“The Final Blow” is the first-ever story in my “The Gods Have Gone” universe. As a fan of fantasy, I’ve always wanted to create a fantasy setting where there is no metal. Development of metal opens up the inevitability of advanced technical development, so what kind of stories could be told in a setting without metal? I’ve played with this concept in my “New World” mythos, which consists of two stories (“Victim with a Capital V” and “Throwdown,” which are in the anthologies Unfettered II and Unfettered III, respectively). Those stories are set in our world, but one set 2,000 years after bioengineered bacteria destroy all metal.