(Note: This work is entirely unrelated to the setting by the same name in the main section of the wiki.)
Paradise is the working title of an unpublished (and largely unwritten) book by troper Dry Ice.
In the mid-1500s, a Venetian man named Niccolò passed away. A devout Catholic and a benevolent and dear figure in his community, he's welcomed into Heaven with open arms.
Skip to about 500 years in the future.
Niccolò has been living in Heaven for centuries. Motivated by boredom, restlessness, and crushing loneliness, he's developed a habit of sneaking out of the Christian heaven and into the neighboring heavens of other religions. He finds the change of scenery interesting, even if nobody in these other heavens ever notices him. One day, he decides to go on the ultimate adventure and see what Hell is like. Upon his arrival, he's immediately noticed by a small but rather scary-looking passerby, who marches up to him with the fire of the devil in his eyes... and invites him to come meet his friends and have a drink.
And that is how Niccolò meets Kęstas.
So begins a strange friendship and series of strange adventures. Niccolò soon discovers that while Hell is far from a party, it's not the tortuous pits of fire that he expected. As long as you feel regret, you're safe from the flames (though Kęstas claims that the regret hurts worse than the fire does.) And for Niccolò, who had grown sick of the morally perfect self-righteousness that pervaded in Heaven, the unassuming, flawed people of Hell are like fresh air for his soul.
But little do Niccolò and Kęstas know that the gods know full well what's happening, and decide that something must be done about it. In the end, Niccolò must choose between sinless perfection and good old humanity.
Paradise provides examples of the following tropes:
- A Hell of a Time: Sort of. Hell isn't a giant party. Its residents have to put up with a lot of crap. You must either feel regret or burn, you have to work, the food sucks, and the whole place is generally kind of dreary. Many people would probably prefer Heaven. But Niccolò enjoys it there, because in Hell he can connect with people as he did on Earth and as he can't in Heaven.
- Broken Smile: Kęstas can do a nice one....
- Celestial Bureaucracy: Not terribly overt, but still present. Especially so in Hell, where the residents are left almost to their own devices because nobody really cares enough about them to do anything.
- Christianity is Catholic: Niccolò is Catholic. He lives in Heaven and speaks Italian. On the rare occasion that he meets a Protestant or Eastern Orthodox he can converse with, he sometimes slips up and forgets the differences between their religions.
- Circles of Hell: Hell is an enormous place — the less honorable afterlives of all sorts of religions have been smashed together into one realm.
- Common Language: Hell has one — nobody knows what language it is, but everyone speaks it with a ridiculous accent.
- Heaven, on the other hand, does not. Therefore, Niccolò (an Italian) is very surprised that he and Kęstas (a Lithuanian) can understand each other.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Niccolò.
- Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: One of Kęstas's defining characteristics.
- Dark Is Not Bad
- Dead to Begin With
- Dissonant Serenity: Kęstas has a habit of talking about horrible things in an offhand, calm, or even joking manner.
- Driven to Suicide: Kęstas was damned because he committed suicide.
- Dying Alone: Both Niccolò and Kęstas died alone; Niccolò because he happened to slip away between the vigils of his friends, and Kęstas because hewas the only one left alive.
- Ethical Slut: How it goes down in Hell. Since there's no longer any sin, sex is fine as long as no one gets hurt.
- Fallen Angel: Niccolò by the end, though by choice rather than any bad behavior or evilness.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: A section of Hell does exist where people burn. New arrivals are usually in there for only a day or two - as long as it takes them to regret whatever it was they did that got them damned. As long as they have that feeling of regret, they're safe from the flames. Several residents of Hell go through periods where their regret starts to wane — they develop fevers, and if they don't start regretting again soon, are whisked back into the flames for a good dousing.
- Fish out of Water: Niccolò in Hell. At first, at least.
- God Is Flawed: The gods of various religions spend a lot of their time arguing with each other. All of them have their own quirks and foibles that annoy the crap out of the others.
- God Is Good: The gods ultimately believe that their duty is to keep humanity from falling into chaos.
- Guilt Complex: Everyone in Hell has one to an extent. The rule in Hell is that as long as you regret, you're safe from the flames. Therefore everyone in Hell must constantly be regretting something.
- Heaven and Hell: Obviously.
- Hell Seeker: Niccolò.
- Heroic BSOD: Niccolò at the end and Kęstas via flashback, both for the same reason — they essentially chose damnation.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Exactly what Niccolò can't stand about Heaven.
- Light Is Not Good
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Kęstas often seems like this to Niccolò, simply because he talks about things like death and burning with a cheerful demeanor.
- Pantheatic Sitcom: All in a day's work for the gods.
- Random Events Plot: The first half of the story is very much like this.
- Redemption in the Rain: Both Heaven and Hell are rain-free....
- Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Starts out well on the silly side, and slowly shifts closer to seriousness.
- The Unpronounceable: If anybody out there knows how to pronounce Kęstas's name, please let me know.
- You Are Worth Hell: Niccolò's final decision to stay with his friends rather than leave them to remain in Heaven is literally this.
- You Fail Religious Studies Forever: If this is ever published, I'm sure that someone will accuse me of this. While research is most definitely going into its creation, the point of the book is not to mock or even make a statement about religion. Heaven and Hell are being used as allegories for good and evil. The message is separate from religion, and so details may end of up being tweaked to serve the stories' purpose.