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Authors: Larry Niven

Escape From Hell

 

Escape From Hell

by

Larry Niven

 

THROUGH ME THE ROAD TO THE CITY OF DESOLATION
THROUGH ME THE ROAD TO THE CITY OF SORROWS DIUTERNAL
THROUGH ME THE ROAD AMONG THE LOST CREATION

JUSTICE MOVED MY GREAT MAKER; GOD ETERNAL
WROUGHT ME: THE POWER, AND THE UNSEARCHABLY
HIGH WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE SUPERNAL

NOTHING ERE I WAS MADE WAS MADE TO BE
SAVE THINGS ETERNE, AND I ETERNE ABIDE;
ALL HOPE ABANDON, YOU THAT GO IN BY ME.

Table Of Contents

 

Dramatis Personae

Preface

Chapter 1
Seventh Circle, Second Round
The Wood Of The Suicides

Chapter 2
The Tenth Circle
Ice

Chapter 3
The Vestibule
Opportunists

Chapter 4
Charon And The Acheron

Chapter 5
First Circle
Virtuous Pagans

Chapter 6
First Circle
The Palace Of Minos

Chapter 7
Second Circle
The Winds

Chapter 8
Third Circle
The Gluttonous

Chapter 9
Fourth Circle
The Hoarders And The Wasters

Chapter 10
Fifth Circle
The Wrathful And The Sullen

Chapter 11
Fifth Circle
The City Of Dis

Chapter 12
Sixth Circle
The Heretics

Chapter 13
Sixth Circle
More Heretics

Chapter 14
Seventh Circle, First Round
The Violent

Chapter 15
Seventh Circle, Third Round
The Violent Against God, Nature, And Art

Chapter 16
Seventh Circle, Second Round
The Violent Wasters

Chapter 17
Seventh Circle, Third Round
The Violent Against God, Nature, And Art

Chapter 18
Seventh Circle, Third Round
The Violent Against God, Nature, And Art
Part Two
The Valley Of Desolation

Chapter 19
Seventh Circle, Third Round
The Violent Against God, Nature, And Art
Part Three
The River

Chapter 20
Seventh Circle, Third Round
The Violent Against God, Nature, And Art
Part Four
Geryon And The Cliff

Chapter 21
Eighth Circle, First Bolgia
Panderers And Seducers

Chapter 22
Eighth Circle, Second Bolgia
Flatterers

Chapter 23
Eighth Circle, Third Bolgia
Simoniacs

Chapter 24
Eighth Circle, Fourth Bolgia
Fortune–Tellers And Diviners

Chapter 25
Eighth Circle, Fifth Bolgia
Barrators And Grafters

Chapter 26
Eighth Circle, Sixth Bolgia
Hypocrites

Chapter 27
Eighth Circle, Seventh Bolgia
Thieves

Chapter 28
Eighth Circle, Seventh Bolgia
Part Two
Deputy Prosecutor

Chapter 29
Eighth Circle, Eighth Bolgia
Evil Counselors
Part One
Escape

Chapter 30
Eighth Circle, Ninth Bolgia
Sowers Of Discord

Chapter 31
Eighth Circle, Tenth Bolgia
Falsifiers And Counterfeiters

Chapter 32
Eighth Circle
Beyond The Tenth Bolgia

Chapter 33
Seventh Circle
The Cliff Edge

Notes

Acknowledgments

Dramatis Personae

 

In Order Of Appearance

ALLEN CARPENTER
Successful science fiction writer who generally used the pen name Allen Carpentier. Died in 1975.
SYLVIA PLATH
Poet, novelist, and educator. Married British poet Ted Hughes (who later became poet laureate of England). Committed suicide in 1963.
BENITO MUSSOLINI (alluded)
Former Duce of Italy. Executed by partisans, 1945.
CLIVE STAPLES (JACK) LEWIS (alluded)
Professor of linguistics, literary critic, and Christian apologist. Often called “The Apostle to the Skeptics.”

The Vestibule
Lawyers And Legalists

AUGUSTO CRINATELLI
Member of the Grand Council of Fasces, Kingdom of Italy. Executed by German occupation forces, 1944.
ROSEMARY BENNETT
Assistant deputy prosecutor, New Orleans. Died early twenty–first century.
GANTEIL
An angel who refused to take sides during the War in Heaven.
THOMAS STEARNS ELIOT (alluded)
American poet and literary critic who emigrated to England. Nobel Prize in literature, 1948. Died 1965.

First Circle

BERTRAND RUSSELL (alluded)
English philosopher, mathematician, essayist, and gadfly. Died 1970.
LESTER DEL REY
American science fiction author and raconteur. Senior editor of Del Rey Books, imprint of Ballantine Books. Died 1993.
ASPASIA
Life companion and mistress of Pericles of Athens.
MINOS
Legendary king of Crete. Despite conflicting stories, Minos was considered a fountain of justice and became one of the judges of the dead. Died second millennium B.C.
ARMAND LETROIS
LEROY THOMPKINS
BEN REYNOLDS
HARRY PASSIONS
New Orleans politicians. Died early twenty–first century.
ELOISE WATSON
Washington, D.C., medium and fortune–teller. Died early twenty–first century.
ROGER HASTINGS, supervisory deputy prosecutor, New Orleans. Died early twenty–first century.

Second Circle

CLEOPATRA (alluded)
Historical queen of Egypt, mother of Caesarion, who was son of Julius Caesar; consort of Marcus Antonius, Triumvar of Rome. Died 30 B.C.
DIDO (alluded)
Founding queen of Carthage, also called Elissa. Lover of Aeneas of Troy. Died second millennium B.C.
JEROME LEIGH CORBETT (alluded)
U.S. astronaut. Died late twentieth century.
ELENA ROBINSON
One–time friend and lover of Allen Carpenter. Died early twenty–first century.
FRANK HARRIS
Rogue, raconteur, cad, lover, and bon vivant. Died 1931.
OSCAR WILDE
Irish playwright and poet, rake and raconteur. Died 1900.
SIMON RAVEN
English playwright, novelist, and rogue. Died early twenty–first century.
HUGH HEFNER (alluded)
Founder and publisher of
Playboy
magazine. Still living at the time of the story.

Third Circle

CATHERINE WOZNAK, Ph.D.
Former assistant secretary of Agriculture. Died late twentieth century.
JAN PETRI
American health enthusiast and personal trainer. Died prior to Carpenter.

Fourth Circle

PLUTUS
Legendary god of wealth.
VICKIE LYNN MARSHALL AKA ANNA NICOLE SMITH
American Texan model, Playmate of the Year 1993. Died 2007.
AUGUSTUS BATEMAN
New York City construction supervisor. Died twenty–first century.

Fifth Circle

ELSE FRENKEL–BRUNSWICK
Austrian–born American psychoanalyst and author. Died twentieth century.
GEORGE LINCOLN ROCKWELL
Commander, USNR. Leader of the American Nazi Party. Died 1967.
PHLEGYAS
Legendary king of the Lapiths, grandfather of Asclepius. Died second millennium B.C.
KAREN BLIXEN AKA ISAK DINESEN (alluded)
Danish author who wrote primarily in English. Her works include
Out of Africa
and “Babette’s Feast.” Died 1962.

The City of Dis

JAMES GIRARD
One–time deputy district attorney of New Orleans, now an official in the Prosecutor’s Office in Hell. Died twenty–first century.
HENRI LEBEAU
Professor of civil and canon law, Tulane University, assigned to the Prosecutor’s Office in Hell. Died twenty–first century.
ANTHONY GLICKA
Experimental medicine coordinator, UCLA. Died twenty–first century.
LEONARD DOWL
Associate chair of the Department of English, University High School, Los Angeles. Died twenty–first century.

Sixth Circle

MONSIGNOR ANTONIO BRUNO
Dominican, Catholic priest and intellectual. Died twentieth century.
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS
American statesman and diplomat. Died 1886.
ALBERT CAMUS
Algerian–born French author, Nobel Prize winner. Died 1960.
FRANCIS THOMPSON (alluded)
English poet and opium addict. Died 1907.

Seventh Circle

WILLIAM BONNEY
American cowboy and outlaw. Died 1881.
CARLOS MONTARA
Sexual predator and serial killer. Died late twentieth century.
CHO SEUNG–HUI
Serial killer. Died 2007.
TED HUGHES
Poet laureate of England. Husband of Sylvia Plath. Died 1998.
ASSIA GUTMAN WEVILL (alluded)
Mistress of Ted Hughes. Suicide, 1969.
SHURA WEVILL (alluded)
Daughter of Assia Wevill and Ted Hughes. Victim of murder/suicide, 1969.
CARLOTTA BENTON BATEMAN
Literary critic and English teacher. Died early twenty–first century.
THE REVEREND CANON DON CAMILLUS
Vicar general of the archdiocese of Rome. Died A.D. 1013.
CHARLES MACGRUDER
Hydraulic miner. Died 1891.
ANGELO CORVANTIS
Of John Marshal Middle School, Los Angeles. Died 2002.
FATHER STEVE
FATHER DANNY
Child abusers. Died late twentieth century.
FRANK CAPUTO
Outlaw Motorcycle Club leader.
TED BRADLEY
Head of Friends of Man and the Earth, an environmental movement that pressured the EPA to ban DDT.
RACHEL CARSON
Marine biologist and author. Died 1964 of breast cancer.
GERYON
Mythical Titan warrior king of the tenth labor of Heracles.

The Eighth Circle
First Through Fourth Bolgias

FR. ERNESTO FIANCIANO
Of Florence, godson of Dante Alighieri. Died fourteenth century.
OSCAR T.J. WHITE
NASCAR champion. Died 1970.
PETER LAWFORD
British–born American actor, member of the Rat Pack. Died 1984.
PHYLLIS WELSH AKA DOREEN LANCER
Go–go dancer, Outlaw Motorcycle Club consort. Died 1972.
SAMMY MENDOZA
Assistant producer, MGM Studios. Died at the Kasserine Pass, 1943.
HAL BERTHAM
PROPHET HERBERT JACKSON
HENDRIX
Radio personalities. Died twenty–first century.
SISTER AIMEE SEMPLE MCPHERSON
Lighthouse Mission, Salvation Navy; evangelist. Died 1944.
CARL SAGAN, Ph.D.
Planetary scientist and philosopher of science. Died 1996.
GIACOMO CASANOVA
Venetian diplomat and rake. Died 1798.

The Eighth Circle
Fifth Bolgia

BLACK TALON
Demon. Senior captain in the Fifth Bolgia.
J. EDGAR HOOVER
Director, FBI. Died 1972.
MELVIN BELLI
Trial lawyer known as King of Torts. Died twentieth century.
ASA KEYES
District attorney of Los Angeles. Died twentieth century.
DAVID TALBOT RUNMERE
City attorney of Philadelphia. Died twentieth century.
LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON
President of the United States. Died 1973.

The Eighth Circle
Sixth Through Tenth Bolgias

JEZEBETH
SYBACCA
Demons assigned to guard Rosemary.
KENNETH LAY
CEO of Enron. Died 2007.
JOACHIM MÜLLER
Gestapo official. Hanged, Nuremberg, 1946.
REINHARD HEYDRICH
Protector of Bohemia. Killed by Czech partisans, 1942.
FREDERICK LINDEMANN
First Viscount Cherwell, physicist. Scientific advisor to Winston Churchill. Died 1957.
AIR CHIEF MARSHAL SIR ARTHUR HARRIS
AKA Bomber Harris. Died 1984.
JESSE UNRUH
Speaker of the California Assembly. Died twentieth century.
LEV DAVIDOVICH BRONSTEIN AKA LEON TROTSKY
Commander of the Red Army under Lenin. Opponent of Stalin. Assassinated 1940.
SWORD
Demon captain in the Ninth Bolgia.
HENRY VIII
King of England. Died 1547.
MADELYN MURRAY O’HAIR
Public atheist. Died 1995.
KENNETH OMISTON (alluded)
Radio broadcast engineer for Aimee Semple McPherson. Died twentieth century.
GIANNI SCHICCHI
Florentine forger. Died thirteenth century.
PONTIUS PILATUS
Governor of Judea. Died first century A.D.
TROFIM LYSENKO
Soviet agricultural science official. Director of biology studies under Stalin. Died 1976.

The Ninth Circle And Beyond

NIMROD
ANTAEUS
Legendary Titans.
J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER
Father of the atomic bomb. Director of Manhattan Project, Los Alamos. Died 1967.
REGINA GOLBINDER (alluded)
Later Mrs. Stefan T. Possony. Daughter of Berlin Communist Party leader.
ADOLF HITLER
Führer of the Third Reich. Died 1945.
IOSIF VISSARIONOVICH DZHUGASHVILI AKA JOSEF STALIN
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR. Died 1953.
LUCIFER
His Satanic Majesty, ruler of Hell, Prince of Darkness, etc.

Preface

 

T
his is a sequel to our first
Inferno
published in 1976. That book went through ten editions and was published in seven languages, including Italian. Friends who read Italian tell us the translators did a creditable job with the work.
Inferno
won us considerable academic acclaim and is said to have sparked a revival of interest in Dante among undergraduates in America.

We wrote
Inferno
as an adventure novel, with the main character being a reasonably well–known American science fiction writer named Allen Carpenter who wrote under the name Allen Carpentier. A number of friends believe they recognized themselves in parts of that novel. We don’t have to say.

Any rational and inquisitive person finding himself in Hell will want to know why he is there. In the Age of Faith that might not have been so, but a modern science fiction writer from the rationalist tradition would certainly remain skeptical about anything supernatural. He would also have imbibed enough of the humanistic tradition to demand that God’s Rules and Laws be reasonable; that even if this is the biblical Hell, there be some purpose to Hell beyond mere cruelty.

Allen Carpenter is no exception, and since on first look he found nothing he believed to be just, he framed a number of rationalist hypotheses built on the assumption that he was in a physical place with physical laws built by physical beings. They had high technology beyond his imagining, but there was nothing of the supernatural about this place. His odyssey through what he thought was Infernoland and the process by which he changed his mind are documented in the first book,
Inferno,
by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. By its end, Carpenter is convinced that he is in the literal Hell taught by Christian churches and especially the Roman Catholic Church. He has not yet determined why he is there or why Hell would exist.

This book chronicles his continued adventures, including his efforts to discover the purpose of Hell.

Chapter 1

Seventh Circle, Second Round

The Wood Of The Suicides

 

When we had put ourselves within a wood,
That was not marked by any path whatever.
Not foliage green, but of a dusky color,
Not branches smooth but gnarly and intertangled.

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