Thursday, 18 August 2016

Heinlein's Hell

Robert Heinlein, Waldo And Magic Inc. (London, 1969), pp. 195-196.

I said here that I would check on Heinlein's account of Hell. Although the tone is lighter-hearted, physically, there are similarities to Anderson's description.

Heinlein uses the term "Half World" (p. 195), which we have encountered in Anderson's works. See here.

The place "...has no single matching criterion..." (ibid.) with anything known;

it contains things for which there are no words;

it is impossible to describe;

custom, not natural law, persists;

a head of state may repeal gravity;

King Canute would be able to order the sea back;

"up" and "down" are matters of opinion;

directions might be given in days or colors instead of in miles;

however, the denizens are constrained by their customs;

instead of searching "...aimlessly through ever changing mazes of the Half World..." (p. 196), the travelers turn left in the formless greyness to survey the years for a sabbat meeting;

the ground twitches and pulsates;

time travel is possible - Satan tells his human visitors to go forward exactly five months and three days to see his host assembled;

this scene clearly inspired a very similar demonic assembly in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I don't know, but I think Anderson's account of the hell universe in OPERATION CHAOS more carefully thought out and plausible than Heinlein's vision of hell. But, it's been a VERY long time since I last read WALDO & MAGIC, INC.