Troublemakers' by Harlan Ellison

Written by Melissa DeWilde

Harlan Ellison has been my literary hero ever since I laid eyes on I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. I was overjoyed to find that he had a new collection out.

Troublemakers is a selection of stories, chosen by the author, about, what else, troublemakers. Each story is introduced by Ellison and the 'troublemaker lesson' is explained in his inimitable way. He's just trying to get us to smarten up by showing us what we do wrong through the troublemakers in the stories.

As is often the case when Ellison talks to his readers, he starts out by insulting us for various crimes we may or may not be guilty of. But often we are. Or, at least, I am. But he always makes me feel like an old friend by the end. Harlan Ellison's introductions and dialogues to the readers are definitely one of the reasons I keep coming back.

Troublemakers has many old favourites including '"Repent, Harlequin," said the Ticktockman", "Djinn, No Chaser", and "Jeffty is Five."' Also included are a few more obscure gems like the newly revised "Never send to know for whom the lettuce wilts", and "Rain, Rain, Go Away." And although Troublemakers has no new stories, it's worth reading just to see what the author thinks we ought to learn from the stories.

If you're already an Ellison fan I don't have to tell you to go read this book. If you're not, I find that it is my duty to try my damnedest to make you one. Harlan Ellison is fascinating, as an author through his stories, and as a person. He can be the kindest, and then the most brutally truthful. He is funny and sombre in one page. He can do anything you'd ever dreamed possible, and be everything you ever loved about an author. And since this is a review of a specific book, yes, he does all of it in Troublemakers.

If you consider yourself a well-read person, you should at least read something of his. If you already have, tell your friends. They'll love you.