The Deathbird & Other Stories

  • by Harlan Ellison
  • Narrated by Harlan Ellison, Theodore Bikel, Stefan Rudnicki, Arte Johnson
  • 8 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In a prolific career spanning more than 50 years, Harlan Ellison has been the acclaimed master of speculative fiction. In fact, a 1999 Locus poll named him the all-time best writer of short fiction as well as the editor of the all-time best anthology (Dangerous Visions). In addition to his dozens of Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards, Ellison has won two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, and multiple Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Association (including the Lifetime Achievement Award). As an audiobook narrator, he's twice won Audie Awards and been nominated for a Grammy Award.
The Deathbird & Other Stories presents, for the first time in audio, 13 of Ellison’s classic stories:
"Ellison Wonderland"
"The Deathbird" (Hugo & Locus winner; Nebula nominee)
"The Creation of Water"
"Run for the Stars"
"Croatoan" (Hugo nominee)
"The Beast Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World" (Hugo winner)
"On the Slab"
"The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore" (Nebula nominee)
"The Dreams a Nightmare Dreams"
"The Whimper of Whipped Dogs"
"Killing Bernstein"
"Count the Clock That Tells the Time" (Locus winner; Hugo nominee)
"How Interesting: A Tiny Man" (Nebula winner)
“Ellison Wonderland” © 1994 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “The Deathbird” © 1973 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2001 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “The Creation of Water” © 1994 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “Run for the Stars”© 1957 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 1985 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “Croatoan”© 1975 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2003 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World” © 1968 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 1996 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “On the Slab”© 1981 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore”© 1991 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “The Dreams a Nightmare Dreams”© 1994 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “The Whimper of Whipped Dogs” © 1973 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2001 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “Killing Bernstein” © 1976 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2004 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “Count the Clock That Tells the Time” © 1978 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2006 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. “How Interesting: A Tiny Man” © 2010 by Harlan Ellison. All stories written by Harlan Ellison. All rights reserved.


What the Critics Say

"All the narrators are wonderful...However, Ellison as narrator surpasses them all. Once you have heard Ellison read his ownwork, it is impossible to imagine it spoken by anyone else. It’s not simply that Ellison is a terrific voice actor; it’s that he inhabits his writing like a hand wears a glove. If you love Ellison, you have to have this. Highly recommended." (Locus)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Muscular, poetic, weird stories by master

A collection of 13 stories mostly dating from around 1974 and after, and most are read by H. Ellison. The standouts are the later "magical realism"-style and fragmented stories that Ellison was mastering in the '70s through the '80s, "The Deathbird" and particularly "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus To Shore" (both award winners).

I feel Ellison's reading style tends to oversell the language and the emotions (he tends to lapse into dialects too) and can be a bit distracting in his emphatic delivery, particularly in "Killing Bernstein" here in which he is making sure it reads "funny" and "How Interesting: A Tiny Man" which has been added a layer of "outrage" but the 2 above, "Deathbird" and "Man who Rowed" are read more quietly by 2 readers who have fantastic voices (I believe Deathbird is read by Theodore Bikel) and are quite powerful for letting the words do the talking without Ellison's hyperactivity. "The Deathbird" was notoriously hard for me to follow on the page and having heard it here I really appreciated its subtle powers.

Later stories like "On The Slab" and "Croatoan" and "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" are firmly of the era in which most of HE's protagonists are doomed and adrift in an unfriendly universe, forced to negotiate with evil forces and impulses that have been brought to light through their own (often inadvertent) actions. There are seldom happy endings in Ellison's stories but rather, there are realizations of our own duplicity, our own limitations, our own willingness to live with hurt and damage if we can survive another day.

Some of the later pieces included ("Ellison Wonderland" (1994, after the Jacek Yerka painting), "The Creation of Water", "The Dreams A Nightmare Dreams") are shorter poetic exercises less plotted stories than mood pieces. Ellison's language always has a muscular force and the increasingly poetic turns of phrase and metaphors lend themselves well to aloud reading. The collection also includes HE's "Run For The Stars" a long late '50s SF tale that is the most dated piece here and is ultimately unremarkable yet seems to be one of HE's favorites as it is constantly being reprinted and recycled for his collections.

This is a great way to hear some of HE's famous stories read almost as if they were meant to be enjoyed that way.

Ellison Wonderland, The Creation of Water, Run For the Stars, Beast Who Shouted..., On The Slab, The Dreams A Nightmare Dreams, The Whimper..., Killing Bernstein, and How Interesting A Tiny Man are all read by Ellison.

The Deathbird, Croatoan, The Man Who Rowed..., and Count the Clock That Tells The Time are read by other readers in the collection.
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- Roger


It's rare nowadays to find a piece of fiction that can smack me two days of Sunday but this collection of Ellison's short stories did just that...
The story in particular that has stuck with me since I finished this collection is "The Deathbird". It was the obvious choice to pick for lending its name as a representation for this entire volume. The Deathbird, although only a short story, packs more punch than 99.99% of GOOD novels do. I finished this with a genuine feeling of inspiration. I write science fiction as a hobby in my spare time and, once again, I cannot stress it enough, how humbling of a listen this was for me. I would die a happy man if I ended up writing a story that was even a tenth as good as Deathbird. One of Ellison's main talents as a writer, and what I believe his fans find so addictive, is his unabashed refusal to follow any rules as far as what one might expect from an author of his caliber. He doesn't just break the rules, he shreds them, burns them, kicks them into the gutter, spits on them, and then spends the following week spreading horrible rumors about whichever rule he has just destroyed.

Do yourself a huge favor and buy this NOW.

9.89 / 10.00
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- Niels J. Rasmussen "Dr. Nils Rasmussen"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-17-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios