Robert Silverberg wrote that he was "drawn into" writing a story for the "Heroes in Hell" project. While he remembered that the central concept of the series was "never clearly explained" to him, he noted the similarity of "Heroes in Hell" to Philip José Farmer's Riverworld works, and decided "to run my own variant on what Farmer had done a couple of decades earlier." After writing "Gilgamesh in the Outback," he decided that, since the story "was all so much fun," to write two sequels, "The Fascination of the Abomination" and "Gilgamesh in Uruk." In writing those stories, as Silverberg recalled, he "never read many of the other 'Heroes in Hell' stories", and had "no idea" of how consistent his work was with that of his "putative collaborators"; instead, he had "gone his own way . . . with only the most tangential links to what others had invented."
Silverberg compiled the three stories as To the Land of the Living, revising the stories to remove any references to other writers' contributions to "Heroes in Hell" to avoid copyright issues.To the Land of the Living was published in the British market in 1989 and reprinted in an American edition in 1990.