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Originally posted by silent thunder
Something about the premise of the OP's thread reminds me of the novel Hell by Tsutsui Yasutaka, originally published in Japanese and also in translation in English maybe 8 or 9 years ago.
In this book, Hell was conceived of not a place of torment and grotesqueries; instead, picture a dusty, run-down second-rate shopping mall on a hot, endlessly stagnant afternoon. The story, such that it is, unfolds against a backdrop of greasy, nondescript restaurants, movie theatre lobbies, linoleum hallways, and rows of grimy elevators. The habitues of Hell just sort of wander around in a semi-stupor, not really sure where they are going or what their ultimate aim is. They are vaguely aware they are in Hell, but they can't seem to muster up the energy necessary to break out of their torpor and really care.
In Yasutaka's Hell, every time you happened to think of somebody you knew in real life who was also in Hell, that person would materialize before you -- for example, you'd turn a corner and bump into him/her, or you'd drift into a restaurant and he/she's be next to you at the counter, that sort of thing. Since this was Hell, most of the people you would meet were unpleasant and all the encounters had a kind of unsatsifactory flavor to them, ranging from vaguely pathetic or uncomfortable interactions to out-and-out brawls and fistfights. You were always running into people you really didn't like or want to be around.
The idea, I suppose, was that the punishment in Hell was having to exist in perpetual contact with the other people who had been sentenced to hell. The author did an excellent job of evoking an open-ended fever-dream atmosphere. The backdrop to everything was kind of seedy and run-down and worn out without being truly decrepit; the overall effect was one of dustiness, lonliness, quiet obsolescence and faded mediocracy.
edit on 2/27/11 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)