Harlan Ellison: All the Sounds of Fear

This collection contains eight short stories which originally appeared in magazines between 1956 and 1967. It includes two of Ellison's most famous stories "I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream" and "'Repent Harlequin' Said the Ticktockman" and these are the highlights of the book.

The other stories are a bit of a mixed bag. Some, such as "Blind Lightning are pretty dated.

It's really only worth searching for this book if you do not have the two main stories already and one other thing to consider is the fact that half of the stories here are also present in the "Paingod" collection.

"The Essential Ellison" or "Deathbird Stories" are better illustrations of Elision's work than this book.

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My rating

Six out of ten. Two great stories and some lesser tales.

Detailed Contents

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
A global network of computers becomes sentient, takes control and kills the hated human. It leaves 5 alive to torture for eternity. Brilliant, Ellison at his best 10/10.

The Discarded
A catastrophic new illness on Earth creates a minority who are thrown out of society. But then, mankind realises that it needs help from The Discarded. Should they trust normal people or will they be betrayed once more? Of course, if you know Ellison, you can guess. 7/10

Deeper Than the Darkness
A man with strange powers is pressured to use them for great evil and resists. This seemed to rather fizzle out at the end. 4/10

Blind Lightning
A disgraced scientist is working as a scout on newly discovered planets when he discovers an intelligent telepathic creature that wants to eat him. This is a rather weak and dated tale. 5/10

All the Sounds of Fear
An actor takes the spirit of method acting too far and goes mad. 5/10

The Silver Corridor
Two men arguing over arcane political points fight a duel in a synthesised reality machine. Anice idea but the tale never really got anywhere. 5/10

'Repent Harlequin' Said the Ticktockman
How can a ruthlessly well organised society tolerate the activities of the Harlequin? The Ticktockman sets out to put a stop to his capers. Brilliant. 10/10

Bright Eyes
Mankind wipes itself out in one last fiery apocalypse. Leaving a lone, ancient observer to sorrow at the loss of a world. 8/10