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July Books 38) Deathbird Stories

38) Deathbird Stories, by Harlan Ellison

One of the sf classics that I am currently working through (not sure where I got hold of that list in the first place); a 1975 collection of stories by Ellison (mostly published elsewhere previously) loosely linked by themes of godhood and religion. Ellison's sheer pride in his work is a bit overwhelming; he warns the reader not to do the whole book in one sitting, as "the emotional content of these stories, taken without break, may be extremely upsetting". I dunno. What I felt was that the style was unrelentingly similar, and that the misogyny was off-putting; also, horror isn't really my thing anyway. Neil Gaiman says that this collection was a strong influence on American Gods (it "burned itself onto the back of my head when I was still of an age where a book could change me forever"); I have to say that although Gaiman's book has its flaws, I think he did it better. Perhaps I am just too old, and the genre now too mature, and Ellison's reputation now too much in decline, to really appreciate this collection.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
martin_wisse
Jul. 24th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
Ellison always was a hack, his repuation based on a few good Star Trek scripts and short stories, the overwhelming majority of his output being not that good.

Lot's of glitz, less substance.
bellinghman
Jul. 25th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
I read this back in late '77, and was blown away by it. And yes, to a teenager, it was intense - enough that doing it all in one session would have been overmuch.

I suspect Gaiman was much the same age.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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