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Among Ellison’s more famous stories, two consistently noted as his very best ever are the Hugo Award–winning, postapocalyptic title story of this collection of seven shorts and the volume’s concluding story, “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes.” Since Ellison himself strongly resists categorization of his work, we will not call them science fiction, or SF, or speculative fiction or horror or anything else except compelling reading experiences that are utterly unique. They could only have been written by the great Harlan Ellison, and they are incomparably original.

Topics: Short stories, Anthology, Speculative Fiction, Magic, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Death, Dark, Suspenseful, Magical Realism, and Futurism

Published: Open Road Media an imprint of Open Road Integrated Media on Apr 29, 2014
ISBN: 9781497609617
List price: $9.99
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Big Sam Was My Friend (Kinda lame especially after "Scream")-Delusion for a Dragonslayer (Tripped out, harsh)-Eyes of Dust (I guess the topic just seems old to me.)-I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (An assault on the mind. Scary.)-Lonleyache (Bad ending, I think I get it, it's just stupid.)-Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes (Good writing, twilght zonesque, plot just ok)-World of the Myth (Good, Dark, simple)read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've read this a dozen times over the years. Wow! He has a unique insight into humanity, the future & an extremely imaginative way of putting them together. This is a classic!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Some of us are still gallivanting around the cave, some of us are chained to the floor examining shadows. And some of us exist inside the consciousness of a malevolent artificial intelligence that derives its only amusement, diversion from unceasing monotony, in merciless torment of five surviving humans:

the scientist, the idealist, the existentialist, the prostitute and the Messiah.

The only escape is annihilation, and it is left to the Messiah to condemn himself to eternal suffering.

You're excused if you think I'm discussing The Matrix - my first thought on reading the title story is that the 1999 film owes its central ideas and plot to Harlan Ellison. But Ellison owes the juxtaposition of his primary characters to the Bible: AM, the self-realised AI trapped forever within circuitry is a vengeful God punishing humanity for its own actualisation - would God exist if humans could not imagine the concept? Ted is the lamb sacrificed to release his fellow companions from the hell of AM's nightmare world - the atonement of sins he provides is escape from AM's hell, while he remains to endure it. Is Ellen the Magdalene - not unless you accept the Magdalene really was a prostitute, although Ellen proclaims that she was chaste prior to AM's perversion of her psyche; the scientist becomes the simian, the idealist apathetic and the existentialist remains ambiguous. Analogy between the disciples and these other characters would be a stretch of the imagination unjustified, however the three are willing participants in the sacrifice of the Messiah.

Ellison's prose is a picture. I won't paraphrase - I couldn't do him justice:

Gigantic. The words immense, monstrous, grotesque, massive, swollen, overpowering, beyond description. There on a mound rising above us, the bird of winds heaved with its own irregular breathing, its snake neck arching up into the gloom beneath the North Pole, supporting a head as large as a Tudor mansion; a beak that opened slowly as the jaws of the most monstrous crocodile ever conceived, sensuously; ridges of tufted flesh puckered about two evil eyes, as cold as the view down into a glacial crevasse, ice blue and somehow moving liquidly; it heaved once more, and lifted its great sweat-colored wings in a movement that was certainly a shrug. Then it settled and slept. Talons. Fangs. Nails. Blades. It slept....

...And we came, finally, to the ice caverns. Horizonless thousands of miles in which the ice had formed in blue and silver flashes, where novas lived in the glass. The downdropping stalactites as thick and glorious as diamonds that had been made to run like jelly and then solidified in graceful eternities of smooth, sharp perfection.


Today was the first time I read Harlan Ellison. It won't be the last.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Big Sam Was My Friend (Kinda lame especially after "Scream")-Delusion for a Dragonslayer (Tripped out, harsh)-Eyes of Dust (I guess the topic just seems old to me.)-I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (An assault on the mind. Scary.)-Lonleyache (Bad ending, I think I get it, it's just stupid.)-Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes (Good writing, twilght zonesque, plot just ok)-World of the Myth (Good, Dark, simple)
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've read this a dozen times over the years. Wow! He has a unique insight into humanity, the future & an extremely imaginative way of putting them together. This is a classic!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Some of us are still gallivanting around the cave, some of us are chained to the floor examining shadows. And some of us exist inside the consciousness of a malevolent artificial intelligence that derives its only amusement, diversion from unceasing monotony, in merciless torment of five surviving humans:

the scientist, the idealist, the existentialist, the prostitute and the Messiah.

The only escape is annihilation, and it is left to the Messiah to condemn himself to eternal suffering.

You're excused if you think I'm discussing The Matrix - my first thought on reading the title story is that the 1999 film owes its central ideas and plot to Harlan Ellison. But Ellison owes the juxtaposition of his primary characters to the Bible: AM, the self-realised AI trapped forever within circuitry is a vengeful God punishing humanity for its own actualisation - would God exist if humans could not imagine the concept? Ted is the lamb sacrificed to release his fellow companions from the hell of AM's nightmare world - the atonement of sins he provides is escape from AM's hell, while he remains to endure it. Is Ellen the Magdalene - not unless you accept the Magdalene really was a prostitute, although Ellen proclaims that she was chaste prior to AM's perversion of her psyche; the scientist becomes the simian, the idealist apathetic and the existentialist remains ambiguous. Analogy between the disciples and these other characters would be a stretch of the imagination unjustified, however the three are willing participants in the sacrifice of the Messiah.

Ellison's prose is a picture. I won't paraphrase - I couldn't do him justice:

Gigantic. The words immense, monstrous, grotesque, massive, swollen, overpowering, beyond description. There on a mound rising above us, the bird of winds heaved with its own irregular breathing, its snake neck arching up into the gloom beneath the North Pole, supporting a head as large as a Tudor mansion; a beak that opened slowly as the jaws of the most monstrous crocodile ever conceived, sensuously; ridges of tufted flesh puckered about two evil eyes, as cold as the view down into a glacial crevasse, ice blue and somehow moving liquidly; it heaved once more, and lifted its great sweat-colored wings in a movement that was certainly a shrug. Then it settled and slept. Talons. Fangs. Nails. Blades. It slept....

...And we came, finally, to the ice caverns. Horizonless thousands of miles in which the ice had formed in blue and silver flashes, where novas lived in the glass. The downdropping stalactites as thick and glorious as diamonds that had been made to run like jelly and then solidified in graceful eternities of smooth, sharp perfection.


Today was the first time I read Harlan Ellison. It won't be the last.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The other tales in the collection pale in comparison when held up alongside the title story. This is one for the ages--Ellison has forged an original, literate offering that stands with the finest short fiction of the 20th century.
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I rarely read fiction, let alone scifi, but it's an interesting diversion recommended by an online athiest.
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