A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one hell of a divisive short story. The fact it's written very well, that it evokes so many positive and negative emotions, although, MOST of them are negative, speaks very well of the author even I hate what's going on inside the story.
I've only read a few of Ellison's works and I guess I've been avoiding it for a long time. Mostly because he's a known jerk and iconoclast and while he's also doing most of it for the shock value almost as if he's the Marylin Manson of the 60's. I can respect a man who knows his own mind and writes stories that are shocking and repulsive and funny at the same time
This definitely falls into that category. Rape. Rapey stuff. Brutal dystopian world that not only condones but explicitly encourages the objectification of women. But wait! Isn't that most of the dystopian literature, these days!?
Yeah, I guess it is. But back in '69 when this little gem came out, it threw all the optimistic post-nuke claptrap out the window and dived deep into the truly ugly side of men vs. women.
Come on. He uses his telepathic dog (who is much smarter than him) to serial-rape women. Just because he finds one that just likes sex and talks about love doesn't excuse his past behavior (or anyone else's).
But damn! Ellison writes this so damn well and with a lot of dark humor. The twist at the end was nasty and gorgeous and rather fitting, too. I can't fault this. It's too dark. Too funny.
So in one respect, I just want to give this a one star. In another, I can't help but be impressed by the writing and the controversy and the way it sparks a LOT of huge emotions in every reader. This is what art is meant to do, no? Well, this succeeds.
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