Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just Ordered Two Books

Just ordered Hiero's Journey and The Unforsaken Hiero off's ZShops, where one can buy used books cheaply.

I read both of these books when I was in high school, if I recall correctly.  Back then, I was a regular haunter of the Cobb County Public Library System.  I think I found Hiero's Journey at the Mountain View Public Library, where I went if the now-defunct Merchant's Walk library was closed (Mountain View was open on Sunday) or if I wanted access to more books.

The series takes place 5,000 years after "The Death"--a 1970s-era nuclear war--and follows Per (Father) Hiero Desteen, a telepathic Metis (mixed French and Indian) Catholic priest from present-day western Canada, as he travels into the post-apocalyptic US (which was affected much worse than Western Canada) in search of computer technology.  He needs this so his abbey can organize its hard-copy files (of which it has a lot) to glean militarily-useful technology and fight off the Brotherhood of the Unclean, a coalition of of evil descendants of defense-industry scientists intent on ruling the world.

(That this organization would maintain its purpose for 5,000 years is a bit ridiculous.  I would have set the story perhaps 100 to 200 years after The Death.)

Hiero's Journey was better than The Unforsaken Hiero, but they're both part of the same series (and the second book wasn't bad--there's an ancient intelligent telepathic giant snail named Solitaire who became self-aware as a result of The Death and is kind of cool), so I felt like owning the whole thing.  Both books have been out of print for a long time, so I was able to snap up two copies for around a buck each, plus shipping and handling.

It is unfortunate Sterling E. Lanier lost interest in the series, never finished it, and now will never finish it (he's dead). The second novel ends with Hiero and some friends setting off for present-day Florida, where some evil power has taken his girlfriend (priestly celibacy is no longer required) and some others captive. I would have loved to read a third book and it would be nice if some of his family members have access to his notes and can finish his story.

(Heck, the time may come where I may produce a movie based on those books.  The remnant technology depicted might need to be updated a bit, but it's doable.)

The first book exerted some influence over my novel Escape from the Wastelands.  I was at the Lawrenceville writing group once and, bored with a particular submission being discussed, wrote a scene for later in the story where my protagonist Andrew Sutter confronts a "thirsty ghost," some kind of post-apocalyptic nuclear mutant vampire, in the sandy ruins of an Old World city after he becomes separated from the army of Karras Merrill.

My inspiration for that scene was from Hiero's Journey, where Hiero encounters some kind of evil telepathic humanoid in the swamps and narrow escapes what is hinted to be a Fate Worse Than Death (a fate described as both physical pain and psychological bondage) thanks to the help of a bear with whom he'd telepathically established a friendship.  The Dweller in the Mist, the evil in question, was pretty creepy, and even the villainous Brotherhood of the Unclean fear it as something older and more powerful than they.

The "thirsty ghost" that Andrew encounters is a bit less tough of a customer than the Dweller in the Mist, but then, Andrew is on his own except for his horse, which is terrified of the creature and is little help.  I hope I can write a sequence as good as author Sterling Lanier did.

Unfortunately for my readers who are members of my Kennesaw and Lawrenceville writing groups, we won't meet the "thirsty ghost" until many, many chapters from now.  I just finished the first draft of Chapter Six, which will be my contribution to the 6/26 meetup of the Kennesaw group.

No comments:

Post a Comment