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Joseph Anton. A Memoir
Salman Rushdie
Charles de Lint

Deathbird Stories (SFBC 50th Anniversary Collection, No. 24)

Deathbird Stories (SFBC 50th Anniversary Collection, No. 24) - Harlan Ellison Reading this left such a bad taste in my mouth. A couple of other reviewers here have mentioned that the stories are obviously a product of their time. That's true, in the same sense in which your racist, sexist grandad** is a product of his time. I was going to put a couple of short quotations here to illustrate how Ellison talks about (for instance) women and black people, but the first several that I thought of are so horrifyingly offensive that they'd violate the site's terms of use. I could deal with offensive content in the service of a good story, but in most cases, there's not much else to the story. Totally unlikable characters. Trying-too-hard slang that does nothing to disguise the author's pomposity. Repetitive what's-the-world-coming-to-these-days preachiness - most famously represented in "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs," a story/sermon whose message is based on Ellison's total failure to research and understand the famous Kitty Genovese case (Genovese being apparently the only woman Ellison is capable of perceiving as a human being). All women are sex objects. Minority women are exotic sex objects. Minority men are criminals. Admittedly, I didn't finish the book - which makes it one of maybe six books over my entire life that I've hated too much to finish - so it's possible that the whole latter half of the book is chock full of positive messages and fully realized characters, but I went ahead and gambled that I wouldn't be missing out if I stopped reading. In the unlikely event that I want to revisit the experience of reading this, I can always just borrow someone's racist grandad for the day and chat with him until he falls asleep.**If you have one. For the record, my grandads were lovely.