03 Oct 31 HORROR STORIES — “From A to Z in the Chocolate Alphabet” (1976)
Man, which Harlan Ellison do I choose? I don’t want to repeat authors in this list, but Ellison’s the most tempting. “Shatterday”, “The Diagnosis of Doctor D’arqueAngel”, “All the Birds Come Home to Roost”, “Basilisk” and “Hitler Painted Roses” all jump to mind.
Instead, I’ll choose this one, which debuted along with his truly horrific “Croatoan” in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION in 1976. 26 little pastiches, some of them funny, some sad, but the majority terrifying. Even more terrifying are the fact that they’re IDEAS, quickly sketched-out sucker-punches. Shit, now I’m writing like Ellison.
“B is for BREATHDEATH”, “E is for ELEVATOR PEOPLE”, “I is for ICE CRAWLER”, among others. Yikes. Check out “D is for DIKH”:
“He is sick. He writes his books in the lowest level of a deep labyrinthine grotto. His books are filled with things no one ever wanted to know. Unsettling things. He became part mushroom many years ago, and the lizards who come and feed off his body never realize he was once a man…”
And it goes on.
The last line of the story suggests the end of the world.
Quite a debut.