Improbably, Harlan Ellison's THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS might actually be coming out

Werthead

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In a series of tweets, SF TV author and executor of the Harlan Ellison Estate, J. Michael Straczynski, has hinted that the much-delayed (by 48 years) The Last Dangerous Visions anthology may be coming out, or at least something is happening with it.

JMS is releasing the news one word a day for five days, with the sentence currently reading THE LAST DANGEROUS... which I think is a pretty big clue.

We know that at least one version of The Last Dangerous Visions was completed in 1979, organised into three volumes with 109 stories from 102 authors present (32 stories have since appeared elsewhere; it's unclear if they would be included in a LDV collection or not), before Ellison seemed to balk and refused to release it. That leaves 77 stories from some relatively well-known names in SFF that have never appeared, in some cases where the author has since also passed away.

We should find out for sure what's going on on Friday.
 
Confirmed. It'll be out in under a year (depending on the publisher).

The book has also been changed. With the removal of 30-odd stories from the original list (the authors withdrew them to publish elsewhere), there's now space for stories by modern authors, a mixture of "big-hitters" and young up-and-comers. Straczynski has also reserved a spot for a debut story by a brand new author, to be chosen by submission.
 
More information here, and some comments suggesting that some people don't approve of this version of the book, and others suggesting this will be yet another broken promise. We'll see.

 
I suspect this was always in Ellison's mind, that publishing an anthology of stories that were decades out of date was simply uninteresting to him and that's why, after a certain point, he felt the book-as-was couldn't be released and in his older years he didn't want to face the immense task of reorganising the book with new stories and keeping it up-to-date.

Straczynski is one of the very, very few people Ellison trusted (there's a reason he was his choice as executor after Susan) and it seems inconceivable they did not discuss the project over the years and ideas for its transformation. Ellison just wasn't capable of doing it himself.
 
A Simak story that would have been in the collection was published some years ago,
 
Thanks Victoria, very interesting. No Martin story listed though, so I checked the story - apparently Harlan asked Martin to submit something but didn’t accept what he submitted!
 
Has anyone told Christopher Priest?
 
Has anyone told Christopher Priest?


Yes!


Contacted by the Guardian on Monday, Priest was unimpressed, saying that Straczynski was “in the same sort of unenviable position as Trump’s caddie”.

“I kind of lost interest in all that years ago. Ellison clearly did too, along with everyone else. (Although I gather he went on with his magical thinking if anyone asked when he was going to deliver),” he wrote. “Many of the stories were withdrawn, because Ellison acted like a ****. Of the ones that remain, most of them are by writers who are now deceased, so the rights have expired and the estates would have to be traced. A lot of the writers have disowned their stories as juvenilia, or outdated, or simply because Ellison was acting like a ***.”

But, Priest added: “Mr Straczynski is an experienced professional, so maybe he’ll work something out.”

I have censored mild profanity.
 
Priest once gave a talk at my local writing group. He was good and very interesting, but I got the strong impression that he was the kind of person who'd tell you that they didn't suffer fools gladly.

Some fans can be not pleasant to deal with. I can understand that sentiment.
 
Thanks Victoria, very interesting. No Martin story listed though, so I checked the story - apparently Harlan asked Martin to submit something but didn’t accept what he submitted!

Was that Meathouse Man? I seem to remember GRRM telling a story about him submitting an early version of that to Ellison and being told that he needed to rewrite to fully explore the implications of the story.
 
Was that Meathouse Man? I seem to remember GRRM telling a story about him submitting an early version of that to Ellison and being told that he needed to rewrite to fully explore the implications of the story.
Yes, that's the one - and it turns out it was ultimately published by Damon Knight in Orbit 18 (1976). Ellison rejected it twice for LDV, but it was selected by Terry Carr for his Year's Best anthology that year (which also included an Ellison story, funnily enough).
 

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