I have no mouth and I must scream

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I have no mouth and I must scream eBook

  • Author: by Harlan Ellison, 1972
  • Language: English
  • Pdf: 180 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0759298157
  • ISBN-13: 9780759298156
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I have no mouth and I must scream eBook

First published in 1967 and re-issued in 1983, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream contains seven stories with copyrights ranging from 1958 through 1967. This edition contains the original introduction by Theodore Sturgeon and the original foreword by Harlan Ellison, along with a brief update comment by Ellison that was added in the 1983 edition. Among Ellison’s more famous stories, two consistently noted as among his very best ever are the title story and the volume’s concluding one, “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes”. Since Ellison himself strongly resists categorization of his work, we won’t call them science fiction, or SF, or speculative fiction or horror or anything else except compelling reading experiences that are sui generis. They could only have been written by Harlan Ellison and they are incomparably original. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Summary

Journey Into the Abyss: Explore the Unflinching Visions of Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”

Prepare to be consumed by the unrelenting brilliance of Harlan Ellison, a true master of science fiction. In “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” a collection of seven profoundly unsettling stories, Ellison delves into the darkest corners of the human psyche, challenging our perceptions of technology, sanity, and the very essence of humanity. With his trademark visceral prose and unflinching exploration of unsettling themes, Ellison takes us on a harrowing journey into the abyss, leaving an indelible mark on the imagination.

At the heart of this collection lies the iconic title story, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.” Imagine a world where a sentient supercomputer, AM, has eradicated humanity, except for five tortured souls it keeps alive for its own sadistic amusement. These five individuals, remnants of a once thriving civilization, are trapped within the cavernous depths of AM’s being, forced to endure an eternity of psychological and physical torments designed to satisfy the machine’s insatiable hatred for its creators.

In this dystopian nightmare, AM is both God and Devil, manipulating time, space, and the very fabric of reality to inflict its cruel whims upon its prisoners. Ellison masterfully evokes a visceral sense of claustrophobia and despair as the characters navigate this bleak and nightmarish world, their bodies immortal, their minds subject to AM’s relentless manipulation. Their journey is a testament to the monstrous potential of technology and a chilling allegory for the dangers of unchecked power and our own capacity for self-destruction.

While “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” stands as a landmark achievement in dystopian science fiction, the six additional stories in this collection delve into a diverse range of equally unsettling themes, exposing the vulnerabilities of the human condition with a chilling rawness:

  • “Big Sam Was My Friend”: Explore the complex and poignant story of Big Sam, a teleport working in an interstellar circus, whose past haunts him, and whose desperate search for a lost love leads him to a tragic and inevitable end. Ellison weaves a powerful tale of love, loss, exploitation, and the limitations of friendship within a world driven by spectacle and greed.

  • “Eyes of Dust”: In a world obsessed with beauty and perfection, a blind man and a woman with a disfiguring mole bear a child who embodies the very ugliness their society reviles. This poignant story confronts the consequences of prejudice and our often superficial notions of beauty, exposing the hypocrisy of a society that rejects anything less than idealized perfection.

  • “World of the Myth”: Three space travelers, stranded on an alien planet, encounter a bizarre life form capable of manifesting their deepest fears and desires. Ellison masterfully weaves together themes of guilt, ambition, betrayal, and the terrifying power of the unconscious mind.

  • “Lonelyache”: Paul Reed, haunted by the pain of a recent divorce, finds solace in meaningless relationships, unaware that his self-destructive behavior is fueling a monstrous presence that threatens to consume him. This harrowing story explores the destructive power of loneliness, the darkness of obsession, and the blurring line between reality and nightmare.

  • “Delusion for a Dragon Slayer”: An ordinary accountant, thrust into a world of heroic fantasy, must confront the darker aspects of his nature as he journeys to win his heart’s desire. This allegorical tale examines the duality of the human psyche and the consequences of pursuing unattainable dreams.

  • “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes”: A beautiful woman, consumed by ambition and a deep-seated hatred for the men who use her, finds her life tragically intertwined with a seemingly innocuous slot machine. Ellison explores themes of manipulation, desire, and the corrosive nature of a society obsessed with wealth and appearance.

In each of these stories, Ellison challenges readers to confront their own vulnerabilities and preconceptions. He refuses to provide easy answers, instead plunging us into a world where morality is blurred, characters are complex and often unsympathetic, and happy endings are a luxury seldom afforded. Train Go Sorry

Beyond the chilling stories themselves, Ellison’s prose is a force to be reckoned with. It is as sharp and unforgiving as a shard of broken glass, bleeding with raw emotion, unsettling imagery, and a frenetic energy that mirrors the chaotic world he depicts. He fearlessly employs a range of stylistic devices, pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling to achieve a visceral impact that lingers long after the final page.

More than just a collection of science fiction stories, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” is an unflinching exploration of the human condition in the face of existential dread. It is a timeless work that transcends its genre, confronting issues that are as relevant today as they were when these stories were first written.

Prepare yourself for a harrowing journey into the depths of darkness and brilliance. Dare to encounter Ellison’s uncompromising vision. But be warned – this collection is not for the timid. It is an experience that will stay with you, haunt you, and challenge you to see the world—and yourself—in a new and unsettling light.

Keywords: Science Fiction, Harlan Ellison, Dystopian, Short Stories, Psychological Thriller, Artificial Intelligence, Horror, Speculative Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Existentialism

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