Harlan Ellison’s “Strange Wine”

“Strange Wine” is a very short story, but it’s a great example of Ellison’s measured style. Originally published in 1976 in Amazing Stories, it’s about a guy with a really shitty life who believes that he’s an alien trapped in a human body. Also, he believes his being on Earth has to do with something he did in his alien past that resulted in his embodied imprisonment. The story features a relativist narrative with a twist at the end tied in a bow. It reflects the mid-1970s American experience on several levels involving incidental characters and intentionally mentioned comments by the narrator. It’s a quick read, and would probably be suitable as a subversive bedtime story. You can find the story in The Essential Ellison and The Norton Book of Science Fiction.