What Dreams May Come, 1998

What Dreams May ComeVincent Ward’s 1998 film, What Dreams May Come, starring Robin Williams and Annabella Sciorra, explores the after-life. The film’s protagonist, Chris Neilson, finds himself in heaven after death. His wife, Annie, has committed suicide and resides in hell; when Chris sets out to find her, he travels through a representation of the first seven circles of Dante’s Inferno.

Barlowe’s Inferno (1998)

Wayne Barlowe‘s Barlowe’s Inferno is a book of images of hell.

“Best-selling science fiction and fantasy artist Wayne Barlowe abandons his popular illustrative style and adopts a classic painterly technique in these images of Hell’s structures, iconographies, and inhabitants. In ‘Barlowe’s Hell,’ he incorporates the visual myths from many religions to present a chilling and beautiful collection of carefully researched and rendered artwork whose bizarre images contain symbolic references to age-old beliefs and practices.”    —Amazon

Barlowe's Inferno

Malbolge: an Esoteric Programming Language

malbolge-programming-language“Malbolge, invented by Ben Olmstead in 1998, is an esoteric programming language designed to be as difficult to program in as possible. The first ‘Hello, world!’ program written in it was produced by a Lisp program using a local beam search of the space of all possible programs. It is modeled as a virtual machine based on ternary digits.” [. . .]

“The language is named after ‘Malebolge,’ the eighth level of hell in Dante’s Inferno, which is reserved for perpetrators of fraud. The actual spelling ‘Malbolge’ is also used for the sixth hell in the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game.”    —Wikipedia

Orhan Pamuk, “The New Life” (1998)

orhan-pamuk-the-new-life-1998“. . .’My book,’ [Pamuk] says, ‘is my attempt at being visionary through the experience of love. It has a tongue-in-cheek quality about the effect of love on one’s spirit. The intensity of desire is so overwhelming that the narrator is in a new world, in a new life. It’s about maturing through love, reaching a higher level of consciousness.’
The title is appropriated from Dante’s ‘La Vita Nuova,’ Pamuk allows. ‘Dante’s is an account of how he fell in love, along with autobiographical digressions about the effect of love.’ Although it’s impossible to neatly summarize a Pamuk book, ‘The New Life’ is also a meditation on the way literature can affect — or afflict — a nation.” [. . .]    –Judy Stone, Orhan Pamuk

Mark E. Rogers, “Samurai Cat Goes to Hell” (1998)

mark-e-rogers-samurai-cat-goes-to-hell-1998In the last of the Samurai Cat series, Rogers uses Dante’s scheme of hell to frame the action.

“This comedic Inferno includes Nazi tyrannosaurs in dinosaur-sized tanks, characters resembling figures from the Oz books, Virtuous Pagans galore and Satan, who, though trapped in ice at the bottom of hell, wears pink panties and can send out projections in the shape of bad actors. The heroes are aided by felines from the other Samurai Cat books, a guardian angel named Henry and a mysterious ‘itinerant preacher’ who looks like Clint Eastwood.”    –Publishers Weekly, Amazon

The New Yorker: “Abandon All Hope” (1998)

Abandon All Hope

 

From The New Yorker, January 1998

Contributed by Dennis Looney

“Dante, Virgil To Tour L.A.”

dante-virgil-to-tour-la-the-onion

Found at The Onion, June 10, 1998

“Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell”

tenth-circle-added-to-rapidly-growing-hell“CITY OF DIS, NETHER HELL. After nearly four years of construction at an estimated cost of 750 million souls, Corpadverticus, the new 10th circle of Hell, finally opened its doors Monday. The Blockbuster Video-sponsored circle, located in Nether Hell between the former eighth and ninth levels of Malebolge and Cocytus, is expected to greatly alleviate the overcrowding problems that have plagued the infernal underworld in recent years.”    —The Onion, September 23, 1998

Contributed by Ted Reinert (Bowdoin, ’05)