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Inferno by Larry Niven


by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inferno [L Niven] (Book 1)

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1,494387,664 (3.7)2 / 55



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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I read this book when it first came out, when it was part of a wave of what I thought of as "pop" science fiction. Niven and Pournelle were on something of a roll, having won a truckload (star cruiser load?) of awards for "The Mote In God's Eye" and followed that with the hugely exciting "Lucifer's Hammer", not the first book to deal with the thought of a comet hitting the earth, but likely the most popular. "Inferno" though was a strange departure for this pair…a writer of sci-fi (naturally) dies and goes to Hell in what amounts to a 20th century update of Dante's epic. No, it doesn't SOUND like science fiction, but the lines were already blurred between it and fantasy, and this story straddles both genres nicely.

Now, nearly forty years after it was first published, I saw a copy at a used-book store and decided I would like to read it again and see how well it has stood up. Quite well, it turns out! That it is a quick read certainly helps, in two ways…it's fast paced, and frankly, you'll want to keep reading to see what happens next as Allen Carpenter is led through the various circles toward the nether regions of Hell, and what he is told is an exit. Along with way he encounters many people he recognizes, and you'll find some of them familiar too. Admittedly, some of the references are a bit dated, but hey, I lived through that era and it still works for me. Younger readers are enoucouraged to do some googling to come to terms with some of the more dated items.

Then, in a weird twist I found myself wondering to which circle I might be sentenced for my various sins. Interesting: peaceniks and warhawks alike get skewered, as do environmentalists; sometimes the less-than-subtle editorializing becomes mildly annoying, but the story's pacing means it's usually over rather quickly. All in all it's interesting, evocative stuff, with an ending that pretty much demands a sequel…fortunately the pair obliged us with "Escape From Hell" in 2009. Now I must obtain a copy of that too!

Highly recommended! ( )
  Jamski | Jul 18, 2018 |
Een boek om eventjes de tijd mee door te komen.

Allen Carpent(i)er is overleden en komt in de Hel terecht.Het blijkt dat de Hel precies is zoals Dante het in zijn Goddelijke Komedie heeft beschreven.Samen met Benito (Mussolini) probeert Allen te ontsnappen, ( )
  EdwinKort | Jul 4, 2018 |
Alan Carpenter descends into hell with Benito Mousilini as a guide and Dante as an architect of worlds Told as only these masters of science fiction could. ( )
  jefware | Feb 2, 2018 |
Really an awesome book. I got interested in this book after taking a class that had me reading the original Inferno (yet again!). I like this version so much better than Dante's version. ( )
  knfmn | Dec 22, 2016 |
I returned to this (having read it serialized in Galaxy magazine when it first came out back in the 70's) after reading Dante. It was fun, as I remembered, and a little corny/dated, and surprising Universalist! I'll be reading the sequel coming up (Escape from Hell) in February 2009. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Niven, Larryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pournelle, Jerrymain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bennett,HarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Dante Alighieri
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I thought about being dead.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765316765, Paperback)

After being thrown out the window of his luxury apartment, science fiction writer Allen Carpentier wakes to find himself at the gates of hell. Feeling he's landed in a great opportunity for a book, he attempts to follow Dante's road map. Determined to meet Satan himself, Carpentier treks through the Nine Layers of Hell led by Benito Mussolini, and encounters countless mental and physical tortures. As he struggles to escape, he's taken through new, puzzling, and outlandish versions of sin--recast for the present day.  

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:01 -0400)

After falling from the eighth story of a hotel during a science fiction convention, writter Allen Carpentier wakes to find himself at the Vestibule of Hell. His journey thorugh Hell reveals new, puzzling, and outlandish methods of sin recast for the twentieth century.… (more)

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