Review: No Doors, No Windows

  • November 15, 2009
  • James Skemp
  • review

Edgeworks Abbey and E-Reads have recently (2009) begun reprinting Harlan Ellison's works (32 titles in total).

No Doors, No Windows sounded like a good choice, from the few titles I was missing, so I picked up a copy.

This collects 16 stories, and has the introduction from the original release. Most of these stories were new to me, but they're short (the book is just under 200 pages, with the intro) and for the most part just aren't as good as his other works. Supposedly these are all mystery stories, having some sort of 'twist' at the end. Sometimes it comes off really well; sometimes it seems forced.

So, I'd say it's a collection of fairly low-end Ellison stories, with other collections of his works containing much better stories.

What's really unfortunate, and I don't know if this is a case with this collection or with this publisher/series, but the book itself suffers from some fairly major editorial issues. It seems that in every other story the word 'in' became the word 'hi.' Less commonly punctuation marks have vanished. In a couple cases letters even vanished, where 'had' becomes 'h l' for example. I don't believe I have a another copy of "The Man on the Juice Wagon" (it's not in The Essential Ellison: 50, which it shouldn't be anyways), so I can't determine if the two words spoken by Routener are intentional or not. (They are "Rggll" and "Fszl" in my copy. Huh?)

Overall, this requires me to give this collection 3 of 5 stars. Go grab a copy of Deathbird Stories or The Essential Ellison instead, assuming you don't already have them. Although if picking up those done by Edgeworks Abbey and E-Reads, give them a once-over first to verify the text issues aren't in the others.