The version I read is actually the 1982 release. With an introduction by Stephen King and an amalgam of short stories and essays, Stalking the Nightmare is an entertaining read. As with any collection of tales from a single writer, some stand out more than others. In this case, the most memorable ones include:
"Grail" - in which a man spends his life searching for true love only to learn that it's an artifact that has been traded around the world.
"The Outpost Undiscovered by Tourists" - A parody of the three wise men in modern times after searching 2000 years for Christ. They now drive a Rolls Royce and sleep on air mattresses while fighting the "forces of chaos". Eventually, they find the savior in The Manger, a hotel by Hyatt, and surrounded by various folks including accountants, pet-store owners, and hairdressers.
"Night of Black Glass" - this one interested me mostly as it was written in 5 hours in a B. Dalton bookstore window after news anchor Tom Brokaw challenged Harlan to write a story based on one line: "August afternoon a person walking along a rocky beach in Maine picks up a pair of broken sunglasses."
"Djinn, No Chaser" - a young couple walks into a mysterious antique shop that materializes from thin air. They purchase a cheap lamp before the owner kicks them out just as the shop vanishes once more. Later, the couple finds that the lamp contains a sadistic genie who turns their lives into a living hell, sending the husband into an asylum. Later, his wife discovers a way to turn their situation completely around...
"Invasion Footnote" - another farce about a megalomaniacal robot hell-bent on world domination, until his own kind turn on him. Predictable but funny.
"The Hour That Stretches" - Harlan fills in for Jerry Pournelle as a guest on a radio show and decides to allow callers to phone in one-line prompts to which Harlan will conjure up a story premise on the spot. After awhile, it becomes an exhausting exercise for Harlan, until the final caller...
"The Day I Died" - not so much a story, but a series of possible ways in which Harlan will die, with exact descriptions and dates ranging from 1973 to 2010.
In my opinion, the first three essays are actually more interesting than the stories.
"The 3 Most Important Things in Life" offers moments from Harlan's life that deal with sex, violence, and labor relations. The latter of which is an incident that occurred when he was hired to write for Disney...and fired within hours of arrival.
"Saturn, November 11th" details Harlan's visit to JPL as a guest of Jerry Pournelle when the Voyager satellite begins sending pictures back of Saturn and its moons.
"Somehow, I Don't Think We're In Kansas, Toto" is a recount of Harlan's ludicrous experiences with Hollywood when The Starlost TV series went into production based on his story, "Phoenix Without Ashes".
All told, Stalking the Nightmare is an enjoyable read and further evidence of Harlan's vivid imagination and reputation for fearless, and even experimental, storytelling.