Paingod and Other Delusions

Paingod and Other Delusions

by Harlan Ellison

Passion is the keynote as you encounter the Harlequin and his nemesis, the dreaded Tictockman, in one of the most reprinted and widely taught stories in the English language; a pyretic who creates fire merely by willing it; the last surgeon in a world of robot physicians; a spaceship filled with hideous mutants rejected by the world that gave them birth.

Touching and gentle and shocking stories from an incomparable master of impossible dreams and troubling truths.Contents:7 New Introduction: Your Basic Crown of Thorns in 19 Spero Meliora in 24 Paingod ss Fantastic Jun 64 35 Repent, Harlequin!

Said the Ticktockman ss Galaxy Dec 65 49 The Crackpots Kyben nv If Jun 56 89 Sleeping Dogs ss Analog Oct 74 100 Bright Eyes ss Fantastic Apr 65 112 The Discarded The Abnormals ss Fantastic Apr 59 125 Wanted in Surgery nv If Aug 57 156 Deeper Than the Darkness nv Infinity Science Fiction Apr 57

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science Fiction
  • Rating: 4.11
  • Pages: 172
  • Publish Date: December 1st 1999 by
  • Isbn10: 0759229945
  • Isbn13: 9780759229945

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Paingod and Other Delusions is a 1965 short story collection by Harlan Ellison. This is obvious in some stories, like Paingod and The Discarded, but it seemed a stretch for some of the others (Crackpots, Repent). Ellison would go on to write bigger, better stories about gods and god-like beings later in his career. The Crackpots was the first story in Ellisons Earth-Kyba war cycle.

The Basics If you know Ellison, then you know hes almost exclusively a writer of short fiction. And before I nitpick one story in this collection in particular, which will probably happen at the end of this review, can I just say that even his weakest stories are stronger than other peoples best work? Its considered one of his most famous works, and if you are interested in Ellison, you cant pass it up. I feel a bit like a kid obsessed with hyperbole when I think of this one, because I really just want to scream from the mountaintops that it was awesome. It just goes to show that there is an innate fear of a simultaneous lack of control while being controlled by others that can be a story-telling goldmine in the right hands. But the fears the main character, a surgeon outsourced by a robot, feels come off as pure melodrama. He wanted the reader to get angry at even something as mundane as cleaning robots and feel a passionate resistance against any technological assistance of any kind, and it just makes me wonder how horrified he must be at where weve arrived.

Mr Ellison, in his curmudgeonly wisecracking snarl, exemplifies the strain of sci fi/speculative fiction I love best--short tightly written stories that take a wacky idea like the absurdity of punctuality ('Repent, Harlequin!') or the possibility of a manhating machine ('I Have No Mouth...') and carry the concept to its logical fantastical conclusion.

I'd read "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktock Man" in the past but I didn't enjoy it as much this time around despite knowing now that it's one of the most lauded short stories ever. Generally, I think I'm enjoying Ellison's introductions more than the books.

First, understand that I downgraded this book due to the eBook quality--which is poor, at best. Dick essence to him--som wonderful ideas, but poor execution--bland summary, expositionary dialogue, little sense of character--characteristics, but little more.

Paingod Trente has been appointed by "The Ethos", a collective of quasi immortal beings, as the bringer pain to all living things. Although he has no true concept of time he develops concern, caring for the beings into which he induces pain. This story strongly relates to the preface, where the author talks about how much pain there is in the world, yet also beauty. Lifetime is defined by the "master time keeper" (called the "tick-tock-man", colloquially). The High point of the story comes at the end: The ticktock man himself seems to be three minutes late for his job ;-) The Crackpots In this story, a group of people from a civilization ruling the galaxy, the Kyben, has the job of watching over the allegedly insane rest of society that is banished on their home world. In this setting, strange things happen, with the "crackpots" performing seemingly insane activities and Themus reporting them obediently. However at one point he gets contacted and drawn into an underground of Kyben civilization, where he learns that in fact (as is put literally in the introduction) "madness is in the eye of the beholder". It turns out that the society of Kyben at one point split into the creative, productive portion (the so-called "crackpots") and the bureaucratic, administrative (somewhat idiotic) type (the "watchers"). Sleeping Dogs Set in the same universe as the previous story, this one is about a conflict between the Kyben and mankind. In this case, a Kyba is onboard the Earth ship, which besieges and finally conquers a planet belonging to the Kyben. After being inert for time immemorial, they suddenly rise after being attacked but the Earth battleship, destroying it in return. I can't quite grasp the issues the author presented in the foreword about the woman being the strong character in this story. Anyways, the author wrote this story after having been inspired by an amateur-made picture of an alien being with bright eyes. In the story, this is the last member of an ancient race, probably living underground. Of course the promise is broken, and instead of the return they get sent the last of the mutated people. He conceives the dark plan of purposely killing a patient during an assisted operation to blame the machine. He tells his story, and miraculously is acquitted while society rethinks the power they gave the machines. Deeper than the Darkness In this final story, also loosely set in the "Kyben universe", a homeless man is discovered that possess the unique ability of being able to start fires with his mind. The military command try to force Gunnderson to make the enemies' sun go supernova, but he finds out that short of killing they cannot force him, as the powers of other psioids don't work on him.

Det kan nog bäst visas med skillnaderna mellan två av novellerna som finns med i denna samling (utgiven 1969, vill jag minnas) - "Bright Eyes" och "Wanted In Surgery". Det händer väl inte mycket egentligen men Ellison målar upp ett blekt landskap där människolik dämt upp floder och blödande fåglar flyger i flockar över himlen. "Wanted in Surgery" är däremot en slags paranoid, foliehatt historia som man ibland kan tro att Ellison satt och fradgade då han skrev. Liksom med Dick har han också en ovana (då han inte sköter det lika bra) att falla tillbaka på termer som låter oerhört förlegade och det kan göra det svårt att ta det på allvar på det sätt som Ellison nog vill. Om man redan gillar Ellison kan det vara värt att pröva denna men jag skulle inte börja här.

Said the Ticktockman which was good, but I actually thought there were several better stories in this collection. I absolutely loved his anecdotal musings and introductions between each short story on his thought process at the time.

He wrote for the original series of both The Outer Limits and Star Trek as well as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; edited the multiple-award-winning short story anthology series Dangerous Visions; and served as creative consultant/writer to the science fiction TV series The New Twilight Zone and Babylon 5.