Approaching Oblivion: Road Signs on the Treadmill Toward Tomorrow
Having read lots of Harlan Ellison's collections, I can honestly say that this one is not one of his best. You won't find any Hugo-award winners in here, folks. Of course, I've read LOTS of Harlan stories that DIDN'T win awards and were absolutely WONDERFUL. There is one such story in this collection that comes to mind--Erotophobia. Remember the opening scene of Austin Powers? Where he's being chased by all these women. That's the basic idea for that story. Absolutely hilarious. As for the rest of the stories in this book, I didn't find any that were Harlan at his worst. Even the story Catman, the longest and least enjoyable of the bunch had a little something to it. I wouldn't recommend that first time Harlan-readers start here, though. But for those of us that have read our Harlan, this is definitely worth getting.
such things. Those are dreams. Those are delusions. Those are guilt. Those are fantasies. Those don't happen. Those persons in black garments, when the sky opens and they come in. No. Think about it. No. "Why are you looking at me like that?" "Like what?" "You know like what!" "It's your imagination." "You keep doing that to me now, all the time." "I'm not doing anything, shut up." "You never talked to me like that." "I always talk the same." "You don't. You're different. You've
is: should I disappear, and should things ever change, there should be some small record available to whomever or whatever comes along. That is hypocrisy. I write this because I am a thinking creature with an enormous ego, and I cannot bear to consider having been here, being gone, and leaving nothing behind. Since I will never have children to carry on my line, to preserve some tiny bit of my existence...since I will never make a mark in the world, because there is no world left... since I will
would squirt one of them. It would short, and begin spraying. The other doggies would home in, begin firing among themselves, and in the ensuing confusion he would kick out the grille, drop down and capture the Comptroller. If he was lucky. And if he was further lucky, he would get away with him. Further, and he would use him as ransom for the eleven. Lucky! You'll die. So I'll die. They die, I die. Both ways, I'm tired. All your words, all your fine noble words. He remembered all the things
thirty-five years late, "Name two, Momma." I met Gus downtown at the newsstand. "Hi." "Oh. Hullo." "Buying some comics?" "Uh-huh." "You ever read Doll Man and Kid Eternity?" "Yeah, they're great. But I got them." "Not the new issues." "Sure do." "Bet you've got last month's. He's just checking in the new comics right now." So we waited while the newsstand owner used the heavy wire snips on the bundles, and checked off the magazines against the distributor's long white mimeographed
teased himself the machine he the man with vernier knob stimulation-it came out green and the machine trembled, began to secrete testosterone, estrogen, progesterone... She, the machine, he, the machine, she, the man, he, the machine...the man, he becoming she becoming machine... His heart was pudding. The Lissajous pulsations became hallucinations in the sex organs of the computer...galvanic skin response on the galvanometer...aching in his spine... Sinking slowly into a sea of oil. Great