As the title suggests, Dante's Disciples is a
collection of stories about Hell, but most have little to do with
Dante's classic Inferno. The multiple Hells here are better
described by Brian Lumley's story title, "Hell Is a Personal Place."
Demons head earthward to wreak havoc and to collect souls. Souls
try to escape from Hell. Hell itself tries to escape to Heaven.
Other, more ambiguous Hells are identified only because of the
context of the anthology, and sometimes not even then.
Although the interpretations of Hell may vary widely, the tone of
stories is almost universally grim. Dante's Disciples does not
contain the unexpected spark of good humor present in Kramer and
Crowther's earlier anthology, Tombs. What could have appealed
to a broader audience is restricted to horror; and even horror fans
probably appreciate an occasional "lighter touch."
But, while in Hell . . . Be sure to visit Gene Wolfe's "Bed and
Breakfast," James Lovegrove's "A Taste of Heaven," and Storm
Constantine's "Return to Gehenna." And for a little relief from the
grimness, try Doug Murra's "Ferryman," Jody Lynn Nye's "The Bridge
Over the River Styx," or "A Wreath for Marley" by Max Allan Collins.
Also edited by Edward E. Kramer and Peter Crowther:
Wolf Publishing, 1995
This review copyright 1996 by Wendy Morris