"If you like Christopher Moore or Tom Holt, read Hell's Super.... Hilarious!"
How can one damned handyman keep all of hell running when everything's always breaking, devils and demons plot against him...and he's terrible at fixing things?
Steve is hell's super, its handyman. Being Mr. Fixit to the underworld keeps him and his assistant, Orson Welles (yes, that Orson Welles), pretty busy, since things go on the blink all the time down there. No malfunction has ever created so much inconvenience, though, as the malfunction of hell's escalator, which leads from the pearly gates to the depths of Hades. What's worse: The breakdown appears to be sabotage.
Satan calls in Steve to investigate. But Steve is distracted these days. He's in love with Flo, a gorgeous, almost saintly figure who has come to hell by choice to ease the suffering of the damned. What's more, she seems to like him, but romance in hell? That could never be. Still, solving the mystery of the escalator could earn him some points with Satan, maybe even a chance with Flo. Or maybe not.
Hell's Super is the first volume in the satire/fantasy comedy series Circles in Hell. It has been compared to other works of "hell fiction" including The Screwtape Letters and Good Omens and to the paranormal humor of Tom Holt, Christopher Moore, and Douglas Adams.
©2013 Mark E. Cain (P)2015 Mark E. Cain
I have listened to hundreds in the last decade. This is well read and enjoyable (see comments below).
I liked all the scenes with Flo really, and how that plot line developed. The moments with Steve and the Devil (and the Devil appearing in different characters) was also very memorable.
Steve - the most rounded out I would say, though the Devil is pretty funny in all his guises and moods.
I listened to it a lot when jogging, when commuting, and it lightened my journeys. I can't say I laughed out loud, but I would guess I had a wry smile on my face.
I loved Good Omens, I Lucifer, the film Dogma - I love books that play with superstition and entrenched mythologies and imagine the everyday-ness of their world.
This was refreshingly everyday as well - a fairly normal bloke is in Hell, for eternity. Not quite sure why (seems like a lot of fairly decent folk didn't make it upstairs), but Steve's role in the afterlife is to be Superintendent to the Underworld, and no - he's NOT good at fixing things. That's the point.
It starts by showing us Steve's everyday life down in Hell, how hellish everything is, then it turns into a bit of an Agatha Christie/Philip Marlowe mystery/detective story, as the Devil sends his minion out on a mission to find out why the Stairs (and escalator) between the two afterlifes is broken.
There is romance as Steve nurses a crush for the distinctly heavenly Flo (formerly a Crimean nurse with a lamp...) and is aided (or not) by his desperate-to-be-a-bigshot-again assistant Orson Welles.
It's not overtly laugh-out-loud, it's dry humour, lighter than I was expecting, with memorable characters, and fortunately a well-written lead in Steve, the everyman schmo living a normal after-life and trying to get through the day (Monday, every day).
Not one for those offended by humourous portrayals of Gods and devils, but I found it a very amusing audiobook (and well read by the narrator) with some funny ideas about Hell that kept me entertained.
I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.
I really liked this book. There was no major happenings and the twist was little too obvious. But it kept me smiling and got even a few laughs from me.
Readers performance was good. I have to give little minus for the vampire bats scream. I think it's meant to be irritating but it was little too irritating for me.
This book was just right kind to listen at night right before I fell asleep, but the damn scream kept waking me up.
It's a good idea and there's some mildly funny bits, but it's a bit dull overall. There's not a whole lot of plot, probably a short story's worth, but padded out with a lot of world building. And the main character isn't all that much fun. Yes his damnation is to be in a dull job for eternity, but I'm not sure I want to feel that when I read it.
Go and count the grains of sand it will be more amusing!
Sorry for the scathing review. It might just be that I am just not intelligent enough to appreciate the humour, but I doubt it.
"Not bad for a first"
The story was pretty decent, if a bit predictable. Fun listen.
The narrator is decent, but not great. He can't do any non-American accent to save his life, and it gets pretty painful to listen to. On top of that, his pronunciation of certain thing (Cerberus as "kurb-er-us", for example) are just jarring.
Not bad, not the greatest. Would listen to more if more comes and the narrator takes voice acting lessons
"What would your hell be?"
I was grabbed by the description which seemed to promise a funny story of misadventures in hell. The book delivered that and more. It is also a story of someone trying to hold onto his humanity while enduring damnation. Despite being doomed to a job in hell for which he is ill-suited (thus fulfilling the promise of eternal damnation through eternal disappointment, irritation, and emotional suffering); Steve Minion still takes his job description seriously and tries to fix what he can. He does this despite knowing it will just break again. This results in a funny story with a view about how hell hell could be personalized based on individual personalities to maximize each persons suffering.
There are some fun cameos in the book with historical characters such as Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford. etc making appearances in hell. This was a neat aspect of the book because there are some people you would think should have gone to the other place. While you never get to know exactly why some of those people ended up disqualified for heaven (Louis Braille how’d you end up in there?), it is interesting to see the author’s imagining of what those people’s personal hells could be.
Good narration for a comedic novel is essential to getting the full effect of the author’s humour. Here I think the narrator succeeded in getting the timing and tone right for the story. It was worth listening to the book (as opposed to reading it) since it comes across as though Steve himself is telling you of his misadventures in hell. There were however accents that I was not feeling (which made me want to drop it to 3 stars) but credit to the narrator for putting in the effort to do accents. Thankfully, the worst offending accent turned out to be part of the plot (which I’m going to assume means the narrator read the work in full prior to starting the production - thus restoring the narration to 4 stars).
Overall: the story is a nice mix of subtle puns, ironic character mixes, and funny situations. Combined with the narration, it is an entertaining listen.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast.
"NOT a Pratchett alternative"
Hyperextended hipster nerd humor is American cheese to Pratchett's country Stilton.
Yes, we all read the oatmeal; Edison < Tesla... Got it.
How many times does the author make the same "bat out of hell gag?" I dunno, I got to 3 before I decided I was over this book.
Pair that with being read to by a narrator who sounds like he got his start in the Applebee's Digital Training circle. I cannot listen to his horrible WASPy attempt at a "gay accent" without feeling like I should go donate to GLAAD in penance.
Can't really say this whole book sucked because I dumped it at 1/5 in.
"I only made it to 3 hours"
Unfortunately, I only made it to exactly 3 hours before I quit. I tried, I really did. But I can sum up the first 3 hours in a few sentences.
Steve is the superintendent to Hell.
Satan's escalator is broken.
There's a ton of name dropping, all famous dead people.......the ONLY characters mentioned, famous dead people.
That completely sums up the entire first 3 hours. I can't go any further.
"Snark Rules in Hell"
Hell's Super had me hooked from opening through epilogue with the entertaining story line and characters, both human and demonic.
Steve Minion and his assistant Orson Welles are hell's only repairmen and when the only way into hell breaks, the hilarity begins. Along the way you get to meet up with famous personalities and discover what hell might be to them.
One of my favorite characters is BOOH (Bat Out Of Hell). The antics he is involved in had me in snickers and wishing I could borrow him.
Mark Cain has written a well thought out, intelligent comedy that is great fun to read with lots of surprises.
Michael Gilboe is a master at the voices and inflections. You can really feel each character's feelings through his vocalizations.
This audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast.
"Not Enough Substance"
Not enough substance to characters. Very little happens and I kept waiting for a big reveal. The light satire was almost enough to carry the book...almost.
This guy's accents are an auditory train wreck. Each time you hear that a new accent is coming, whether they name drop someone famous or the book describes the scene with someone from outside the US I end up waiting with a sick anticipation thinking "can it really be as bad as I expect?" and every time it is... He honestly sounds the way I imagine someone would if they had only ever heard an accent described but not spoken.
The editors and sound mixers also fell asleep on the job. It sounds like the bat is screaming into my ears at 80 decibels every time he enters a scene.
"Humor Most Bleak"
It is ultimately kind of hard to find humor in a story where essentially all is for naught, where anything goes, and anything can happen without any rhyme or reason. The story is built around the thinnest of premises. And, historical figures find themselves in Hell without neither them nor the audience understanding why. This seems like a cheap ploy to bolster a thin narrative to me. To me, the most endearing aspect of this novel was the relationship between the protagonist and the giant gargoyle that flies him around Hell. Strange story that might amuse some readers....
"disappointing and unimpressive"
genuinely pointless story, what there was of it. mostly comprised of random encounters with historical figures, which came across as a poorly-executed excuse to throw people from varying time periods together in one setting. it would've worked better if ANY of the characters were even mildly more than one dimensional, especially as the plot seemed to be an afterthought.
"Great idea, but too much secularism"
I was of two minds about this story. While the idea was excellent, and the plot decent I was a bit turned off by the secularism. The secularism involved in order to keep the story actually created way more questions than it solved, leaving myself annoyed. Many plot holes are just solved by saying that it is a mystery and unknown, making it seem unreasonable for much of the claims to be made. If you take religion and philosophy seriously like I do then it can generate more headaches than enjoyment.
Despite this, the performance did help me enjoy it enough to finish it, but I am unlikely to go for the sequels unless exceptionally bored with everything else.
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