We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 >   > 
A Short Stay in Hell | [Steven L. Peck]

A Short Stay in Hell

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.
Regular Price:$6.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2012 Strange Violin Editions (P)2012 Strange Violin Editions

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (150 )
5 star
 (79)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.2 (140 )
5 star
 (77)
4 star
 (29)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.3 (139 )
5 star
 (71)
4 star
 (47)
3 star
 (18)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 08-12-13
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 08-12-13 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1505
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    226
    177
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    404
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I'll be thinking about this one for a while."

    While this book doesn’t really line up with my own spiritual beliefs, it does present a very interesting version of hell beyond the stereotyped Dante’s Inferno that much of the western Christian cultures have bought into. The first impression of a strange but not especially menacing existence (that is supposed to be only temporary anyway) initially inspires a sense of tentative relief. Then as the magnitude of the assigned task (finding a specific book among billions of books in a library of infinite dimensions) becomes increasingly evident, the reality of hell begins to assert itself. What temporary can mean in relation to eternity is suddenly daunting. Hopelessness, lack of a true faith to believe in, the absence of behavioral boundaries or consequences, and the lack of diversity among the residents may be a reflection of the type of lives many have lived on earth when our naïve thoughts of our own immortality fool us into careless lives. Do we create our own hells, underestimating the effect on our souls of living for the comfortable and the familiar instead of embracing more diverse possibilities of experience and acquaintance?

    Beginning with a fairly light tone with humorous episodes, the mood subtly darkens as the story-teller relates his own increasing need to find an escape. Eventually he, and we with him, realize the full impact of his situation. Regardless of your belief or lack of belief in a hellish after-life, this book will challenge your viewpoints, and hopefully challenge your earthly behavior in the reflected image of what this literary hell looks like. Now I wonder what Peck's image of heaven looks like. I'll bet that's a mind bender too.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Baltimore, MD, United States 08-08-13
    Rachel Baltimore, MD, United States 08-08-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    59
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story"

    It doesn't take long to listen to the story (less than 3 hours) but the author packs a lot into it.

    The premise is essentially: a nice guy, irregardless of how he lived on earth, ends up in hell, which actually does not seem so bad at the beginning. The demon in the first scene is more like an affable business manager than genuinely scary; people get idealized bodies once they're admitted to hell; and they can order whatever food they want from the food kiosks. Even though the task set to each person is tedious (find a single book in a mind-shatteringly huge library) there are optimistic/encouraging rules that give everybody in hell hope that they will eventually get out. Over time, the story slowly dismantles, piece by piece, this initial impression by undermining anything that might lead the main character to believe that hell is actually not that bad, while at the same time progressively building up, piece by piece, his growing realization of how horrific and tragic his circumstances actually are. It's a really impressive about-face. A great story, funny and tragic and hopeful and horrific all at once.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Brigman Knob Noster, MO 03-18-13
    Daniel Brigman Knob Noster, MO 03-18-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent novella!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Short Stay in Hell to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version (yet).


    What other book might you compare A Short Stay in Hell to and why?

    There is really no other book to compare it to; that said, this novella is an excellent examination of human morality, character, religious belief systems, etc. Excellent!


    What about Sergei Burbank’s performance did you like?

    Very well done!


    If you could take any character from A Short Stay in Hell out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The demon at the beginning of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Read or listen to this story, it will stay with you for a long time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan Boston, MA, United States 03-04-13
    Evan Boston, MA, United States 03-04-13 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Look Infinity in the Face"
    What did you love best about A Short Stay in Hell?

    Steven L. Peck turns a very abstract concept into an emotionally understandable and terrifying reality. Imagine a library with more books than there are electrons in the known universe; now imagine that you had to find one book among them. It's very hard to imagine this, but Steven tells the story with great skill and brings you through the joy, despair, hope, and hopelessness of the situation. Spiritual, philosophical, but also very down-to-earth, A Short Stay in Hell made me feel so many things that I will never forget it (when I finished it I had to go into the house and hug my wife). If you like thinking about "big questions" like how large the universe is and what immortality might be like, this book may teach you a lot of things.


    What about Sergei Burbank’s performance did you like?

    Sergei Burbank read the book in a simple, honest tone, which suited the narrator very well. It felt like I was sitting with the main character, listening to him tell me his story.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    One day, this will all be a distant memory.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Bee MN 01-26-14
    Melissa Bee MN 01-26-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Makes you wonder..."

    For me, the narrator neither added to nor subtracted from the content of this story. When Soren Johansson, a Mormon, dies of brain cancer in his early 40's, he is stunned to find himself in hell. This is no hell that he or anyone else has ever fathomed. The reason he and the other people were cast in this particular hell is because they did not believe in Zoroastrianism. Who would have thought that's why you would end up in hell? But don't worry, this hell is not forever. Your ticket to getting out is to simply go through the vast library that awaits you and find the book about your life without any errors in it. So begins Soren's new "life" in hell. It may take you awhile to really understand the dimensions in this hell and when you do, you will not only wonder at its possibility but you will also find more value in time and life in general. This story made my head spin a bit but mostly it left me with a strange, unsettling kind of uncertainty about what could be.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Waterloo, Iowa, United States 09-24-13
    Martin Waterloo, Iowa, United States 09-24-13 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Can't get it out of my head"

    Someone said that when reading a book, the journey is more important than the destination. This journey was exceedingly intriguing-but far too short. this book has stuck in my head more than most because of the enormity of the task involved and the irony that "hell is not eternal". Absolutely great short listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    flossdaily Bayonne, NJ, United States 05-09-14
    flossdaily Bayonne, NJ, United States 05-09-14 Member Since 2011

    I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    102
    76
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So good! Reminded me of classic Twilight Zone"

    I don't usually go in for short books-- I like to get my money's worth on audible. HOWEVER, this story can't be missed. It's simply amazing.

    This instantly made my list of best short sci-fi of all time. It will stick in my brain forever.

    I wish there was more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra B Sioux City 04-29-14
    Debra B Sioux City 04-29-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    107
    39
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    23
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Riveting and somewhat depressing"

    I liked this book. It is one view of what Hell could be like, and I have to warn you, the more you think about A Short Stay in Hell, the more you realize what a total drag it would be to be there, and the thought is a little depressing. It is so well written, though, and the characters come through so well, that you may not be able to get it out of your head for a while. I particularly liked the demon at the start of the book, and the way the narrator caught the character.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Genghis Bob USA 03-18-14
    Genghis Bob USA 03-18-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This shouldn't have worked - but it did"
    What aspect of Sergei Burbank’s performance would you have changed?

    Too little affect in his narrative, too little distinction among characters in his dialogue. His diction was quite muddy.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes; yes indeed.


    Any additional comments?

    There's very little in the way of character development, but it's so evocative of a feeling of timelessness and the infinite that I'm fascinated. I can't wait to see where the story is going. This is what reading fantastical literature is supposed to do for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin quebec, QC, Canada 03-14-14
    Justin quebec, QC, Canada 03-14-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "New favourite"

    Highly recommend this book. Interesting enough that I brought the premise up in conversation a bunch of times and it always sparked interest. The story is well read. There is a good amount of humour in it however, it also has a serious darkness throughout. It is the type of book that I wish I could find more of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 15 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.