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The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World

1969

The singular landmark in the development of Ellison's short fiction -- the point at which he stopped thinking of himself as a simple teller of sci-fi tales and became a thoughtful, mature fantasist.

The joys here are numerous and substantial. The title story is a short but marvelously effective meditation on the nature of evil. "Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R" charts the rollicking adventures of everyone's favorite superhero, St. Nick. "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" is an anti-drug tale that prudes and idiots naturally interpreted as a pro-drug tale.

And then there is "A Boy and His Dog," the pinnacle of Ellison's imaginings to this point. Set in a post-nuclear wasteland, the story of Vic and his telepathic dog Blood is a seamless marriage of futuristic adventure, political fable and social satire. It was made into a movie (starring Don Johnson, pre-"Miami Vice") that became a cult favorite. A prequel, "Eggsucker," and sequel, "Run, Spot, Run," were combined with "A Boy and His Dog" and given graphic treatment in Vic and Blood: The Chronicles of a Boy and His Dog. Ellison has frequently mentioned plans to expand the whole story cycle into a full-length novel titled Blood's a Rover. Nothing beats the original, though.

In 1997, The Beast was republished as part of Edgeworks 4.

Collector's note

The Science Fiction Book Club edition is the de facto first hardcover edition. The first printing includes the code "O5L" on page 243. The text of the Avon paperback differs substantially thanks to hamhanded editing.

Contents

  • Introduction: The Waves in Rio
  • The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World
  • Along the Scenic Route
  • Phoenix
  • 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.
  • Worlds to Kill
  • Shattered Like a Glass Goblin
  • A Boy and His Dog

Avon hardcover 1969
(first edition)

Avon paperback 1969
Hayakawa Shobo (Japan) paperback 1973

Signet paperback 1974

Millington (U.K.) hardcover 1976

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