- Paperback: 295 pages
- Publisher: Olmstead Pr (February 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1587541017
- ISBN-13: 978-1587541018
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,899,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – February, 2001
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The collection combines some of the finest fantasy of the 20th century mixed with a loose thread to tie the work together. The collection begins with the Caveat Lector: a warning to the readers to not attempt to read the book in one sitting. For most of the stories, this advice is unnecessary. The utility will vary from reader to reader based upon how each story impacts him/her. For me, it was certainly good advice after the story "Paingod." The collection begins with "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs," a story for the uninitiated that will provide a baptism by fire. It is not for the sensitive persons of the world who cry foul upon reading a four letter word. It is at times extremely graphic (depicting the savage slaughter of a person and depicting a forceful sexual encounter). However, it is the final story to which the Caveat Lector is most applicable. "The Deathbird" is a peculiar story in so much as it is written in a format that is intended to resemble a school exam. There are two portions of the story that can bring the most stoic of readers to their knees. One portion is a section that reads as a short story penned the day after the author put his pal Abu–a pet dog–to sleep. The line "don't leave me with strangers" first arises in the portion dedicated to Abu and then is echoed with tremendous effect later on.
In short, I gave this book five stars and quite enjoy the writing of Harlan Ellison. I recommend that you give this book a chance. If you are not sure whether you will like Ellison, pickup the book and jump to "Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes" and "Along the Scenic Route." If neither of these stories works for you, then set the book back down and walk away: Harlan Ellison is not for you. If either of these stories works for you, read on.
I'm not sure whether I became inured to the writing style or the stories just got better but by about half way through this collection of short stories I was becoming an Ellison fan. By the end I definitely was. Amazing and bizarre perspectives that contort, dissect and then disembowel conventional reality.
Highly recommended for adventurous readers who want a truly surreal reading experience. Seriously.