Follow Here To Purchase A Short Stay in Hell

Author: Steven L. Peck

Publisher: Strange Violin Editions, Washington DC

ISBN: 978-0-9837484-2-7

This novella gives its readers a jolt and makes them very anxious so much so that they find it un-put-down-able as they read and haunting afterwards.

The protagonist finds himself sentenced to a hell that adheres to the principle of “to each his own” which for him is a humungous  library in which he would be confined to till he finds that  ‘one’ book. And he is not alone in this. There are communities here. The hell is well provided for with food to taste and there is a code of conduct too which frees the inmates from any commitments made prior to entering it. But the existence has a lack of meaningfulness to it and the inmates struggle to make meaning as they scourge through endless number of books in search of ‘their’ book.

 And there are villains too.Interestingly the genesis, beliefs and acts of the violent group that vitiate the otherwise physically peaceful though cognitively disturbing existence in hell could lead to comparisons with proclamations and happenings on earth.

Professor Peck is perhaps alluding to tendency in humankind of building self-identities and related expectations around non falsifiable beliefs. The almost eternal seeming struggle of the inmates of the hell to find some semblance of meaning in the words randomly juxtaposed highlights the importance of cognitive experiences of our existence on earth.

Whereas cognitively experiencing the ‘Peckian’ hellcould trigger an existential crisis in some, the novella easily gets them thinking about their time on earth and perhaps be thankful for it. Oh and it might send a few scurrying for rereading ‘James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy’ for seeking solace!


"Steve Peck is an evolutionary ecologist who teaches History and Philosophy of Science and Bioethics. His publishing history includes lots of scientific work (40+ articles) including articles in American Naturalist, Newsweek, Evolution, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Biological Theory, Agriculture and Human Values, Biology & Philosophy, and an edited volume on environmental stewardship.

He is the author of 'The Scholar of Moab,' a finalist for the Montaigne Medal, published by Torrey House Press, and the author of 'A Short Stay in Hell, published by Strange Violins Editions. He has a juvenile fantasy called the Rift of Ryme, to be published in June 2012 by Cedar Fort Press.

This year he was nominated for the 2011 Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award for the poem, "The five known sutras of mechanical man," published in Tales of the Talisman.

He received first place in the Warp and Weave Science Fiction Competition and received Honorable Mention in the 2011 Brookie and D.K. Brown Fiction Contest

His short stories have been included in Daily Science Fiction, H.M.S. Beagle, and Warp and Weave, and his science fiction novella, Let the Mountains Tremble for the Adoni have Fallen, was published in October by Peculiar Press. Poetry by Peck has appeared in Bellowing Ark, Dialogue, Glyphs III, Irreantum, Pedestal Magazine, Red Rock Review, Tales of the Talisman, Victorian Violet Press, and Wilderness Interface Zone. A chapbook of Peck's poetry, Flyfishing in Middle Earth, was published by the American Tolkien Society. A selection of his poetry was included in the anthology, Fire in the Pasture. Peck was selected as the second-place winner in the 2011 Eugene England Memorial Essay Contest."