A short story, genre fantasy, read during the 1960s in English, I think in an anthology instead of a magazine.

A human and a devil interacted, possibly the human sold his soul but I don't remember. The devil mentioned he was preparing for the coming elections in Hell. The human was surprised by the idea of elections in Hell, but the devil explained it by saying that Hell was a totalitarian state and all totalitarian states have elections.


1 Answer 1


This is "Pact" by Poul Anderson (writing as Winston P. Sanders).

You can read the full story online here

"Ah," said Ashmadai, relaxing. He went behind his desk, sat down, and smiled. "That's quite straightforward, though I admit it will be hard and even painful to do. There's an election coming up-"
"Oh? I understand Satan is the supreme lord of Hell."
"He Is." Ashmadaf knocked his head carefully on the desk top. "But whoever heard of a totalitarian state without elections? The Party Congress is scheduled to meet soon and decide which way the will of the people is going to express itself by a 98.7% majority. Our Father in the Lowest will preside as always. But there's quite a scramble at the executive level just above him. It turns on a question of policy."
"Has Hell any policy except leading souls astray?"
"Uh . . . no.

  • Valorum - I have read "Pact" and it seems to be the answer. Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 3:13

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