I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream Quotes | 40 quotes by |
Not only does Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream make a the relationship between the original author and the adaptation is actually quite deep . Ellison's perception of the “good ending” where AM is defeated and . Things get real dark with Nimdok and he's stuck in a position where. We have also selectively chosen a large collection of Inspirational, Life, Motivationa, Friendship, Graduation and Funny Quotes to help motivate and brighten. Nimdok is one of the five protagonists in I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream. in , towards the end of World War II; here, Nimdok is respected as a leader.
Ellen kills Nimdok, and then Ted kills Ellen. The story closes with Ted describing how AM has changed him. Smoothly rounded, with no mouth, with pulsing white holes filled by fog where my eyes used to be.
Consequently, Ted is trapped for all eternity with his mind intact, but with no way to be human. What Ted wants most is to scream, but he has no mouth. Characters AM Although not human, the computer, which calls itself AM, is perhaps the main character in the story.
Originally, AM was one of several national computers designed to fight wars for the nation that owned it. Eventually, the computers learned to link themselves to each other, forming one supercomputer. When this supercomputer awoke, or became sentient, it called itself AM. Then AM brought the humans inside itself and created a hellish world for them in which it could torture and torment the survivors, but not let them die.
During the story, AM plays with each of the survivors in turn, seemingly enjoying their pain and suffering.
Benny One of the survivors, Benny, was a brilliant theoretician and university professor in his previous life, before falling into the grips of AM. The computer has changed him into a chimpanzee-like creature with large genitals. In addition to being apelike, he is also insane. In an early scene in the story, AM renders Benny blind. Ellen Ellen is the only woman among the survivors. She is a black woman who provides sex for the men. The men protect her and want to keep her safe.
That is, women are often identified as either Eve, the temptress who causes the fall of all humankind and the expulsion from Eden, or Mary, the pure, virginal mother of Christ. For Ted, Ellen seems to embody both.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream Quotes
Gorrister Gorrister is another of the male survivors. In his previous life, he was a conscientious objectorsomeone who cared passionately about causes. Nimdok Nimdok is the survivor about whom the least is known. Even his original name has been taken away from him by AM. Ted has little to say about Nimdok except that he often goes off by himself and returns in terrible shape. AM seems to be particularly hard on him, but the others know little about who he is or what AM does to him.
With his fellow humans, he lives in an underground world created by the computer, which has given itself the name AM. He believes he has been in the computer for years. The narrator graphically describes the situation in which they find themselves. However, the narrator is not always reliable.
Really AM had not tampered with my mind. At the end of the story, Ted realizes that the only hope for the five survivors is death. Ted manages to kill two of the survivors, while Ellen, another survivor, kills one before Ted kills her. Ted is then turned into a jelly-like creature who has no mouth with which to scream. Unlike a Utopia an imaginary, ideal worlda dystopia is a form of literature that describes a future, imaginary world that is far from ideal. In a dystopia, current trends are carried out to their most horrifying conclusions.
Although they have given the computers the ability to reason and think, they have not Topics for Further Study Read several other science fiction stories or books written during the s and s. Why do you think science fiction became so popular during this period?
What historical events might have spurred this interest? What features of contemporary life does the writer or director project into the future?
Watch the films Fail-Safe and Dr. What do these films reveal about American cultural anxiety concerning computers and bombs? Consequently, when the computers link with each other, thus magnifying their ability to reason and think, the resulting supercomputer awakes into sentience.
The machine finds itself in a world not of its own making with almost unlimited power, but without the ability to create life or move about the universe. In many ways, AM considers itself to be trapped within its own self-awareness. AM is thus a machine without a purpose. Once it has killed its creators, there is nothing left for it to do. Without purpose, without spirituality, without soul, the machine can only play and replay endless revenge upon the creatures in its power.
The only thing it lacks is also the only thing that it cannot create—humanity. Individualism Like many other writers of speculative fiction, Ellison is concerned with the ability of one person to assert his or her own individualism in the face of a culture that is becoming increasingly mechanized.
At the heart of this issue is one of two questions raised by Arthur Lewis in the introduction to the book Clockwork Worlds: Mechanized Environments in SF: AM asserts its own individuality by calling itself AM; self-naming is the first step in individuation and identity. Ironically for AM, without peers or companions, this individualism is inescapable.
It calls attention to the fact that being human requires not only a sense of oneself as an individual, but also a sense of oneself in relation to others. Perhaps more to the point, it seems likely that Ellison is also questioning just what it takes to render human beings inhuman. How much torture and change can a person endure before losing the essential quality that defines him or her as human?
Ellison takes great pains to question the individuality of each of the survivors. Like-wise, Benny is transformed into an ape-like creature with huge genitals who, in the penultimate scene, turns into an animal who cannibalizes another human. In some cases, a gesture of defiance, no matter how self-defeating, may be the only self-authenticating effort an individual can make. When he kills the other survivors, he removes at least part of what defines him as human— his social group.
By the last scene, Ted has been transformed into a creature who has sentience, consciousness, and self-awareness, but who is unable to partake of even simple human activities. Like AM, he is peerless, unable to practice both individualism and social connection. Thus, all of the events of the story must be filtered through the mind and voice of Ted, one of the humans trapped by the computer AM.
The reader can only know what the first-person narrator provides. There are certain advantages to the use of a first-person narrator. In the first place, the use of the first-person pronoun makes the story seem immediate and compelling. It is as if a real person is telling the story directly to the reader, almost as if the narrator and the reader are engaged in a meaningful conversation.
In addition, the use of the first-person encourages the reader to trust the account. Thus, when the narrator reports that there is a hurricane created by a big bird, the reader believes him. Consequently, there is no objective outside source with which the reader can ground him- or herself.
Although what Ted tells the reader seems to be true, there is no way for the reader to judge this, just as there is no way for Ted to judge the reality of his surroundings.
‘I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream’: The Most Disturbing, Nihilistic Video Game of All Time?
Science Fiction Science fiction as a genre had its roots with H. Wells during the nineteenth century. Since that time, readers and writers alike have found science fiction to be a compelling and attractive mode of storytelling. It allows a writer to make comments on contemporary society by creating and critiquing a society of the future. Although the popularity of science fiction has waxed and waned over the years, it continues to hold an important position in American literature and film.
To be considered science fiction, a story generally needs to have at its core some reference to science or technology, and it needs to be fiction, or imaginary. It begins with a premise that has its roots in the growth of technology during the s, the premise that putting supercomputers in communication with each other and in charge of defense will lead to Armageddon.
In the s, the potential of linked computer systems was still only potential; however, Ellison and others hypothesized about what such computers could create. Further, the story explores the ground between humans and machines, popular territory for writers and filmmakers alike.
More recently, the writers of Star Trek: Further, in movies such as The Matrixthe role of supercomputers in control of everyday life is explored.
This story in particular seems destined to haunt readers who see in the growth of the Internet a potentially lethal connection between humans and machines. During this time, both the United States and the former Soviet Union built up huge arsenals of nuclear weapons aimed at each other. It was clear that if the weapons were ever unleashed, all life on Earth would end. Nevertheless, there was a great deal of posturing and mutual fear. Many young people growing up during this time were convinced that their world would end in a nuclear firestorm.
The Cuban Missile Crisis of did nothing to allay fears. When the Americans discovered that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles in Cuba, just ninety miles off the Florida coast, the world was thrown into near panic.
For seven days President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev played a high-stakes game, each waiting for the other to blink, their fingers poised above the nuclear triggers that would send the world into oblivion. Only at the last possible moment did the Soviets recall their ships and begin dismantling the missile site. This close call convinced many that Doomsday was at hand.
Concurrently, the technology boom was in its infancy. During the time this story was written, the physical size of computers began shrinking as the capacity of computers increased.
Further, the military began to rely on computers to help fly planes and control bombs. Indeed, computers controlled the American nuclear arsenal, a fact that created cultural anxiety as evidenced by the movies and best-sellers of the time.
The greatest nightmare was that a computer gone amok would launch the world into World War III, a war no one would win. The bestseller Fail-Safe by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, and the subsequent movie version, described just such a war, as did the Stanley Kubrick black comedy, Dr. Indeed, it appears that American fear of technology and nuclear war nearly equaled American fear of communism during the Cold War years. The French defeat in the battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam opened a vacuum of power in this southeast Asian country—a vacuum quickly filled by the communist nationalists led by Ho Chi Minh.
American presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon found themselves enmeshed in the struggle to avoid a communist Vietnam. The war, however, was filled with ambiguity.
Byhowever, the American public was split in its opinion of the war. In the United States, protest marches and the burning of draft cards came to be regular occurrences as many citizens doubted the morality and cost of U.
The public unrest and upheaval, coupled with the high-tech military might unleashed on the Vietnamese and the evidence of Soviet and Chinese involvement with the North Vietnamese further contributed to the cultural anxiety noted above. Many Americans saw the war and the social crisis it precipitated as evidence that the United States was entering its last days. Early in the decade, President Kennedy vowed to put a man on the moon by the close of the decade in response to the Soviet launch of an unmanned satellite, Sputnik.
Also in response to Sputnik, the U. The military use of technology grows exponentially during the Vietnam War. Precision bombing, napalm, and night vision are all introduced, and the American military dependes on its machines to wage war. Computers become an increasingly important part of American military defense and American life.
This is the age of so-called supercomputers that are able to handle a nearly incomprehensible amount of information. It is the first time computers are linked together to increase their power. Computers have found their way into nearly every American home. The birth of the Internet as well as the development of Web-browsing technology allows for individual personal computers to be linked to computers all over the globe. Nimdok is seemingly the least altered of the five humans. He is the least developed character in the original story.
In my opinion, he also has the easiest and least interesting psychodrama in the video game. From the text, all that can be determined is AM has a special, but mysterious relationship with this Nimdok, the implications of which are never fully revealed.
Despite being a side character when compared to the other four, Nimdok is the most consistent. Nimdok is a somewhat mysterious character. All Ted has to say about the German is that he will wander off into the darkness and comes back white, drained of blood, and shaking. It is likely if not outright stated AM implanted that idea in his head. In the video game, AM states he and Nimdok are brothers. Perhaps the machine was using Nimdok as a plant to infiltrate the emotional desires of the other humans, something that, as a machine, he would be incapable of fully understanding.
All this is speculation though. Only Harlan Ellison really knows what happens when Nimdok wanders into the dark. In the video game, Nimdok is plagued by a poor memory. The last 5 humans have no other choice but to work together to survive AM.
Though unlike the original story, they never interact with each other onscreen. Ted, who desires to be a Knight in Shining Armor. Though this position can change depending on who you choose for the final level. Gorrister, who simply wants to survive AM and see him brought down a peg. Nimdok, who is a gifted scientist. Benny, the physically strongest of the group. Ellen, the only female and only member of the group with the strongest moral compass.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: You'd never know it because the game certainly isn't going to tell youbut it's possible to finish the game and get the good ending without killing any of the protagonists.
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Unfortunately, the ending doesn't reflect that, unless you want to assume that Nimdok just plain put the others out of their misery. Gas Station of Doom: Goristers scenario starts inside a steam punk air ship. Played with regarding AM.
The villainous supercomputer is never seen to have a face or true form at all as we mainly see his electrical components throughout the entire game.
It's possible that the "Pillar of Hate" is the only thing he has close to a physical presence. How to defeat AM. His goal in his section is to prove his loyalty to his love for Ellen. Edna, Gorrister's bitch mother-in-law. It's pretty telling how horrible she is by making a sadistic supercomputer with a god complex look like a saint in comparison.
The good outcome of Benny and Ted's scenarios is them changing for the better by learning compassion. The main premise of Nimdok's scenario. Ted is quite attracted to the maid and is given the option to have sex with her.
He will regret cheating on Ellen if he does it, though. Benny giving up his own life to spare a mutant boy from suffering this fate. Much like the end of the short story, whomever suffers AM's punishment in the bad ending believes that they're doing this to spare the dead prisoners from anymore hellish torment.
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream: Nimdok « The Rad-Lands
Hints Are For Losers: The in-game hint book, represented by each character's Psych Profile, causes the character's Spiritual Barometer to weaken when read, but this is understandable as reading the Psych Profile forces the character to acknowledge his or her Fatal Flaw. Benny's scenario is a bunch of cavemen re-enacting a stone age version of The Lottery. If you choose to play each of the characters nobly, they prove to AM that humanity is not dead and that hope can persevere in the face of evil.
Benny can eat the corpses in the soldiers' tombs. Of course, the putrid flesh will make him puke blood. See also the Deleted Scene in the Trivia tab. Informing the Fourth Wall: Averted with Benny who can't speak and all of his dialogue is thought. The cages AM keeps the survivors in, and to an extent, AM's entire existence, which is why he's so amazingly pissed off to begin with. Getting him to actually contemplate that irony is the key to winning the game.
Nimdok is eternally burning in a furnace. He rejected his Jewish heritage and became a Nazi; now he's burning in an oven like his victims did. Gorrister is in an electrified prison cell.
He blames himself for Glynis losing her mind and ending up in a mental ward, so he's locked up, being forced to endure Electric Torture as a reference to ECT. Benny is trapped in a wooden cage, physically warped into an "ape-thing" and being prodded at like an animal by a sawing machine made of primitive materials.
It's reminiscent of cages used to hold prisoners of war during Vietnam; Benny is a soldier who killed his own men for showing what he perceives as weakness out of fear of appearing weak himself. He threw away his humanity to protect his masculinity, so now he's been made into a degenerate animal with a huge manhood.
Ellen is trapped in a yellow prison cell with a door that never quite closes. She was brutally trapped in an elevator and raped by a maintenance man in yellow coveralls. She doesn't remember it after over a century of torture and she has no idea why yellow is frightening. The irony of her hell is that it has no meaning for her; she didn't do anything wrong.
Ted is trapped in a golden cage, being shot by lasers emitted and reflected by mirrors. It's a gilded cage, reflecting his sense of vanity and overinflated self-worth, and the mirrors aren't just for show: He's a narcissist, and the lasers fire at him every time he looks at himself. Also Totally Radical at times. The "Spiritual Barometer" in the bottom left of the screen.
Depending on who you choose for the final level, the other 4 characters you didn't choose will be mercy killed permanently to end their suffering, leaving only a Sole Survivor in all endings. AM can also be shut down forever in the good ending.
Ellison himself provides the voice of AM, and what a voice it is. After reviving Glynis with the Youth Serum, Gorrister tells her that he should make amends by helping her now, then takes her down from the meat hook, embraces her and gives her a kiss before she becomes a corpse again.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The conversation between the Devil and Surgat at the end of Ted's level. AM ends the scenario eventually since Ted has effectively "broken" it at this point. The whole game can be read like this, with AM's various "scenarios" he builds for his victims paralleling the developers building them for you.
This is likely why the game has so much Guide Dang It! While the game is bleak as all hell, it is not as dark as the original story on several key points: Each of the five human survivors can work through at least some of their psychological problems.
It is actually possible for the humans to destroy AM, and usurp control of all its systems, which grants them the ability to terraform Earth back to its pre-nuclear apocalypse state.
The ending reveals There are actually other humans who survive in suspended animation on a moonbase, enough to continue the species and rebuild. If you drive AM's scenarios Off the Rails by making the morally right choices, it utterly confuses the AI, who can not comprehend why the humans are not behaving like the complete bastards he sees them as, and he diverts his attention away from his prisoners in order to figure out what went wrong, giving them an opportunity to enter his core.
Here stand three computers which represent AM's Id, Ego, and Superego, and in order to defeat them, the player must set up Logic Bombs for each of them: Invoking Compassion on the Id, who realizes that his hate is useless when someone understands his pain.
Invoking Forgiveness on the Ego, who can not comprehend why such petty creatures would forgive him for the torment he has subjected them to.