Reviews of Approaching Oblivion (1974)
Review by clong (2006-07-23)
Yet another collection from the amazingly prolific Harlan Ellison. While these stories were all new to me, my response to them was consistent with how I have reviewed previous Ellison collections: some of them work beautifully, some of them fall flat, but I have to admire the imagination and ambition behind all of them. Ellison is an author who wants to shake you up, who never treads on safe ground. And who seems to have no shortage of things to be angry about.
My favorite stories in the collection were "Kiss of Fire," set in a distant future in which people's attempts relieve the monotony of their extraordinarily long, excruciatingly boring lives have unintended consequences; "Paulie Charmed the Sleeping Woman," a short little story in which an extraordinary jazz musician tries to wake the dead; and "Catman" another far future story in which the society of man has evolved in strange ways (especially and explicitly in the ways we pleasure ourselves). And while I wouldn't add "Knox" to my list of Ellison favorites, it was a very memorable story.