WastelandAnd lo, there was great rejoicing throughout the whole of creation, for today Wasteland is released!

Wasteland is the fourth season of Mur Lafferty‘s continuing Heaven series of novellas, following up on the excellent previous entries of Heaven, Hell, and Earth. The story of the first three novellas follows best friends Kate and Daniel, who after their untimely deaths, come to discover that heaven is a far different thing than they expected it to be. It seems that the afterlife is a connected patchwork of the gods and myths of every human belief system, and events are in motion to bring about the end of not only the earth, but the balance of heaven and hell as well. Daniel and Kate soon realize that whether they like it or not, they have a pivotal roles to play in what is about to unfold, and the decisions they make will determine the fate of all reality.

Sounds suitably epic in scope, eh?

While I won’t spoil the specifics of the first three parts of the series, I will say that this tale has been both riveting and brilliant from the start, and has continued to reach a new level of awesome with each episode. Having just digested the entirety of Wasteland, I am pleased to report that it only gets better. The official blurb:

Daniel has been forced from the afterlife to be exiled in the wasteland, with nothing but his misery and Kate’s dead body. But he is not without power entirely, and he begins to make his way in this world that looks less like a wasteland and more like another world. But the volatile power of the wasteland still touches this new world, and Daniel and his friends must not forget the trouble facing Heaven and Hell.

In Wasteland, Mur dials everything that’s made this series superb up to 11. The core of Heaven has always been how Kate and Daniel’s deaths and new roles in the afterlife have forced them to re-examine who they are now (and were in life) as individuals, as well as the truth of their relationship with each other. Season four finds Daniel finally coming to terms with past failures and his present role, and it’s great to see the resumption of his growth into a more assertive and likable person. Mur explores darker and more complex themes in this outing, and watching what Kate and Daniel discover they are capable of when faced with blind, powerful injustice is both exciting and a bit shocking. That said, Wasteland is also the most humorous entry thus far – I had a true “laugh out loud” moment at least once in every episode. Also, there’s plenty of action, including some awesome “vehicular” combat, and more than a few pleasant surprises along the way.

Bottom line: Wasteland, as with the previous seasons of Heaven, is highly recommended. All four novellas are available for free in audio format via podcast at Podiobooks.com, and Wasteland is also being released as daily episodes on Mur’s shiny new website, the Murverse. For more information, check out the Murverse Heaven project page.

For Heaven‘s sake! What the Hell are you waiting for? The Earth to dry up, and transform into a Wasteland?

Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax (July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008) was best known, along with Dave Arneson, as the creator of Dungeons & Dragons in 1974. In fundamentally expanding the mechanics of standard wargames into something new and brilliant, his creation ended up spawning a new perspective on social gaming, not to mention an entire industry and cultural phenomenon.

I first stumbled across D&D while in high school, and it has strongly informed my creative pursuits ever since. While I imagine that I’d be in the same place today professionally had I never discovered D&D lo those many years ago, my life would otherwise be fundamentally different – the interests that sprung from my enthusiasm for that game have led to some of the closest relationships and fulfilling experiences of my life, that continue to this day. At the very least, Gary’s work has brought me both immense joy and personal growth.

*with gratitude and respect, a glass is raised*

The Next Fix available for pre-order

Your Next Fix is coming.

The Next Fix, by Matt Wallace

Parsec Award-winning author Matt Wallace is legendary for his science-horror-fiction work in the podcast realm, both with the acclaimed novel The Failed Cities Monologues, as well as excellent short pieces released through the Variant Frequencies podcast. Some say that once you listen to his work, you get hooked…

…and it’s time for you to get your Next Fix. The Next Fix is Matt’s first print short fiction collection, and is available today for pre-order from the Apex Book Company as either a trade paperback or a limited edition hardcover. Each copy of the latter will be personally autographed by Matt. I don’t think he’ll be using actual blood, although he has promised to craft an original dirty limerick if requested.

Matt’s work is delicious, fantastic stuff, and if you are a fan of edgy scifi-horror, then I guarantee you will find epic greatness contained therein. But, don’t just take my word for it – here’s some verbal testimony from some of the best authors of podcast fiction.

Go there, take your hit, and order it now!