Paingod and Other Delusions

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Overview

Robert Heinlein says, ?This book is raw corn liquor?you should serve a whiskbroom with each shot so the customer can brush the sawdust off after he gets up from the floor.? Perhaps a mooring cable might also be added as necessary equipment for reading these eight wonderful stories. They not only knock you down . . . they raise you to the stars. Passion is the keynote as you encounter the Harlequin and his nemesis, the dreaded Tictockman, in one of the most reprinted and widely taught stories in the English ...

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Paingod and Other Delusions

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Overview

Robert Heinlein says, “This book is raw corn liquor—you should serve a whiskbroom with each shot so the customer can brush the sawdust off after he gets up from the floor.” Perhaps a mooring cable might also be added as necessary equipment for reading these eight wonderful stories. They not only knock you down . . . they raise you to the stars. Passion is the keynote as you encounter the Harlequin and his nemesis, the dreaded Tictockman, in one of the most reprinted and widely taught stories in the English language; a pyretic who creates fire merely by willing it; the last surgeon in a world of robot physicians; a spaceship filled with hideous mutants rejected by the world that gave them birth. Touching, gentle, and shocking stories from an incomparable master of impossible dreams and troubling truths.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"Harlan Ellison is the dark prince of American letters, cutting through our corrupted midnight fog with a switchblade prose. He simply must be read." -Pete Hamill

"Ellison writes with sensitivity as well as guts---a rare combination." -Leslie Charteris, creator of The Saint

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497643192
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Science & Fantasy
  • Publication date: 6/28/2014
  • Pages: 190
  • Sales rank: 734,511
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.43 (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 one 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; 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

Late in March of 1965, I was compelled to join twenty-five thousand others, from all corners of the United States, who marched on the then-bastion of bigotry, the then-capitol of corruption, Montgomery, Alabama (though South Boston now holds undisputed title to the designation, Montgomery is still no flowerbed of racial sanity) (but the myth of the "liberal" North sure got the hell shot out of it by the Southies from Irish-redneck Boston).

I was part of the human floodtide they called a "freedom march" that was trying to tell Governor George Wallace that Alabama was not an island, that it was part of the civilized universe, that though we came from New York and California and Illinois and South Dakota we were not "outside agitators," we were fellow human beings who shared the same granfalloon called "Americans," and we were seeking dignity and civil rights for a people shamefully bludgeoned and mistreated for over two centuries. It was a walk through the country of the blind. I've written about it at length elsewhere.

But now it's ten years later and yesterday a friend of mine's sixty-five-year-old mother got mugged and robbed in broad daylight by two black girls. It's ten years later and a girl I once loved very deeply got raped repeatedly, at knife-point, in the back seat of her own car in an empty lot behind a bowling alley in the San Fernando Valley by a black dude who kept at her for seven hours. It's ten years later and Martin Luther King is dead and Super Fly is alive, and what am I to say to Doris Pitkin Buck, who lost her dear and magical Richard on the streets of Washington, D.C., to a pack of black killers who chose to stomp to death a man in his eighties forhowever much stash-money he might have been carrying?

Do I say to that friend of mine: when they went to drag the Mississippi swamps for the bodies of the civil rights workers Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman, they dredged up the bodies of sixteen black men who had been cavalierly murdered and dumped in the muck, and no one even gave a damn, the newspapers didn't even make much of a note of it, that it was the accepted way to handle an "uppity nigger" in the South? Do I say that and hope I've said something rational?

Do I say to that girl I loved: every time you see a mocha-colored maid or waitress it means her great-great-grandmother was a sexual pin cushion for some plantation Massa', that rape and indentured bed service was taken for granted for two hundred years and if it was refused there was always a stout length of cordwood to change the girl's thinking? Do I say that and hope I've drawn a reasonable parallel?

Do I tell brave and talented Doris Buck, who never hurt anyone in her life, that we're paying dues for what our ancestors did, that we're reaping the terrible crop of pain and evil and murder committed in the name of White Supremacy, that white men rob and rape and steal and kill as well as black, but that blacks are poorer, more desperate, more frustrated, angrier? Do I say that and hope to stop her tears with logic?

Why the hell do we expect a nobility of blacks that whites never possessed?

Of course I don't say that pack of simple-minded platitudes. Personal pain is incapable of spontaneous remission in the presence of loss. I say nothing.

But my days of White Liberal Guilt are gone. My days of championing whole classes and sexes and pigmentations of people are gone. The Sixties are gone, and we live in the terrible present, where death and guilt don't mix. Now I come, after all these years, to the only position that works: each one on his or her own merits, black/white/yellow/brown. Not all Jews are money-gouging kikes, but some are. Not all blacks are slavering rapists, but some are. Not all Puerto Ricans are midnight second-storey spicks, but some are.

And we come to the question again and again, what kind of a god is it that permits such misery ... are we truly cast in his image, such an image of cruelty and rapaciousness ... were we put here really to suffer such torment? Let the Children of God answer that one with something other than no-brain jingoism. Mark Twain said, "If one truly believes there is an all-powerful Deity, and one looks around at the condition of the universe, one is led inescapably to the conclusion that God is a malign thug." That's the quote that caused me to write "The Deathbird." It's a puzzle I cannot reason out.

I doubt. I have always doubted, since the day I read in the Old Testament--the word of God, remember--that there was only Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, and then Cain got married. To whom? To Eve? Then don't tell me what a no-no incest is.

Isaac Asimov assures me it's a rational universe, predicated on sanity and order. Yeah? Well, tell me about God. Tell me who He is, why He allows the foulest hyenas of our society to run amuck while decent men and women cower in terror behind Fox locks and Dictograph systems. Tell me about Him. Equate theology with the world in which we live, with William Calley and Kitty Genovese and the people who keep their kids out of school because the new textbooks dare to say Humans are clever descendants of the Ape. No? Having some trouble? Getting ready to write me a letter denouncing me as the Antichrist? "God in his infinite wisdom," you say? Faith, you urge me? I have faith ... in people, not Gods.

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Table of Contents

Contents

New Introduction: Your Basic Crown of Thorns,
INTRODUCTION TO FIRST EDITION,
PAINGOD,
"REPENT, HARLEQUIN!" SAID THE TICKTOCKMAN,
THE CRACKPOTS,
SLEEPING DOGS,
BRIGHT EYES,
THE DISCARDED,
WANTED IN SURGERY,
DEEPER THAN THE DARKNESS,

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Customer Reviews

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