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The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  1,452 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
"It crouches near the center of creation. There is no night where it waits. Only the riddle of which terrible dream will set it loose. It beheaded mercy to take possession of that place. It feasts on darkness from the minds of men. No one has ever seen its eyeless face. When it sleeps we know a few moments of peace. But when it breathes again we go down in fire and mate wi ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published October 1st 1984 by Bluejay Books (first published June 1968)
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The Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyMirrorshades by Bruce SterlingDangerous Visions by Harlan EllisonThe Science Fiction Hall of Fame by Robert SilverbergBurning Chrome by William Gibson
Best SciFi Anthologies/Collections
22nd out of 348 books — 177 voters
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis CarrollThe Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka1984 by George Orwell
Best Reality Warping Fiction
68th out of 224 books — 105 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,646)
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Dan Schwent
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World is a collection of short stories by Harlan Ellison. I mostly picked it up to read A Boy and His Dog, to experience the post-apocalyptic story as it was originally intended and to see if this version was as rapey as the movie starring Don Johnson. Here are my thoughts on some of the stories contained within.

The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World: I have no idea how to summarize this story. I'm not sure what it was actually about
Aug 27, 2014 Ariel rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
Harlan Ellison spends the introduction stressing ad nauseum that he doesn't write science fiction (and especially not sci-fi) but rather speculative fiction. Guess he couldn't speculate a world where the important people weren't dudes. The whole book reeks of Gross Old White Dude. And "it's because of the time period in which it was written" is an awful, awful excuse. He's writing about aliens and shit but he can't write one woman who isn't a screeching mess, kidnapped, raped, evil, or some ungo ...more
Jul 20, 2009 Zach rated it did not like it
A depressingly large amount of old science fiction exhibits something of a misogynistic attitude, but rarely is it as skin-crawlingly blatant as it is here.
The Basics

A collection of speculative fiction by the one-and-only Harlan Ellison. Many of the stories here, including the title tale, were award winners. Should make for a strong outing. Does it?

My Thoughts

This was a somewhat strong collection. The title story sets the pace with some very strange, almost impenetrable imagery and Ellison spinning some of his best poetry among prose. “Shattered Like a Glass Goblin” has a good bit of that, too, so if you love the title story (it’s so much easier to
Oct 08, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
This collection by Harlan Ellison, the bad boy of science fiction, is a bit uneven at times. Still, Ellison at his best -- even if his spark plug fires only a fourth of the time -- is awesome. In particular, I loved "A Boy and His Dog," which had been made into a movie. Other stories I liked are the title story, "Along the Scenic Route," and "Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R."

The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World held me entranced during a recent vacation in Peru. I expect I'll be rea
Aug 14, 2012 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The titular story is one of the best I've read in years; on its own, deserves five stars and fervent worshippers. The second in the collection, "Along The Scenic Route", was good enough to hook me up, reminding me of a good old-fashioned Japanese manga episode.

The rest I didn't like much. Ellison is certainly good at prose and has fertile imagination; it's just that his imageries tend to be a bit too disorganized to my liking. When it comes to psychedelic imageries in particular, I think he nee
Joshua Hair
Mar 07, 2016 Joshua Hair rated it liked it
I read Ellison's collection over the course of a work week, going back and forth between it and a novel. I've always had a love-hate relationship with Harlan Ellison; while some of his work is arguably brilliant, his personality and arrogance is that of a good-for-nothing-you-know-what. It's hard to appreciate someone's work when they themselves are too boastful to see their own flaws.

But enough of that. This review is about the short yet very tasty collection The Beast That Shouted Love at the
Charles Rouse
Sep 30, 2014 Charles Rouse rated it really liked it
My appreciation of Ellison is time specific, in that I read them in the early Seventies, while the country was still spinning from recent events, some of them chemical. I think I can understand why Ellison characterized his stuff as "speculative fiction," rather than science fiction. At the same time, he and his stories came out of American science fiction and show the conventions and devices of science fiction in every paragraph. His stuff appeared to me at the time wild, iconoclastic, far out, ...more
May 06, 2014 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Good speculative fiction. Ellison certainly has a good imagination. There are some weaker stories but most are quite strong. A Boy and His Dog ends the collection, and is very good. "White on White" is one of the weaker ones, but "Run for the Stars" and "Worlds to Kill" are excellent. "Are You Listening" seems like a very clear riff of "Country of the Kind" by Damon Knight. Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R. his just completely insane but highly entertaining.
Sep 08, 2014 karenbee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This was a good week for short stories and I wanted to give non-script-y Ellison a shot.

Honestly, I'm don't think of myself as a sci-fi reader, as I'm more into sci-fi in visual media -- hahahaha I just remembered Ellison hates the term "science fiction," sorry dude -- and these are older stories, so a lot of them read less fresh and dewy than they might have when they were originally published. I had a really hard time getting into them at first, maybe for one or both of those reasons.

There we
Dec 20, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an uneven collection, but uneven in an Ellison kind of way which means every story is a winner in its own special way. There are bits of fluff and bits of hard stuff, bits of nonsense and bits of serious--very serious--stuff. There's even a Spiro Agnew joke.

There are quite a few complaints about the portrayal of women in these stories and others of Ellison's. Yes, the women are ridiculous characters who have no real use. This wasn't how women were in the 60s, but this is how they were po

Den tredje samlingen jag läst av Harlan Ellison och min åsikt har inte ändrats. Mannen må vara ett ärkepucko om ens en tiondel av allting jag hört är sant, men han har onekligen en stor talang för att skriva. Att han dessutom var en av nyckelfigurerna i New Wave rörelsen (vad han själv än tycker om den termen) är bara en slags bonus. Just denna samling publicerades 1969 och innehåller en Hugo-vinnare (titelnovellen) och en Nebula-vinnare (A Boy and His Dog).

Som alltid när det kommer till novell
Harlan Ellison was the guy I used to read while I was waiting for the next Stephen King book to come out, and I have read this collection at least one other time (in Edgeworks 4, the last of a broken-promised collection of ALL Ellison works in neatly bound volumes). This, as is most of his stuff, is short fiction (some of it longish-short novellas) and much of it is (even though he hates being pegged with this title) science fiction or (maybe he likes this better) speculative fiction. Many of th ...more
Sep 05, 2007 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those with previous exposure to the author
Ellison identifies himself as part of the New Wave of speculative fiction (not "sci-fi"= he *hates* "sci-fi") in the intro to this book. While I don't always understand (or even like) everything Ellison writes, I am fascinated by some of the worlds and events he creates. His talent for description and wordplay is as evident in this collection as in any other. While his style/tone may be somewhat dated, the stories themselves are not as tied to an era as some of Heinlein's or Bradbury's sometimes ...more
Mar 28, 2013 TinHouseBooks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-we-love
Jakob Vala (Graphic Designer): Harlan Ellison is a notorious asshole, but I love his stories all the same. The 1969 collection The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World features his usual disdain-worthy characters. These are self-loathing, desperate men for whom a final moment of awareness is often lethal (for themselves and for others). Like all effective science fiction, Ellison’s writing explores such heavy themes as ethics, humanity, and alienation through bizarre premises and re ...more
Oct 19, 2015 Bryce rated it it was ok
With each collection of stories by Harlan Ellison I read, I become less and less enamored with the man and with the man’s writing. Ellison has a lot to say about the nature of mankind, but the conclusions he implies revolve around hopelessness, violence and greed. There’s a pretty hefty dose of misogyny in all his stories, especially A Boy and His Dog, but that just seems to be a special subset of his general misanthropy.

I think it’s me. Because Ellison is unquestionably a great writer and an i
Zack Zildjan
Aug 20, 2012 Zack Zildjan rated it really liked it
Some very out of place stories in the collection. A few of these were what I would consider part of Ellison's lesser works. My rating doesn't include "A Boy and His Dog", "Try a Dull Knife" or "Along the Scenic Route", all of which I had already read and enjoyed.

The title story ("The Beast That Shouted..."), "The Pitll Pawob Division", "The Place With No Name", "Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R." (one of the "out of place" stories, but a great read, none the less) and "Worlds to Kill" are what made m
Craig Childs
Mar 05, 2013 Craig Childs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE BEAST THAT SHOUTED LOVE AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD was an excellent collection. The title story won a Hugo. "A Dog and His Boy" won a Nebula (the screenplay based on this story also won a Hugo a few years later). "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" was nominated for a Nebula (although, oddly, it was one of my least favorite stories). Other strong entries include "Worlds to Kill", "Run for the Stars", and "Asleep: With Still Hands". The collection as a whole is an good showcase of Ellison's range ...more
Mar 03, 2015 Sam rated it liked it
I want to give this 3.5 stars. Some of the stories were hilarious, many were disturbing, and a few were both. I got stuck for a while on one in the second half, which was long, and dark, and then when I finally went back to it, I was glad because it had a fantastic ending.

Many of these stories seem cinematic, in a good way. Ellison does a good job of throwing us into the action pretty quickly, introducing the main character and describing the central conflict early enough to grab the reader (or
Derrick Flakoll
Nov 08, 2014 Derrick Flakoll rated it it was amazing
Not every story is a masterpiece -- "White on White" doesn't meet the promise of its strong opening paragraph, "Are You Listening" is unsubtle in its moralizing, and "Run for the Stars" lingers too much on the initial pathetic character of the protagonist -- but every story's got some great writing sooner or later, and most are great start to finish. A collection steeped in surrealism, beautifully expressed moral dilemma, and despite all that, hilarity (witness the insanity that is "Santa Claus ...more
Sep 27, 2014 L. rated it it was amazing
A strong collection--really no weak pieces here that I can recall.
Jul 21, 2013 Kaoru rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the short story collections I read by him so far this has been the least psychedelic, and just because of that the most approachable and accessible. However ("A Boy and his Dog" aside) there aren't real "biggies" in this one, so I suppose it's mostly for fans only. But whatever the case, even if most of the stories aren't [i]that[/i] great, it's still a good read. Just probably not one of the top 3 collections to go for if you're trying to get into Ellison, I suppose.
Jun 01, 2009 Deanna rated it liked it
Not as consistent as his other collections. I liked the titular soft story, but some of the others tend to have great central ideas but get lost somewhere in the execution. Harlan never fails to amuse and entertain, though, and his ideas are still more original than those of most contemporary writers. A good collection when you need something quick, digestible and engaging to read before drifting off to sleep...
Dec 19, 2014 Marco rated it it was amazing
Great reflections about the nature of evil, and one of the prime examples of how good Science Fiction isn't about technological artifacts, but about humanity. The treatment given by Ellison to his female characters is questionable at best, and some of the stories are quite dull. But, at its best, this book sets a high bar for short stories in the genre. A very interesting read, but not one without caveats.
Feb 07, 2013 Jesse rated it it was ok
Along the Scenic Route, Asleep With Still Hands, and especially Shattered Like A Glass Goblin are great, but hardly worth getting through the 12 others. Sexism, solipsism, almost every story ends with shocking cannibalism/rape/suicide right at the end, religion and morality as nothing but pathetic weak vestiges, blah blah blah.

Disappointing after I Have No Mouth.
John Young
Aug 30, 2013 John Young rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Allen
This collection, from 1969, has such delights as "Along the Scenic Route," "Are You Listening," "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin," the jaw-dropping spy spoof "Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R" and the post-apocalyptic "A Boy and His Dog." Pretty good, although there are a couple of duds. The title story won a Hugo but it lost me.
Jeffrey Greek
Nov 27, 2013 Jeffrey Greek rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird-stuff
This was my first experience of reading Harlan Ellison's work, and to be completely honest I found the unrelenting atmosphere of what I like to call "We're All Fuckedness" to be a little exasperating. But the '60s were weird, and "A Boy And His Dog" was awesome, if only because I like dogs more than people.
Jason Wardell
Dec 30, 2011 Jason Wardell rated it it was ok
A few of these stories were among my least favorites in his other collections and some of these stories were just bad. I liked "The Beast That Shouted Love etc." a whole bunch, though. Wish I'd just gone and read it in the Ellison anthology instead of shelling out $10 for this.
Feb 12, 2010 Rich rated it it was amazing
Eric Clapton is so good at the guitar that he makes me embarrassed to ever have tried to play. That's how good Ellison is at writing. I'm embarrassed to be using the same language that he does. I'm using cave-art to try to describe the Sistine Chapel.
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WTF 1 17 Aug 13, 2009 01:46AM  
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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...

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“It crouches near the center of creation. There is no night where it waits. Only the riddle of which terrible dream will set it loose. It beheaded mercy to take possession of that place. It feasts on darkness from the minds of men. No one has ever seen its eyeless face. When it sleeps we know a few moments of peace. But when it breathes again we go down in fire and mate with jackals. It knows our fear. It has our number. It waited for our coming and it will abide long after we have become congealed smoke. It has never heard music, and shows its fangs when we panic. It is the beast of our savage past, hungering today, and waiting patiently for the mortal meal of all our golden tomorrows. It lies waiting.” 6 likes
“There are forces in the world today, Mr. Winsocki, that are invisibly working to make us all carbon copies of one another. Forces that crush us into molds of each other. You walk down the street and never see anyone’s face, really. You sit faceless in a movie, or hidden from sight in a dreary living room watching television. When you pay bills, or car fares or talk to people, they see the job they’re doing, but never you.” 2 likes
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