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The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The book itself also contains an introduction from Neil Gaiman (from 1993) and Ellison's own introduction from March 1969. Both these are interesting in their own right (though Neil Gaiman is quite correct to point out the slightly cringe-inducing reference to grooving to Hendrix in Ellison's own introduction). Ellison, and rightly I think, decries the practice of pigeon-holing genre authors ("Golden Age" SF or "New Wave" - which Ellison found himself described as).
A lot of the stories in this book are in some ways, admittedly, very much of their time. Some of the concerns are very obviously that mankind may destroy itself in a nuclear war and so forth. Having said that though, even when some of the stories set these stories up to deliver a pay-off in the last line (in, I feel, the way that a lot of SF short stories did - I don't think that makes them less sophisticated, but I've been reading a lot of more recent anthologies lately and that doesn't seem to be something that happens *quite* so much. It's just an observation of mine - I could be wrong!) they are still enjoyable in their own right. Ellison is always an interesting and skilful writer.
The stories are:
"Introduction: The Waves in Rio"
"The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World"
"Along the Scenic Route"
"Asleep: With Still Hands"
"Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R."
"Try a Dull Knife"
"The Pitll Pawob Division"
"The Place With No Name"
"White on White"
"Run for the Stars"
"Are You Listening?"
"S.R.O.Read more ›
I've never quite read anything like Harlan Ellison before. His stories range from action orientated, humor filled, shoot-em-ups to highly experimental, philosophical visions that explore the depths of the future and of the human psyche. Ellison could be an influence to so many authors - chief among them Stephen King and Douglas Adams but with so much more. He can say so much and create so much with only a few pages.
To think that just one author could fill such a small book with so many original and though provoking stories makes me eager to read the rest of his work. I was thoroughly impressed with this book and will be returning to Ellison's world shortly.
A boy and his dog is an interesting story. However, the story is short and the rest of the stories are not as engaging. I feel I could have written some of them when I was in puberty and regret the purchase.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The eleven stories here, first published between 1957 and 1969, can stand up and speak for themselves very well indeed. From the opening shot of the title story to the close with "A boy and his dog" the author delivers a fine selection of his work.
There are no weak stories in this book, every one is a good read. The title story, "Try a Dull Knife", "Santa Claus VS. S.P.I.D.E.R." and "A boy and his dog" are my favourites and they show the range of Ellison's talents from horror to science fiction and also display his characteristic cynical humour.
"A boy and his dog" is the best known story here largely because it has been made into a very controversial film. It also happens to be one of Ellison's finest stories and that is praise indeed. It tells the story of fifteen year old Vic and his telepathic dog Blood in a post apocalypse America. Even though it is a brutish story, Ellison's wit and lucid writing style make it a compelling read.
The stories here will appeal to almost any SF fan though, if you are new to Ellison, the book "The Essential Ellison" is a better first buy. If you like this author and wonder what else you might like to read, I'd suggest short story collections by Bruce Sterling and Eric brown.
Although this book is out of print, it is available together with the anthology "Love ain't nothing but sex misspelled" as volume four of the Edgeworks series. I note though that the contents of the Edgeworks version are not the same as the contents of my copy of this book.
For those unaware, the last story, "A Boy and His Dog" was made into a movie, with a very young Don Johnson as the Boy. It was/is a very quirky story with a ending that will throw a curve at you. It is currently available only on DVD, but I understand it will be on Blu-Ray later this year.
Other strong entries include "Worlds to Kill", "Run for the Stars", and "Asleep: With Still Hands". The collection as a whole is an good showcase of Ellison's range and depth within the genre of speculative fiction.
The only missteps, in my opinion, were "The Place With No Name" which was just too experimental and confusing, and "Try a Dull Knife" which I thought was trying to be a high-brow vampire story that just didn't work for me.