Niven and Pournelle’s Inferno will be released on September 2 by Orb Books, an arm of Tor that specializes in trade paperback reprints. The 1976 novel earned both Hugo and Nebula nominations. The original edition of the book sold quite well, going through about 18 printings in paperback.
And a sequel is on the way: the authors have already delivered the manuscript to Tor. It will be a second trek through hell, rather than a take on Purgatorio. When I asked Jerry Pournelle whether he and Niven considered advancing to the territory described by Dante in the second part of his poetic trilogy, Jerry explained, “We considered going on to Purgatorio, but I wanted it nailed down: that is, we have taken Lewis’ Great Divorce and married it to Dante and Blake. And I didn’t think we were through with that.”
Right now, Inferno is available for pre-order on Amazon, whose numerous marketing gimmicks never fail to fascinate me. At the hour I accessed the site, Inferno was the #1 best-selling book by Jerry Pournelle, but only the #9 best-selling book by Larry Niven. Go figure.
Even though fans are supposed to be timebinders, I found it mildly disconcerting that two of the three publicity blurbs are by famous authors who are late (as Alexander McCall Smith would gently put it.) Perhaps additional comments by contemporary writers will be added while the book is in production?