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Alone Against Tomorrow: Stories of Alienation in Speculative Fiction

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  789 ratings  ·  35 reviews
By law, one cannot copyright a title. If someone were stupid enough to do it, novels could be written and published with such titles as " Moby Dick," " Alice in Wonderland" or "Gone With the Wind." But also, by law, ownership of a title can be guaranteed if it can be proved that the original author has established such a connection with the title that any duplication would ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 312 pages
Published October 1st 1972 by Collier Books (first published 1971)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Dang Ole' Dan Can Dangle
Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I will rate each short story individually as I read them, though the final overall score is not necessarily an aggregated average.

I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream: 5/5
Perhaps my favorite Ellison story. I've read it about a dozen times and I'm still not completely sure why I like it so much. Just very enjoyable to read.
The Discarded: 4/5
Deeper than the Darkness: 4/5
Blind Lightning: 3/5
A good story, I just didn't care for it too much.
All the Sounds of Fear: 2.5/5
I may have to re-read this one bec
Harlan Ellison is a fantastic story-teller--even when every story in a collection is not up to his usual standard (as here), his less-than-best is miles ahead of others. So, let me just qualify my star rating on this collection upfront: the three stars represent a rating on the Ellison scale, not an Ellison versus others scale. I simply could not rate this collection as highly as Shatterday or Slippage because the overall quality on the Ellison scale is not equivalent.

These twenty stories focus
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I somehow found out about Harlan Ellison while looking up Margaret Atwood, don't ask. Long story short, I became obsessed with the idea of reading this man whose work so many love and hunted down this story collection which seems to feature many of his most well known stories. I won't review the stories one by one, but will agree that "Repent Harlequin" and "I Have No Mouth" are amazing pieces of work that stick with you long after the reading. Ellison's stories are less stories and more like wi ...more
J.G. Keely
I wish Harlan Ellison's books were as good as his editorial work. Somehow, his cleverness and mastery of language gets left behind once he starts hashing out fiction. I know this is an earlier work of his, but comparing the stories here, even 'I have no mouth but I must scream' to something like his introduction to Gaiman's Sandman shows two very different styles. Unfortunately, the former failed to engage me. ...more
Marc Goldstein
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it
6 “I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream”
A powerful AI has killed all of humanity (Skynet from Terminator?). It continues to vent its hatred of mankind by torturing a small group of survivors.

7 “’Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman”
Future dystopia where any deviance from the orderly scheduling of events results in an equal amount of time shaved off of the offender’s lifespan. Into this the Harlequin appears, spreading mischief as a form of civil disobedience.
Dmitry Pirozhkov
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Malcolm Little
Alone Against Tomorrow is a mixed bag of short stories from the classic writer Ellison. None of the stories contained within the collection are particularly bad, but in contrast very few are transcendently good. Instead, most fall in the middle, ranging from forgettable mediocrity – pretty decent tales. The result of that mixed bag was that I found few elements in each story worth the price of temporal admission. Unlike a truly bad movie, truly bad writing can never be “so bad it’s good”. The re ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a retrospective collection of the best speculative stories from early in Ellison's career. They've all appeared in previous and prior collections, and all are interesting and entertaining. There are some well acknowledged and award-winning classics along with earlier tales; it's a good sampling of his early genre work. ...more
David Dort
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the masters of the genre of dark speculative (science) fiction, Ellison's short stories are thoroughly disturbing at their best, and thought-provoking at their least. Perhaps quaintly experimental by today's standards, this book ranks with the best of Dick and LeGuin as groundbreaking works that brought sci-fi out of the dime novel and into serious literature. The stunning dystopic vision of a future hell "I have no mouth and I must scream" should be required reading for any fan of the ge ...more
David Allen
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the prolific, and variable, Ellison's most consistent collections, a retrospective (circa 1971) that focuses on alienation and loneliness. Has several of his most renowned stories up to that point. Must have had a decent print run because even 40 years later, it's the Ellison book you're likeliest to find in a used bookstore. ...more
Noah Ferguson
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The absurd cover and existential title of Alone Against Tomorrow drew me to it. I went into the book blind off of a recommendation, but it's the type of book I would find intriguing now that I've read it.

One thing the book has going for it is because it's a collection of short stories, it's fast paced and the stories don't have time to get boring or old. No matter how absurd the plot of one of the short stories, you can always take something away about it on the nature of humanity or of the cold
Derek Nason
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For the record, if I read a book of short stories, and even one of them is a 5-Star story, I’m rating the book 5 stars. But, this book is full of 5 star stories.

I found out about Harlan Ellison from Neil Gaiman’s essay. I had also been aware of I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM and some tv episodes as being canonical, but I had no real awareness of what reading him was like. Well, now I know. It’s one of those moments where I find out how deprived I am; like there’s a giant beating heart of a w
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, own
Wonderful book.

· The Song of the Soul · in
· I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream · ss If Mar ’67
· The Discarded [“The Abnormals”] · ss Fantastic Apr ’59
· Deeper Than the Darkness · nv Infinity Science Fiction Apr ’57
· Blind Lightning · ss Fantastic Universe Jun ’56
· All the Sounds of Fear · ss The Saint Detective Magazine (UK) Jul ’62
· The Silver Corridor · ss Infinity Science Fiction Oct ’56
· “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman · ss Galaxy Dec ’65
· Bright Eyes · ss Fantasti
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection is by far the best I have read in this genre, Ellison creates intricate settings and places in them a diverse cast of characters, he weaves entire universes throughout his stories, enticing the reader in with a tempting perspective of humanity, the genre of most of these stories being sci-fi, they are startlingly down to earth, the raw emotions expressed by the characters show us the unique outlooks on life that so many humans share and disagree about. Ellison places these comple ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid collection of Ellison short stories. For the most part they are quite good and engaging and as the title suggests they are indeed stories about alienation. A few of the standout stories here are "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream", "Repent Harlequin, Says the Ticktockman", and "The Silver Corridor". Some of these are very sci-fi types and actually set in space or the future. Some are more of a trip into the deep consciousness of the troubled individuals. It's a good mix. ...more
Dale Jones
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
The stories I enjoyed were I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, Deeper Than the Darkness, "Repent, Harlequin" Said the Ticktockman, Life Hutch, and Pennies, Off a Dead Man's Eyes. ...more
Neal Umphred
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
All of Harlan Ellison's collections are worth reading but each may have a story or two that will leave you cold. ...more
☆ Rebecca ☆
Apr 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
i honestly just do not like his style of writing, like, at all........
Garrett Roney
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, sci-fi
Honestly, the quality of stories here is a real roller coaster. “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” and “‘Repent, Harlequinn,’ Said The Tiktokman” were stand outs.

“Jelly beans! Millions and billions of purples and yellows and greens and licorice and grape and raspberry and mint and round and smooth and crunchy outside and soft-mealy inside and sugary and bouncing jouncing tumbling clittering clattering skittering fell on the heads and shoulders and hardhats and carapaces of the Timkin works, t
Phil Overeem
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wavered between 4 and 5 stars on this one, but the sheer consistent level of intensity, commitment to vision, and imagination swayed me in its favor. I can't say I dislike any of the stories here, and MANY I will never forget. I have the urge to read one out loud to my students every month, but I am not teaching science fiction or American lit. A highlight of the year, readingwise. ...more
Nov 01, 2010 marked it as not-read
Shelves: fiction
This was, originally, a ten-year retrospective into HE's work, and contains many of his classics. "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman!", "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream", "Lonelyache" and others combine to bring forth a comment on loneliness... ...more
Carla Remy
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
"I have no mouth, and I must scream" is original, creepy and rather proto-Gibson. As the stories went on - well, just, honestly I read only half the book. Maybe the end was phenomenal. Obviously, had I been entranced with his "voice" I would have read the whole thing. ...more
Mar 18, 2008 is currently reading it
Started reading it when Ben fell asleep on the plane back from Austin. The story "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" is pretty awesome, and the connection to a number of sci-fi films is evident. ...more
Chris Brimmer
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Includes "For I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" which makes most King read like kiddy lit. ...more
Daniel White
Jul 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
The best stories are "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," "All the Sound of Fear" and "The Time of the Eye." At least that is how I feel. ...more
Greg K
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea how good Ellison was. Really really good stuff in this book. There's still a few stories left to read, but I'm saving them for a (different) rainy day. Love this stuff! ...more
L Greyfort
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
An important collection, among the many Ellison has published, it contains the two classic masterpieces, "I Have No Mouth..." & "Repent, Harlequin..." Not to be missed. ...more
Kevin Eagan
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
"I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," "Bright Eyes," "Blind Lightning," and "The Discarded" are excellent stories, but the rest of the stories in this book are only OK. ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ellison is a master of the short story, and this collection demonstrate why.
Charles Wilson
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ellison is always amazing.
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Harlan Jay Ellison was 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/writ

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