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I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
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Harlan Ellison IHNM&IMS Stories > "Delusion For A Dragon Slayer" by Harlan Ellison

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 10, 2016 07:57PM) (new)

This is our discussion of the short story:

"Delusion For A Dragon Slayer" by Harlan Ellison

This story is part of Ellison's collection I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, part of our group's anthology discussion.

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 15, 2016 06:50AM) (new)

When Harlan Ellison admits "it's a weird story", you know you're in true terra incognita. "I employed a Baroque, even rococo approach. I wanted a density of images, a veritable darkness of language, comparable in narrative to what saxophonist John Coltrane blows in his “sheets of sound” style. That is, a laying on thickly of impressions, one atop another, like the scales of an armadillo." Oh dear.

And so I queued up the very best of John Coltrane and began to read...

It begins with the premise, bolstered by several true anecdotes, that a series of small details can lead to really unexpected and lethal consequences. Such is the case with Mr. Warren Griffin, who through a series of very tiny events ends up getting crushed by a rogue wrecking ball. So far, so good.

But in death, apparently, Mr. Griffin apparently has a lengthy hallucination involving wizards, strange lands, and Dragon slaying and damsels in distress.

And now, the weather report...

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I forgot to mention the somewhat dated reference to the theremin (as a sound reference.) The electronic musical instrument was briefly cool in the 50s & 60s (its characteristic warbling sounds were featured in the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still, among others.) A relative of the Moog musical instrument, its distinguishing characteristic is you don't touch it to play it, you just wave your hands over it in proximity. Once thought to be the musical entertainment of the future.

I found the pair of references, as descriptive of the sound, to be amusing.

message 4: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2161 comments The theremin is also in "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys. Brian Wilson played it. Here is a clip of it being played.

message 5: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2161 comments This was great on several levels. I loved the coincidence that leads to it, the grandiose dreams of the drone, & his complete failure to live up to them. In many ways, it is very similar to "World of Myth", but even better. I've always remembered this story well. 5 stars.

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