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Paingod and other delusions

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  752 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Robert Heinlein says, ?This book is raw corn liquor ? you should serve a whiskbroom with each shot so the customer can brush the sawdust off after he gets up from the floor.? Perhaps a mooring cable might also be added as necessary equipment for reading these eight wonderful stories: They not only knock you down?they raise you to the stars. Passion is the keynote as you en ...more
Paperback, 172 pages
Published December 1st 1999 by (first published 1965)
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The Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyDangerous Visions by Harlan EllisonMirrorshades by Bruce SterlingBurning Chrome by William GibsonThe Science Fiction Hall of Fame by Robert Silverberg
Best SciFi Anthologies/Collections
91st out of 246 books — 135 voters
Dubliners by James JoyceNine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburySpilt Milk by D.K.CassidyThe Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
Best Short Story Collections
486th out of 605 books — 488 voters

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Community Reviews

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4.5 stars. Very good collection of stories. The title story is excellent but my personal favorites from this collection were (1) The Discarded (worthy of 5 stars), (2) Bright Eyes (also worthy of five stars) and, of course, "Repent Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman.
The Basics

If you know Ellison, then you know he’s almost exclusively a writer of short fiction. This is a collection of just a small fraction of that fiction. A very small fraction, as there are only eight stories to be found here. Yet there is something interesting about this one. There’s a theme: pain.

My Thoughts

I really love Harlan Ellison. And before I nitpick one story in this collection in particular, which will probably happen at the end of this review, can I just say that even his weakes
I watched an excellent documentary on Ellison at a film festival in Toronto a month ago so I was excited to read his stuff as so many people had described it as transcending genre and most literature and having a profound effect on people.

In truth, though, nothing blew me away in this collection. I'd read "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktock Man" in the past but I didn't enjoy it as much this time around despite knowing now that it's one of the most lauded short stories ever.

It was a decent rea
Aug 21, 2008 Shiv rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like sci-fi, surrealism, or a hint of Lovecraft
Harlan Ellison, born in America 1934, was a prolific sci-fi creator. His work includes a number of short stories, essays, novellas, and writing credits on the television shows The Outer Limits and Star Trek. The short stories found in his collection Paingod and Other Delusions present a good example of the variety of his work; ranging from the fantastic and surreal titular Paingod, which follows the adventure of the deity of pain as it comes to question it's purpose in the universe, to the metic ...more
The stories in this collection were originally published in magazines between 1956 and 1965. Unlike much SF of that era, they have not lost their edge.
In part, this is down to Ellison's literary style which was head and shoulders above the majority of SF at that time. Thus today, when editors demand better writing, these stories can still satisfy. The other reason is that Ellison has an uncanny vision of the future which does not easily get outdated by the events of a few decades.

The stories con
This book is about pain in various facets. It features an impressive and personal preface in which the author opens open and shows his worries and fears. The book contains a couple of short stories, always in a sci-fi setting. I'll summarize them now. Spoilers ahead!

Trente has been appointed by "The Ethos", a collective of quasi immortal beings, as the bringer pain to all living things. The job was done by others before him, but he does not know why they stopped. He distributes pain to be
First, understand that I downgraded this book due to the eBook quality--which is poor, at best. There is no reason to charge (or pay) $9.99 for sloppy formatting--there are $.99 eBooks of better publishing quality out there. At least try to make the italicized fonts consistent.

But reading this let me know that I had a bit of distant idolatry of Ellison. I had seen interviews with him and had only read "Repent, Harlequin," which is included here, but this is the first sustained collection of his
When Microsoft Reader offered this collection as part of their Summer Cool eBook Promotion, I snapped it up. However, I didn't actually get around to reading it until this week.

Harlan Ellison is the grand curmudgeon of science fiction. This collection, as you might guess, is about pain. The title story "Paingod" is about the being who sends pain to all the creatures of the universe, and his temporary co-habitation of an Earth artist. Ellison also explores the pain of a surgeon who has been repl
A solid collection of stories

The tagline of this book is that all the short stories contained in this collection deals some way with pain. Now I don't know about that, a couple of these don't seem to be about that at all, but these are all pretty solid stories. I wouldn't say they are this author's best, but they're certainly good in their own right, and will do to pass the time.
Frederick Gault
Some cool science fiction short stories. The read as a bit dated (from the mid 1960s) but they are worth it non-the-less.
Christopher Munroe
Can you ever read enough Harlan Ellison? I would say no, which is unfortunate, since at some point i'll have read it all, and there will be no more, and lo will i suffer greatly. Coincidentally, the loose theme this volume's built around is suffering! And it is excellent, if dark. I've reviewed Ellison before, and I can't think of anything off the top of my head that i need to add to what i've already said about his prose style, so i'll simply repeat, this is a classic-era master of the short st ...more
John Defrog
Mid-60s short story collection ostensibly revolving around the theme of pain – which is to say, emotional pain rather than physical. It starts with the title character, the god of Pain, questioning his role, and ends with a lonesome mutant drifter who can start fires telepathically but can’t control them. It also includes one of Ellison’s more famous stories, “ ‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said The Ticktock Man”. It’s all good – Ellison is a great storyteller with a vivid imagination. One word of cautio ...more
Erik Graff
Oct 23, 2008 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ellison fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I remember furtively reading this paperback in class, the book on my lap, concealed by my desk, then taking it along on a fieldtrip to, of all places, the Field Museum in Chicago, reading it on the bus while the other students sang about "bottles of beer on the wall." Presumably, this was for Introductory Biology during the first year of high school. I was particularly impressed by "Repent Harlequin!" because it was so wierd. The "New Wave" was just striking the banks of my consciousness.
A master of the short story, Harlan Ellison manages to condense more feelings and and raw emotion in a handful of pages than some authors can do in thousands. Unpolished, straight to the point, scary, and yet somehow oddly compelling, this collection amuses, entertains and provides ample food for thought. My personal favourite was 'The Crackpots', narrating one man's descent into calculated madness. 'Repent, Harlequin, said the Tick-Tock-Man' was also a very good one.
Harlan Ellison is a master of the sublime and sci-fi. I have always loved his short story collections. This is a bit different from his usual, but I am giving it four stars for the inclusion of the story "The Crackpots," which I really enjoyed. I found this story to be thouroughly entertaining and interesting. I would recommend this book for that reason, especially if you like unique dystopian or utopian writing.
Michael Edwards
This book contains the greatest short story I have ever read, but the rest of the stories in here were too bizarre for me to find interest. Ellison, for me, is hit or miss. He certainly isn't for everyone but one should at least TRY to read 'Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman'
As one who fancies himself as a writer, Ellison is one of my biggest inspirations due to his incredibly original style.
I'm giving this 3/5 stars, simply because some of the stories were quite good, but a few were sub-par. I got the sense that some of those sub-par stories were from some of Ellison's earlier work based on style and some of the content, but I've not verified that. Worth a read if you're an Ellison fan, possibly not if you're lukewarm at best toward him.
Jan 30, 2008 krin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
Disturbing, poignant, thought-provoking - all terms to describe these intense stories about pain, struggle and courage. All except "Repent, Harlequin!" were new to me and I found some new Ellison favorites in The Discarded, Bright Eyes and Wanted in Surgery.
Bright Eyes, the Discarded and Wanted in Surgery are as good as the title story and nearly as good as the classic 'Repent Harlequin! said the Ticktockman'. The other 3 stories are very strong as well, and this is one of Ellison's classics."
David Allen
From 1965, this is one of the stronger Ellison story collections. "Repent, Harlequin" is brilliant, with "The Crackpots," a sort of off-kilter "Atlas Shrugged" but in 40 pages, isn't far behind. The rest is fair to good.
Yet another author I have decided to reread. This book is worth readin for Repent Harlequin.... alone. I think that is Ellison's best story and should be required reading for all young adults.
This is the first Ellison book I have been able to find at Half Price Books. I had previously watched his documentary "Dreams With Sharp Teeth", and I gotta say, he writes the way he talks!
Another good collection from Ellison. This contains a couple of his really good ones, including "Repent Harlequin."
Elliot Fleming
I'd say there were four strong stories, one weak one, and three middling ones. And when I say strong, there are few who write as strongly as Harlan Ellison, ever.
Todd Charlton
The man mentions a "Robocop" in a story written in 1957. The man is a visionary.
Title comes from a bet Ellison had with a friend to see who could get the most metal bands to name themselves after a book.
For those who think that sci-fi can not also be moving, beautiful, and poetic. Please read the short story "Paingod."
Jonathan Norton
New wave SF from the late 50s/early 60s. Endlessly plagiarised by lesser talents nowadays, of course.
Jun 11, 2009 Jules added it
nothing i could barely get threw it. most of the storys i read the first page and then moved on to the next
Cerebral Sci-Fi filled with existential, political, and emotional observations, warning, and admonitions.
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Harlan Jay Ellison is a prolific American writer of short stories, novellas, teleplays, essays, and criticism.

His literary and television work has received many awards. He wrote for the original series of both The Outer Limits and Star Trek as well as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; edited the multiple-award-winning short story anthology series Dangerous Visions; and served as creative consultant/write
More about Harlan Ellison...
Dangerous Visions I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Again, Dangerous Visions Deathbird Stories "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman

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“I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned.
Adult. You have become adult.”
“Repent, Harlequin," said the Ticktock Man. "Get stuffed," the Harlequin replied.” 16 likes
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