Muy Mal, the place for free fiction about very bad things, will return January 1, 2008 for a limited engagement. Originally conceived by authors Weston Ochse, Mike Oliveri and John Urbancik as a shared-world, online fiction universe, Muy Mal exploded through RSS readers and podcast clients on January 1, 2005, providing fans with more than 60,000 words of dark adventure culminating in a spectacular, end-of-the-world event called Cataclysm in February 2006.
Since then each author has been concentrating on other projects. But a convergence of events has generated renewed interest in the stories and characters the authors left in fictional limbo.
“I’ve had a host of comments wondering about Seeker,” says John Urbancik. “The fans loved the character, and frankly, I miss him. It’s time to bring him back and tie up some loose ends.”
“I’ve also received emails asking me about the zombies and saints,” says Weston Ochse, author of the Chronicles of the Black Bishop story arc. “I left a very sympathetic character strapped to a windmill. I think I should figure out a way to get him down, you know?”
Muy Mal (loosely translated as very bad in Spanish) was the brainchild of Mike Oliveri, author of the Asphalt and Alchemy story arc and the webmaster. “Muy Mal began as an experiment in online fiction delivery. Thanks to the power and flexibility of WordPress, the stories are accessible in a familiar, blog-like structure where each new chapter appears at the top of each writer’s section.” Protected under the Creative Commons license, the authors want people to read the stories, download them, copy them, and give them to their neighbors; just as long as they’re read.
So what exactly is Muy Mal? It’s a world very much like our own, similar in time and place, but just about thirty degrees off reality. It is a world in which magic never ceased to exist; a world that is a very bad place. Is it horror? It’s Muy Muy Horror! There might be magic and there might be fantastical creatures, but in the end everything is horror. Oliveri’s work has been described as Sam Spade meets Stephen King. Ochse’s stories have been described as Clive Barker meets Quentin Tarantino. Urbancik’s dark fiction has been described as Clive Cussler meets Neil Gaiman. More than just flattering, these comparisons highlight how horrific the stories are.
“We’ll run until June 1, 2008, then call it quits,” says Oliveri. After that, they have other options. The Muy Mal Triumvirate has been approached by several publishers asking about a future book. El Cazador, part of Ochse’s Chronicles of the Black Bishop, has been looked at as a possible comic book. An independent movie producer has also queried the three about the possibility of a future project.
“So far nothing’s certain other than June 1 will be the end of Muy Mal in its current incarnation,” says Urbancik. “As far as the future goes, we’ve made no promises to anyone. We’ll keep our options open.”
Called ‘an exercise in innovative thinking,’ by Rue Morgue Magazine, all the stories have been archived and are available to read, download, and in some cases, hear. The authors urge readers to take the opportunity to read the back stories at www.muymal.com so they can be ready for the January 1 return.