A Short Stay in Hell
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"A Short Stay in Hell" Summary

By Steven L. Peck

fiction | 104 pages | Published in NaN

An ordinary family man, geologist, and Mormon, Soren Johansson has always believed he’ll be reunited with his loved ones after death in an eternal hereafter. Then, he dies. Soren wakes to find himself cast by a God he has never heard of into a Hell whose dimensions he can barely grasp: a vast library he can only escape from by finding the book that contains the story of his life.In this haunting existential novella, author, philosopher, and ecologist Steven L. Peck explores a subversive vision of eternity, taking the reader on a journey through the afterlife of a world where everything everyone believed in turns out to be wrong.

ISBN_13:9780983748427

Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

After dying, a man finds himself in a seemingly endless library where he must search for the one book that contains the story of his life.

Introduction

"A Short Stay in Hell" is a thought-provoking and philosophical novel written by Steven L. Peck. Published in 2012, this book takes readers on a journey into the afterlife, exploring the concept of eternity, the nature of suffering, and the human capacity for resilience. Peck skillfully combines elements of science fiction and existentialism to create a captivating and introspective narrative.

Brief Synopsis

The story begins with the protagonist, Soren Johansson, a recently deceased man who finds himself in a peculiar afterlife. Soren wakes up in a vast and labyrinthine library, known as the City of Dis, which contains every book ever written and every book that could ever be written. He soon learns that he is in Hell, a Hell specifically designed for him and other individuals from different religious backgrounds.

The setting of the story is primarily the City of Dis, a seemingly endless library with a complex and ever-changing layout. The library represents the overwhelming amount of knowledge and information available to humanity. As Soren explores the library, he encounters other souls, each with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

Main Characters

CharacterDescription
Soren JohanssonThe protagonist of the story who finds himself in the City of Dis after his death. Soren is an ordinary man, grappling with the existential questions of life and the nature of eternity.
Other SoulsThroughout the book, Soren encounters various other souls in the City of Dis. These individuals come from different religious backgrounds and bring their own perspectives and stories to the narrative.
LibrariansThe mysterious and enigmatic librarians are the keepers of the City of Dis. They guide and assist the souls in their search for knowledge and understanding. They also act as a source of authority within the city.

Story Points

Chapter 1: Arrival in the City of Dis

Soren wakes up in the City of Dis and realizes he is in Hell. He meets the librarians and learns about the nature of the afterlife. Soren is overwhelmed by the vastness of the library and the potential for endless suffering.

Chapter 2: The Search for Knowledge

Soren embarks on a quest to find answers to his existential questions. He navigates the complex layout of the library, encountering other souls along the way. Soren learns about the different religious beliefs and perspectives represented in the City of Dis.

Chapter 3: The Nature of Time

As Soren delves deeper into the library, he begins to question the nature of time in the afterlife. He discovers that time in the City of Dis is not linear but rather cyclical, with souls reliving their lives over and over again.

Chapter 4: The Challenge of Eternity

Soren grapples with the concept of eternity and the existential challenges it presents. He experiences moments of despair and existential dread, contemplating the futility of his existence.

Chapter 5: The Power of Connection

Soren forms connections with other souls in the City of Dis. Through these interactions, he finds solace and a sense of belonging. These relationships offer him support and perspective in the face of eternal suffering.

Main Events

  1. Soren wakes up in the City of Dis and learns about the nature of the afterlife.
  2. Soren embarks on a quest for knowledge, exploring the vast library and encountering other souls.
  3. Soren discovers the cyclical nature of time in the afterlife, reliving his life repeatedly.
  4. Soren struggles with the concept of eternity and the existential challenges it presents.
  5. Soren forms connections with other souls, finding solace and support in their shared experiences.

Themes and Insights

Theme 1: The Nature of Suffering

"A Short Stay in Hell" explores the nature of suffering and its impact on the human condition. Through Soren's experiences in the City of Dis, the book raises questions about the purpose and meaning of suffering and how individuals cope with eternal torment.

Theme 2: The Search for Knowledge and Meaning

The novel delves into the human desire for knowledge and understanding. Soren's quest for answers reflects the universal human pursuit of meaning in life. The City of Dis, with its vast library, represents the overwhelming wealth of knowledge available to humanity.

Theme 3: Resilience and Connection

The power of human connection and resilience in the face of suffering is a central theme in the book. Soren finds solace and support in his relationships with other souls, highlighting the importance of community and shared experiences in navigating difficult circumstances.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Short Stay in Hell" is a thought-provoking and existential novel that challenges readers to contemplate the nature of suffering, eternity, and the search for meaning. Peck's vivid and introspective storytelling encourages readers to question their own beliefs and perspectives on life and death.

Conclusion

Steven L. Peck's "A Short Stay in Hell" is a captivating exploration of the afterlife, suffering, and the human capacity for resilience. Through the protagonist's journey in the City of Dis, the novel raises profound philosophical questions and offers insights into the nature of existence. Peck's masterful blending of science fiction and existentialism creates a compelling narrative that will leave readers contemplating the mysteries of life and the afterlife.

A Short Stay in Hell FAQ

  1. What is 'A Short Stay in Hell' about?

    'A Short Stay in Hell' is a philosophical science fiction novel that explores the concept of an afterlife. It follows the story of Soren Johansson, who finds himself in a unique version of Hell, where he must navigate an infinite library containing all possible books.

  2. Who is the author of 'A Short Stay in Hell'?

    The author of 'A Short Stay in Hell' is Steven L. Peck.

  3. Is 'A Short Stay in Hell' part of a series?

    No, 'A Short Stay in Hell' is a standalone novel.

  4. What genre does 'A Short Stay in Hell' belong to?

    'A Short Stay in Hell' is a blend of philosophical fiction and science fiction.

  5. Is 'A Short Stay in Hell' suitable for young readers?

    Due to its philosophical and existential themes, 'A Short Stay in Hell' is recommended for mature readers.

  6. How long is 'A Short Stay in Hell'?

    'A Short Stay in Hell' has approximately 125 pages in the paperback edition.

  7. Does 'A Short Stay in Hell' have any awards or accolades?

    Yes, 'A Short Stay in Hell' was a finalist for the 2012 Whitney Award in the category of Best Novel by a New Author.

  8. Where can I purchase 'A Short Stay in Hell'?

    'A Short Stay in Hell' is available for purchase at major online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository.

  9. Is there an audiobook version of 'A Short Stay in Hell'?

    Yes, 'A Short Stay in Hell' is available in audiobook format on platforms like Audible.

  10. Are there any discussion guides available for 'A Short Stay in Hell'?

    Yes, you can find discussion guides for 'A Short Stay in Hell' on the author's website or through various book club resources.