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My View of New Hell, by John Manning

June 10, 2011

The hell that I envision when I’m writing in the Heroes in Hell is an evolved Dantean or Christian hell. It is ruled by Satan (Lucifer, His Infernal Majesty, His Satanic Majesty, His Infernal Eminence, et al) with the aid of a hierarchy of imps, lesser nameless demons, demons, and arch demons following the magickal principle of “as above, so below.” It is a continental mass roughly the size of Australia which is an oversimplification. The surface turns and twists in upon itself like a Mobius strip made from a double helix DNA strand excised from a Salvador Dali nightmare. While not visible to each other, hell has planes and layers adjacent and above and superimposed on others, yet none accessible to the other except by extraordinary supernatural means. Although every modern culture and country (anno domino) is represented, my stories center on places reminiscent of the United States of America. My character’s adventures (so far) take place in New Hell City, Brimstone Arsenal, and Port Royal, Jamaica, just southeast of the continent of New Hell.

This is a fairly new hell, as afterlives go, that sprang into being approximately 2,000 years ago as an offshoot of the Hebrew Sheol, which the Christian priesthood evidently found too tame to use as a threat to keep their flocks toeing the party line. Although the foundation consists of the fiery pools and mountains with millions of damned souls wailing and moaning and gnashing their teeth, some dynamic few (relatively speaking) having the strong personalities that they do, got bored with the status quo and started carving out their own little niches, trying to make hell suit them and their ways of life. Satan finds it amusing that these beings would have the audacity to think that they could change hell for their own comfort and convenience. Since all intelligent entities (and, let’s face it, ego notwithstanding, HSM is an infernal genius) get bored with the same old routine, he chooses to allow them a little leeway, a false sense of freedom. The resulting Sisyphusian existence that these misguided damned souls endure provides Satan and his minions endless amusement and diversion.

As each generation of new damned arrived hell evolved or adapted to fit each new vision. The result is a hodge-podge of architecture, technology, style, and taste. Weathered clapboard structures stand (or lean) among brick buildings and glass and steel skyscrapers. Flint-edged concrete walkways give way to mud tracks or Old West style planking. Gasoline-driven automobiles travel among Roman chariots, medieval two-wheeled ox carts, and horse-driven Hansom cabs and buggies. A soul traveling from New Hell City to Lost Angeles could go by stage coach, Hellhound Bus Lines, Trans Hell Dirigibles, Hellfire Airways, or DamnedTrak rail.

New Hell City consists of the mainland city, Moanhattan Island, Damnation Island (with a Statue of Lucifer, commissioned by Satan, designed by Frederic Bartholdi shortly after his arrival in hell, and built by Alexandre Gustav-Eiffel), and Hellis Island (one of the reputed locations for the Undertaken although never proven and the arrival point of both the Hughes Damnation Elevators and the original Stairway to Damnation). The Burnt William’s Bridge connects the southernmost tip of Moanhattan Island to the mainland. Bloodway travels from the middle of New Hell City across the bridge and runs the length of Moanhattan. It passes through the theater district, a roughly twelve square block area housing a number of venues for plays and other shows. On the mainland is the rough and tumble area of Bloodfort Styvescent wherein the Golgotha Gardens Retirement Home and Assisted Living Center sits like a festering sore amidst the squalor.

Brimstone Arsenal is located in the southwestern part of the continent just inland from Tiamet (the world ocean). It is managed by Samuel Colt. It is a vast armory and foundry that has known a number of overseers, Mr. Colt merely being the current one. There is a massive steel mill designed and run by Henry Bessemer wherein all manner of stabbing, cutting, and bludgeoning weapons undergo their first stages of creation. Two nearby shops – one run by Mr. Hashimoto Nakatoya and the other by Mr. Achmed bin Assar – produce the finest in Damascus and Japanese-style blades. Mounds of rounded earth cover underground munitions bunkers where any style of firearm ammunition or explosive ordinance ever produced is stored. In a nearby long factory building Mr. Eliphalet Remington turns out all manner of pistols, rifles, and shotguns. On the northwest portion of the massive complex lie several acres where aircraft of every type and nation sit idle. The vagaries of hell being what they are, few souls are daring enough to pilot these machines and wager their abilities against the inevitable certainty that the machine they are flying will – for one reason or another or just the whim and amusement of HSM – fail bringing them to the Undertaker’s slab for repair and reassignment.

The southern part of Brimstone Arsenal is littered with partially and totally destroyed buildings and unrecognizable wreckage. These are the remains of the former Research and Development Division. Upon the arrival of Dr. Werhner von Braun, the operation was moved offshore to Hellimundo Island where he also initiated a subdivision devoted to rocket and guided missile research and development. So far this program has yielded mixed results with no lasting successes.

The westernmost part of Brimstone Arsenal houses Lost Alamos, a secret installation dedicated to building and improving nuclear weapons. To date they have only had one success, a single stage fission weapon about the size of a bread box. They continue to work and test, however, hoping to work out the kinks for a two-stage fusion device which they hope will please HSM enough to let them leave hell.

Port Royal, Jamaica, is a mix of modern and late 1700’s architecture. The population here is mainly pirates from all over the globe and the bawdy houses and infrastructure to support such. Also, there are British and American government types who try, with limited success, to bring order to “the wickedest city in hell.”

And, this is the hell wherein Aaron Montgomery (Monty) tries to ply his trade and survive being a pawn of the Babylonian faction led by Pazuzu that is trying to usurp Satan’s control over hell and supplant it with themselves.
Heroes in Hell © 2011 by Janet Morris, all rights reserved.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. janet morris permalink
    June 11, 2011 12:52 am

    A wonderful evocation of John’s little patch of infernity awaits you….

  2. janet morris permalink
    June 11, 2011 12:53 am

    Meet John in Hell, or n his little patch of it in Lawyers in Hell…..

  3. warpcordova permalink*
    June 12, 2011 1:36 am

    Great view of Hell, John.

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