The Harlan Ellison Thread

BAYLOR

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One of the greatest writers of all time and one of my favorites. Favorite stories The Whimper of Whipped Dogs, I have No Mouth But I Must Scream, Paladin of the Lost Hour , Solider , Repent Harlequin said the Ticktock Man. Actually, it's hard for me to pick favorites because I like everything I've ever read by him.

What are favorite stories by him ? :)
 
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j d worthington

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Oh, boy.......

I had this discussion with Curt some while back, and so it is probably best (and most certainly most time-saving) to simply quote what I said to him:

"You know, I did warn you that mine was an extensive list.....
To begin... as far as my favorite collections of fiction (which often coincide with what I think are among his best, in this case):
Gentleman Junkie and other stories of the hung-up generation
Love Ain't Nothing but Sex Misspelled
Deathbird Stories
Strange Wine
Shatterday

and, just slightly below that level, Angry Candy.
Of nonfiction/essays:
Memos from Purgatory
The Glass Teat
(the first volume; not so much the second)
An Edge in My Voice
The Harlan Ellison Hornbook

Screenplays:
I, Robot (I've not had the opportunity of reading the latest series of collections of his screenplays, so I'm going on a rather limited sample: "The City on the Edge of Forever" -- --his original screenplay, which I do rank very highly, but not his best; the television script he included in The Other Glass Teat; Harlan Ellison's Movie; and
"Soldier" (original screenplay).
As for personal favorites among the fiction (and here I'll include an asterisk with those which I would also consider among his best)... I'll list them in chronological order as they appeared in his collections, etc. (with one exception, which I will note at the proper place):
"Look Me in the Eye, Boy!"
"Students of the Assassin"
"Run for the Stars"
"Blind Lightning"
"No Game for Children"*
"Memory of a Muted Trumpet"*
Spider Kiss
"Daniel White for the Greater Good"*
"Enter the Fanatic, Stage Center"
"The Night of Delicate Terrors"*
"All the Sounds of Fear"*
"The Wind from Beyond the Mountains"
"In Lonely Lands"
"'Repent, Harlequin!', Said the Ticktockman"*
"Bright Eyes"
"Deeper Than the Darkness"
"Eyes of Dust"
"Lonelyache"*
"Delusion for a Dragon Slayer"*
"Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes"*
"A Prowler In the City at the Edge of the World"*
"Neither Your Jenny Nor Mine"
"Riding the Dark Train Out"
"The Resurgence of Miss Ankle-Strap Wedgie"
"Battle Without Banners" (this is the one which I moved, because I always identify it with the collection Love Ain't Nothing but Sex Misspelled, rather than the rather poor collection, From the Land of Fear -- which nonetheless has a very interesting introduction)
"A Prayer for No One's Enemy"*
"The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World"*'
"Try a Dull Knife"
"The Place with No Name"
"Pennies, Off a Dead Man's Eyes"*
"Silent in Gehenna"
"One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty"*
"Catman"
"On the Downhill Side"
"Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W"*
"The Deathbird"*
"Croatoan"
"The Wine Has Been Left Open Too Long, and the Memory Has Gone Flat"
"Lonely Women Are the Vessels of Time"*
"The Boulevard of Broken Dreams"*
"Jeffty Is Five"*'
"All the Lies That are My Life"*
"Count the Clock That Tells the Time"
"Alive and Well and on a Friendless Voyage"*
"All the Birds Come Home to Roost"*
"Grail"*
"The Night of Black Glass"
"Paladin of the Lost Hour"*
"On the Slab"
"The Region Between" (this almost makes the best, in my opinion... it is such a tour de force; yet it just misses it by a hair....)
"The Function of Dream Sleep"*
"Darkness Upon the Face of the Deep"
"The Lingering Scent of Woodsmoke"
"Chatting with Anubis"*
"Midnight in the Sunken Cathedral"
"Susan"
"Please Don't Slam the Door"
I would also include these among his best, though they do not quite make my favorites list:
"I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"
"I'm Looking for Kadak"
"Mom"
"The New York Review of Bird"
"The Other Eye of Polyphemus"
"Mefisto in Onyx"
And, of course, that's not including some of the introductions to the collections, which I consider to be among his finest works, such as "Having an Affair with a Troll", "The Children of Nights", "Your Basic Crown of Thorns", "Where the Stray Dreams Go", "The Waves in Rio", "Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don't Look So Terrific Yourself", "Mortal Dreads", "Quiet Lies the Locust Tells", "The Wind Took Your Answer Away", etc....
Well, there you have it (more or less... definitely more, I should think......."

As I said in the beginning......
 

j d worthington

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If you're referring to my list... to be honest, "A Boy and His Dog" is not among my favorites nor, in my opinion, truly among Ellison's best. Very good, mind, you, and certainly powerful. But I don't think it quite makes it into the sort of company I'm referring to. (I am not talking about quality of writing here. Obviously, by the time of "A Boy and His Dog", Ellison was far beyond what he was capable of at the time of, say, "Blind Lightning" or even "Deeper Than the Darkness". But I also think there are flaws in that story, classic Ellison though it is, which detract from it. This is a personal opinion, and I doubt most -- least of all Ellison -- would agree with it. But, as this list is by nature more than a little subjective....)
 

hardsciencefanagain

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Darn long time ago since i last read Ellison(other than his columns in f&SF),still have to read Deathbird.For one reason or another,
I remember All the Sounds of Fear,Deeper,Run to the Stars,Repent,Prowler
 

dask

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"Deathbird" and "Jeffty Is Five" ought not to be missed. I remember "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream" being really good but the rest of the stories in the collection of the same name didn't do much for me. Couldn't finish Spider Kiss. Writes great intros.
 

Droflet

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Shattered Like a Glass Goblin. And everything else he's written. Genius.
 

BAYLOR

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Shattered Like a Glass Goblin. And everything else he's written. Genius.
An excellent story .(y)

The 1980's version of the Twilight Zone did an excellent adaptation of his story Paladin of the Lost Hour . It saved Danny Kaye .:)

His regional screen play for Trek episode The City at the Edge of Forever is fantastic. I prefer it to the televised version. Just recently they did a graphic novel adaptation to his screenplay.
 
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Randy M.

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I haven't read Ellison extensively, but I've liked a fair amount of what I've read. The first thing I recall reading by him may have made the deepest impression: "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs." I read it in what I assumed would be just another entertaining anthology of horror stories (one of Karl Edward Wagner's year's best series). I was in my late teens or early twenties, hadn't really read much contemporary horror aside from Robert Bloch (who was no longer the new, cutting edge guy by then), and hated the story because it appalled some essential understanding of decency in me, some of my reaction stemming from recognizing it was commenting on the murder of Kitty Genovese as it was then understood to have happened. Later readings and I realized the story isn't really misanthropic, but deeply angry about the callousness or the potential for callousness that exists in tight-packed city life and that it may also have been informed and influenced by Fritz Leiber's work, specifically "Smoke Ghost."

Now I point at "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" as a horror story one should read if interested in how a horror story can be used as social commentary (along with "The Yellow Wallpaper").


Randy M.
 

j d worthington

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The first thing I recall reading by him may have made the deepest impression: "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs." I read it in what I assumed would be just another entertaining anthology of horror stories (one of Karl Edward Wagner's year's best series).[...]

Randy M.
Well, pardon my pedantry, but... not really. It was in the same series (the DAW Year's Best anthologies) but before Wagner had taken over editing it. As a matter of fact, it was in the third of the set, which was edited by Richard Davis -- other contents being:

"The Man in the Underpass", by Ramsey Campbell
"S.F.", by T. E. D. Klein
"Uncle Vlad", by Clive Sinclair
"Judas Story", by Brian Stableford
"The House of Cthulhu", by Brian Lumley
"Satanesque", by Allan Weiss
"Burger Creature", by Steve Chapman
"Wake Up Dead", by Tim Stout
"Forget-Me-Not", by Richard Taylor
"Halloween Story", by Gregory Fitz Gerald
"Big, Wide, Wonderful World", by Charles E. Fritch
and "The Taste of Your Love", by Eddy C. Bertin

all in all, a rather good collection of tales, even if some are rather odd ("Halloween Story", for instance, which had to grow on me bit by bit). Incidentally, the first few volumes in the series were actually reprints of, if memory serves, a set of British anthologies. Then, with the fourth volume, when Gerald W. Page took over, it became original to DAW....

My first encounter with Ellison was in The Hugo Winners, vols. I & II (a combined volume put out through the Science Fiction Book Club), which I read as a very young teen, with "'Repent, Harlequin!', Said the Ticktockman" (which I thoroughly enjoyed) being the first, followed by "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (which deeply offended me), and "The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World", which I almost skipped after the former story, but let my tendency to be thorough push me into reading it... and which I found to be very powerful and which I liked very much, putting Ellison definitely on my "to read as much as possible" list....
 

BAYLOR

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Has he written any new short story collections ?:unsure:
 

j d worthington

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Has he written any new short story collections ?:unsure:
The only listings I see right off are these:

Pulling a Train (2012)
Rough Beasts (2012)
Getting in the Wind (2013)
Honorable Whoredom at a Penny a Word (2013)

I know there have been at least one or two others, but at the moment I can't find the listings. However, I believe these are all collections of older stories; though Ellison is, if memory serves, still writing new fiction; I just don't think any has been collected together at this point....

If, however, you're referring to earlier than this (Troublemakers, from 2001, or before), then yes, there have been some.... A personal favorite is the collection of stories he did inspired by the art of Jacek Yerka, Mind Fields -- which is included in the volume -- a varied collection, but some very fine works in there indeed....
 

Randy M.

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Well, pardon my pedantry, but... not really. It was in the same series (the DAW Year's Best anthologies) but before Wagner had taken over editing it. As a matter of fact, it was in the third of the set, which was edited by Richard Davis -- other contents being:
[...]
I should know better than to rely on my memory. It never works. :)

Randy M.
 

BAYLOR

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They did a Graphic novel adaptation of his original screenplay for The City On The Edge of Forever.
 
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BAYLOR

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Edward Bryant did an excellent novelization of pilot script for the ill-fated tv show Star Lost.
 

Vince W

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Shame about Star Lost. They used to show one every once in a while as filler if programming got messed up.
 

BAYLOR

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Shame about Star Lost. They used to show one every once in a while as filler if programming got messed up.
From what I've read and seen of it, the show is pretty dire even by 1970's standards.

But even had it been done exactly the ways Ellison wanted it done . It still wouldn't have made it. The audiences for science fiction tv shows in that time was just not large enough to support a series.
 
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Vince W

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From what I've read and seen of it, the show is pretty dire even by 1970's standards.

But even had it been done exactly the ways Ellison wanted it done . It still wouldn't have made it. The audiences for science fiction tv shows in that time was just not large enough to support a series.
Watching it as a child it was fine. I doubt it was ever really intended for adults. At least by the producers.
 

BAYLOR

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Metaphisto In Onyx It's the slash story Ir sad by him great stuff. (y)
 
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