Exile to Hell

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"Exile to Hell"
Author Isaac Asimov
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction short story
Published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Publication type Periodical
Publisher Conde Nast
Media type Print (Magazine, Hardback & Paperback)
Publication date May 1968

"Exile to Hell" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It appeared in the May 1968 issue of Analog and was included in the 1975 collection Buy Jupiter and Other Stories.

The serialization of his novelization of Fantastic Voyage in The Saturday Evening Post in 1966 filled Asimov with the ambition to publish an original story there before the magazine ceased publication. He therefore wrote "Exile to Hell" in June 1967. The Post rejected the story, though, just as they would have in their heyday twenty years before (as Asimov noted in In Joy Still Felt). It then occurred to Asimov that he had not submitted a story to Analog since Thiotimoline and the Space Age in 1960. The story was accepted, and appeared in the May 1968 issue. In Asimov's introduction to the story in Buy Jupiter and Other Stories, he notes that when the story first appeared in Analog, the pre-story blurb by editor John W. Campbell spoiled the story by telegraphing the ending.

Plot summary[edit]

A man named Jenkins is put on trial after accidentally damaging a computer system that potentially could have a disastrous effect on the totally computerized underground society in which he lives. The trial, which is carried out by computers programmed with prosecution and defence arguments, finds Jenkins guilty of equipment damage, a major crime by the society's laws. He is sentenced to permanent exile.

Only at the end of the story is it revealed that the society is built beneath the surface of the Moon, with a totally conditioned and computer-controlled environment, and that the place of exile is on the surface of the Earth.


  • Asimov, Isaac. (27 October 2009) Buy Jupiter and Other Stories; Doubleday, 1975.
  • Asimov, Isaac. (27 October 2009) In Joy Still Felt; Doubleday, 1980.

External links[edit]