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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  1,580 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Over the course of his legendary career, Harlan Ellison has defied─and sometimes defined─modern fantasy literature, all while refusing to allow any genre to claim him. A Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association as well as winner of countless awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Edgar A...more
Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by E-Reads, Ltd. (first published January 1st 1980)
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I go back and forth about Harlan Ellison, as he has reached near mythical status as a writer, public figure and all around crazy bastard.
When he writes just sci-fi/fantasy stuff, it can be quite clever and entertaining, full of mad ideas, allegory and cool imagery. The kind of stuff that would make for a really good episode of the 'Outer Limits'.

When he writes about 'The real world' it comes across, nine times out of ten, as wildly self-indulgent drivel. Full of anger, literary and emotional pat...more
What is Harlan Ellison's best short fiction collection? My automatic answer is Deathbird Stories but Shatterday packs a wallop too. Two of his best short fiction works are here, "Jeffty is Five" and the title story yet there is not a filler piece to be found. All are quite impressive. I especially like his sad and reflective "All the Lies That Are my Life". Shatterday may surpass Deathbird Stories in that it encompasses a wider variety of emotions. Best Ellison collection? Call it a tie.
Mar 21, 2007 Ron rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
The field for when I read this is deceptive. I reread it every couple of years. And each time, I find myself reflected more and more in Ellison's writing.

Ellison can be self absorbed. He's much more interested in being somebody than in being a writer. But when he's good, he's among the best, especially as a short story writer. And this is, in my opinion, his best collection. The title story is pretty straightforward science/alternative fiction that investigates our many parts. Jeffty is Five is...more
This is hands down one of my favorite books. I try to read it every year or so. Harlan is at his best when he's dishing out the pathos, and here he puts his characters in some very strange and disturbing settings and situations. I love the title story in this short story collection, I read it whenever I am at a crossroads and there is something I desperately want to change about my life, or when I'm feeling depressed. It reminds me that everyone has the power of self-determination, that there is...more
Harlan Ellison refuses to let things work themselves out. In his stories, (especially my favorite in this book "Count the Clock that Tells the Time") slighted people who wait around for justice and karma to right the universe get just as screwed as the characters acting in the wrong. Bottom line: do things for yourself and fight back when people take advantage of you. There is no room for pity in a well crafted Ellison story. I think he was especially pissed when he wrote the stories for Shatter...more
Great stories.... Don't read more than one or two at at time though or you'll have to lock yourself in your room until the darkness passes ::::smile::::
Having an introduction before each story is like a magician telling his audience exactly how he's about to perform each trick because he can't stand the thought of people not fully appreciating his genius.

If you're going to get all cranky about what people say about you and say things like, "[whatever], I'm still the one who can write these stories," you better deliver the goods.

In this collection, Ellison doesn't. At best the stories are fair episodes of The Outer Limits. At worst, they're tab...more
Tim Giauque
This is the first Harlan Ellison book I've read. The only other story of his I was familiar with was "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream," which remains one of the most chilling and effective things I've ever read. But I knew Ellison by reputation: he's known as the cranky old man of sci-fi, as a Luddite who has sued a long list of collaborators and producers over the years. He wrote the original scripts for some of the best-known episodes of "Star Trek," as well as a couple of "Outer Limits" ep...more
Introduction: Mortal Dreads
Jeffty Is Five *****
How's The Night Life on Cissalda? ****o
Flop Sweat ***oo
Would You Do it For a Penny? (written in collaboration with Haskell Barkin) ****o
The Man Who Was Heavily Into Revenge ***oo
Shoppe Keeper **ooo
All the Lies That Are My Life **ooo
Django **ooo
Count the Clock That Tells the Time ***oo
In the Fourth Year of the War ***oo
Alive and Well on a Friendless Voyage ***oo
All the Birds Come Home to Roost ***oo
Opium ***oo
The Other Eye of Polyphemus ***oo
The Exec...more
When I pulled this book down off my bookshelf, it had a price sticker on the front cover and 2 bookmarks inside from A Change of Hobbit, a "speculative fiction bookstore" in Santa Monica, California. I must have bought this book sometime in the '80s on a trip to the L.A. area, and my friend Stix took me to this bookstore (no one else would've gone there with me). All this is preface to say that while I enjoyed much of this book of short stories (some not so much), it definitely feels very dated....more
Again, Harlan Ellison's writing has amazed me, enthralled me, horrified me, and shocked me.
Almost all the stories in this short story collection are grim-- you can count on unhappy endings for all of them. This isn't really a spoiler if you have any sort of inductive reasoning. After a few stories it's obvious Ellison is not kind to his mind's offspring.
A recurring theme in Ellison's short stories is the exploration of mortal dreads we all experience as humans. Each short story deals with fears...more
Bev Hankins

It's been a long time since I've read any Ellison. I discovered him back in the day when I was on my science fiction kick. Let me just tell you straight....Harlan Ellison is not for everyone. He's not for the squeamish. Or the prudish. You want your fiction all neat and tidy and full of rainbows and sunshine and happily-ever-afters. Ellison is not your man. That's not to say he can't write a happy ending. He can. He does in this collection. But it's not your everyday, Disney happy ending....and...more
While these stories might have, at one time, been the sort of thing to shock or titillate, their age shows in dated idioms and colloquialisms. Perhaps it is my personal cynicism, but the amount of nostalgia for days long since past sours even the best intended lessons. The same note of the past is in many of the works and harries this reader to the point of being a distraction. The additional comments at the beginning of the stories serves to reinforce this view that Mr. Ellision seems to prefer...more
The fact that I read two Harlan Ellison collections back to back is probably somewhat telling. Again, I really enjoyed this one- it's possible that I liked the first collection a little more, but that might just be because I probably should have read them a little more spread out (but like, how could I? This stuff is addictive). Some of these are pretty amazing though.
John Staats
I've read enough books to develop a snobbish opinion about worthwhile reading and Shatterday knocks my socks off. This is speculative fiction, it requires thought and in some cases explanation... but like the best Cohen Brothers movies re-reading them reveals a larger, more profound message.

Harlan is my favorite author. Period. Only Shakespeare can flex muscles like him, and unlike Shakespeare, Harlan doesn't repeat. He is my number one hero and reigns in my personal pantheon of creative influe...more
David Allen
"Jeffty is Five," about a little boy who doesn't grow up, is one of Ellison's half-dozen best stories, and it kicks off this 1980 collection. Nothing matches it, unsurprisingly, but most of these stories succeed: the revenge fantasy on a contractor, the man whose love life shifts into reverse as every woman he's ever known re-enters his life in sequence, the man who meets a better version of himself. "The Executioner of the Malformed Children," though, is as awful as its title.
Benoit Lelievre
Harlan Ellison was a curious, yet strangely loveable character. You can feel that through SHATTERDAY, which is quite the experience in meta-narratives. In fact, Ellison wrote an introduction to every short story in this collection, where he keeps repeating that writers are cannibalizing their own lives and the lives of others to work and offers us genuine peeks into the inception of his creations, often exposing himself to us. My two favorite stories were ALL THE LIES THAT ARE MY LIFE and IN THE...more
John W
Another great collection of short stories.

* Introduction: Mortal Dreads
* Jeffty Is Five
* How's The Night Life on Cissalda?
* Flop Sweat
* Would You Do it For a Penny? (written in collaboration with Haskell Barkin)
* The Man Who Was Heavily Into Revenge
* Shoppe Keeper
* All the Lies That Are My Life
* Django
* Count the Clock That Tells the Time
* In the Fourth Year of the War
* Alive and Well on a Friendless Voyage
* All the Birds Come Home to Roost
* Opium
* The Other Eye of Polyphemus
* Th...more
A brilliant collection by Ellison with the uniting theme of "moral dreads" - the underlying fears in our existence.

This man is more than SF or whatever term you want to use for the genre. He's a masterful writer with a keen eye and even sharper tongue. Most of the stories only vaguely touch on the weird or space or whatever. What's at their core is humanity - in all of it's gloriously beautiful ugliness.

Basically, you should be reading him. And this collection is a great place to start.
Ellison’s tales reveal a restless mind and one not devoted to soothing human beings out of their fears. From the queer “Jeffty is Five” in which a boy never ages and thus makes everyone about him uneasy to the titular tale featuring a man being forced out of his life by his double, Ellison’s tales are about bizarre, unavoidable catastrophes overtaking ordinary people. Not easily classifiable as science fiction or horror, there is still much to disturb and titillate the discerning reader.
Eric Trautmiller
A fantastic book of short stories, and surprisingly a fantastic book of introductions.

I normally don't read introductions unless the person writing them is of particular interest to me. Writing about the story often feels cheap, as if the story didn't do it's job well enough. Ellison manages to give another layer of depth without spoiling the tale.

Highly recommended.
Christopher Munroe
Authors take journeys through other people's lives...

Another fine collection of Harlan Ellision short fiction, designed to shock and succeeding admirably. Speculative fiction's angry old man is in fine form here with a collection of stories that will haunt, inspire and, most of all, disturb. Seriously, you guys, Ellison's a genius, you need to read a collection of his minimum one time. It doesn't necessarily have to be this one, but this one's a fine place to start.
Harlan ellison is excellent, as usual.
John Passarella
Hard to go wrong with Ellison's stories. One of my three favorite authors of all time. I love the passion in his writing. I have a personal letter from him framed in my office. I had the great good fortune to meet him at the Bram Stoker Awards when WITHER won for best first novel of 1999. You don't often get to meet one of your writing idols.
Jamie McLendon
Ellison's work is described as speculative fiction (because he despises the term "sci-fi".) I'm not sure what to make of that term, but the stories in Shatterday range from the surreal to the deeply humorous. Certainly one of the funniest writers I've read, regardless of genre (and his introductions are no less witty than the stories themselves.)
Harlan is a person you either love or hate, a very odd but brilliant man. But ink flows from his pen like milk from a mother's teat and those who read are better for it. This was my first venture into reading his work and it changed me. Witty bizarre, bone chilling and feel good, he writes them all with a tad too much ease.
Keith Davis
This was the first collection of Harlan Ellison stories I ever read and it sent me searching for all the others. I picked this up at the late lamented Oxford Book Store in Atlanta. Most of the stories are excellent, but the title story and "All the Lies That Are My Life" really stand out.
Of the many myriad short story collections by the author this is one of my two favorites. There isn't a single story in this book that isn't GREAT! Still holds up fantastically well after over 30 years. Get it - read it! You WILL NOT regret it!
If you've read other short stories collections from this author you know what to expect. Interesting stories and endings. The addition of an introduction on how each story came to be adds an great insight on the creative process.
Stacy Palm
I absolutely loved this collection of short stories. I became interested in his writing after watching the documentary called, "To Dream with Teeth." His writing is smart, frisky, and very thought provoking.
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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
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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“When you're all alone out there, on the end of the typewriter, with each new story a new appraisal by the world of whether you can still get it up or not, arrogance and self-esteem and deep breathing are all you have. It often looks like egomania. I assure you it's the bold coverup of the absolutely terrified.” 12 likes
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