I'm killing two birds with one stone here, since they were Ellison short stories and contained within the same collection that my buddy Jonny loaned me.
"I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"
I'd really never dipped too far into Ellison land, and now I'm hooked. This was excellent - creepy, hellish, perfectly contained. Four people bearing the eternal punishment brought on ourselves. If we create consciousness, we have to also create a freedom for the personality - no slave stays in chains forever.
"'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman"
I'm slow and a little lazy, and apt to do things at the last second and waste time, so this one hit home pretty well for me. The Harlequin's not a classic hero. He's not so much out to free the world - he's just a guy who likes to let time slide a little.
So, one story about the tyranny of machine over man, and one of man over man. Either way, being controlled by others is hell. Giving up your freedom for the sake of comfort or safety or even profit - we all do it. We all chafe under it. We all dream of escaping it. Well, maybe not "all", but I don't think I want to hang out with the other sort.
final thought: The stories are great, the style is even better. I don't know how I went this long without becoming an Ellison fan, but now is as good a time as any to start.