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August 2, 2017

3

Shatterday and Other Stories

by N@ncy

  • Author: Harlan Ellison (1934)
  • Title: Shatterday and Other Stories ( audiobook)
  • Genre: speculative fiction short stories
  • Trivia: 5 different narrators
  • Personal:  On about October 10, 2014, Ellison suffered a stroke.
  • Although his speech and cognition are unimpaired
  • ….he suffered paralysis on his right side.
  • #20BooksOfSummer
  • #DealMeIn2017 Challenge

 

Table of contents:

Delusion for a Dragon Slayer (Hugo nominee)
Shatterday (Nebula nominee)
Flop Sweat
In the Oligocenskie Gardens
Basilisk (Hugo & Locus winner; Nebula nominee)
Shattered Like a Glass Goblin (Nebula nominee)
Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54′ N, Longitude 77° 00′ 13″ W” (Hugo winner)
On the Downhill Side (Nebula nominee)
Susan
All the Lies That Are My Life (Hugo nominee)
Goodbye to All That  (Nebula nominee)

 

 

Story # 1: Delusion for a Dragonslayer – strange….

  1. This was a strange story to start my listening during a morning walk
  2. …but I did keep me listening.
  3. The narrator is the voice of Ellison sweeping up the verbal energy….
  4. His voice is rather irritating.
  5. Memorable lines: “I’m not me!”
  6. “This is heaven…heaven is what you mix all the days of your life,
  7. but you call it dreams.
  8. You create your own heaven.”
  9. Style: onomatopoeia
  10. words  which imitates the natural sounds of a thing.
  11. It creates a sound effect that mimics the thing described.
  12. shrieking, twisting, surging, shattered, crushed,
  13. tearing gouged gashes, chuckled with merriment.
  14. Boiling treacherous sea
  15. …the sound rigging shrieking like wounded beasts,

 

Story # 2:  Shatterday – best story in the book

  1. I liked this story.
  2. Just imagine….you dial your own phone number by accident
  3. ….and somebody picks up the receiver.
  4. Who is this? The answer is …it is yourself on the other end of the line!
  5. Fear pluses through you… you react: “Is this a gag?”
  6. Ellison cleverly shows the reader a character speaking to its better half…or is it his worst half?
  7. It was intriguing to listen to this conversation!
  8. Memorable line:Which of us is me? And how does me get rid of him?”
  9. Style: explore the characters through dialogue this colors the personalities of the characters,
  10. creates a conflict between ME vs HIM.

 

Story # 3:    Floop Sweat – creepy…but good!

  1. Ellison introduces this story explaining it was written as a challenge.
  2. He was given the topic at 1 pm and had to read his
  3. short story the same evening at 8 pm on a LA talk radio show.
  4. The story was very amusing….but you have to be ready for a frenzied last 2 minutes.
  5. Memorable line: “Well, we’re back with
  6. Brother Michael Darkness, the head of the Euchite Sect…”
  7. What is floop sweat? …you’ll have to read the story!

 

Conclusion:

  1. Ellison has a typewriter which he pecks on with two fingers.
  2. He has never used a computer or word-processing program.
  3. He is irascible and fearless when it comes to revealing what he believes to be true.
  4. He is quite character.
  5. If you have any interest in fantasy or fiction or science fiction
  6. ….Ellison’s genius and sharp wit are unsurpassed.
  7. Personally Ellison’s stories do not resonate with me.
  8. Harlan Ellison’s writing is an acquired taste….like olives.
  9. You like them….or you do not.
  10. This type of ‘speculative fiction’ was hard to swallow!
  11. Narration: Harlan Ellison is NOT a born narrator.
  12. …he gets too excited, goes off the rails and ruins the mood of the story.
  13. I wish the entire book was narrated by
  14. Stefan Rudnicki.
  15. His voice is mesmerizing!

Last Thoughts:

  1. Reading Harlan Ellison stories is like Russian Roulette…a reckless activity.
  2. There will always be selections I will pass by….
  3. …but I’m sure there are a few ‘gems’ yet to discover.

 

My notes:

  1. Delusion for a Dragon Slayer (story #1)
  2. Shatterday (story #2)
  3. Flop Sweat (story #3)

 

  1. In the Oligocenskie Gardens 
  2. Bombastic waterfall of words…no sense.
  3. Not for me…

 

  1. Basilisk  – surreal description of pain and torture of soldier in Viet Nam…
  2. Dragon breath, lilliputian arrows, his face came away in handfuls,
  3. wind death in his lungs….sigh.

 

  1. Shattered Like a Glass Goblin
  2. Kris and Rudy in a  drug hazed hippie commune….bah.

 

  1. Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans:
  2. Latitude 38° 54′ N, Longitude 77° 00′ 13″ W
  3. …this is not a short storybut a novelette!…too long, I lost interest.
  4. I can only take small doses of Harlan Ellison.

 

  1. On the Downhill Side
  2. Two ghosts stroll through the Vieux Carré of New Orleans,
  3. using familiar landmarks…good.
  4. This story was more gothic’
  5. ..but I still prefer Edgar Allan Poe.

 

  1. Susan
  2. These sentmental impressions must be based on his
  3. 5th wife Susan Toth.
  4. In 1986, Harlan Ellison married Susan Toth.
  5. He seems to have found at least some stability
  6. ….with her as their marriage is still lasting.

 

  1. All the Lies That Are My Life
  2. Larry, the narrator, attends the funeral of Jimmy… a writing  friend.
  3. This was good…..and I wish the entire book was narrated by
  4. Stefan Rudnicki.

 

  1. Goodbye to All That
  2. A man climbs to a mystical peak in search of enlightenment.
  3. …. meh. Shallow, pointless.

 

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