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I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream

1967

Ellison's experimental/psychedelic/impressionistic book. The stories cover a substantial slice of the author's writing career -- the earliest selection was first published in 1958, the latest in 1967 -- and an equally broad range of themes. What ties them together is a stylistic boldness that both challenges readers and welcomes them as fuller participants in the storytelling process.

The standouts here are "Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes," an exploration of Las Vegas as the purest embodiment of human evil; "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (not quite the title story, as attentive readers have noted); "Delusion for a Dragon Slayer," in which Ellison began to explore the extraordinary implications of ordinary events, an eventual trademark of his work; and "Lonelyache," his first real venture into the realm of psychological confession as a foundation for fiction. Seven stories in the collection, and at least four of them classics -- not a bad average.

"Delusion for a Dragon Slayer" was later adapted for a Marvel comic.

In 1996, Cyberdreams released a CD-ROM game based on "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" -- a curious development given Ellison's vehement and mostly right-on criticism of video games (see An Edge in My Voice). The Web site for the game includes a marvelous, three-part Ellison interview, with Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski as interlocutor.

Contents

  • Echoes of Screams (1983 edition only)
  • Introduction: The Mover, the Shaker (by Theodore Sturgeon)
  • Foreword: How Science Fiction Save Me From a Life of Crime
  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
  • Big Sam Was My Friend
  • Eyes of Dust
  • World of the Myth
  • Lonelyache
  • Delusion for a Dragon Slayer
  • Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes

Pyramid paperback 1967
(first edition)

Pyramid paperback 1972

Pyramid paperback 1974

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