Hugo Award winner I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is living legend Harlan Ellison’s masterpiece of future warfare. In a post-apocalyptic world, four men and one woman are all that remain of the human race, brought to near extinction by an artificial intelligence. Programmed to wage war on behalf of its creators, the AI became self-aware and turned against all humanity. The five survivors are prisoners, kept alive and subjected to brutal torture by the hateful and sadistic machine in an endless cycle of violence.
Presented here with six more groundbreaking and inventive tales that probe the depths of mortal experience, this collection proves why Ellison has earned the many accolades he’s received and remains one of the most original voices in American literature.
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream also includes “Big Sam Was My Friend,” “Eyes of Dust,” “World of the Myth,” “Lonelyache,” Hugo Award finalist “Delusion for a Dragon Slayer,” and Hugo and Nebula Award finalist “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes.”
As Earth approaches Armageddon, a man embarks on a quest to confront God in the Hugo Award–winning novelette, “The Deathbird.”
In New York City, a brutal act of violence summons a malevolent spirit and a growing congregation of desensitized worshippers in “The Whimper of Whipped Dogs,” an Edgar Award winner influenced by the real-life murder of Queens resident Kitty Genovese in 1964.
In “Paingod,” the deity tasked with inflicting pain and suffering on every living being in the universe questions the purpose of its cruel existence.
Deathbird Stories collects these and sixteen more provocative tales exploring the futility of faith in a faithless world. A legendary author of speculative fiction whose best-known works include A Boy and His Dog and I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream—and whose major awards and nominations number in the dozens, Harlan Ellison strips away convention and hypocrisy and lays bare the human condition in modern society as ancient gods fade and new deities rise to appease the masses—gods of technology, drugs, gambling, materialism—that are as insubstantial as the beliefs of those who venerate them.
In addition to his Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, Bram Stoker, Edgar, and other awards, Ellison was called “one of the great living American short story writers” by the Washington Post—and this collection makes it clear why he has earned such an extraordinary assortment of accolades.
“Introduction: Oblations at Alien Altars”
“The Whimper of Whipped Dogs”
“Along the Scenic Route”
“On the Downhill Side”
“O Ye of Little Faith”
“Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes”
“Shattered Like a Glass Goblin”
“Delusion for a Dragon Slayer”
“The Face of Helene Bournouw”
“At the Mouse Circus”
“The Place with No Name”
“Ernest and the Machine God”
“Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W”
Over the course of his legendary career, Harlan Ellison has defied—and sometimes defined—modern fantasy literature, all while refusing to allow any genre to claim him. A Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association as well as winner of countless awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Edgar Allan Poe, and Bram Stoker, Ellison is as unpredictable as he is unique, irrepressible as he is infuriating. Again, Dangerous Visions is the classic companion to the most essential science fiction anthology ever published, and includes forty‐six original stories edited and with introductions by Harlan Ellison, featuring John Heidenry, Ross Rocklynne, Ursula K. Le Guin, Andrew J. Offutt, Gene Wolfe, Ray Nelson, Ray Bradbury, Chad Oliver, Edward Bryant, Kate Wilhelm, James B. Hemesath, Joanna Russ, Kurt Vonnegut, T. L. Sherred, K. M. O’Donnell (Barry N. Malzberg), H. H. Hollis, Bernard Wolfe, David Gerrold, Piers Anthony, Lee Hoffman, Gahan Wilson, Joan Bernott, Gregory Benford, Evelyn Lief, James Sallis, Josephine Saxton, Ken McCullough, David Kerr, Burt K. Filer, Richard Hill, Leonard Tushnet, Ben Bova, Dean Koontz, James Blish and Judith Ann Lawrence, A. Parra (y Figueredo), Thomas M. Disch, Richard A. Lupoff, M. John Harrison, Robin Scott, Andrew Weiner, Terry Carr, and James Tiptree Jr.
In an alternate world in which John F. Kennedy survived and scientific breakthroughs in animal research and telepathy allow for advanced communication with animal companions, fifteen-year-old Vic and his telepathic dog, Blood, scavenge the wastelands of a war-torn United States, survivors of a nuclear World War III between the Americans and the Soviets. While Blood guides Vic toward women—to be used for sex—Vic ensures that Blood has food, but the symbiotic relationship is put at risk when the pair meets Quilla June Holmes, who lures the boy to an underground civilization. A piece of shocking, dystopic science fiction, A Boy and His Dog questions the boundaries and nature of love while crafting a vision of a dark future guaranteed to leave chills.
Also included here is “Ahbhu: The Passing of One Man’s Inspiration and Best Friend,” a personal essay by author Harlan Ellison, which lovingly recounts the life of his canine companion, Ahbhu, the true-life basis for Blood. Ellison recalls rescuing Ahbhu from the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter and gives a brief chronicle of life with his furry friend, whom he stresses was both “a person” and “impossible to anthropomorphize.” The nostalgic in memoriam frames the author’s relationship with animals while casting a personal light on the inspiration for the novella with which it is paired.
Winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novella and a Hugo Award finalist, A Boy and His Dog was adapted into a cult classic film and fully solidifies Ellison as a master of his craft. This volume combines a dark, dystopian future of animal telepathy, sex, and postapocalyptic underworlds with a real-life account of the author’s muse for the feisty but loyal Blood. Indispensible reading material for any fan of Ellison or dark science fiction, animal lovers will also delight over the relationship between Vic and Blood.
A five-year-old boy never ages, living as an immortal in a past that no longer exists while the world encroaches upon his innocence, in the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning “Jeffty is Five.”
An alien attack leaves Earth on the brink of Armageddon, as humans find themselves unable to resist the sexual allure of their invaders in “How’s the Night Life on Cissalda?”
In the Nebula Award–nominated “Shatterday” (subsequently adapted into the pilot episode of the second Twilight Zone series), a man fights for his life against a relentless enemy who knows his darkest secrets—his own doppelganger.
In these and other thought-provoking stories, legendary author Harlan Ellison dissects the primal fears and inherent frailties common to all people and gives voice to the thoughts and feelings human beings bury deep within their souls. Unflinching and unapologetic, Ellison depicts men and women in all their ugliness and beauty, and humanity in all its fury and glory.
Stories include “Introduction: Mortal Dreads,” “Jeffty Is Five,” “How’s the Night Life on Cissalda?,” “Flop Sweat,” “Would You Do it For a Penny?” (written in collaboration with Haskell Barkin), “The Man Who Was Heavily Into Revenge,” “Shoppe Keeper,” “All the Lies That Are My Life,” “Django,” “Count the Clock That Tells the Time,” “In the Fourth Year of the War,” “Alive and Well on a Friendless Voyage,” “All the Birds Come Home to Roost,” “Opium,” “The Other Eye of Polyphemus,” “The Executioner of the Malformed Children,” and “Shatterday.”
USS Enterprise Starfleet officers Capt. James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock escort a renegade criminal to a nearby planet for capital punishment, and they discover the remains of a city. This ancient civilization is inhabited by the alien Guardians of Forever, who are tasked with protecting a time machine. When the criminal escapes through the portal into the past, he alters Earth’s timeline, damaging humanity’s future role among the stars.
Pursuing their prisoner, Kirk and Spock are transported to 1930s Depression-era New York City—where they meet pacifist Edith Koestler, a woman whose fate is entwined with the aftermath of the most devastating war in human history. A woman whom Kirk has grown to love—and has to sacrifice to restore order to the universe.
In its original form, The City on the Edge of Forever won the Writers Guild of America Award for best teleplay. As aired, it won the Hugo Award. But as Harlan Ellison recounts in his expanded introductory essay, “Perils of the ‘City,’” the televised episode was a rewrite of his creative vision perpetrated by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and the show’s producers. In his trademark visceral, no-holds-barred style, the legendary author broke a thirty-year silence to set the record straight about the mythologized controversy surrounding the celebrated episode, revealing what occurred behind-the-scenes during the production.
Presented here as Ellison originally intended it to be filmed, this published teleplay of The City on the Edge of Forever remains a masterpiece of speculative fiction, and a prime example of his uncanny ability to present humanity with all its virtues and faults.