Books and plays about people in Hell.

I was talking yesterday with a friend whos’ SO is a believer in the work of Wilhelm Reich. This reminded me of the excellent play by Robert Anton Wilson, Wilhelm Reich in Hell, where the aforementioned has to explicate his theories and beliefs in the netherworld. It made me think that this is an interesting exercise for a writer, to put a character in Hell and have their soul be judged. I realize that this dates back to Dante, but I wonder are there any other such works? I know of Clarence Darrow in Hell, and Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote an updated Dante called Inferno. Any others?

‘No Exit’ by Jean Paul Satre: ‘Hell is other people’ :eek:

Oooohhhh…good one. I forgot all about that.

Not entirely appropriate as it’s not about a person in hell. But I have to take the opportunity to mention I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan. All about being Satan and being in Hell. And Satan spending some time being human. Amazing book. Almost made me convert from agnositism (to satanism…he got a raw deal!)

There were the Heroes in Hell series of books of short stories.

For movies, there is Heaven Can Wait, which Don Ameche is judged by Laird Cregar (who makes a great devil).

There’s also Deconstructing Henry.

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman has some adventures in Hell, most notably “A Hope in Hell” in Preludes and Nocturens and the entire story arc Season of Mists.

Well, there’s Samurai Cat Goes To Hell ; I especially like the scene where the characters of the Wizard of Oz are being tortured by by a black leather clad Alice from Alice in Wonderland as inferior American imitations.

There’s Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein; the main character spends some time in Hell.

“You don’t have to stay anywhere forever” That’s what I got from Neil Gaiman.

And my ticket out of Hell.

Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream doesn’t literally take place in Hell, but it’s still the most horrible depiction of Hell I’ve ever read.

Doesn’t “Man and Superman” take place in Hell?

Niven & Pournelle’s Inferno. It’s a retelling of Dante’s Inferno (more or less) but very fun.

The long third act of Shaw’s Man and Superman is sometimes perfomred separately as Don Juan in Hell, and consists of a philosophical debate between Satan and DonJuan.

Well, Dante’s Inferno has to count too. There’s also the Orpheus and Eurydice story, in all its manifestations, including Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld) – some of the music of which is better known than the opera itself.

Piers Anthony wrote a seven-book series called Incarnations of Immortality, the sixth book of which was all about Satan and how he fit into the Big Picture. The book is called For Love of Evil and is surprisingly fun to read. That is, if you like Piers Anthony.

Which, in turn, inspired the brilliant series Lucifer–about, as you might have guessed, the head baddie himself; it recently wrapped on its seventy-fifth issue–by Mike Carey and co.

I was going to mention ‘No Exit’, but since I’ve been beaten to it, there’s C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce and, of course, John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Mike Carey wrote an excellent and recently completed spin-off series, Lucifer, about, uh, Lucifer. And several parts of the book take place in Hell (and in Heaven, and in Los Angeles, and in other places). Although (and this spoils a pretty important early plot point from Season of Mists) Lucifer quit and doesn’t live in Hell anymore).

The penultimate collection of the series just came out this week, with the finale to come in some months.


Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children gave us

Happy Birthday To Hell- Satan isn’t a bad guy. He just wants to fit in. He never wanted the sinners. He doesn’t know what he did to get kicked out of heaven. At least the Lord sent him his Laguna convertible.

Even Bluebirds Go To Hell- Mean, old woman dies and go to hell. She finds it a mean, joyless place. She loves it.