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WHAT WAS YOUR SIN?
Actually I have several. Niven and Pournelle used this as a way to complain about modern problems. They hit everyone in New Orleans pretty hard. At first I thought too much so, and then the night I finished the book, the news had a story on the New Orleans Mayor, who had just been convicted of bribery and taking money on construction projects. They hammered hard on scientist that gave false evidence. They mentioned scientists in the 1970's who warned us about a coming Ice Age. They hinted that today's Global Warming Scientist might be scamming us. The talked about DDT and how it should have never been banned and the lives it cost to ban it. They talked about Silicon Breast Implants and how it was never proved they caused any harm. Lawyers got hit hard, etc...
Even though I agreed with a lot they had to say, the book had no plot as of course neither did Daunte's book. I would think two smart writers could visit Hell and have a plot. No character development here, today's readers need more.
I KNOW THE WAY OUT OF HELL
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
In this book we see the continuing adventures of Alan Carpentier in hell. When we left Carpentier (Inferno) it was the mid 70's the height of the cold-war.
Much has changed in the 30 years between Inferno and Escape from Hell. The world is no longer divided between the U.S. v. Russia. Now countries that were previously thought of as mere "client states" suddenly have a prominence of their own. Since the Cold War the U.S. discovered the rest of the world replete with different countries, faiths, values and aims. The world has changed, Religion has changed and in this book Hell has changed.
In Inferno Hell was populated with westerners who were all at least culturally Christian. But now Hell is much more confused, middle-eastern suicide bombers walk the landscape. Now there is a place for the Mayans, Tribesmen and other "heathens" absent in the first book. Hell is in the midst of a technological upgrade as its records are computerized and the results of Vatican II have caused major bureaucratic nightmares. One is overwhelmed by the confusion raining in hell.
But its not just Hell's management, the book itself seems confused as well. Carpentier doesn't know what he's doing. Whereas inferno wrestled with the paradox of Hell and a Loving God, its not clear what the message of Escape is. The politics alone are idiosyncratic, liberals who invested in school funding experiments that went awry are in Hell as are the architects of the Iraq War. The reasons people are in hell are also strange, Trotsky is in for dividing the communist party and Oppenheimer is in, not for creating the nuclear bomb but for some obscure interpersonal betrayal. Is it intention or actions that gets you sent to hell? It is not clear. Meanwhile Sylvia Plath is an unlikely voice of naive spirituality with a judgmental spirit that would make the inquisition proud.
Flawed, but still an accessible intro to Dante.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful