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Harlan Ellison: Criticism and Reviews

SciFi.com features a review of the film A Boy and His Dog, taken from Ellison's short story by the same name.

Ellison Webderland is the official Harlan Ellison site and also has reviews of many of his works.

Additional criticism and review of Harlan Ellison's works can be found at your local public library.

The following reviews can be accessed online only by an individual who has a current library card through this address.

"The Computer as a Symbol of God: Ellison's Macabre Exodus."
Critic: Charles J. Brady.
JGE: The Journal of General Education, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring, 1976, pp. 49-62.

In this essay, Brady "explores the godlike features of computers in Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and Michael Fayette's The Monster in the Clearing."

"Mythic Patterns in Ellison's 'A Boy and His Dog.'"
Critics: John Crow and Richard Erlich.
Extrapolation, Vol. 18, No. 2, May, 1977, pp. 162-66.

In this essay, "Crow and Erlich examine the mythic patterns and folk motifs present in Ellison's novella 'A Boy and His Dog.'"

"Critical Essay on 'A Boy and His Dog.'"
Critic: Jennifer Bussey.
Short Stories for Students, Vol. 14, Gale, 2002.

"As indicated by the title, 'A Boy and His Dog' is about the relationship between the two main characters, a teenager named Vic and his telepathic dog named Blood. Among the many unusual qualities of this story is…"

"Critical Essay on 'A Boy and His Dog.'"
Critic: Cody Walker.
Short Stories for Students, Vol. 14, Gale, 2002.

"… In Harlan Ellison's 'A Boy and His Dog,' Vic adopts this spirit of amorphous protest. He rails against 'squares' with 'nice whitewashed fences'…"

"Mythic Patterns in Ellison's 'A Boy and His Dog.'"
Critics: John Crow and Richard Erlich.
Extrapolation, Vol. 18, No. 2, May 1977, pp. 162-66. Reprinted in Short Stories for Students, Vo l. 14.

"Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog, as novella and film, is a cautionary fable employing satire and mythic patterns to define a future world that in some respects may already be with us…"

"A Review of 'A Boy and His Dog.'"
Critic: Ray Olson.
Booklist, Vol. 86, No. 5, November 1, 1989, p. 513.

"In the review, Olson offers a positive review of the graphic novel adaptation of Ellison's 'A Boy and His Dog.'"

"Harlan Ellison and Robert A. Heinlein: The Paradigm Makers."
Critic: Charles W. Sullivan III.
Source: Clockwork Worlds: Mechanized Environments in SF, edited by Richard D. Erlich and Thomas P. Dunn, Greenwood Press: Westport, CT, 1983, pp. 97-103.

In this essay, "Sullivan compares and contrasts the paradigms established by Ellison and Heinlein with regard to the depiction of the nature of technology in works of science fiction."

"Introduction to Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed: Essays by Harlan Ellison."
Critic: Marty Clark.
Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed: Essays by Harlan Ellison, edited by Marty Clark, Borgo Press: San Bernardino, CA, 1984, pp. 12-16.

"In the introductory essay, Clark discusses the stylistic elements of Ellison's works of nonfiction."

"Foreword to Watching."
Critic: George Kirgo.
Watching, by Harlan Ellison, Underwood-Miller: Los Angeles, CA, 1989, pp. i-iii.

"It takes but the reading of a single review in this collection (Harlan Ellison's Watching) to be aware that this is not your normal critic at work -- nor, for that matter, your normal person…"

"Sweets from Harlan Ellison."
Critic: Mitch Berman.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, January 1, 1989, p. 9.

"In the review, Berman offers a positive assessment of Ellison's Angry Candy, praising the author's style and imagination."

"A review of Harlan Ellison's Watching.
Critic: Dale Thomajan.
How to Go to the Movies, and Quentin Crisp's Vol. 26, No. 6, November-December, 1990, pp. 76-7.

"In the review, Thomajan compares Ellison's collection of movie reviews with that of Quentin Crisp, criticizing Ellison for writing in the 'mock-heroic mold' and for Ellison's belief that science fiction is 'the cinema's most important genre.'"

"A review of Mefisto in Onyx."
Critic: John Mort.
Booklist, Vol. 90, No. 8, December 15, 1993, p. 741.

"In this review, Mort offers a positive critique of Mefisto in Onyx but criticizes Ellison for the manner in which the book was published."

"A review of The City on the Edge of Forever."
Critic: Ray Olson.
Booklist, Vol. 92, No. 7, December 1, 1995, p. 606.

"In this review, Olson discusses Ellison's motivation for reprinting his award-winning script for the original Star Trek television series."

"What Walpole Wrought; or, The Horror! The Horror!"
Critic: Michael Cart.
Booklist, Vol. 94, No. 4, October 15, 1997, p. 395.

"In this essay, Cart touches on numerous aspects of Ellison's works and career, focusing on the author's views of modern science fiction, horror, and fantasy."

"The Heroic and Mock-Heroic in Harlan Ellison's Harlequin."
Critic: Stephen Adams.
Source: Extrapolation, Vol. 26, No. 4, Winter, 1985, pp. 285-89.

"After a one-paragraph prologue that explicitly states his moral, the narrator of Harlan Ellison's Repent, Harlequin! the Ticktockman says, 'Now begin in the middle, and later learn the beginning; the end will take care of itself'…"

"Critical Essay on 'Jeffty Is Five.'"
Critic: Joyce Hart.
Short Stories for Students, Vol. 13, The Gale Group, 2001.

"Harlan Ellison, in his introduction to his collection of short stories Shatterday, states that his writing is all about telling people that they are not alone in their suffering of the 'mortal dreads' of living on this earth. 'That's my job,' he writes. 'To stir the soup, to bite your thigh, to get you angry so you keep the conversation going'…"

"Critical Essay on 'Jeffty Is Five.'"
Critic: Sarah Madsen Hardy.
Short Stories for Students, Vol. 13, The Gale Group, 2001.

"'Jeffty has become an image of reverence for the parts of my childhood that were joyous and free of pain,' Harlan Ellison writes in the introduction to his story…"

"Critical Essay on 'Jeffty Is Five.'"
Critic: Lydia Kim.
Short Stories for Students, Vol. 13, The Gale Group, 2001.

"In 'Jeffty Is Five,' …(a) cautionary tale, one which condemns both mortality and immortality and romantic notions of the past and vapid participation in the present…"

"Critical Essay on 'I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.'"
Critic: Diane Andrews Henningfeld.
Short Stories for Students, Vol. 15 , Gale, 2002.

"…A horrifying and ghastly story of a post-apocalyptic hell controlled by a monster computer, 'I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream' attracted the attention of Ellison fans and critics alike, winning a Hugo award in 1968…"

"Created in the Image of God: The Narrator and the Computer in Harlan Ellison's 'I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.'"
Critic: Darren Harris-Fain.
Extrapolation: A Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 1991, pp. 143-55. Reprinted in Short Stories for Students, Vol. 15.

"… Not only is Ted an extremely unreliable narrator, but it is often difficult to know how much of what he says is true and how much a projection of his own psyche…"

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