Sunday, November 30, 2014

Alone Against Tomorrow: Mini-Review

Harlan Ellison is a fantastic story-teller--even when every story in a collection is not up to his usual standard (as here), his less-than-best is miles ahead of others. So, let me just qualify my star rating on this collection upfront: the three stars represent a rating on the Ellison scale, not an Ellison versus others scale. I simply could not rate this collection as highly as Shatterday or Slippage because the overall quality on the Ellison scale is not equivalent.

These twenty stories focus on man's alienation--alienation from his time, from his fellow-man, and even from himself. He is numbed by future-shock; propelled by his noblest dreams but often prevented from fulfilling them by his inadequacies and the challenges of a universe determined to hold on to its secrets. Ellison takes us into the unknown, to a place full of conflict and awe to show us the grandeur and terror of men and women facing their deepest fears--alone and unaided.

Among the most powerful stories found here are the classic "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream," the haunting "All the Sounds of Fear," and the disturbing "The Discarded" and "Eyes of Dust," as well as two versions of Ellison's take on Orwell's 1984: "Repent Harlequin Said the TicktockMan" and "Are You Listening?" Nearly as good are "Blind Lightning" and "The Time of the Eye," but unfortunately the remainder (12 stories) are all just good Ellison stories or even not-so-good. But don't forget "just good" Ellison, is pretty darn good.  ★★

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Sounds very 'Twilight Zone' like, LOL. Great review!