Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Orb (Tor), Sep 2008, $12.95
Renowned popular science-fiction writer Allen Carpentier makes a bet with his fans at a Los Angeles convention. Right out of War and Peace, he sits on the windowsill of a room on the hotel’s eighth floor drinking a bottle of rum. About half way through he gags and falls out the window to his death.
When Allen lands after what seems like eternity to him, he is shocked that he can think though somehow he finds himself in some sort of brass bottle that he wonders if it is his coffin. Some big Italian who says to call him Benito frees him from his bottle prison and agrees to be his guide as Allen treks through the concentric circles of Hell.
This is more than a reprint of the 1976 homage to Dante as Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle apparently revised some of the journey to “set the stage” for a sequel next year. Accompanying Allen and Benito on the trek is fun as they meet an assortment of sinners through the circles. Obviously still filled with adulation of Dante, INFERNO is a modern day faster and hipper version.