Con-man, pacifist, business woman, Nazi, scientist. Five improbable entities stuck together in a pit of darkness. A prolonged nightmare of 109 years conducted by a sadistic self-aware supercomputer with unlimited power. This is Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.
Although on the surface IHNMAIMS is a straightforward story about five people trapped in an endless underground complex after a nuclear war, it has transcended into a franchise. The human characters from the short story were greatly expanded upon in the 1995 video game while the supercomputer, AM, gained some depth in a 2001 radio drama. A comic adaptation was created but never published, though a few English panels and the full Spanish version found their way onto the internet. This has become one of my favorite post-apocalyptic stories due to the development of the characters and the themes at play.
In this series, we’ll break down each of the humans: exposing their fatal flaws and then identifying what led them to redemption (and further punishment).
Hopeless romantic, playboy, great soft jelly thing. Ted is our unreliable narrator in the original story as well as the last living thing on Earth. Despite being our window into the world, Ted’s video game adaptation carries the same weight as the others, with one serious exception. Continue reading