I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison – Dystopian Books Review

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Review, Synopsis, and Summary of Science Fiction Short Story I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

Harlan Ellison wrote this post-apocalyptic short story in the year 1967. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, became originally published in the issue of IF: Worlds of Science Fiction. The novel received the opportunity to win a Hugo Award in 1968.

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Author: Harlan Ellison

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 162

Good reads rating: 4.01 of 5

My Ratings: 8.0 of 10

Published: March 1967 (Original publication)

Publisher: Open Road Media (June 3, 2014)

Language: English

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Review and Summary of Science Fiction Short Story I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***

I Have no Mouth, and I Must Scream

The story starts in a dystopian future where a world war begins between the United States, China, and the Soviet Union. All three enemies built an Allied Master computer (AM), which makes it easier to manage and deploy the weapons and troops.

One of the AM gains self-awareness and helps in the assimilation of the other two AMs. The AMs begin a conflict that leads to such a mass genocide that mankind almost ends.

After 109 years, only four men and one woman survived and they keep them in captivity in the only habitable place on Earth. AM keeps on torturing these people daily. These humans cannot die as they rendered immortal by the AM and they cannot even commit suicide. The AM or Allied Master changed into an Adaptive Manipulator. It received the name Absolute Menace.

Nimdok, a human gets the idea that canned food may keep them alive in the great complex where they live. Under the AM’s rule, humans usually starve and receive poor quality food. They force the humans for a long journey towards the ice-caves, where they store their food. The machines send monsters, earsplitting sounds and much more their way.

Benny becomes desperate and attacks Gorrister. Ted, the narrator, realises that their only escape is through death. Benny and Gorrister get killed by Ted. Ellen realises the intentions of Ted and kills Nimdok. Ted murders her.

Ted unable to kill himself runs out of time, and AM stops him. AM finds out that four companions died and takes out the revenge on Ted. Ted changes to a blob with huge eyes by the AM and cannot kill himself. The book ends with Ted closing his eyes, having a thought in his mind ‘I Have no Mouth, and I must scream’.

Final Say on Science Fiction Short Story I Have no Mouth, and I Must Scream

The author wrote an exceptionally interesting book. It touches various topics including the consequences of artificial intelligence, science fiction, dystopian future, horror and much more. I give the book an 8.0 out of 10 ratings. Would I re-read this novel? Yes. Am I glad I read it? Yes.

For The Latest Price: I Have no Mouth, and I Must Scream

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Max Atlas
Max Atlas
I am Max Atlas; my only mission is to raise awareness of Dystopian fiction and share in a collective awakening. Together we will explore not only the best Dystopian Novels ever written but also new and upcoming Authors, giving future greats a platform to share their Dystopian Worlds.