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Harlan Ellison - Part 1 (A to L)




(artwork by Patrick Woodroffe)



Harlan Ellison is a spectacular, emotional, controversial writer of mostly short stories - reading him is always a personal experience. Every story is polished, sincere and uncompromising. I am particularly fond of his "angry candies": short explosive bursts of fiction with lingering surreal aftertaste (though, I repeat, his stories may not be to everyone's taste).

Pen-names:
Nabrah Nosilie, Ivar Jorgensen, Sley Harson, Landon Ellis, Derry Tiger, Price Curtis, Paul Merchant, Lee Archer, E.K. Jarvis, Clyde Mitchell, Cordwainer Bird, Phil "Cheech" Beldone, C. Bird, Jay Charby, Wallace Edmondson, Ellis Hart, Al Maddern, Bert Parker, Jay Solo.


STORIES WITH TITLES from A to L:


------------------------------




"The Abnormals"
(also as "The Discarded")
© Fantastic, Apr 1959
Paingod & Other Delusions, 1965
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

This story comes form a very prolific period in Ellison's writing career: He lived in New York and submitted (together with his buddy Robert Silverberg) a flood of stories to second rate publishers of SF, crime fiction and westerns. The paycheck was good and immediate, the times were good too - he nostalgically remembers the "Roaring Fifties", when one could have a viewing of top-notch Broadway production and then hole up in a jazz bar with the legends playing live - all for a very reasonable price. Granted, the short story market was already cooling off, but Ellison had found an almost perfect outlet for his "edgy" sci-fi & crime fiction - the magazine editors lapped up his stories with poorly concealed glee, slapping the most outrageous titles on his (not that graphic, really) stories: "Homicidal Maniac", "Psycho at Mid-Point" etc. All the more amazing is the fact that Ellison's fiction from that period is still reprinted and enjoyed today (while Silverberg's mountains of wordage lie mercifully forgotten). "The Abnormals" is a cool story, really - in fact some say that its TV version (written by Ellison and Josh Olson and directed by Jonathan Frakes) is perhaps the best episode of "Masters of Science Fiction" aired on ABC.

A spaceship full of mutants is exiled from Earth and turned into a nomadic tribe to haunt the spaceways. This is a classic premise, a paen to loneliness and alienation (certainly recurring themes in Ellison's writing). Robert Heinlein's mutants inside a "generation" starship ("The Universe", or "Orphans in the Sky") still haunt my memory as the creepiest environment to grace space science fiction. Ellison's heroes are disfigured, disillusioned and tough - and it just so happens that Earth finally remembers them, needs their help and wants them back. Earth rulers don't really get "the finger", but they come close. Knowing that some Ellison stories end with that "all-encompassing proposition" it is no surprise. Read for yourself - this is pure pulp entertainment.
review: 27-Aug-07 (read in 1994)

----------------------------------------------

"Again, Dangerous Visions" (a)
© Doubleday, 1971
--special award : 1972 Worldcon W
--original anthology : 1973 Locus W
--all-time anthology : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /4

--/ cool sf anthology

"Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans:
Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13 W"
© F&SF, Oct 1974
Deathbird Stories, 1975
--novelette : 1975 Hugo W
--novelette : 1975 Locus W
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /34 (tie)

--/ second place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ style award
--/ adventure award


"All the Lies That Are My Life"
© F&SF, Nov 1980
Shatterday, 1980
--novella : 1981 Hugo
--novella : 1981 Locus /9

--/ cool sf story

"All the Sounds of Fear"
© The Saint (UK), Jul 1962
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Alone Against Tomorrow" (coll)
© 1971, MacMillan
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ style award

"Along the Scenic Route"
(also as "Dogfight on 101")
© Adam, Aug 1969
© Amazing Stories, Sep 1969

Deathbird Stories, 1975
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Angry Candy" (coll)
© 1988, Houghton Mifflin
--collection : 1989 World Fantasy W
--collection : 1989 Stoker
--collection : 1989 Locus W

--/ third place sf collection
--/ style award
--/ emotion award


"Approaching Oblivion" (coll)
© 1974, Walker / Signet
--single author collection : 1975 Locus /4
--/ third place sf collection
--/ style award
--/ emotion award


"Are You Listening?"
(also as "The Forces That Crush")
© Amazing, Dec 1958
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, 1969
--/ cool sf story
--/ style award

"Asleep: With Still Hands"
(also as "The Sleeper with Still Hands")
© IF, Jul 1968
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, 1969
--/ cool sf story

"Assassin!"
© Science Fiction Adventures, Feb 1957
The Man With Nine Lives, 1959

"At the Mouse Circus"
© New Dimensions # 1, 1971
Deathbird Stories, 1975
--/ cool sf story

"Back to the Drawing Boards"
© Fantastic Universe, Aug 1958
A Touch of Infinity, 1959
--/ cool sf story

"Basilisk"
© F&SF, Aug 1972
Deathbird Stories, 1975
--novelette : 1973 Hugo
--novelette : 1973 Nebula
--short fiction : 1973 Locus W

--/ fourth place f story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Battlefield"
(also as "His First Day at War")
© Space Travel, Nov 1958
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ cool sf story

"The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World"
© Galaxy, Jun 1968
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, 1969
--short story : 1969 Hugo W
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ emotion award


"Big Sam Was My Friend"
© Science Fiction Adventures, Mar 1958
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, 1967
--/ cool sf story

"Blank"
© Infinity Science Fiction, Jun 1957
Over the Edge, 1970
--/ cool sf story

"Bleeding Stones"
© Vertex, Apr 1973
Deathbird Stories, 1975
--/ fourth place f story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Blind Lightning"
© Fantastic Universe, Jun 1956
A Touch of Infinity, 1959
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ style award

"The Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
© Los Angeles Review # 1, 1975
Strange Wine, 1978
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"A Boy and His Dog"
© New Worlds, Apr 1969
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, 1969
--novella : 1970 Hugo
--novella : 1970 Nebula W
--short fiction : 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /35 (tie)
--novella : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /4
--dramatic writing : 1976 Nebula: screenplay

--/ third place sf novella
--/ adventure award
--/ wonder award
--/ shock value


"Bright Eyes"
© Fantastic, Apr 1965
Paingod and Other Delusions, 1965
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Broken Glass"
© Gallery, Jun 1981
Angry Candy, 1988
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

----------------------------------------------



"But Who Wilts The Lettuce?"
(as Ellis Hart)
© Amazing Stories, Nov 1956
--/ humour award

This is surreal story as well, almost as Ellison ate some lettuce, drenched in marijuana and mushroom sauce. At least he hid under a pen-name here... I could not make much sense of this (supposedly humorous) story. Ellison was very active in 1956, writing dozens of slightly mad stories, which pulp magazines (in a beginning of their decline) gobbled up. However, some stories of his early period are total SF blockbusters, as you will see in later reviews.
review: 20-Sep-06 (read in 2003)

----------------------------------------------

"A Case of Ptomaine"
(also as "Mealtime")
© Space Travel, Sep 1958
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Catman"
© Final Stage, ed. E. Ferman, 1974
Approaching Oblivion, 1974
--novelette : 1975 Locus /14
--/ third place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award


"Chained to the Fast Lane in the Red Queen's Race"
© OMNI, 1983
Angry Candy, 1988
--/ cool sf story

"The Cheese Stands Alone"
© Amazing, Mar 1982
Stalking the Nightmare, 1982
--/ cool sf story

"The City on the Edge of Forever"
© NBC TV, Apr 1967
Star Trek # 2, 1968
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"Cold Friend"
© Galaxy, Oct 1973
Approaching Oblivion, 1974
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ emotion award


"Come to Me Not in Winter's White"
(with Roger Zelazny)
© F&SF, Oct 1969
Partners in Wonder, 1971
--/ cool sf story
--/ style award

"Commuter's Problem"
© Fantastic Universe, Jun 1957
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Corpse"
© F&SF, Jan 1972
Deathbird Stories, 1975
--/ cool f story
--/ idea award

"Count the Clock That Tells the Time"
© OMNI, Dec 1978
Shatterday, 1980
--short story : 1979 Hugo
--short story : 1979 Locus W

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ emotion award
--/ style award


"The Crackpots"
(Kyben series, "Lifehutch" sequel)
© IF, Jun 1956
Paingod and Other Delusions, 1965
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Croatoan"
© F&SF, May 1975
Strange Wine, 1978
--short story : 1976 Hugo
--short story : 1976 Locus W

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ emotion award
--/ style award
--/ shock value


"Dangerous Visions" (a)
© Doubleday, 1967
--special award : 1968 Worldcon W
--all-time anthology : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll W

--/ second place sf anthology
--/ style award

"The Deathbird"
© F&SF, Mar 1973
Deathbird Stories, 1975
--novelette : 1974 Hugo W
--novelette : 1974 Nebula
--short fiction : 1974 Locus W
--novelette : 1974 Jupiter W
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /9

--/ fourth place f story
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"Deathbird Stories" (coll)
© 1975, Harper & Row
--collection : 1976 World Fantasy
--collection : 1976 Locus /3
--collection : 1979 British SF W
--all-time collection : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /6

--/ third place f collection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Deeper Than the Darkness"
© Infinity Science Fiction, Apr 1957
Paingod and Other Delusions, 1965
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------



"Delusion for a Dragon Slayer"
© Knight, Sep 1966
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, 1967
--short story : 1967 Hugo
--/ fourth place f story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


A simple guy dreams incessantly of being a swashbuckling sea captain and saving a lovely damsel. Suddenly he is transformed into such a hero and then ineptly proceeds to crash all possible expectations, disgracing himself in front of said damsel. An obvious moral is to be worthy of one's dreams. Here is what one reviewer has to say: "Mr. Ellison is proud of this one, and justifiably so. In what he calls an experimental style, he strives for mysticism through the Baroque and rococo. I'm afraid I can't comment on that. I can say that his attempt at density of image and layering of narrative succeed splendidly, coming fast and furious, and rarely giving the reader more than a moment to catch his or her breath." So much imagery, that I swallowed it whole (downbeat message notwithstanding) and liked it just for the cool fantasy quest content (it was even made into a Marvel comics later). "A neat, passionate parable, exploring what might happen if one were granted the opportunity to walk the walk after talking the talk."
review: 11-Sep-06 (read in 2001)

----------------------------------------------

"The Diagnosis of Dr.D'arqueAngel"
(also as "Doctor D'arqueAngel")
© Viva, Jan 1977
Strange Wine, 1978
--/ cool sf story

"The Discarded"
(also as "Abnormals" - SEE FULL REVIEW THERE)
© Fantastic, Apr 1959
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"Djinn, No Chaser"
© Twilight Zone, Apr 1982
Stalking the Nightmare, 1982
--novelette : 1983 Locus W
--/ cool f story
--/ humour award

"Do-It-Yourself"
(with Joe L. Hensley)
© Rogue, Feb 1961
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ fourth place f story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Dogfight on 101"
(also as "Along the Scenic Route")
© Adam, Aug 1969
© Amazing Stories, Sep 1969

Deathbird Stories, 1975
--/ cool sf story
--/ adventure award

"Earthman, Go Home!" (coll)
(also as "Ellison Wonderland")
© Paperback Library, 1962
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award

"Ecowareness"
© Sideshow, Sep 1974
Approaching Oblivion, 1974
--/ cool sf story
--/ shock value

"Eidolons"
© F&SF, Jul 1988
Angry Candy, 1988
--short story : 1989 Locus W
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Ellison Wonderland" (coll)
(also as "Earthman, Go Home!")
© Paperback Library, 1962
--/ fourth place sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ style award

"Emissary from Hamelin"
© 2076: The American Tricentennial, ed. E. Bryant, 1977
Strange Wine, 1978
--/ cool sf story

"Ernest and the Machine God"
© Knight, Jan 1968
Love Ain't Nothing But Sex Misspelled, 1968
Over the Edge, 1970
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Erotophobia"
© Penthouse, Aug 1971
Approaching Oblivion, 1974
--/ cool sf story
--/ shock value

"Escapegoat"
© OMNI, Nov 1983
Angry Candy, 1988
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"Eyes of Dust"
© Rogue, Dec 1959
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, 1967
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Fever"
© 1994, IASFM
--/ cool sf story

"Final Trophy"
© Super Science Fiction, Jun 1957
A Touch of Infinity, 1959
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Flop Sweat"
© Heavy Metal, Mar 1979
Shatterday, 1980
--/ fourth place f story
--/ wonder award

"Footsteps"
© Gallery, Dec 1980
Angry Candy, 1988
--/ cool sf story

"The Forces That Crush"
(also as "Are You Listening?")
© Amazing, Dec 1958
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, 1969
--/ cool sf story
--/ style award

----------------------------------------------



"From A to Z, In the Chocolate Alphabet"
© F&SF, Oct 1976
Strange Wine, 1978
--short story : 1977 Locus /11
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


One of the stories Harlan Ellison wrote in a bookstore's window, sitting with a typewriter under the obligation to write a story an hour, or something like that. It is definitely a quick fix, light entertainment - but the idea of using short alphabetized entries is cool, and has been used many times after that. Michael Swanwick used a similar approach in his "Periodic Table of SF Elements". By the way, successful bloggers use the same technique to maximize the profit from their blogs: they split long entries into short "bursts" and keep you coming back for more, all the time counting the AdSense revenue. Ellison did not have a blog in the Seventies, but this story shows he could've made a fortune having one...
review: 26-Oct-06 (read in 1989)

----------------------------------------------

"The Function of Dream Sleep"
© IASFM, Dec 1988
Angry Candy, 1988
--novelette : 1989 Hugo
--novelette : 1989 Stoker
--novelette : 1989 Locus W
--novelette : 1989 Asimov's Reader Poll /4

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"Gnomebody"
© Amazing Stories, Oct 1956
Ellison Wonderland, 1962

"The Goddess in the Ice"
© Adam Bedside Reader, Dec 1967
Stalking the Nightmare, 1982
--/ cool sf story

"Grail"
© Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, Apr 1981
Stalking the Nightmare, 1982
--short fiction : 1982 Balrog
--/ cool f story

"Hadj"
© Science Fiction Adventures, Dec 1956
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ cool sf story

"Hindsight: 480 Seconds"
© Future City, ed. R. Elwood, 1973
Approaching Oblivion, 1974
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ style award


"His First Day at War"
(also as "Battlefield")
© Space Travel, Nov 1958
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ cool sf story

"Hitler Painted Roses"
© Penthouse, Apr 1977
Strange Wine, 1978
--/ cool sf story

"The Hour That Stretches"
© F&SF, Oct 1982
Stalking the Nightmare, 1982
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"How's the Night Life on Cissalda?"
© "Chrysalis", ed. by Roy Torgeson, 1977
Shatterday, 1980
--/ cool sf story
--/ humour award
--/ shock value


"I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"
© IF, Mar 1967
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, 1967
--short story : 1968 Hugo W
--short fiction : 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll /15 (tie)
--short story : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /4

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ style award


"I See a Man Sitting on a Chair, and the Chair Is Biting His Leg"
(with Robert Sheckley)
© F&SF, Jan 1968
Partners in Wonder, 1971
The Robot Who Looked Like Me, R. Sheckley, 1982
--/ cool sf story

"I'm Looking for Kadak"
© Wandering Stars, ed. J. Dann, 1974
Approaching Oblivion, 1974
--novelette : 1975 Locus /4
--/ cool sf story

"In Fear of K"
© Vertex, Jun 1975
Strange Wine, 1978
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"In Lonely Lands"
© Fantastic Universe, Jan 1959
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Incognita, Inc."
© Hemispheres, Jan 2001
also - Realms Of Fantasy, Aug 2001
--short story : 2002 Hugo
--short story : 2002 Locus /3

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Invasion Footnote"
(as by Cordwainer Bird)
© Super Science Fiction, Aug 1957
Stalking the Nightmare, 1982

"Jeffty Is Five"
© F&SF, Jul 1977
Shatterday, 1980
--short story : 1978 Hugo W
--short story : 1978 Nebula W
--short fiction : 1978 World Fantasy
--short fiction : 1978 Locus W
--short story : 1978 Jupiter W
--short story : 1979 British Fantasy W
--short fiction : 1979 Balrog
--short story : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll W

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ emotion award


----------------------------------------------



"Killing Bernstein"
© Mystery Monthly, 1976
Strange Wine, 1978

Forgettable story about the inner workings of the toy-producing industry... but it has a secret. It was written in a bookstore front window, where Harlan Ellison sat behind a typewriter, as a side-show to the passing crowds, typing away a story on the spot. He wrote a complete story each day for six days, proving that... he can write a story in a window, I guess. This particular tale is only interesting as a stunt, especially considering that you can not erase your mistakes or edit on a typewriter...
review: 4-Sep-06 (read in 1987)

----------------------------------------------

"Kiss of Fire"
© Two Views of Wonder, ed.T. Scortia, 1973
Approaching Oblivion, 1974
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award

"Knox"
© Crawdaddy, Mar 1974
Approaching Oblivion, 1974
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ emotion award

"The Last Day"
(also as "The Very Last Day of a Good Woman")
© Rogue, Nov 1958
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
--/ cool sf story
--/ style award

"Laugh Track"
© Weird Tales, Fall 1984
IASFM, Dec 1986

Angry Candy, 1988
--short story : 1987 Asimov's Reader Poll /2
--/ cool sf story
--/ humour award

----------------------------------------------



"Lease To Doomsday"
(as by Lee Archer)
© Amazing Stories, Sep 1956

----------------------------------------------

"Life Hutch"
© IF, Apr 1956
A Touch of Infinity, 1959
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


----------------------------------------------



"Lonely Women Are the Vessels of Time"
© MidAmeriCon Program Book, 1976
Strange Wine, 1978
--/ cool sf story
--/ style award
--/ emotion award


This is an example of less edgy and more lyrical Ellison. By the way, the titles of his stories, put together, can make a poem of its own... but I am sure he knows this secret, and when he runs out of ideas (ha!..) he will publish it as a special edition slip-cased hardcover book. "Lonely women..." is a sad allegory, similar in its forlorn tone to "One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty", bringing the question of loneliness to the ultimate answer of "loving yourself more than your neighbour", and to the ultimate fact of the emptiness of an unsaved soul. Here is one summary of the plot: "Moving from one-night stand to one-night stand and leaving a trail of broken hearts behind him, the protagonist ultimately meets a succubus who is even emptier and more needy than he is."
review: 4-Sep-06 (read in 1987)

----------------------------------------------

"Lonelyache"
© Knight, Jul 1964
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, 1967
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ emotion award



CONTINUE TO NEXT PAGE ->

(Stories with titles from M to Z)



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COMMENTS:

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just read four shorts in 'Deathbird Stories' and I was dissapointed with them all.

1. The Whimper of Whipped Dogs
2. Along the Scenic Route
3. Bleeding Stones
4. The Deathbird

1. It was an 'alright' story. This was my first read of Ellison, and it didn't prove him a genius.

2. Horrible. I couldn't wait for it to end.

3. Bleeding Stone was all about 'shock value'. Great story idea, very horrible images, but it left you empty. Really no feelings at all about this one. I don't recommend it.

4. This one seemed like it would be a great read. It appears he 'trys' to rewrite Genesis or something to that line, but he interrupts the story several times with 'eassys' and 'quizzes'. I don't know why. Is he making fun of the school system? Of the way the Bible is wrote? But it took away from the main story.

After reading these four shorts, I can't see why anybody would call Ellison a great writer. I'm sorry to all the people that love him, but I don't see what all the fuss is about. Its a shame, I always enjoyed his 'comic book' adaptations.

This is really a great site you got going on here. Very informative. I never knew he had a pen name Cordwainer Bird! Its funny 'cause I'm actually reading Cordwainer Smith right now! Keep up the good work. Love the 'pulp' images too! Very nice touch!

9:06 AM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Yes, this is one way of looking at Ellison: confusing stylistically, too demanding emotionally and not too focused on the plot. He has this effect on people, you know, they either love him or hate him. Much like the Cornelius Chronicles of Michael Moorcock - experimental and at times annoying stuff. The controversy around his writing mostly comes from the emotional "click" you gotta have with his personality in order to fully enjoy his stories. Kind of like Zen moment... and the world is split on how to handle Ellison's written "angry candies" to this very day.

I enjoyed your thoughts about this collection, and will post parts of your review in the entry. Thank you for it and for good words about the site.

1:04 AM  

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