Vic and blood, p.1
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       Vic and Blood, p.1

           Harlan Ellison
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Vic and Blood


  -----------------------------------

  Vic and Blood

  by Harlan Ellison

  -----------------------------------

  /Science Fiction

  * * *

  E-Reads

  www.e-reads.com

  Copyright ©2003 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation

  NOTICE: This work is copyrighted. It is licensed only for use by the original purchaser. Making copies of this work or distributing it to any unauthorized person by any means, including without limit email, floppy disk, file transfer, paper print out, or any other method constitutes a violation of International copyright law and subjects the violator to severe fines or imprisonment.

  * * *

  CONTENTS

  VIC AND BLOOD

  Contents

  LATEST BREAKING NEWS: THE KID AND THE POOCH

  FROM: THE WIT AND WISDOM OF BLOOD

  EGGSUCKER

  FROM: THE WIT AND WISDOM OF BLOOD

  A BOY AND HIS DOG

  FROM: THE WIT AND WISDOM OF BLOOD

  RUN, SPOT, RUN

  FROM: THE WIT AND WISDOM OF BLOOD

  * * * *

  * * *

  WORLD WAR III. 1 LASTED FROM 25 JUNE 1950 WHEN THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA WAS INVADED BY 60,000 SCREAMING NORTH KOREAN TROOPS SPEARHEADED BY SOMETHING IN EXCESS OF ONE HUNDRED RUSSIAN-BUILT TANKS ... TILL 9 NOVEMBER 1989 WITH THE COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM IN RUSSIA AND THE OPENING OF THE BERLIN WALL. WORLD WAR III.2 BEGAN EITHER IN 1987 WITH THE ISLAMIC INTIFADA OR IN DECEMBER OF 1994 WHEN THE MUSLIM REPUBLIC OF CHECHNYA DECLARED ITS INDEPENDENCE FROM THE OTHER FIFTEEN GIMCRACK STATES THAT HAD ONCE BEEN THE USSR, AND WAS INVADED BY RUSSIAN TROOPS ... TILL WORLD WAR III.3 OVERLAPPED WORLD WAR III.2 AND BEGAN ON 11 SEPTEMBER 2001 WITH THE FALL OF MANHATTAN'S WORLD TRADE CENTER. WORLD WAR III—COLD AND HOT—LASTED TILL TWO WEEKS AFTER RAMADAN IN THE YEAR 2021, WHEN THE SIXTY-FIVE RECOGNIZED STATE GOVERNMENTS, ALONG WITH THE 128 ROGUE AND “LIBERATION” ARMIES, MET TO SIGN THE VATICAN'S PROPOSED ENTENTE CORDIALE IN THE COURTYARD OF THE GREAT MOSQUE AT MECCA, AMID THE STILL-SMOLDERING SHARDS OF WHAT HAD BEEN THE SACRED KABA. WORLD WAR III—HOT AND COLD—LASTED SEVENTY-ONE YEARS (THOUGH NOBODY SEEMED SMART ENOUGH TO REALIZE IT HAD ALL BEEN ALL ONE CONTINUING CONFLICT).

  BUT AS THE NEW YEAR DAWNED IN 2022 IT WAS ALL OVER. PEACE IN OUR TIME. PEACE AND TRANQUILITY AND BROTHERLY LOVE REIGNED IN FULL, LA-DE-DAH.

  FOR TWO YEARS AND SIX MONTHS AND THREE DAYS.

  WORLD WAR IV BROKE OUT ON THE 215TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF EDGAR ALLAN POE—19 JANUARY 2024. WORLD WAR IV LASTED FIVE DAYS; UNTIL THE FEW REMAINING MISSILES THAT HAD JAMMED IN THEIR FIRST-STRIKE RELEASE PHASE CLEARED THEIR FULLY COMPUTERIZED SILOS BENEATH THE PAINTED DESERT, THE SAHARAN AHAGGARS, THE RUB AL KHALI, THE SIBERIAN PLATEAU AND PYONGYANG; BUT BY THEN THERE WASN'T MUCH OF ANYTHING LEFT TO FIGHT OVER. FIVE DAYS.

  THEN WHAT WAS LEFT BELONGED TO ANYBODY WHO WANTED IT, ANYBODY WITH A TASTE FOR RADIATION AND RUBBLE. BUT IT WAS A VERY DIFFERENT WORLD THE SURVIVORS CLAIMED. THE “GOOD FOLKS” SANK THEIR CAISSON CITIES, THEIR STERILE DOWNUNDERS, DEEP IN THE EARTH. AND THE SNAGGLE-TOOTHED REMNANTS OF THE ABOVEGROUND WERE ABANDONED TO THE NEW MASTERS OF DESOLATION: VICIOUS ROVERPAKS OF PARENTLESS YOUNG BOYS ... AND THEIR TELEPATHIC DOGS.

  FROM: THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, AS BLOOD TELLS IT.

  * * *

  VIC AND BLOOD

  the continuing stories of A BOY AND HIS DOG

  by Harlan Ellison ®

  Copyright © 1987, 2003 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation.

  [Back to Table of Contents]

  * * *

  VIC AND BLOOD

  is an Edgeworks Abbey Offering in association with ereads.com. Published by arrangement with the Author and The Kilimanjaro Corporation.

  Harlan Ellison and Edgeworks Abbey are registered trademarks of The Kilimanjaro Corporation.

  This edition is copyright © 2008 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. All rights reserved.

  Front Cover Illustration by Leo & Diane Dillon. Copyright © 1966 by Leo & Diane Dillon. Renewed, © 1994 by Leo & Diane Dillon.

  First e-reads publication: 2009

  www.ereads.com

  Harlan Ellison website:

  www.harlanellison.com

  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical-including photocopy, recording, Internet posting, electronic bulletin board-or any other information storage and retrieval system, or by any other method, means or process of embodying and/or transmitting information, text or the spoken word now known or hereafter devised without permission in writing from The Kilimanjaro Corporation, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a critical article or review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper, or electronically transmitted on radio, television or in a recognized on-line journal. For information address Author's agent: Richard Curtis Associates, Inc., 171 East 74th Street, New York, New York 10021, USA.

  All persons, places and organizations in this book-except those clearly in the public domain-are fictitious and any resemblance that may seem to exist to actual persons, places or organizations living, dead or defunct is purely coincidental. These are works of fiction.

  Introduction: “Latest Breaking News: The Kid and the Pooch,” copyright © 2003 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation.

  “Eggsucker,” copyright © 1977 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed, 2005 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation.

  “A Boy and His Dog,” copyright © 1969 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed, 1997 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation.

  “Run, Spot, Run,” copyright © 1980 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation.

  [Back to Table of Contents]

  * * *

  Contents

  LATEST BREAKING NEWS: THE KID AND THE POOCH

  EGGSUCKER

  A BOY AND HIS DOG

  RUN, SPOT, RUN

  [Back to Table of Contents]

  * * *

  LATEST BREAKING NEWS: THE KID AND THE POOCH

  FROM: THE WIT AND WISDOM OF BLOOD

  “It's probably not productive to codify civilization in terms of how many fire hydrants it has.”

  “Into each life a little Vic must fall.”

  I am nuts about “buddy” movies. And that's what Vic & Blood is.

  This is the first-time publication for the prose versions of this material as linked with the graphic interpretations. The stories (the tiniest sections of the full novel, BLOOD'S A ROVER) have all seen print since Michael Moorcock asked me for a contribution to his magazine New Worlds, in England, April 1969. I was writing the novel at the time, and what I thought was the first section, “A Boy and His Dog,” had just come off my typewriter. It read well as a stand-alone, so I sent the slightly abbreviated version (15,600 words) to Mike, without the vaguest idea that its appearance would mean more than the modest fee New Worlds was than paying.

  The novella appeared in general circulation in America in July of 1969, in my story collection THE BEAST THAT SHOUTED LOVE AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD. It was published at its full length, as it appears here, 18,000 words.

  I could not have been more wrong, what the response would be to that partial section of an intended 150,000-word novel. If, in fifty years as a professional writer, I have had anything approaching a “universal hit,” among the four or five contenders would have to be “A Boy and His Dog,” It won me a Nebula for Best Novella from the Science Fiction Writers of America; it has been reprinted endlessly; it has been translated into nineteen languages; it was bought for a TV series, though never produced; it has been pirated repeatedly in Russia; and in 1975 that madcap director L.Q. Jones made a movie of it, starring a young Don Johnson, Jason Robards, Jr., and a nifty little dog named Tiger. Blood's telepathic voice was the late Tim McIntire, whom you would know best as the actor who p
ortrayed deejay Alan Freed in American Hot Wax.

  The problem for me has been this.

  The film version of “A Boy and His Dog” had a more than slightly misogynistic tone. Not the story, the movie. I have no trouble placing the blame on that sexist loon Jones (see: “Huck and Tom, The Bizarre Liaison of Ellison and Jones” in Outré magazine, issue #309, Fall 2002). He was brung up in Texas, and as a good ole boy he is pretty much beyond retraining.

  But I catch the flak. I've had to go to universities where they've screened the movie (it being one of the most popular campus films perennially, and constantly available in one of another unauthorized knock-off video version) and I've had to try to explain to Politically Correct nitwits that I didn't write the damned film-which I happen to like a lot, except for that idiotic last line, which I despise-I wrote the original story; so I won't accept the blame for what they perceive as a “woman-hating tone” in the film.

  And I say to them READ THE DAMNED STORY! In the story (not to give too much away for those few of you who don't know this material), as in the film...

  VIC NEVER TOUCHES THE MEAT!

  There is a very nice college professor (whose name escapes me for the moment) who uses A Boy and His Dog, the film, to teach some cinema class or other, and he shows them the movie and then tells them to go to my website (www.harlanellison.com) and ask for clarification of any questions their viewing of the film might have raised.

  And, oh gawd, do they ever! They ask the dumbest questions you can imagine, and they make assumptions about me you wouldn't believe. They do not perceive that I am not a misogynist, that I am a misanthrope ... I treat male and female with equal monstrousness in this work. They also seem blissfully unaware of history (well, duh) and what happens after a decimating war in which food, weapons, shelter and women become valuable chattel. Clearly, I am showing in these stories that it's a brutal, amoral way of living; not a Good Thing. But the nitwits are products of the American Educational System, and looking beyond the surface of a work of fiction seems anathema to them since it requires ratiocination and cannot be abetted by binge-drinking.

  I show my real attitude toward these matters by making Vic little more than a beast, while Blood represents culture, wit, intellect, savvy, and civilization at its best. By reversing the roles, I hope to uplift the intellectual level of the entire population of the United States. And Guam. Or at least those who can properly pronounce the word nuclear.

  So here we are, Vic, Blood, you, me, 34 years after I wrote that first section (which turned out to be the second section, actually). Twenty-eight years after the film of “A Boy and His Dog” won me a Hugo at the 34th World Science Fiction Convention. And I've written the rest of the book, BLOOD'S A ROVER. The final, longest section is in screenplay form-and they're bidding here in Hollywood, once again, for the feature film aand tv rights-and one of these days before I go through that final door, I'll translate it into elegant prose, and the full novel will appear.

  But till that time, THIS, what you done got in your present paws, this is the most complete Vic & Blood oeuvre ever done. I suggest-and it's only a suggestion-that for optimum pleasure and clarity, you read the work as here presented. Read the story, then look at the pitchers. Do it that way with all three of the sections. And enjoy the new stuff here, such as From the Wit and Wisdom of Blood, which I wrote just for this edition.

  And remember, whatever else you forget, you must remember:

  VIC NEVER TOUCHES THE MEAT!

  And after you get done reading all of this, if you want to go to the chatroom at Ellison Wonderland (www.harlanellison.com), you'll find an archive of the dopey questions the nitwits have asked, plus snotty answers from yr. faithful author, and we'll all be the richer for your participation.

  That's as close to being Politically Correct as I can get.

  There is much of Blood in me.

  Harlan Ellison Sherman Oaks, California 25 March 2003

  [Back to Table of Contents]

  * * *

  FROM: THE WIT AND WISDOM OF BLOOD

  “Don't fret about it, kid; nobody gets out of childhood alive.”

  “When I listen to what you have to say, I can tell you weren't born yesterday. Nobody could get that bone/stick/stone stupid in just 24 hours.”

  “Bad bedfellows will always come back to bite you; like bad bedbugs.”

  “I never met a man I didn't like. I don't get out much.”

  [Back to Table of Contents]

  * * *

  EGGSUCKER

  A PREQUEL TO “A BOY AND HIS DOG"

  UNLESS I'VE DROPPED A STITCH at some point and have messed up the chronology, I met Vic—whom I permit to wallow in the delusion that he is my “master"-in 2021. The year of what they once knew as their Lord, 2021. As solos go, Vic is okay. He'll never be Bertrand Russell in the cerebration department, their Lord knows, but he's steadfast, responsible and game as they come. A bit too game, occasionally. The kid takes too many chances to suit my highly-attuned sense of survival.

  The way Vic tells it, he found me.

  Having long-since learned the twists and turns of the labyrinth that is the human ego, I permit him to batten on this monstrous inaccuracy.

  A little self-delusion goes a long way to keeping one's pet human in line.

  It also permits them a rat hole of dignity-preservation into which they can scurry, when they're put in their place. To be specific, I remember an evening.

  We had found a case of bottles in what was left of a Mayfair Market. Half a dozen were still intact with the contents unevaporated. (When I discovered what the contents were composed of, I realized the liquid was probably nonbiodegradable unto the hundredth generation.) Six bottles of a virulent jet fuel substitute labeled Sweet Betsy Pike fruit wine, 92 proof, distilled from grain, rare earths and unnameable trace metals, helium, argon, rutabaga and Necco wafers. I would sooner have swilled my own piss.

  But good old Albert, aka Vic, whooped and howled like a Belgian wolfhound getting a glucose enema. “This booze is worth its weight in ammo!” he yowled, capering around the dirt-banked pit, all that remained of the basement of the Mayfair Market. As he danced, he did a little sidestep so he wouldn't trip over the bodies of the two rovers he'd had to waste to gain possession of the Sweet Betsy Pike fruit wine. One of them wasn't quite dead, kept jerking his right leg the way I do when I'm sleeping and having a bad dream. The other one was spread out a bit; really a messy shot; way below Vic's standard between-the-eyes.

  So we took the six bottles in a wrap-up and went looking for Skipper and Walter, who were the ramrods of a loverpak called The 82nd Airborne. They called themselves that for who knows what reason, maybe they'd seen that old movie, I think it was a Van Johnson flick, maybe it was “Geronimo” or “Gung Ho,” or something like that. Vic is the movie bulf, not me. Mostly I'm bored by flicks, unless they're about food.

  The 82nd Airborne was the armorer for most of the loverpaks, except for Fellini and that bunch of teen-aged pederastees he uses for slaves. Freaky as Fellini is, he's smart; and he'd found his own secret cache of ammunition, which was one of the things that made him the single strongest roverpak in the area. They're kidnappers and mean shitty killers—they do it for chuckles, not because they have to—so nobody crosses him. He's also dead chill on solos who might get to some excavatable food before his gang does, so nobody goes near him. So except for that creep Fellini, The 82nd Airborne kept everyone in slugs. That was their barter. But you had to bring Skipper and Walter something valuable—not to mention your empty brass which they used for making reloads—before they'd fill you up again.

  Vic seemed to think that a few bottles of diabetically sweet poison was heavy bartering coin. He was right, of course. He has a good sense about that kind of thing. Not me. I can never figure out what makes humans go for one kind of awful tasting slop over some other equally noxious crap. I once brought Vic a dead sparrow and suggested he use it to get us fresh water. He looked at me as if I was crazy. “
People don't eat dead birds, Blood,” he said. He was trying to be patient.

  “And why is that, Albert,” I said, being cranky.

  “Stop calling me Albert!” I love to hear Vic scream. And since he's never quite understood why I get such a kick out of calling him Albert—after Albert Payson Terhune, who wrote all those stupid dog books in which we noble creatures were pets, always being saved by some sappy human—it is my best gambit to make him scream.

  “Okay, so why, master Vic?”

  “Because dead bird is lousy tasting, that's why.”

  “But you eat sheep, and cow, and snake. I've even seen some of you eat French-fried rat.”

  “Yeah?” he said, nastily. “Well, there are even low scumbags who think parboiled dog is a delicacy. Keep fucking with me and I'll trade you for fresh water.”

  And he walked away, leaving the dead sparrow on the sidewalk. So did I. Yecchhh.

  Anyhow, we took the Sweet Betsy Pike fruit wine over near what used to be the docks, and Vic yelled out across the harbor, “Hey! Skipper! Walter!”

  And after a while a light went on, over there on the big barge in the middle of the harbor, this barge that used to be a garbage scow, but which Skipper and Walter and The 82nd Airborne had taken over for their home turf, where they had all the lathes and the reloading presses and the die sets for reloading brass set up. And somebody, maybe Skipper, but I couldn't tell across the water, used a megaphone and yelled back, “Yeah, who is it? Whaddaya want?”

  And Vic yelled back that it was him and Blood, and he had barter, and the voice asked across the water what kind of ammo Vic needed, and Vic said .22 longs and .45's, and the voice asked what he had to trade, and Vic yelled back that he had booze, and the megaphone voice took a beat as if he was asking someone else if it was cool, and then hollered over that they'd send the skiff. So we waited in the dark, sitting on the edge of the jetty, looking out across the harbor, all that inky water, and I passed the time by trying to run Vic through his lessons.

 
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