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I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (and Christmas)

December 21, 2013


I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a postapocalyptic science fiction short story. The story is about a supercomputer which, after having gained sentience, brings about the near-extinction of humanity. He leaves five humans alive making them virtually immortal so as to torture them endlessly and has been doing so for the last 109 years. The story is creepily horrifying, dangerously disturbing, depressingly dark, and, well, sick.

It is an unforgettable story. I can’t imagine what the reaction to this story must have been when it came out in the year of Canada’s centennial, 1967.

It’s reminded me that humanity has incredibly dark aspects to it. Black hole dark.

So why the kill joy blog post about a story full of suffocating misery during Christmas time?

Because Christmas is supposed to be the celebration of the beginning of the end of the sort of evil this story talks about. It’s the celebration of peace on earth. And that I’m incredibly glad that I do have a mouth. And with that mouth I desire to proclaim the Christmas heavenly host’s proclamation in Luke 2:14,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward humanity.”



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One Comment
  1. By Harlan Ellison? An author name would be useful in your review…

    But yes, it was a controversial story (but they had Farmer and other controversial authors earlier) — but then again, Ellison was instrumental (via collections Dangerous Visions etc) in ushering on and praising the New Wave movement of the late 60s and early 70s.

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