Wednesday, June 13, 2012

45. Hiero's Journey by Sterling E. Lanier

Hiero's Journey, where were you when I was 14?!  I stumbled upon this book on the dollar rack at half-price books saw this awesome cover, scanned the back where it was confirmed that this warrior-priest Hiero does indeed explore the wastelands of post-apocalyptic North America with his moose mount and telepathic black bear ally.  I mean what's not to love?  I found as well the sequel also for a dollar and picked them both up.  Quite happy with this score!  Somewhere in my internet-roaming past, I'm sure I've heard mention and possibly recommendation of this book, but it didn't stick.  This is not a masterpiece, but it is a pretty good read and should definitely be on the must-read list of any fan of the PA genre.

This post-apocalyptic world takes place 5,000 years after The Death, some kind of nuclear and biological disaster that almost wiped out humanity and created great mutations among the plants and animals that survived.  Hiero is a priest of the Metz Republic, the region that is today the Canadian prairies.  Metz is a distortion of Metis and his ancestors survived because of their remoteness.  In the current time, he is being sent out on a mission to the dangerous south to try and find a "computer" in the ruins of the cities.  He has been trained in fighting and the mental arts.  He has a limited telepathy, which he uses to communicate with his moose mount (called a "morse" and named Klootz).  As the book goes on, he encounters foes with much more powerful forms of mental power and he himself develops his own. There are tons of awesome psionic battles in this book. 

It's really the milieu that puts this book on the must-read PA list.  This is my kind of future PA world.  There are all kinds of mutated animals, either giant, or now sentient or some terrible hybrid.  There are also crazy plants and fungi as well.  These elements, plus the psionic battles makes Hiero's Journey about as close to the original Gamma World RPG as any PA fiction. Hiero's Journey was published in 73 and Gamma World in 78.  There must be a direct link.  I'll confirm this with the nerd community on Google+.

Anyhow, awesome read and I've got the sequel on deck!


Jason L said...

Looks like a lot of fun!

Anonymous said...

The 1978 Gamma World rules do mention Heiro's Journey as an inspiration, yes.

OlmanFeelyus said...

Awesome, dude, thanks for that confirmation!

BrandiM said...

Reading now! slowly but surely! but I do love it so far!