, and getting bossed around by their older brother/husband/both, the gods conspire to assassinate Zeus and thus rid themselves of his most annoying edict — a strict Prime Directive of non-interference in the affairs of mortals below.
Once on Earth, the gods find themselves back in the swing of things, accepting offerings and doling out blessings and monsters. Only Apollo has the sneaking suspicion that it’s possible for Zeus to return … and that he should help with this process or face a wrath of Olympian proportions. Without giving away too much of the plot, let’s just say there are chocolate fudge sundaes, kittens of aerodynamical proportions, and the breaking down of the fourth wall to such an extent that they’ll never be able to get it back up again.
When writing the book, Munz drew on a wealth of knowledge from both college study of the Classics, as well as a crash refresher course, re-acquainting himself with the myths in textbooks and articles.
“One thing about Classical mythology is how many different versions there are—and that’s even before you consider the Romans’ take on the Greeks’ myths,” said Munz. “This alone gave me a lot of freedom. Who’s to say what the “real” story behind some of the myths is?”
Along the way, he tried to stay as close to the myths as stories—and humor—allowed. In doing so, he included the Muses as Apollo’s completely irreverent sidekicks who accompany the heroes on much of their journey. Of them, Thalia (on Twitter at @MuseThalia1), muse of comedy and science fiction, was the most fun to write, according to Munz.
“…she’s the conversational equivalent of a caffeinated hummingbird,” said Munz. He added: “[M]uch of her writing involved letting my goofy side go full stream.”
The Muses are not the only ladies to show up and chew some scenery. During the heroes’ journey, they stop in to visit the Fates (and their intern — I’m not sure if she gets a stipend or is just working for credit). For Munz, these were some of the most challenging characters to write, wanting as he did to keep them aloof and enigmatic, while still retaining the comedy elements of his adventure.
Munz describes himself as a “geek-bard,” and his literary influences reflect that—the lists reads like a sci-fi/fantasy primer. Included are Douglas Adams, Dave Barry, Rich Burlew, Terry Pratchett, Dan Simmons and Terry Brooks. (I’m pretty sure—later confirmed—I also spotted some Firefly and Farscape in there as well, and possibly some Clash of the Titans…) Additionally, he credits his metafictional tendencies to his experience running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign with a group of people “…who enjoyed the occasional meta-reference.”
“I set out with the goal to write a book that both told an epic adventure of the Greek myth-bus crashing into the modern world and did NOT take itself seriously,” said Munz. “I wanted that epic to be fully functional, with a complete narrative that pays off.”
And, just because there are ninjas (this book seriously has everything), I wanted to know Munz’ opinion on the great pirates versus ninjas debate. His answer:
“It depends on the venue, doesn’t it? At sea, I’d say pirates have the edge. Ninjas themselves may be stealthy, but they’d still need to get their ship close. On land, obviously ninjas. They’ve both got their strong points, so really it’s a matter of the right tool for the right job, isn’t it?
“The real question is who wins in Ninjas vs. Pirates vs. Robots? We need further research funding to determine this one.”
If readers are interested in reading more of Munz’ work, or following him online, they can check out his Web site and Blog, his Facebook Author Page, Goodreads or Twitter. Signing up for his mailing list will net readers a trio of short stories, Mythed Connections, set in the world of the novel. If interested, see below for more information about where to purchase, and how to enter his ongoing giveaways. Happy reading!
~~~You can purchase Zeus is Dead on~~~
To celebrate the launch, the book tour is sponsoring a Rafflecopter giveaway.
In addition to the above awesome prizes, Michael is giving away a $50 ThinkGeek.com gift card to a random person who:
1) purchases Zeus Is Dead by July 28th
2) registers their receipt at http://michaelgmunz.com/zid-bonus/
3) waits patiently until July 29th to find out if they’re lucky after all. Okay, so patience is overrated.
Not to mention that ANYONE who submits their proof of purchase by July 28th will receive a special password to exceptional BONUS content that only a limited number of people will be allowed to see. EVER.