When I stumbled upon Encyclopaedia of Hell's Facebook page, I was immediately taken with the book cover that serves as it's profile picture. Being drawn to anything having to do with the occult, I instantly assumed it to be some aged manuscript that had been dug up at some obscure sorcerer's crumbling abode, and reprinted by an equally obscure publishing house sympathetic to the aspiring mage. Upon further inspection, I discovered it was a book of satire, allegedly written by Satan Himself. Dashed were my hopes of at last finding a spell or three that would grant me the power to turn my long list of wretched enemies into ebola-afflicted three-headed mules. Undaunted, however, I continued my investigation.
What I discovered was a book that accomplished what my miserable former fiance through her best efforts could not: bring tears to my eyes. The kind of tears that accompany intense bouts of laughter, of course. The biting commentary by Lord Satan on the inane futility of human existence is priceless, but it is his bumbling editor Zyk who almost steals the show with his memos to "the publisher" interspersed throughout The Encyclopaedia cataloging his mishaps and misadventures (of all the demons mentioned in the book, his is the sole unfamiliar demonic nomenclature). The amazing thing about Encyclopaedia of Hell, is the extent to which Martin Olson has fleshed out all of the supporting characters in the limited space allotted. Yet through intermittent notes the personalities of Lilith, Behemoth, Belial, and other demon commentators are cemented into the brain almost immediately.
This Encyclopaedia is one of the best books I have ever purchased. From the writing to the illustrations to the binding itself. Since childhood, the only scent that could send me into joyful paroxysm other than freshly washed hound, was the smell of new books. I must abashedly admit Encyclopaedia of Hell is the best smelling book I've bought since Science Fiction Book Club's hardback collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Mastermind of Mars & Fighting Man of Mars".
To the prospective reader of Encyclopaedia of Hell reading this review, believe me when I tell you that it will be cash well spent. I have never pre-ordered anything in my life, yet I did so with this book knowing little to nothing about it's author. It looked to be a winner, and I was right. You will read this book more than once, you will share passages from it with your family and friends. Despite your sharing nature, you will insist that others purchase their own copies, defending yours like a politician's ailing reputation. If you are so bold as to read it in public, be mindful your explosive laughter may attract the wrong kind of attention in the form of white coats and blue uniforms.