A House-Boat on the Styx

John Kendrick Bangs (1862 - 1922)

The premise of the book is that everyone who has ever died (up until the time in which the book is set, which seems to be about the time of its publication) has gone to Styx. This does not appear to be the conventional Hell described by Dante in The Inferno, but rather the Hades described in Greek myth (both of which had Styxes): a universal collecting pot for dead souls, regardless of their deeds in life.

The book begins with Charon, ferryman of the Styx (in The Inferno, he was the ferryman of the river Acheron) being startled—and annoyed—by the arrival of a house boat on the Styx. At first afraid that the boat will put him out of business, he later finds out that he is actually to be appointed the boat's janitor.

What follows are eleven more stories (for a total of twelve) which are set on the house boat. There is no central theme, and the purpose of the book appears to be as a literary thought experiment to see what would happen if various famous dead people were put in the same room with each other. Each chapter is a short story featuring various souls from history and mythology. (Wikipedia)

Genre(s): Fantastic Fiction, Humorous Fiction

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 01 - Charon Makes a Discovery Zachary Brewster-Geisz
Play 02 02 - A Disputed Authorship Zachary Brewster-Geisz
Play 03 03 - Washington Gives a Dinner Zachary Brewster-Geisz
Play 04 04 - Hamlet Makes a Suggestion Zachary Brewster-Geisz
Play 05 05 - The House Committee Discuss the Poets Zachary Brewster-Geisz
Play 06 06 - Some Theories, Darwinian and Otherwise Zachary Brewster-Geisz
Play 07 07 - A Discussion as to Ladies' Day Zachary Brewster-Geisz
Play 08 08 - A Discontented Shade David Federman
Play 09 09 - As to Cookery and Sculpture GerryR
Play 10 10 - Story-tellers' Night Philippa
Play 11 11 - As to Saurians and Others Ruth Golding
Play 12 12 - The House-Boat Disappears James Christopher