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Angry Candy Paperback – September 17, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (September 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395924812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395924815
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ellison's first book in six years, a harvesting of previously uncollected stories, is one of his best. The 17 stories are prefaced by "The Wind Took Your Answer Away," a remembrance and homage to the author's friends who have died since 1985and there have been manywritten with sadness and rage. Indeed, death or mourning figure in many of these tales. "Paladin of the Lost Hour" is an overly sentimental tale of an old man who keeps guard over an exiled hour that must never enter the time stream, lest time itself come to an end, and how he passes on his stewardship. Funny and intriguing, "Laugh Track" features a magician of a sound editor who conjures up the soul of the long-dead favorite aunt of a Hollywood writer from the sound of her laughter on an ancient sitcom laugh track. "Prince Mishkin, and Hold the Relish" is an hilarious anecdotal short-short about messed-up relationships between men and women and Dostoyevski. The urban horror story "Soft Monkey" tells of a retarded homeless old woman who witnesses a murder and is in turn pursued by the killers. Ellison's stories have too often been mechanistic, thin ideas fleshed out in overwriting and sentimentality. In this collection he demonstrates he's moving beyond that, becoming more complex, relaxed and reaching for emotion rather than sentiment.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this collection, Ellison says, "This is a book of stories you may think of as angry candy . . . stories I wrote because my friends are gone, a lot of them. . . . " His introduction is a sad litany, a long list of lost friends. Perhaps he wrote these stories to comfort himself and othersas a way of pretending that people who die do not go into the earth, but "beyond that beyond most edge." To facilitate suspension of disbelief, Ellison's prose is dry, matter-of-fact; he tells the wildest possible tales in the most rational, sane tone. Among the collection is "Palladin of the Lost Hour," a heroic tale involving an old man and a magic watch, which explores the passage of guardianship from an old to young man. All fairy tales for grown-ups and science fiction devotees.Marcia Tager, Tenafly, N.J.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Ellison knows how to tell the story.
"morpheus611"
I have recently began reading Harlan Ellison and I was unsure which book to go with as my first.
Vinny Smith
Harlan Ellison is one the world's great short story writers.
J. Carroll

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on September 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've read several Ellison collections and this one has the best survey of his most thought-provoking and gut-wrenching work. Ellison is often misrepresented as a straight sci-fi writer, but any cursory glance at his diverse offerings will immediately disprove this stereotype. However, Ellison occasionally does tackle sci-fi. When he does, he's one of the best, as in this book's centerpiece: the mind-shattering and intellectually overwhelming tale "The Region Between", which is one of the best short stories I have ever come across.
The diversity of Ellison's work can be seen in the next story, the hysterical "Laugh Track" (I read this story on a plane and made the person next to me think I was mental, trying desperately not to laugh out loud). Ellison tackles many topics with a keen eye on social observation and a deadly sharp tongue, like race relations in "Paladin of the Lost Hour" and fraud and deception in "On the Slab." Of special note in this book is the introduction, in which Ellison laments the deaths of 44 of his friends within a two-year period, and gives one of the most unique interpretations of life and death you're likely to ever see.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Isaacson on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Angry Candy" is possibly Ellison's strongest collection of stories to date. Virtually every entry in the table of contents is a gem. For myself, highlights include "Paladin Of The Lost Hour" (a beautiful tale of friendship, time lost, and time found), "Laugh Track" (an uproarious parody of the television industry), "With Virgil Oddum At The East Pole" (a meditation on art and redemption) and Eidolons (a series of related koan-like vignettes which will require very thoughtful reading). The whole book resounds with Ellison's characteristic mix of horror and beauty, humor, anger, and wonder, along with a generous dash of spleen. Whether he makes you laugh, or weep, or just pisses you off (or all three!), you will not remain unmoved.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on July 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
There are only a few authors who I'll seek out and read short story collections, my preference being full novels. Theodore Sturgeon is one. Harlan Ellison is another. After whetting my appetite with The Essential Ellison, I moved on to this and was kept just as pleased, though not pleased in a happy sense, pleased in a sense that each story picked at some part of my brain, making me confront my ideas about death and life and living and souls, made me look at it from my perspective and his perspective to see why we thought the way we did. These stories seemed to be written in anger, helpless flailing anger, as Ellison writes in the introduction (and hints at emotionally in the haunting closing story "The Function of Dream Sleep"), at the time these were written people who were close to him in his life were dying almost every month (there's a list going down the side of the intro detailing who died when . . . morbid), and that intro is almost worth the price of the book itself, for it sets the tone for all the other stories, heartfelt and emotional, unflinching and passionate. To go by names would be unnecessary, to name favorites would be useless. You have to read them all, experience them and wonder yourself as Ellison dances from genre to genre, from mystery to science fiction, effortlessly, stamping his print on each story, marking it with anger and sadness. He bared his soul in these stories and while it makes for a gripping and sometimes harrowing read, it doesn't make the reading any less necessary. He didn't turn away from his fears and sorrows and you shouldn't turn away from them either.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lieder on November 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Funny how you can buy a book and put it on your book shelf and not read it for years. Then once you read it, you realize you should have read it when you first bought it. If I had read this book 20 years ago, it would have been further proof that Harlan Ellison is the single greatest writing alive. And I still like his stories. Sadly, it's impossible to separate Harlan Ellison the person from his stories. I can love Cat Stevens' music despite his anti-semitic blather. Orson Scott Card is a Mormon homophobe but Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) was an excellent story. With Harlan, everything is about Harlan. He has to introduce every story and give interviews that are longer than his stories. And a lot of the key to liking Harlan Ellison's stories is liking Harlan Ellison.

And I'm no longer a surly teenager. As Nathan Rabin wrote in The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought to You by Pop Culture, one shouldn't trust someone who never went through a Holden Caulfield phase, but one should fear anyone who never got out of that phase. Almost everything Harlan Ellison writes makes him sound like a whiny teenage smartass.

Now this still wouldn't be a deal breaker except for the fact that the stories are so average. They are good stories, but I expect more out of Ellison. His take on racial politics is stuck in the 60s. His characters aren't as fully realized as they can be.
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