Top 10 Harlan Ellison Short Stories
In one of Ellison's most famous works, the last five humans on Earth are continuously tortured by the insane AI that destroyed the world in a final, massive nuclear exchange. Believe it or not, they actually made a video game out of this story, with Ellison himself voicing the computer and co-authoring the adapted universe. That's right, he wasn't satisfied with just writing about a murderous predecessor of GLaDOS, he wanted to freakin' become one.
4. "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman
In the future, your lifespan is known to the second, and every time you're late, a master control deducts time from your life. Excessive tardiness leads to a final switch-off of the heart. Only the laughing vigilante Harlequin stands up to the villainous Ticktockman, attacking the system with whimsy, jelly beans and a desire to be free.
One of the sadder stories in the Ellison lexicon. Jefty is a boy who never grows up. For Jefty, there are new episodes of The Shadow on each week, candy that has long gone out of stock is readily available, and comic books are still carrying on in the Golden Age. His parents fear their strange son, but for his adult best friend he is a link to an innocent youth.
2. Shoppe Keeper
The mysterious shop that sells wonders then vanishes is a staple of fiction, but have you ever wondered about the people that actually work there? Ellison did, and unveils the terrifying, hopeless struggle against tyrannical artistic suppression against a backdrop explaining how Charles Manson gained his hypnotic hold on others.
1. Worlds to Kill
No name brings more fear and hatred in the universe than that of Jared, a mercenary able to conquer any world for a price. His work has killed millions of beings, but underneath it all there is a plan for a lasting peace.