Approaching Oblivion Road Signs on the Treadmill Toward Tomorrow

Short story by Harlan Ellison


Approaching Oblivion is a collection of eleven short stories by American author Harlan Ellison. They had appeared in various magazines throughout the early 1970s with the exceptions of "Paulie Charmed the Sleeping Woman" which originally appeared in 1962 and "Ecowareness" which was previously unpublished.
According to the author's introduction, the book was originally conceived in 1970 as a call to action that would contain cautionary tales from Ellison's previous books. Over the ensuing protracted gestation period of four years, however, Harlan Ellison's personal outlook had gradually changed. This resulted in the inclusion of previously uncollected stories with underlying themes of disillusionment and futility in rebelling. Classic examples along these lines are the dystopian "Knox" and "Silent in Gehenna". Other notable stories include "One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty" which depicts a man meeting a younger version of himself as a child and finding himself unable to ease the pains of his own childhood.

First Published


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