I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

( 28 )

Overview

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 ...

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I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

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Overview

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.

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What People Are Saying

Leslie Charteris
Ellison writes with sensitivity as well as guts---a rare combination.
—Leslie Charteris, (creator of The Saint)
Pete Hamill
Harlan Ellison is the dark prince of American letters, cutting through our corrupted midnight fog with a switchblade prose. He simply must be read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497643079
  • Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media LLC
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Pages: 162
  • Sales rank: 104,000
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Harlan Ellison has been called “one of the great living American short story writers” by the Washington Post. In a career spanning more than fifty years, he has won more awards than any other living fantasist. Ellison has written or edited seventy-four books; more than seventeen hundred stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns; two dozen teleplays; and a dozen motion pictures. He has won the Hugo Award eight and a half times (shared once); the Nebula Award three times; the Bram Stoker Award, presented by the Horror Writers Association, five times (including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996); the Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America twice; the Georges Melies Fantasy Film Award twice; and two Audie Awards (for the best in audio recordings); and he was awarded the Silver Pen for Journalism by PEN, the international writers’ union. He was presented with the first Living Legend Award by the International Horror Critics at the 1995 World Horror Convention. Ellison is the only author in Hollywood ever to win the Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Teleplay (solo work) four times, most recently for “Paladin of the Lost Hour,” his Twilight Zone episode that was Danny Kaye’s final role, in 1987. In 2006, Ellison was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Dreams With Sharp Teeth, the documentary chronicling his life and works, was released on DVD in May 2009. 


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Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

THE MOVER, THE SHAKER

My report on Harlan Ellison's Paingod in National Review evoked the following, from a right-wing gentleman in Pennsylvania:

Harlan Ellison, contrary to the otherwise astute Theodore Sturgeon, is no more a major "prose stylist" than the editorial writer of the Plumber's Journal or The New York Times. Instead, he stands unchallenged as the god-awfullest writer ever to become submerged in the vaseline of synonyms and antonyms.

What Mr. Sturgeon mistakes for "image-making" is merely the slick conundrum of an empty-headed self-lover who, unhappily, believes that the bathroom ritual of personal daily resurrection, when inflated rhetorically, is 14" pegged prose. What emerges is not a "style" but rather a sort of neologistic bawling from the belly. It reminds one of the yips and yaps to be heard in the war councils of imbecilic demonstrators, from Berkley [sic] to Boston.

Ellison's "mad, mixed metaphors" are only less puerile than those of a certain Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice, and his "unfinished sentences" no different in construction than those to be found in the diary of a lady golfer or political speech writer suffering from Liberal emphysema.

If our penitentiaries offered courses in creative writing we would soon be inundated with little Harlan Ellison's [the apostrophe also sic], all of them, to be sure, "groovy" and all of them ghastly. His unconcealed hostility toward his betters is evident in nearly everything he has ever written. That he is reviewed in a magazine noted for correct English (and often bad French) will probably embarrass the fellow. It does me.

To which Ireplied:

I find no hesitation in deeping Mr.--'s embarrassment by demonstrating that he could not possibly have read my review of Paingod and Other Delusions with care, which leads inescapably to the deduction that he has not carefully read Ellison. For the tenor, sum and substance of my report was not that Harlan Ellison is a major prose stylist, but that in three to five years he shall be. Further, I did not in the review concede that Ellison is capable of atrociously bad writing--I proclaimed it. I said in effect that this extraordinarily energetic young writer is a man on the move, so watch him. Style, like taste, is resistant to lucid definition; however, both, as living things should be, are subject to constant change. For example, I can clearly recall the time when it was regarded as both stylish and tasteful to capitalize proprietary terms like Vaseline and God (at any degree of awfulness) and hardly tasteful to admit to any expertise on the style of ladies' diaries.

You hold in your hands a truly extraordinary book. Taken individually, each of these stories will afford you that easy-to-take, hard-to-find, very hard-to-accomplish quality of entertainment. Here are strange and lovely bits of bitterness like "Eyes of Dust" and the unforgettable "Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes," phantasmagoric fables like "I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream" and "Delusion for a Dragon Slayer."

I have something interesting to tell you about that last-mentioned story. Almost anyone who has been under the influence of a (and Purists please note: I tried) hallucinogen can recognize the "psychedelic" quality of this story and its images, even to a fine detail like the almost total absence of sound during the shipwreck sequence, and of course the kaleidoscopic changes of persona and symbol. Yet I know for a fact that Harlan has never had this experience, and is one of those who could not be persuaded under any circumstances to undergo it. I got a special insight on this one night at a party when his hostess graciously offered him the opportunity to "turn on." "No, thanks," he said. "Not until I come down."

Which would remain a good-humored whimsy but for something a biochemist told me a couple of years ago. It seems that there is a blood fraction which is chemically almost identical with the hallucinogen psilocybin. It's manufactured in the body and like most biochemicals, differs in concentration in the bloodstream from person to person, and in the same person from time to time. And, said my biochemist friend, it is quite possible that there are some people who are born, and live out their lives, with a consciousness more aware, more comprehending, more--well, expanded--than those of the rest of us. He cited especially William Blake, whose extraordinary drawings and writings, over quite a long life, seemed consistently to be reporting on a world rather more comprehensive than one we "know" he lived in.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Echoes Of Screams, 1983,
Introduction: The Mover, The Shaker,
Foreword: How Science Fiction Saved Me From a Life of Crime,
I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream,
Big Sam Was My Friend,
Eyes Of Dust,
World of the Myth,
Lonelyache,
Delusion For A Dragon Slayer,
Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes,
Copyright,

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2011

    Only For Hardcore Fans of Science Fiction and, to a Lesser Extent, Horror

    Angry, horrible, nightmarish, brooding, and shocking, this short story will pull you out of any lilt you may be feeling and will utterly bury your comfort zone. You will feel as though you have reached the epicenter of hell by the time you finish this story, and that you understand what it means to pray, cry for, and hope bitterly for a death that will never come.

    Harlan Ellison is a sadistic genius whose vision reminds me of "The Cube" - only his is much, much, much worse and somehow more unfeeling.

    Buy this now.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Amazing writing....

    Some of the best from one of the true masters. The title story is a classic and one of my all time favorites, but it is far from the only noteworthy inclusion. Ellison is so good at capturing moods and emotions that you really feel as though you come to live the stories instead of just reading them. I cannot recommend this enough.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Morbid and Grusome

    This book (or rather short story) was recommended to me by a friend. It is morbid and grusome, just as it should be, and will haunt you forever. If you have a light stomach take heed if my warning, don't read this!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    History's Greatest Science Fiction Writer

    Ellison's writings combine horror and a deep humanism. I suspect that his own struggles with depression have given his great mind grist for his literary mill. I predict he will still be read in translation when English itself is a dead language. Caveat lector (Let the reader beware): Don't read more than one of his works at a time. You will surely have nightmares.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    A

    I have not read this book but I have played the game and if this is anything like it than it will be great. The story is gritty and sadistic. NOT for a younger adience. If you value your nook, buy this book!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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