Hugo Award–winning, post apocalyptic short story by Harlan Ellison.
My take: 3 looks
13 pages of WEIRD.
Here are the characters:
Basically, there is a world war. The US, China and Russia build supercomputers to run the war for efficiently for them. One of the computers becomes sentient, absorbs the other two and annihilates all people on earth, save these five. Because the computer is so angry, it tortures the humans day and night, after being able to extend their lives into an almost immortal state. The story takes place 109 years after their capture.
There are references here to God and Jesus and that got me thinking that this may be an allegory for Christianity. Each character represents a deadly sin:
Lust – Ellen has become a whore
Gluttony – Benny reverts to cannibalism
Greed – Nimdok – leads them on an extended search for canned goods
Sloth – Gorrister – lazy and uncaring
Wrath – AM embodies anger
Envy – Benny’s large penis is a point of contention
Pride – Ted is quite sure that he is the only one completely unaffected
With that foundation, AM is God. He creates, destroys, and knows all things. He can get into their minds and manipulate their feelings. In the end, Ted could represent Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice to give the others freedom.
I have no idea if this is what Ellison intended, or if I am full of hooey. After all, sometimes a soft jelly thing with rubbery appendages is just that: a soft jelly think with rubbery appendages.
Recommended for the weirdness factor alone.