Customer Review

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark yet poignant, July 16, 2000
This review is from: Angry Candy (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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4.3 out of 5 stars (43 customer reviews)
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