Mind Fields is a book featuring paintings by the Polish artist Jacek Yerka and short stories by the American author Harlan Ellison. The 34 paintings by Yerka were created first. Ellison then wrote a short story based on his reaction to each of these paintings. The only exception was the story "Under the Landscape" which was based on two similar paintings.
|1) The Creation of Water||12) Susan||23) The Agitators|
|2) Twilight in the Cupboard||13) Between Heaven and Hell||24) Truancy at the Pond|
|3) Amok Harvest||14) Shed of Rebellion||25) Ammonite|
|4) Theory of Tension||15) To Each His Own||26) Base|
|5) Back to Nature||16) Eruption||27) Foraging in the Field|
|6) Internal Inspection||17) The Inquisition||28) Traffic Prohibited|
|7) Metropolis II||18) Beneath the Dunes||29) Afternoon with the Bros. Grimm|
|8) In the Oligocenskie Gardens||19) The Silence||30) The Cosmic Barnyard|
|9) Europe||20) Darkness Falls on the River||31) Under the Landscape (two paintings)|
|10) Fever||21) Paradise||32) Ellison Wonderland|
|11) Attack at Dawn||22) Express Delivery||33) Please Don't Slam the Door|
Yerka was responsible for the title of all but two of the story-paintings, which were named by Ellison. The first of these, "Susan", was named after Ellison's wife. Ellision also named the painting "Ellison Wonderland" after one of his short story collections and his home in California because he "was hoping that they would give [him] that painting. The painting was later given to Ellison as a gift shortly after the book was published during an interview with Tom Snyder on Tomorrow Coast to Coast.
Ellison also wrote many of the stories to reflect subjects and themes that commonly occur in his work. "Twilight in the Cupboard" and "The Silence" both prominently feature the themes of Jewish assimilation and the Holocaust. The former was inspired in part by Ather D Morse's 1967 book While Six Million Died. "Eruption" and "Ammonite" embody the lost city/Atlantis theme present in much of Ellison's work. "Metropolis II" also incorporates themes from many of Ellison's other stories. In particular, it mixes autobiographical details with fiction in a manner similar to "All the Lies that are My Life" and other stories.
Although Ellison did not follow his usual custom of writing an introduction to the book, he did provide commentary on 17 of the stories in the form of endnotes. These notes describe the background to some of the stories, and point out important themes. Yerka's son Philip died during the creation of the book, and Ellison dedicated the final story "Please Don't Slam the Door" to his memory in one of the notes.