DIRECTORY

SORTED BY BOOK

SORTED BY TITLE

TITLES

23" Worth of Introduction

Introduction to the first edition of The Glass Teat, published in 1969.

At a party in Hollywood in 1968, Ellison was invited by Arthur Kunkin, editor of the Free Press, to write for the paper; Ellison agreed, provided that the column appear exactly as it was written, with no editing.

Ellison writes that The Glass Teat was born out of a need to examine what comes to us across the channel-waves and to extrapolate from its smallness to the bigness of its trends or concepts to which it speaks.

The introduction was written on December 26, 1969.


Alive and Well on a Friendless Voyage

Collected in Shatterday.

A man named Moth is a permanent resident on board a colossal, transient and nameless spaceship that flows throughout the Universe. Moth is the only person on the ship anyone talks to.

Alive and Well was originally published in the July, 1977 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine (the Harlan Ellison issue).

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


All the Birds Come Home to Roost

Collected in Shatterday.

A man keeps meeting his ex-lovers in reverse chronological order, leading up to the final boss: his first ex-wife!

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


All the Lies That Are My Life

Collected in Shatterday.

A Hugo-nominated novella where an author-avatar for Ellison dies, and the fallout that comes with his death.

Originally published in 1980.

This write-up was provided by AT Gonzalez.


All the Sounds of Fear

Collected in Ellison Wonderland, Alone Against Tomorrow, and the 1968 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

This story is about an obsessive method actor, and I bet from that premise alone you can tell where this story is headed. While predictable, the Twilight Zone-type ending builds an excellent atmosphere of dread and horror. The little details at the end of the doctor getting dressed, driving to the hospital, and making his way to the actor’s room all build tension.

It appears that All the Sounds of Fear may have first been published in Ellison Wonderland, in June of 1962, and was also published in the July 1962 issue of Saint Detective Magazine (according to ISFDB and Alone Against Tomorrow).


Along The Scenic Route

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World and Deathbird Stories.

The story is set in a future where motorists are legally permitted to duel each other in supercars armed with deadly weapons, while driving at speeds of 300 MPH. The easily aggravated George realizes he has gotten himself and his wife Jessica into a fight with the deadliest duelist in America.

This is an immensely entertaining story, with the common Ellison premise of a regular fella who finds himself in a life-or-death situation.

Ellison credits fellow author Ben Bova as a technical consultant on the story. Ellison and Bova collaborated on the short story Brillo.

Originally published under title Dogfight on 101 in the issue of Amazing Stories. A note by Ellison in the book The Beast etc. indicates he wrote the story at Clarion State College in Pennsylvania and Los Angeles in and , respectively.


Anywhere But Here, With Anybody But You

Collected in Slippage and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

Eddie Canonerro, a middle-class man, comes home from work to find that his wife has left him. He is confronted by a shadowy figure on his sofa who has packed his life in a duffle bag for him. This is inspired by one of Ellison’s ex-wives who did the same thing to him.

Originally published in 1996.

When it was published in Dream Corridor, this story was illustrated with a painting by Leo & Diane Dillon, who painted the covers for many of Ellison’s paperback books in the 1970’s.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Asleep: With Still Hands

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

The story takes place in a world where violence has been abolished thanks to a machine that inhibits people’s thoughts.

Originally published under the title The Sleeper With Still Hands in the issue of Worlds of If magazine. A note at the end of the story indicates it was written in Los Angeles and Santa Monica in .


Avoiding Dark Places

Introduction to the second edition of The Deadly Streets, dated as May 3rd, 1975.

Ellison writes that since The Deadly Streets was published in 1958, crime in America has gotten worse. He mentions the Kitty Genovese case, which he says inspired his short story The Whimper of Whipped Dogs. At the time, it was believed that Kitty Genovese, a young woman in California, had been murdered while dozens of people in her apartment complex watched and did nothing. This bystander aspect of the Genovese case has been thoroughly discredited, but was a part of the American zeitgeist for decades.

Ellison says the stories in the book are more important than ever, because readers need to be honest with themselves about the world they live in. In his words, Ignorance is no longer bliss, it’s suicidal.


Back to the Drawing Boards

Collected in From the Land of Fear, and the 1974 edition of Ellison Wonderland, where it replaced The Forces That Crush.

A bitter inventor creates an android and fights tooth and nail to keep all the patents to himself (this becomes important later). The android is sent off to explore the stars. Hundreds of years later, the android returns, and asks to be paid its wages. Unfortunately, the robot’s centuries of wages, plus compound interest, is more expensive than the entire world, so the robot is paid off by becoming Earth’s dictator. Even Ellison admits in the introduction to the story that it’s absurd.

Back to the Drawing Boards was orginally published in the August 1958 issue of Fantastic Universe.


Battlefield

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

Also known as His First Day At War, this is another war story, where future technology has made war less humane and more deadly, not the other way around. Soldier is a better treatment of this subject.

Originally published in the November 1958 issue of Space Travel magazine.


Battle Without Banners

Collected in From the Land of Fear and Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled. A story of convicts engaged in a brutal and hopeless prison riot. Ellison uses aggressive racial language in this story. The convicts, of all different races and creeds, are united in their fight against increasingly bloodthirsty guards.

Battle Without Banners was orginally published in the 1964 anthology Taboo, described on its cover as Seven short stories no publisher would touch from seven leading writers.


The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

In his introduction to the book of the same name, Ellison writes that the story was a deliberate break in style for him. The story is nonlinear, the parts of the story are like spokes of a wheel, taking place at different points in space and time, and ultimately connected at the hub of the wheel.

The story takes place in the past, the then-present 1960’s, and the very distant future. It mentions conquerors like Atilla the Hun, a modern-day spree killer, and goes into imagined concepts like the Crosswhen and the Djam Karet. Ellison seems to be making a statement about how violence can have far-reaching consequences throughout history, reaching far beyond Earth.

Originally published in the issue of Galaxy magazine.

Additional writing provided by AT Gonzalez.


Blind Bird, Blind Bird, Go Away From Me!

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

Set in Germany during World War II, Master Sergeant Arnie Winslow is injured in a mortar blast, which leaves him with intermittent blindness. These blindness episodes trigger trauma from his childhood, when his mother would lock him in the pitch-black basement.

While his company is pinned down by German gunfire, Arnie’s blindness returns, and he must find away out of the Nazi-occupied village to the Army base to get help.

In the 1983 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing, the story is tied to the book’s theme as follows: [Love is:] a blinded soldier crawling through death and darkness to save his friends.

Pulse-pounding war story.

Written in Hollywood in 1963, and originally published in Knight Magazine that same year.


Blind Lightning

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow.

A mortally-wounded astronaut named Kittredge is captured by a gorilla-like telepathic alien named Lad-Narthat plans to eat him. Kittredge reflects on what led him to the space mission: he was a notable scientist, and his involvement in a chemical test led to the deaths of twenty-five thousand people. The mission was a chance to escape those demanding his head, and a kind of self-imposed punishment.

Badly injured, Kittredge accepts he will not get rescued before he succumbs to his wounds. In an attempt at atonement, he tries to demonstrate how his space-suit protects him from the planet’s intense electrical storms. He hopes to elevate Lad-Nar beyond his superstitious belief in Gods and towards reason.

Blind Lightning was originally published in the June, 1956 issue of Fantastic Universe Science Fiction.


BLOOD/THOUGHTS

Introduction to No Doors, No Windows. Also collected, under the title A Love Song to Jerry Falwell, in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

This essay is unusual among Ellison’s work in that it has been reprinted and revised several times.

In the first part of this introduction, Ellison defends the importance of the writer, especially when writing about the uncomfortable and fantastical aspects of the human condition. In the second part of its No Doors, No Windows version, Ellison discusses his frustration with being typecast as a science-fiction writer, especially when his early career was mostly in the crime and mystery genres. He also discusses a letter he received, allegedly from a policeman, about the brutality the policeman witnesses during work hours.

In the final section of the No Doors, No Windows version, Ellison gives some background on the stories collected therein.

Portions of Blood/Thoughts were originally published in a postscript essay for Jean Marie Stine’s 1968 novel Season of the Witch. Revised versions were published in 1969’s Science Fiction Review and Dart: A Publication of Dartmouth College.


The Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Collected in Strange Wine.

Patrick Fenton is shocked to see Nazi war criminal walking on the streets of New York. He recognizes these men from the concentation camp, but he knows they are dead. Short and chilling story with a twist ending.

The Boulevard of Broken Dreams was orignally published in 1975, in the first issue of The Los Angeles Review.


A Boy and His Dog

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

In the year 2024, devastating world-wars have forced most of humanity into underground cities. Those that remain on the surface live as barbarians, aided by telepathic dogs. Vic is a fifteen-year-old boy living topside with his dog Blood. The genetic mutations that gave dogs telepathy have also destroyed their ability to hunt for food, and they rely on their human masters for food now.

Vic and Blood’s lives are thrown into chaos when they track down a woman, a valuable commodity on the surface. Their meeting leads to a deadly siege by a bloodthirsty gang, and a journey into the subterranean city of Topeka.

This story earned Ellison a Nebula Award for Best Novella, and a Hugo nomination for the same.

The story was adapted into the 1975 film of the same title, directed by longtime Sam Peckinpah actor L.Q. Jones. The movie won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. When Ellison demanded his own Hugo, since the movie was adapted from his short story, he was told there were no more statuettes to hand out. He was instead given the base of a Hugo Award. Ellison would thereafter refer to his eight and a half Hugo Awards.

Originally published in the issue of New Worlds magazine. The printing in The Beast That Shouted etc. was the first North American publication, and expanded on the original.


Bright Eyes

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow and Paingod and Other Delusions.

A fantasy story about a telepathic creature named Bright Eyes who leaves his home by seeing through the eyes of a rat, I think? Not too sure what was going on here.

In his introduction to the story in Paingod and Other Delusions, Ellison says he was inspired to write the story while judging a fanart competition Pacificon II in

The original Bright Eyes
                    illustration by Dennis Smith. Here is Ellison's 
                    description: It was a scene on a foggy landscape, with a
                    milk-wash of stars dripping down the sky, a dim outline of
                    battlements in the distance, and in the foreground, 
                    a weird phosphorescent creature with great luminous 
                    eyes, holding a bag of skulls, astride a giant rat,
		    padding toward me.
Dennis Smith’s original artwork Bright Eyes, which inspired Ellison’s short story of the same name.

Bright Eyes was originally published in the April, 1965 issue of Fantastic magazine.


Brillo

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This short story was co-written by Ben Bova.

A new police robot nicknamed Brillo (since He’s metal fuzz) is being tried out in New York City. The robot is assigned a beat with Mike Polchik, a jaded veteran of the police force. Brillo gets on Polchik’s nerves immediately by adhering to a literal interpretation of the law. Polchik notes the lack of human judgement in the robot’s programming. The ending features a subtle twist.

In the introduction to Brillo, Ellison mentions that this was one of the few stories he wrote that was published by John W. Campbell, Jr., the influential editor of Fantastic Science Fiction. Ellison had heard that Campbell only purchased the story because he thought it was mainly Bova’s story; Ellison insists he wrote over 80% of it, and that the character of Polchik is entirely his creation.

Brillo was originally published in the August, 1970 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact.


Buried in the Tombs

Article by Harlan Ellison, about his experience being held in police custody for twenty-four hours, including time at The Tombs, Manhattan’s detention facility.

The article was originally published in a 1960 issue of The Village Voice, at the encouragement of friend Ted White, a jazz critic for DownBeat magazine.

Buried in the Tombs was later expanded into the second part of Ellison’s 1961 memoir Memos From Purgatory.


Buy Me That Blade

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

Follows the criminal exploits of three JDs: Tricky, Wally, and Rally, over the course of a night. After wreaking havoc in a store, they go to the town’s gay district, where they rob and attempt to rape a woman, and then mug a man. Tricky comes to realize that Wally is using him, but nothing really comes of this plot development.

Originally published as Buy Me That Knife! in a 1957 issue of Sure-Fire Detective Stories, under the pen name Ellis Hart.


Catman

Collected in Approaching Oblivion and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

Adapted in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor #4 - #5

This takes place in a futuristic global society where there is stratification between Aboveground Folk who live in colossal, vertically-inclined high-tech megastructures with cascading waterfalls, and holographic projections and a group of repulsive, cybernetic, Morlock-like underdwellers who worship and have sex with a colossal computer called Love-Partner.

Neil Leipzig, a young black man, is a burglar with the ability to teleport anywhere in the world. His father, Lewis Leipzig, is The Catman, a police officer aided by robotic panthers and birds of prey. The Catman is tasked with catching him Neil… but both only operate during their designated work hours (Shiftday). Rounding out this lower-class family is Lewis’ wife, Karin Leipzig, a white woman. The family meets regularly for dinner. Karin is sexually unfulfilled and frustrated not only by Lewis’ inability to capture Neil but also by her son’s lack of communication.

Further complicating things is Neil’s sexual attraction to metal and machines, which is a major taboo, and crime in the Aboveground society. Neil steals a valuable drug in order to gain access to Love-Partner. Lewis pursues his son in order to save his family…

This is one of those stories that took some time to grow on me. I had to read it several times to really get it. A lot happens in these fifteen or so pages. Many Ellison themes are at play here: dystopian society, absurdities, a distrust of technology, with the computer being the ultimate evil. The adherence to both the criminals and the police to only work within certain hours is reminiscent of Ticktockman. The sexual content is very strange and must have been shocking for the time. With Neil’s fetish for machines that is far beyond his parent’s understanding, Ellison seems to be making some sort of statement about how being mesmerized by technologies can create divides between generations and also within the family unit. Ellison also goes out of his way to show that the Leipzigs are a mixed-race family. Is there subtext here about the struggles of growing up in such a household?

The story was commissioned for the science fiction anthology Final Stage based on this prompt from Edward Ferman and Barry Malzberg: write the ultimate science fiction sex story. Ellison noted that it had to be removed from several foreign versions for being obscene and indecent.

It was later adapted in comic book format by Peter David and Mike Deodato Jr for issues 4 and 5 of Harlan Elllison’s Dream Corridor. In Dream Corridor #4, Ellison refers to the story as Science Fiction-Cum-Adventure-Cum-Erotica. Ellison was reportedly very proud of the story. Unusually, he spent a few months working on it in 1972. His intent was to make a story that had sex and action, but was also cerebral.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Peter David, painted by Mike Deodato, Jr., and lettered by Sean Konot.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Centerpunching

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

This magazine article profiles actor Steve McQueen, who was at the height of his success in 1968 with the release of his film Bullit.

After a guarded tape-recorded interview, McQueen invites Ellison to a film shoot out in the desert. McQueen is going to promote a dune buggy on the Ed Sullivan show, a dune buggy he helped design.

During the shoot, McQueen seems in his element out in the desert. Ellison admires the actor’s coolness under pressure when faced with staggering desert heat and an inept sound technician.

McQueen and Ellison shared some common ground. Ellison ran away from home at age 13, McQueen was thrown in a juvenile correction facility at age 13. Both men valued competency. Both worked in Hollywood, and fought to maintain their independence within the system.

Their were differences, too: Ellison was a liberal and (what we would now call) childfree, McQueen had conservative views and was a family man.

In Sleepless Nights, the essay ends with a note from the book’s editor, Marty Clark. It says McQueen died of cancer in 1980, and Ellison was so devastated he locked himself in his office for a day.

Originally published in the February 1969 issue of Eve magazine.


Chatting With Anubis

Collected in Slippage and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

The ground collapses on a group of young archaeologists working in Egypt. In the caverns below, they come face-to-face with Anubis. Ellison wrote this story when given the prompt Egyptian mythology.

Originally published in 1996.

When it was published in Dream Corridor, this short story was illustrated with a painting by Jane Mackenzie.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Cheap Thrills On the Road To Hell

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed This particular essay prompted the creation of the essay colleciton.

Ellison writes about the need to dissasemble the myth of the Common Man. While the Common Man is often associated with the characters played by actor Jimmy Stewart, Ellison believes the opposite is true: Jimmy Stewart’s characters were Uncommon men. Ellison credits the true Common Man with ignorance, planned obselesence, book bannings, littering, racism, religious fanaticism, and the waste of the Rose Bowl Parade.

Originally written on assigment for the Los Angeles Times, as an New Year’s editorial, January 1982.


The Children’s Hour

Collected in No Doors, No Windows. This is one of the few speculative fiction stories in a book full of crime and suspense stories.

The story is told from the first-person view of a UN translator. In the then-distant future of 1995, the world stands on the brink of war. An emergency meeting of the UN is interrupted by the arrival of a throng of children from all over the world, with an important message.

This is a very short story that gets more disturbing as one thinks back on it. In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison describes the story as a variation on the Pied Piper idea.

The Children’s Hour was first published with the pen name Wallace Edmonson in a 1958 issue of Fantastic Science Fiction. The story must have been revised at some point, since it makes reference to events that took place well after 1958 and up until 1975, such as the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Six-Day War.


Cold Friend

Collected in Approaching Oblivion and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

Adapted in Issue #4 of Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor.

Eugene Harrison legally dies in a hospital and revives just as soon as he passed. The world he has woken up in is very different from the one he knows: it is nearly devoid of people and only seems to consist of a few city blocks of his hometown surrounded by a white void. Harrison must dodge barbarian invasions and connect with Opal Sellers, a mysterious girl in a white dress, in order to navigate this strange, new world.

Ellison has described this story as autobiographical.

Cold Friend was originally published in the October 1973 issue of Galaxy magazine.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by RA Jones, illustrated by David Lapham, colored by Julia Lacquement, and lettered by Sean Konot.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Come to Me Not in Winter’ White

Collected in Partners In Wonder.

This story was co-written by Roger Zelazny, who also wrote the introduction to the Ellison short story collection From the Land of Fear.

In his introduction to the story for Partners In Wonder, Ellison writes that Winter’s White was one of the best writing experiences he’d had in many years, one of the few times my work has reached towards gentleness and compassion, a quality he credits to Zelzany’s involvement. Ellison also credits the collaboration with introducing him to the works of Pablo Neruda.

When his wife contracts a deadly, incurable disease, a wealthy inventor builds a special chamber that slows down time for those inside it. While she appears to not age, time continues outside the chamber, where scientists work on the cure. Since the inventor cannot live inside the chamber with his wife, he goes to great lengths to find her a caretaker, someone who will look after and give her companionship, but not fall in love with her.

Come to Me Not in Winter’s White was first published in the October, 1969 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.


Commuter’s Problem

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

A suburban businessman has some suspicions about his neighbors, and takes the wrong commuter train, ending up far, far away. A fun short story, originally published in the June 1957 issue of Fanstastic Universe.


Count the Clock That Tells the Time

Collected in Shatterday.

A story about the special hell that awaits people who waste time.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Crackpots

Collected in Paingod and Other Delusions.

A short story set in Ellison’s Earth-Kyben war saga. According to his introduction in Paingod and Other Delusions, this story is about the pain of being social outcast.

In the story, a Kyben is tasked with spying on the crackpots of his race, who are kept out of regular society due to their odd behavior. He observes several engaged in bizarre rituals with no discernible purpose. By the end, he learns that appearances can be deceiving, and these crackpots might just be smarter than anyone knows.

Originally published in the June 1956 issue of IF: Worlds of Science Fiction.


Crazy As a Soup Sandwich

Collected in Slippage.

The teleplay to an episode of the 80’s Twilight Zone that Ellison wrote. In a robbing Peter to pay Paul situation, two-bit gangster Arky Lochner makes a deal with a demon to get out of a deal he made with a mob boss. The episode is considered to be one of the worst of that series. Ellison claims that the script was ruined by poor direction.

Originally published in 1989.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Croatoan

Collected in Strange Wine.

This brutal urban fantasy is a first-person narrative, about a man who has just forced his girlfriend to have a back-alley late-term abortion. He has done this many times before, with the help of women friends who work at a family-planning clinic, they have come to despise the narrator for his recklessness.

His girlfriend, out of her mind with trauma, demands the narrator go down into the sewers and retrieve the fetus that was flushed down the toilet. Driven by her pleas and some unknown force inside himself, the narrator descends into a black and nightmarish world beneath the streets. What he finds underground is pure Ellison: dark, twisted, and thought-provoking.

The title comes from the story of Roanoke, a colony in 17th-century America that seemingly vanished, leaving behind only the word Croatoan carved into a tree. Where did they all go? (The simple explanation is the settlers abandoned the colony and assimilated into the local tribes.)

Ellison denied being anti-abortion, instead writing that he was anti-waste, anti-pain, and anti-self-brutalization, He mentions that he got a vasectomy shortly after writing the story. In his introduction to the story in Strange Wine, Ellison writes that Croatoan prompted angry letters from pro-choice readers, anti-abortion readers, and even a New York sewer worker.

Late-term abortions, as a sympto of doomed relationships, feature in other Ellison stories, including Neither Your Jenny Nor Mine and O Ye of Little Faith.

The story was praised by author Stephen King in his book Danse Macabre. One of Ellison’s best stories.

Croatoan was originally published in the May, 1975 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It won the 1976 Locus award for best short story, and was runner-up for the 1976 Hugo award in that category. At the same Hugo awards, A Boy and His Dog, based on Ellison’s novella, won Best Dramatic Presentation (runner-up was Monty Python and the Holy Grail).


Daniel White for the Greater Good

Collected in Gentleman Junkie and Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

A short story centered around the Civil Rights Movement.

Daniel White is a hulking black man, arrested and awaiting trial for the rape and murder of a white girl. The crime, to which Daniel White freely gloats about, has caused a wave of anti-black violence in the small Southern town. A rabid mob is seething to break White out of jail and lynch him. A representative from the NAACP arrives to advise the black community on the crisis, and comes to a disturbing conclusion.

The 1983 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing describes the story’s connection to the book’s theme: Love is: the responsibility to the Movement that forced a black community to consider the awful consequences of knotting the rope for whitey.

Originally written in Evanston, Illinois in 1961, and published in Rogue magazine in a 1961 issue.


Darkness Upon the Face Of the Deep

Collected in Slippage.

Two friends go on a deadly archeological adventure in Syria.

Originally published in 1991 for Aboriginal Science Fiction.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Dead Shot

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

Told from a first-person perspective by a crazed teen gunman named Tommy. Tommy murders a number of people over the course of the story with a rifle, and later a handgun, each killing described in graphic detail. He is finally gunned down by a passing policeman, a common ending for characters in The Deadly Streets short stories.

Originally published in a 1957 issue of Trapped Detective Story Magazine.


Deal From the Bottom

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

A man on death row makes a regrettable deal with a beatnik-styled devil. The ending is the kind of irony you’d find in a bad episode of The Twilight Zone, but it’s short, so it works. Another fun short story.

Originally published in the January 1960 issue of Rogue magazine.


Deeper Than the Darkness

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow and Paingod and Other Delusions.

Alf Gunnderson is a vagrant, cursed with pyrokinesis that he can barely control. He is pulled out of a country jail by government agents and sent on a space mission. He is ordered to use his powers on the star of an alien civilization’s solar system, so that it will go supernova. Gunnderson is accompanied by a telepath, and a telekinetic, who are to torture or maim him if he tries to escape or otherwise disobey his orders.

This story plays on a common Ellison theme: people, especially vulnerable people, being exploited as mere resources.

In Paingod and Other Delusions, the story has the subtitle A Folk Song of the Future. In his introduction to the story in Paingod, Ellison writes that the story shares a theme with other stories in the book: the individual’s responsibility not only for our own actions, but for our lack of action …. Ellison recommends reading the last passages to the music of Lonesome Song, recorded by Rusty Draper.

Deeper Than the Darkness was originally published in the April, 1957 issue of Infinity Science Fiction.


Defeating the Green Slime

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

The subtitle for this essay is (Honest to God, A) Modest Proposal Timorously Ventured With Trepidation by Harlan Ellison.

Ellison was the inaugural vice-president of the Science Ficiton Writers of America. The SWFA holds an awards ceremony called the Nebulas, a prestigious honor in the field. In this piece, he discusses problems with the Best Dramatic Presentation category for the Nebulas.

At the then-most-recent Nebula awards, the Dramatic category was won by Soylent Green. It beat out Michael Critchton’s Westworld, and two made-for-TV movies: Steambath and Catholics. Ellison contends that Soylent Green won because it was the most popular of the entries, not necessarily because it was the best, or best representative of the genre.

At the time, the Dramatic category was voted on by all members of the SFWA. Ellison suggests that not every member has time to see every nominated movie. As a solution, he proposes that the Dramatic category be voted on by a panel who would have the time and resources to see each nominee. The panel would be composed of SFWA members with experience in writing for film and television, and who would be rotated in and out of the panel on a regular basis.

Originally published in the January 1976 issue of the Bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

The controversy over the Dramatic category at the Nebula awards would culminate in Harlan Ellison’s resignation from the SFWA.


Down the Rabbit-Hole To TV-Land

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

In this essay, Ellison describes his experience as a television writer. He begins by recounting a meeting for the TV series SubSunk, where an argument with a producer ended with Ellison jumping onto the table and putting his hands around the producer’s throat. This was the culmination of hours of ignorance, bullying, and general contempt from creativity on the producer’s behalf. Ellison was finally persuaded to continue his work on the show, he was so unhappy with the final product that he asked to be credited under a pen name. This was the first (but not the last) time he used his pen name Cordwainer Bird.

Ellison goes on to explain that television writing is not centered around the quality or public utility of a project, but is rather driven by deadlines and Nielsen ratings. When these poor values result in bad scripts, critics blame the writers, not meddling executives and the toxic creative environment they create. For this reason, Ellison thinks that people with the talent to leave television and move into feature films tend to do so as soon as possibe.

Originally published in the September 1967 issue of Cad magazine.


Delusion for a Dragon Slayer

Collected in I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream, the 1968 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled, and Deathbird Stories.


The Diagnosis of Dr. D’arqueAngel

Collected in Strange Wine.

Charles Romb wants to murder his wife and get away with it. He enlists the services of Dr. D’arqueAngel, who offers him a treatment program that will build up his tolerance to death. The treatment allows him to survive a heart attack, and increasingly severe fatalities: a stabbing, pesticides, and drowning.

Of course, the treatment has a price, a price Romb cannot even imagine…

In his introduction to the story in Strange Wine, Ellison writes that the premise of the story was suggested at a convention panel. His co-panelists were Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert; Ellison is proud that he wrote the story before they did.

The story was orignally published in the January 1977 issue of Viva.


The Discarded

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow and Paingod and Other Delusions.

The story takes place on a run-down space colony adrift in space, the inhabitants marooned there for their ugly mutations. The hopelessness of the colony is broken by the arrival of non-mutated humans who think the mutants could help cure a plague back on Earth. The mutant’s leader warns the others that the humans will betray them.

In his introduction to the story in Paingod and Other Delusions, Ellison writes that the story is about the pain of physical imperfection in a society that over-values physical beauty.

The Discarded was originally published under the title The Abnormals in the April, 1959 issue of Fantastic magazine.


Django

Collected in Shatterday.

After witnessing his friends executed by German Sturmerkommandos, French Resistance member Michel Herve is sent to another dimension.

Inspired by the story of Django Reinhardt, Ellison wrote this story in a book store. He says This story is about the dangers of being an artist.

This write-up was provided by AT Gonzalez.

Do-It-Yourself

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

In a future where anything can be ordered as a do-it-yourself kit, a housewife orders one in the hopes of killing her slob of a husband. This story anticipates our age of Amazon Prime quite well.

According to ISFDB, Do-It-Yourself was co-written by Joe L. Hensley, and was originally published in the February 1961 issue of Rogue magazine.


Down in the Dark

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

A big-game hunting guide starts an affair with his client’s wife. Before long, he and the wife are plotting the husband’s death during a hunting trip.

This suspense story was originally published, using the pseudonym Ellis Hart, in a 1967 issue of Adam Bedside Reader. In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison claims that Down in the Dark is based in part on experiences from his own life.


The Dragon on the Bookshelf

Collected in Slippage.

Urnikh, a very small inter-dimensional dragon, falls in love with a human woman, Margaret. This love threatens the very fabric of reality. A rare collaborative effort for Ellison, this story was co-authored by Robert Silverberg.

Originally published in 1995.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Dreams a Nightmare Dreams

Collected in Slippage.

In Ellison’s words, a narrative poem about the importance of keeping nightmares alive.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Ecowareness

Collected in Approaching Oblivion

A farcical vignette about the Earth exacting revenge on humanity for polluting it.

Originally published in 1974

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Eddie, You’re My Friend

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

This suspense story is delivered as a first-person monologue that recounts the lives of a sad-sack and the friend who has always taken advantage of him.

In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison writes that the story had never been published before its appearance in No Doors, No Windows.


Emissary From Hamelin

Collected in Strange Wine.

In the year 2076, the Pied Piper returns, asking humanity to stop making the world a bad place.

The short story The Children’s Hour is also inspired by the Pied Piper folk tale.

Emissary From Hamelin was orignally published in the anthology 2076: The American Tricentennial, in 1976.


The End of the Time of Leinard

Collected in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

In this Western short story, Sheriff Leinard finds that after helping to tame a town on the frontier, the townspeople don’t want him around anymore, leading to an existential crisis.

The Dream Corridor adaptation was by Faye Perozich, with painting by Doug Wildey and lettering by L. Louis Buhalis.


Enter the Fanatic, Stage Center

Collected in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

A brilliant painter moves into a small town. His paintings, which seem inspired by the private moments of the townspeople, rend the town apart.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Stefan Petrucha, illustrated by Tom Sutton, colored by Michelle Menashe, and lettered by Sean Konot.


Epiphany

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Writing in 1982, Ellison describes how he is writing his first television script in a decade. It is an adaptation of his short story Killing Bernstein for the ABC series Darkroom. [The episode was never produced, and Darkroom was cancelled after seven episodes.]

Ellison writes that one of his motivations for returning to television is the advent of home video, which gives the medium a permanence it once lacked.

Epiphany was written as a guest editorial for the March, 1982 issue of Video Review.


Ernest and the Machine God

Collected in Over the Edge, Deathbird Stories, and the 1968 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.


Erotophobia

Collected in Approaching Oblivion.

Canadian cartoonist Nate Kleiser finds that he is irresistibly attractive to everyone. He is terrified that he will be mobbed to death. He seeks help which backfires tremendously.

A very short story that lampoons the pulp fiction trope of the attractive hero. Very straight forward with some tidbits of poor taste. The story lacks quotation marks for character dialogue for some reason which makes it a little difficult to read.

Erotophobia was originally published in the August, 1971 issue of Penthouse magazine.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Executioner of the Malformed Children

Collected in Shatterday.

A story about a telepath who is cast out.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Eyes of Dust

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow.

In a world where physical abnormalities carry a fanatical stigma, a married couple, one blind, one with a mole on their cheek, hide their telepathic son away in the basement.

Eyes of Dust was originally published in the December, 1959 issue of Rogue magazine.


Face-Down In Gloria Swanson’s Swimming Pool

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

A short essay in praise of Los Angeles.

Ellison recalls a lecture he gave at Wittenburg College in Springfield, Ohio, on October 3, 1973. A person in the audience asked Ellison how he could stand to live in Los Angeles with all its pollution.

Ellison replied with an impromptu speech on the benefits of Los Angeles over the rest of the country. He finds Los Angeles has less pollution than Ohio, better culture, better cuisine, and better bookstores.

Then, Ellison caught himself, and realized that after dreading a move to LA in the 1960s, he was now, eleven years later, a full, proud Angeleno.

The title refers to the movie Sunset Boulevard, where a young Hollywood screenwriter ends up murdered, face-down in a swimming pool. Ellison feared that moving to LA would bring him to a similar fate, but he is happy to report that is not the case. Ellison concludes the essay by writing that he actually met Gloria Swanson and found her to be a nice person.

Originally published in the August, 1978 issue of Los Angeles magazine.


The Face of Helene Bournow

Collected in Deathbird Stories and the 1968 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.


The Fault In My Line

The introduction to Slippage. Ellison says that the connective tissue for the stories in Slippage is Pay Attention!

Originally published in 1997.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Fear Not Your Enemies

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Writing after the murder of John Lennon, Ellison lists off a number of other people, famous and not famous, who were killed by gun violence. This includes a woman Ellison loved, who was raped and murdered in California.

Ellison writes that he has no patience for those mourning Lennon’s death. He says readers of his essay are at fault for embracing violent comic books and television at a young age, including readers of Heavy Metal, which published the essay. He blames gun violence on the wide availability of guns, and the opposition to attempts to contain this availability through gun control. Ellison contends that while a knife can be used to kill, it can’t kill from five feet away like a gun can.

Ellison also blames religious fanatacism for gun violence. He notes that Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon, held many strange beliefs. He writes It’s…only a step or two from ‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the lord’ to seeing oneself as the instrument of that vengeance.

Ellison took the title for the essay from a quote by Polish poet Edward Yashinsky, who experienced both Nazi and Soviet tyranny: Fear not your enemies… Fear only the indifferent, who permit the killers and betrayers to walk safely on the earth.

Originally published in the March, 1981 issue of Heavy Metal.


The Few, the Proud

Collected in Slippage.

Another part of the Kyben cycle. A soldier participating in the Kyben war gives his final words before execution. Ellison’s intent for this story was to mock the machismo of 1940’s war comics and to express the sentiment that in war, enemies are relative, not absolute.

Originally published in 1987.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Final Shtick

Collected in Gentleman Junkie and the 1968 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.


Flop Sweat

Collected in Shatterday.

Theresa Ketchum is a career-driven talk show host in Los Angeles. One night, she invites a cult leader onto her program…

Ellison was commissioned to bang out the story in about five hours when given the prompt write a story about a female talk show host.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Forces That Crush

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, Alone Against Tomorrow, and Ellison Wonderland’s first edition. It was replaced by Back to the Drawing Boards in the 1974 edition of Ellison Wonderland, because The Forces That Crush was being reprinted in the collection The Beast That Shouted Love At The Heart of the World around the same time as the 1974 reprint of Ellison Wonderland.

A man discovers that he has become practically invisible to society. He can physically touch other people, but they do not react to his presence. Nobody noticed this man much in his prior life, either: his notable feature was his last name, Winsocki, which was the same as a popular show tune of the time.

The story picks up when Winsocki meets some others like him. It’s pretty obvious social commentary, but it works well.

This story was originally published as Are You Listening? in the December 1958 issue of Amazing Science Fiction Stories. Are You Listening? is a better title for this short story. It was written in New York City in .

In Alone Against Tomorrow, the story has a brief introduction by Ellison about how the government and corporations reduce people to numbers: social security numbers, account numbers, drivers license numbers. Ellison writes that people can fight back against this dehumanization in small ways, like overpaying the phone bill by 73 cents.

In an interview on YouTube, Babylon 5 showrunner J. Michael Straczynski says he first became acquainted with Ellison when he called the phone number listed in the introduction.


A Friend To Man

Collected in From the Land of Fear. I can’t even remember what this one is about. Another anti-war story, basically.

This story was originally published as Friend to Man in the October 1959 issue of Fantastic Universe.


From A to Z, In the Chocolate Alphabet

Collected in Strange Wine.

Twenty-six super-short stories in the style of Frederic Brown, one for each letter of the alphabet.

The Chocolate Alphabet was written at a promotional event for the Los Angeles book store A Change of Hobbit. The first story written was N is for Nemotropin, which was inspired by an illustration by Larry Todd showing two lobster-like creatures fighting. Ellison had been commissioned to write a story based on the illustration but never got around to it. The title was the last in a list of titles Ellison had written for use in future stories.

Author Stephen King praised the story in his book Danse Macabre.

From A to Z, In the Chocolate Alphabet was orignally published in the October 1976 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It placed eleventh at the 1977 Locus award in the category of Best Short Story.


From Alabamy, With Hate

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

In this extensive essay, Ellison recounts participating in the March to Montgomery at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Originally published in the September 1965 issue of Knight Magazine.


G. B. K.—A Many-Flavored Bird

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

In this loosely-autobiographical short story, a writer receives a telegram from a G. Barney Kantor. The writer soon remembers Mr. Kantor from his childhood, in an Ohio science-fiction fan club. The narrator discusses the importance of this sf club to inspiring him to become an author, and giving him a sense of community. All these years later, he decides to meet Kantor again, with bittersweet results.

Written in Cleveland in 1962, and published in Rogue magazine that year.


Glass Teat 1: 4 October 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison begins his first column by stating his thesis: They’ve taken the most incredibly potent medium of imparting information the world has ever known, and they’ve turned it against you.

As an example, Ellison describes a recent television interview with Dr. Benjamin Spock, who was being criticized for his opposition to the Vietnam war. During a break in the interview, the network played a PSA asking viewers to buy war bonds, with footage of a young soldier proudly serving his country. When it cut back to Spock, the poor doctor had lost all credibility. It was a deliberate use of television to undermine the message of a critic of the war.


Glass Teat 2: 11 October 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellision criticizes the dated handling of race relations in TV shows, with particular attention on the shows The Outcasts and The Mod Squad.


Glass Teat 3: 18 October 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison discusses, with some satisfaction, the beating of news reporters by police at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He criticizes the news media for its slanted coverage of protests. For example, he notes a third-grade teacher he knows who attended a protest with a doctor and two lawyers. All showed up at the protest in respectable attire, and were ignored by the press in favor of shabbily-dressed hippies. Apparently establishment-types opposing the war didn’t fit the media’s narrative.


Glass Teat 4: 25 October 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison writes favorably about a local band called The New Wave, who were rudely heckled by some older men in front of the nightclub stage.


Glass Teat 5: 1 November 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison gives a list of shows he recommends: Laugh In, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Mission: Impossible, Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour, The Dan Smoot Report, and The Sign-Off Sermon (the last one is a joke).

He concludes by pitching several satirical ideas for TV shows.


Glass Teat 6: 8 November 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison despairs at the TV ratings report in Time magazine, and the paucity of quality shows in the top ten. He writes that as the world is going to hell, Americans are too busy being pacified and zombified by Green Acres and Gomer Pyle. This is what is meant by the glass teat.


Glass Teat 7: 15 November 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison discusses the ways that television fundamentally changes the nature of political races. (Will elaborate further)


Glass Teat 8: 22 November 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison reflects on his recent appearance on The Joe Pyne Show, and admits he blew it with regard to his attempt to defend his political positions. He was outmaneuvered by Pyne, who got Ellison to agree with many of Pyne’s status-quo positions.


Glass Teat 9: 29 November 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison devotes the column to blasting Kam Nelson, the co-host of the music-themed Groovy Show. According to Ellison, Nelson embodies the ditzy teenaged girl without an original idea in her head. A producer at The Groovy Show assures Ellison that Nelson is a straight-A student, licensed pilot, talented athlete, and involved in numerous charitable activities. In that case, writes Ellison, her on-screen persona is that much worse, why the need to dumb herself down for the cameras? Such a role model is disastrous, he warns, given the abysmal test results from California schools.


Glass Teat 10: 5 December 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison gives some insight into the economics of television production. (TODO: elaborate)


Glass Teat 11: 13 December 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison praises recent programming that puts black America front and center, including a performance by Diana Ross with strong African imagery. He also recommends an episode of the anthology series The Name of the Game titled The Black Answer which dealt with black themes.


Glass Teat 12: 28 December 68

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison regales in his love for Saturday morning cartoons. In this column, Ellison refers to Spider-Man’s Peter Parker as Peter Palmer.


Glass Teat 13: 3 January 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison offers some opinions that he thinks won’t be too popular with the Free Press audience.

First, he thought a recent performance by Stevie Wonder on Ed Sullivan did not show the blind singer in the most flattering light.

Second, Ellison pans the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned mission to fly around the moon, as being anticlimactic.

Lastly, Ellison incinerates the ACLU and the Yippies for their recent rebuttal to Chicago Mayor Daley’s account of the riots. Ellison found the Yippie special to be crass, immature, and lowbrow, a complete waste of an opportunity. It confirmed every negative stereotype about the peace protesters, according to Ellison.


Glass Teat 14: 10 January 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison reviews the Rose Bowl parade, and how it realizes everyone’s worst fears about the vanity and excesses of Los Angeles. Ellison writes that he understands why his friends back on the east coast worry about him.


Glass Teat 15: 17 January 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison describes how his enjoyment of a kaiju monster movie on TV was ruined by relentless commercials for the Ralph Williams Ford dealership (these were long-running commercials in Southern California).


The Glass Teat 16: 24 January 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison blasts an episode of The Merv Griffin Show guest-hosted by John Barbour, who was interviewing French alpine skier Jean-Claude Killy. Barbour is excorciated for his rude and ignorant questions, which Killy tried to answer with grace and politness.

This is offered as evidence of a trend of rude talk-show hosts, though he mentions Les Crane as a talk-show host he admires.


Glass Teat 17: 31 January 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison describes how he pitched a story idea for the NBC series The Name of the Game, and got hired to write it.


Glass Teat 18: 14 February 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison recounts an episode of the news magazine (referred to be Ellison as an anthology documentary) First Tuesday which focused on chemical and biological warfare. Notably, the episode covered the Dugway Sheep Incident of 1968, where over six thousand sheep in Utah died after being exposed to chemical weapons released by the military.

Ellison speculated about the mindset of people who would develop such hellish weapons, and blasts the rationale that since the Commies are making them, so should the US.


Glass Teat 19: 21 February 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison gives a positive review of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, praising the cutting nature of its satire. He worries that the show’s fearlessness will cause it to be cancelled, and references the ABC comedy show Turn-On, which was cancelled during its first episode.


Glass Teat 20: 28 February 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison gives a negative review of the ABC variety show What’s It All About World?, panning its uninspired, play-it-safe comedy and bland musical numbers. He writes with particular ire about a child star named Happy Hollywood who sings Paper Moon to America’s astronauts, and a musical number in praise of President Nixon. He sums it up as a satire show guaranteed to offend no-one.


Glass Teat 21: 7 March 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison writes about attending the taping of the second pilot for All in the Family on February 16, 1969. At the time, the show was known as Those Were the Days, and the Bunker family was known as the Justice family. Ellison thought it had the makings of a very funny sitcom, but worried that ABC would consider it too risky. Indeed, ABC passed on the show, and Ellison blasts the ABC executives for their corwardice. (All in the Family was later picked up by CBS and premiered in 1971.)


Glass Teat 22: 14 March 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison describes an episode of the news magazine First Tuesday about the Protestant/Catholic violence in Northern Ireland. He relates it to the bigotry and violence he faced as a Jewish boy growing up in Painesville, Ohio. He recalls a young Christian girl who was set on saving Ellison from his heathen ways, genuinely afraid he was going to hell. Ellison thinks she was the one to be pitied: it took religion to make her believe such wicked things.

Ellison makes clear his position that religion is an evil and debilitating force in the world. He later clarifies that a kind of pantheistic view, that God can be found acts of kindness or in nature, would be a perfectly fine religion, and that the real problem is organized religion.


Glass Teat 23: 21 March 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison writes the essay from Brazil, where he was attending the 2nd International Film Festival of Rio de Janeiro. The film festival was screening an episode of The Outer Limits that Ellison had written. (Ellison would later write The Waves In Rio, the introduction to The Beast That Shouted at the Heart of the World, while attending the festival.)

Ellison also reports that The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was cancelled, after the titular Brothers refused to keep sending out advance tapes to TV stations for local censorship.

Lastly, Ellison updates readers that he pulled his script for and episode The Name of the Game (first mentioned in 31 January 69), since he felt too many other shows had rushed to do a similar concept. He pitches the producers a different story idea centering on pornography, and is given the go-ahead.


Glass Teat 24: 28 March 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison rants about the 10% surtax (a tax on income tax) used to help finance the Vietnam War. This segues into his description of two segments in an episode of 60 Minutes, one about destitute people living on welfare in Baltimore, mostly black people, and the lifestyles of the obscenely wealthy in Palm Beach.


Glass Teat 18: 18 April 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison updates readers on his quest to sell a script for the anthology series The Name of the Game. After ditching his student-protest story, Ellison proposes a story about pornography. Ellison says he took great care with the script, knowing it would have to get approval from conservative actor Robert Stack. The producers are impressed with Ellison’s handling of the material, presenting both sides of a contentious topic. Despite approval from the producer, the script is cancelled after news that US Senator John Pastore is launching a crusade against smut on television.

Ellison concludes by announcing that he has sold a series to NBC titled Man Without Time.


Glass Teat 26: 25 April 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison laments the endless stream of TV shows about doctors, and questions the idea that doctors are necessarily heroes (not dangerous enough). He offers several suggestions for other professions that could be the subject of a TV show.


Glass Teat 27: 2 May 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison complains about the trend of giving the leads in TV shows a younger second lead. He says this trend is due to TV executives hoping the young second lead will boost ratings with the youth demographic, when it almost never does. The roles almost never further the careers of the young actors, either. According to Ellison, the only younger-second-lead to really make it was Bill Cosby from the TV show I Spy.


Glass Teat 28: 9 May 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison reviews the TV debut of former LA police chief Tom Reddin. Reddin was the host of the KTLA Channel 5 news show The Tom Reddin News. Ellison pans the show for Reddin’s stiff screen presence, and its overall jingoistic, law and order vibe.


Glass Teat 29: 9 May 69

Texas: Part I

Essay from The Glass Teat.

First part of a two-part column about Ellison’s visit to Texas A&M. Ellison was scheduled to give two one-hour lectures and speak at an English class or two. Instead, he ended up speaking at over thrirty classes.

Ellison writes that much of the ignorance and censoriousness he saw in the older generation was alive and well in the students at A&M, and that the attitudes he was fighting against would not simply die out with older crowds.


Glass Teat 30: 23 May 69

Texas: Part II

Essay from The Glass Teat.

The second in a two-part column about Ellison’s visit to Texas A&M. Ellison writes about an unpleasant encounter with a white woman at the college who thought that race problems in America would stop if black people knew their place. Ellison concludes from the incident that black Americans must continue pushing forcefully for equality, or people like this student will erase any progress that has been made.

At the end of the column, Ellison writes that there remains large segments of America who are disconnected and/or unaware of what is happening in the country at large.


Glass Teat 31: 16 May 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison declares that he is committing career suicide by writing that many writers in the Writers Guild of America are untalented, and that the guild should have higher standards. He concedes that many of his own scripts are bad, but that he had high ambitions for them, and was not trying to settle for mediocrity. He feels too many writers are content to submit low-effort scripts, thinking the audience doesn&rdsquo;t deserve anything better. Ellison acknowledges that his writing on this subject will destroy any chances he may have had in an upcoming WGA election.


Glass Teat 32: 30 May 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison writes about how he and some other TV writers and actors picketed in solidarity with striking grape pickers in the Coachella Valley. Ellison blasts the media for focusing their attention on him and other Hollywood celebrities for TV interviews about the strike, rather than on the grape pickers and their plight.


Glass Teat 33: 6 June 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

A clean-up column. Ellison first updates readers that his unsuccessful journey to write a script for The Name of the Game is over, he is moving on. Ellison notes that to have spent several months in talks to write a script and end up with nothing tangible, is quite normal for Hollywood and nothing to be too upset about.

Ellison answers fan mail: an atheist who wrote about Ellison’s column on the bigotry caused by religion, the woman revealed some bigoted views of her own. A second reader asks Ellison to review programs on KCET, the PBS channel for Los Angeles. Ellison responds that he loves KCET’s programming, but feels it’s more important to review mass programming that is having an effect on the country at large.

The last piece of fan mail asks Ellison to look into the problem of fluoride in the water supply. Ellison replies that there may be cause for concern, but it’s outside the topic of his column.

Ellison offers a positive review of The Dick Cavett Show. After criticizing The Mod Squad in an early column, Ellison pay compliments to the Season One episodes Keep the Faith, Baby and Peace Now – Arly Blau. He credits the quality of the episodes to the producers allowing the writers room to say what they want to say.

Ellison concludes the column by blasting the results of the week’s mayoral elections.


Glass Teat 34: 13 June 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison writes that the Free Press editor asked him to write about some things he likes for a change. Ellison responds with a long list of things he had praised or recommended in the column.

Ellison concludes the column by noting that the upcoming television season will include thirteen shows where the main character is a widow or widower raising multiple kids. He argues that criticizing trends like this is more important because of the ill effect it has on the country when what’s shown on TV doesn’t reflect the reality of life in America. [W]hen you get a country canceled, you get no reruns, no residuals.


Glass Teat 35: 1 August 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison writes about a recent plane trip where the woman sitting next to him raved about Tom Jones. He recalls when he joined The Rolling Stones on tour, and a show in Sacramento where Mick Jagger disregarded some crowd-control advice and caused a riot. Ellison concludes that many pop singers hold their audience in contempt, a theme Ellison explored in his novel Spider Kiss.

Ellison informs readers that he lost the WGA election, as he predicted in an earlier column.

In the next section, Ellison writes a negative review of… the moon landing. After that, Ellison pans The King Family Show.

Ellison concludes the column with an account of being interviewed by Denver radio host Bill Barker. Ellison was in Colorado as a guest lecturer at CU Boulder, and was one of a few authors interviewed by Barker. Barker blindsided the authors by taking them to task for profane language. Ellison was flustered by the questioning and felt he didn’t do a good job defending his position.


Glass Teat 36: 15 August 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison reviews the Tuesday night programming lineup to talk about how television depictions of women, which are mostly programmed by men, is at odds with the lives of real American women. This is a recurring theme in the book, how television is misused to produce fantasies that reinforce the status quo.


Glass Teat 37: 22 August69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

After dismissing the idea of blue-eyed soul in an earlier column, Ellison acknowledges that there are white people who can sing the blues. He offers praise to Tony Joe White and Elyse Weinberg.

The column also mentions the controversial August 8 issue of the Free Press which published the names and addresses of eighty undercover narcotics agents in Los Angeles.


Glass Teat 38: 29 August 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison goes on a lengthy diatribe about nigger comedians, which he defines as black comedians who shy away from tougher racial material to avoid offending white audiences. (He specifically puts Flip Wilson in this category.) He writes that such comedians are rewarded with television appearances, while funnier black comedians are shunned.

Ellison defends his use of a slur by reminding readers that he took part in a protest against a whites-only beach in Chicago in 1961. At the protest, he was injured by both a black man and a white man.


Glass Teat 39: 19 September 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison describes the political situation in Brazil, where there was an active armed struggled against the country’s US-backed military dictatorship. Ellison notes that television was one of the most potent weapons of surpressing dissent. Rather than being used to educate or inform the public, television was used to placate the public with mindless junk programming.

The column begins with a lengthy excerpt from The Waves In Rio, Ellison’s introduction to The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.


Glass Teat 40: 26 September 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison reviews previously-unaired final episodes of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He thinks they didn’t have much controversial material, which makes the attempt to bury them all the worse. Ellison excorciates the TV networks for their cowardice in canceling the show under political pressure.

In the next section, Ellision gives capsule reviews of several new TV shows and movies.


Glass Teat 41: 3 October 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison commemorates the one-year anniversary of the column, and offers capsule reviews of new TV shows and movies.


Glass Teat 42: 10 October 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison delivers a fierce, scatching review of the limited-series Harold Robbins’s The Survivors, and Harold Robbins’s books in general. He criticizes the trend of TV series about the drama of ultra-wealthy families (something we still see today with shows like Empire and Succession.)

What follows is Ellison’s description of the typical Harold Robbins story:

A world in which black men do not exist, in which women are fit for little better than consumer consumption on the Tiffany/Cartier level—and having illegitimate babies. A world in which the pettiest problems become high drama merely because they occur in a red velvet snake pit.

And another:

The vapid, incestuous, self-concerned fools who people Robbins’s series are the very people against whom every revolution in the world is directed.


Glass Teat 43: 17 October 69

The Common Man: Part I

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison reviews an episode of The David Susskind Show which aired on KCET, the PBS station for Los Angeles. The epside was titled The White Middle Class. It featured interviews with five men, all representatives of the common man. Each expressed the views that:

Each man displayed paranoid tendencies, seeing a Communist conspiracies everywhere.


Glass Teat 44: 25 October 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison continues his review of an episode of The David Susskind Show which interviewed five men who could be described as white middle class. As described in the previous column, each expressed bigoted, hawkish, paranoid views.

Ellison: ‘[The Common Man] is the man who believes only what affects him, or what is most consistent with the status quo that will keep him afloat.

The time for worshipping the Common Man is past. We can no longer tolerate him, or countenance his stupidity…


Glass Teat 45: 31 October 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison gives a negative review of the TV movie The Monk, and recommends the sitcom My World—And Welcome To It, based on the writings of James Thurber.


Glass Teat 46: 7 November 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

At the request of British sf magazine New Worlds, Ellison imagines an edition of The Glass Teat written in the post-apocalyptic year of 1980.


Glass Teat 47: 14 November 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

After recommending it in an early column, Ellison generally pans the ABC drama The New People, developed by Rod Serling.

The premise of The New People is that a group of young college students are traveling on a plane which crash-lands on a remote Pacific island. The only surviving adult on the plane dies after the first episode. It is up to these students, the new people to figure out if they can form a functional society.

Ellison blames the show’s failure on the writing: a show about young people, but not written by young people. This leaves the show feeling out-of-touch.


Glass Teat 48: 28 November 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison declares Art Linkletter the most tragic man in television. Earlier in the month, Linkletter’s daughter Diane jumped from a balcony to her death. Art Linkletter claimed Diane was high on LSD, though later reports have disputed this.

Ellison lays some of the blame for Diane’s death at her father’s feet. He sees Linkletter as representing the generational disconnect in America.


Glass Teat 49: 5 December 69

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison discusses the recent reports confirming the My Lai Massacre, where US soldiers murdered over five hundred unarmed villagers in Vietnam, many of them women and children.


Glass Teat 50: 2 January 70

Poisoned By the Fangs of Spiro Agnew: Part I

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison recounts his trip to Dayton, Ohio, where he was scheduled to speak to various groups of high-school students.


Glass Teat 51: 2 January 70

Poisoned By the Fangs of Spiro: Part II

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison recounts his trip to Dayton, Ohio, where he was scheduled to speak to various groups of high-school students.


Glass Teat 52: 23 January 70

Poisoned By the Fangs of Spiro: Conclusion

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison recounts his trip to Dayton, Ohio, where he was scheduled to speak to various groups of high-school students.


Glass Teat 51: 30 January 70

Addendum to Dayton

Essay from The Glass Teat.

Ellison offers an epilogue to the events of Dayon, Ohio.


The Glass Teat Revisited: A Supplementary Introduction / 1975

Introduction to the second edition (1975) of The Glass Teat, a collection of Ellison’s TV columns for the Los Angeles Free Press newspaper in California.

Ellison explains that The Glass Teat was a success for its publisher, but Ellison’s critiques made him some powerful enemies. California governor Ronald Reagan put Ellison on a list of subversives and radicals, and Vice-President Spiro Agnew put pressure on bookstores and universities to not carry the book. The book remained out of print for several years, and the publisher cancelled plans for a follow-up book.

The second edition was published by Pyramid Books, who made The Glass Teat the first book in their series of new Ellison reprints. Ellison also announces that the sequel, The Other Glass Teat, is scheduled for publication.


Glow Worm

Collected in The Essential Ellison

Seligman is the last person on Earth: most of humanity has left the Solar System, and those who stayed behind destroyed the planet through nuclear war. Seligman was subjected to experiments that left him with the ability to glow in the dark, and as the story progresses, he discovers further abilities. Desperate for human contact, he begins assembling a rocket out of junk parts in an attempt to leave Earth.

The last man on Earth story is not new, but Ellison gives it some weight, and the ending has a nice eerieness to it.

In the story’s introduction from The Essential Ellison, Ellison writes that this was the first short story he sold to a professional publication: Larry Shaw at Infinity Science Fiction purchased it for $40 USD. Ellison wrote the story in the dining room of Lester and Evelyn Del Rey after moving to New York City.

This is one of a very few Harlan Ellison short stories available for free online, as the story is now in the public domain. You may read it for free at Nantucket E-Books.

Glow Worm was first published in the February, 1956 issue of Infinity Science Fiction.


Gnomebody

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

A boy meets a hip-talking gnome in the forest, and agrees to use some magic to help the boy’s althletic inadequacies. The story seems to have been inspired by Ellison’s childhood in Ohio.

Originally published in the October 1956 edition of Amazing Stories.


Go Toward the Light

Collected in Slippage.

The miracle of Hanukkah with a time travel twist.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Hadj

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

Aliens arrive at Earth, leave instructions for a warp drive, and invite humanity to send it best emissary to their homeworld.

This is a gag story that relies on the punchline in its final sentence. Of the gag stories in Ellison Wonderland, this one is the best, the last line is really funny. Ellison was an atheist, and Hadj is a humorous criticism of the Abrahamic idea that humanity occupies some kind of special place in the cosmos.

Originally published in the December 1956 issue of Science Ficiton Adventures.


Hindsight: 480 Seconds

Collected in Approaching Oblivion.

The Earth is on a collision course with a planetary object and is about to be destroyed. Humanity has evacuated to city-sized spaceships on course to travel beyond the Solar System. It is deemed that only a poet can properly document the destruction for future generations. The last man on Earth, Haddon Brooks, is tasked to do this and die.

A sad and haunting piece by Ellison to close out the collection.

Hindsight etc. was originally published in the 1973 anthology Future City.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Hippie-Slayer

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

When a young woman jumps to her death while on acid, her grieving father embarks on a vicious killing spree against the hippies she associated with. A dark story, with an especialy cruel twist at the end.

Originally published in a 1968 issue of Adam Bedside Reader under the pen name of Jay Solo.


Hitler Painted Roses

Collected in Strange Wine.

In the 1930s, housekeeper Margaret Thrushwood is wrongfully accused of killing the family she worked for, and is lynched by a mob. Margaret’s soul goes to Hell.

Years later, Margaret is able to escape Hell through a tiny crack in reality, and reaches Heaven, where the soul of the true killer resides. Her presence in Heaven causes it to begin deteriorating, like a painting melting under heat.

There is a theme of anti-theism in the story, the idea that we should be relieved that these things don’t exist.

In his introduction to the story in Strange Wine, Ellison writes that Hitler Painted Roses was inspired by the case of Lizzie Borden. Borden was accused (and acquitted) of murdering her parents, and in fact could not have committed the crime, but is almost universally believed to have done so.

The story was written over the course of two episodes of the live radio show Hour 25 on KPFK Los Angeles. The host suggested Ellison write a short story on the show. Callers provided Ellison with specfic words to include, to ensure he didn’t write the story beforehand.

Hitler Painted Roses was orignally published in the April 1977 issue of Penthouse.


How You Stupidly Blew Fifteen Million Dollars A Week, Avoided Having An Adenoid-Shaped Swimming Pool In Your Backyard, Missed the Opportunity to Have a Mutually Destructive Love Affair With Clint Eastwood And/Or Raquel Welch, And Otherwise Pissed Me Off

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Harlan Ellison’s regination speech from the Science Ficiton Writers of America, April 30, 1977.

Ellison notes the lack of response to his essay Defeating the Green Slime, where he proposed a better system for awarding the Dramatic (movie) cateogry at the SWFA’s Nebula awards.

Ellison says the winning a Nebula means nothing to the movie studios. If a major studio film wins a Nebula, the studio sends a minor representative to accept it at the awards ceremony, not the director or leading cast member. He blames this on the mismanagement of the SFWA.

He shares an anecdote where several SFWA members were invited to a writers concerence in Florida. The organizer, author Damon Knight, booked the members into a cheap hotel with no air conditioning. The experience was unbearable. Ellison blasts this as the kind of thing a group of amateurs would do back in the 1920s, not the thinking of an organization of literary professionals.

A movie studio sent questionnaires out to SFWA members, asking them to speculate about future social orders. Rather than demand payment for their services, many members wrote back with their ideas for free.

Ellison finally blasts members for their lack of business sense. In the 1970s there was surge in popularity for sci-fi movies. Optioning old science-fiction works was a pathway to financial security for the authors, yet few authors were taking advantage of it. Instead, authors kept selling stories to genre magazines at five cents a word, oblivious to the income they could be making. He cites an example author Walter Tevis, who Ellison feels was unfairly compensated when his novel The Man Who Fell to Earth was adapted into a movie.

Ellison recommends writers hire PR agents, make it easier for studios to contact them personally, and to join the Writers Guild of America. Above all, he recommends SFWA members write for film and television as a way to assure enough financialy security to keep writing books.

Ellison concludes his speech by saying he is fed up with the ineptness of SFWA, that he is too good for it, and he is resigning.


How’s the Night Life on Cissalda?

Collected in Shatterday and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

Enoch Mirren, a temponaut, returns to Earth from Cissalda (kiss-al-duh), another planet in another dimension with a blob-like alien called a Cissaldan attached to him. Soon, more Cissaldans start appearing all over the world…

Ellison has referred to this story as a nasty little nugget that got him a bunch of negative attention.

Originally published in 1977 for the anthology series Chrysalis.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Faye Perozich and painted by Eric White.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Human Operators

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This short story was co-written by A.E. Van Vogt, and is part of the Eartyh-Kyben War Saga.

The story begins with a recommendation that it be read while listening to the album Chonophagie by Jacques Lasry.

The Human Operators is about the lone inhabitant of a spaceship drifting through the cosmos. He is kept alive by the ship’s AI strictly to maintain the ship. Any disobedience on the man’s part is punished with torture.

The ship meets up with another member of its fleet, whose lone inhabitant is a woman; the ship wants the two to reproduce, so their offspring can become the next generation of maintenance.

This is an excellent work of science fiction, an expansion if ideas that were explored earlier in Life Hutch and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.

In the introduction to this story in Partners in Wonder, Ellison writes that it was inspired by an attempt to collaborate with Isaac Asimov that never went anywhere, which led Ellison to consider a collaboration with A.E. Van Vogt. Ellison wrote to Van Vogt, who asked Ellison to think of a title to start off the story. Ellison came up with the title at a 1969 science fiction convention in St. Louis, while waiting in an elevator.

Ellison writes that the story might be the strangest in Partners in Wonder, as well as the best story in the book, for the way it combines the best of Ellison’s and Van Vogt’s writing styles.

The Human Operators was first published in the January, 1971 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It was adapted into an episode of the 1990s version of The Outer Limits.


I Curse the Lesson and Bless the Knowledge

Collected in the 1983 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled, which was also its first publication.

The narrator is superstar writer Thomas Kirlin Kane. After giving a college lecture on writing, Kane asks a student named Katie out for coffee. Becoming more attracted to her, they start a relationship, and he eventually hires her as an assistant to his secretary.

The main focus of the story is the age difference between Thomas and Katie (he’s 41, she’s 19), and the challenges this presents in the relationship. Unlike other romantic stories in Love Ain’t Nothing, the breakup is not as devastating, as Katie leaves to pursue a man named David.

Throughout the story, Thomas breaks the narration to respond to critiques of the story, including the factual accuracy of his retelling.

After the story, there is a typewritten postscript, revealing that the story was being written by Katie, writing from Thomas’s perspective, and the unseen critic was Katie’s husband David.

This is a fun story that play with point-of-view, while bits of truth from Ellison’s life help to misdirect the reader.

Written in Los Angeles in 1975.


I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow.

The world has been destroyed by a supercomputer called AM. AM has kept five humans alive for its amusement, tormenting them with cruel scavenger hunts. The story follows the five humans on a quest for food that takes them across hundreds of miles of wasteland, and through the virtual horrors conjured by AM. The vivid descriptions of the journey, and the shocking ending, make this short story a must-read.

I Have No Mouth is one of Ellison’s most well-known short stories. He helped adapt it into a PC game of the same name, published on Halloween, 1995. Ellison provided the voice of AM for the game as well.

Originally published in the March, 1967 issue of If: Worlds of Science Fiction.


I, Robot (screenplay)

Unproduced screenplay adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s short story collection I, Robot. The screenplay was written between 1977 and 1978.

The I, Robot screenplay was originally published in serialized form in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 1987.

Ellison’s screenplay was influenced by the story structure of Citizen Kane, with multiple smaller stories connected by a larger framing story. Beginning in the year 2076, I, Robot follows Robert Bratenahl, a reporter investigating the life of robotics pioneer Dr. Susan Calvin. Dr. Calvin was known as a misanthrope and a recluse, at the time the story begins, she has not been seen in public for two decades. As Bramenthal tracks down various people who knew Calvin, each shares an important moment in her life that they witnessed.

Within the framing device of the investigation, four of Asimov’s Robot stories are adapted: Robbie, Runaround, Liar!, and Lenny. Passing mention is made of events that happened in the short story Escape.

The screenplay is illustrated by Mike Zug, including character sketches in the margins of the text, and sixteen full-color illustrations (including the cover).

For information on the development of the screenplay and the failed attempts to adapt it, see Ellison’s introduction to the screenplay.


I See a Man Sitting on a Chair, and the Chair is Biting His Leg

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This story was a collaboration between Ellison and Robert Sheckley.

World War III has devastated the world’s ecosystems. To feed an overpopulated planet, companies have turned to a strange, mutated plankton called goo that has taken over Earth’s oceans. The harvesting of goo becomes the highest-paying unskilled job in the world.

A harvester named Joe Pareti unwittingly becomes infected with a rare disease caused by contact with the goo. The disease has caused different symptoms in each of the previous five victims. Pareti’s symptoms start with the loss of all his body hair, but soon inanimate objects start professing their love for him. This is not in his imagination: the goo is infecting inanimate objects and speaking through them.

The final act of the story takes place in East Pyrites, a vast, underground successor to the destroyed Las Vegas, and features macabre fusions of sex, death, and gambling in a truly hellish sin city.

It is possible that the Ashton’s Disease referred to in the story takes its name from author Clark Ashton Smith, who was a major influence on Ellison.

This story was originally published in a January, 1968 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.


If This Be Utopia…

Collected in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

In the future, social status is decided by ownership of rareies, genetically-engineered pets with alien colors and shapes, and no practical purpose. The most ambitious social climbers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on rareies, and replace them every few years.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted and pencilled by Phil Foglio, inked by Matt Howarth, colored by Marcus David, and lettered by Sean Konot.


I’ll Bet You A Death

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

A short story about a street gang called the Strikers. Gangmember Checker is challenged to kill a cop, if he loses, his rival Vode gets Checker’s girlfriend Julie. The bet is, in fact, a trap to rub out Checker and get away with it.

Vivid descriptions in the moment where Checker first encounters the cop.

Originally published in a 1956 issue of Trapped Detective Story Magazine.


I’m Looking for Kadak

Collected in Approaching Oblivion.

This story is about a society of Jewish aliens who are in the midst of a planet-wide evacuation. Ten must remain to perform an end-of-days ritual, but one of them drops dead. Evsise, one of the ten, must find the only other Jew left on the planet: Kadak. In his quest for Kadak, Evsise comes across other religions on the planet and is subsequently annoyed by them.

Partially written in Yiddish, the piece comes off more like a Jewish comedy routine and less like a science fiction story. Ellison lampoons dogmatic clinging to religion while celebrating his heritage. The use of Yiddish language may come off as esoteric to some. I initially found the story hard to read and it took me a few attempts to get it. Some editions were printed with a supplementary glossary titled Ellisonrsquo;s Grammatical Guide and Glossary for the Goyim.

I’m Looking For Kadak was first published in the 1974 anthology Wandering Stars: An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


In Fear Of K

Collected in Strange Wine.

Claudia and Noah are trapped in an underground labyrinth. They must occasionally work together to escape K, a monster that stalks the tunnels. When not being hunted, Claudia and Noah are consumed by a visceral love-hate relationship.

In Fear of K was orignally published in the June 1975 issue of Vertex.


In Lonely Lands

Collected in Ellison Wonderland and Alone Against Tomorrow.

This is a pretty simple vignette about friendship. I was surprised to find this story got me [thumps ribcage over heart] right here. Some will find it too sentimental, but I found it a sincere story about what Ellison says in the introduction is the most fragile human relationship. I can’t think of a better way to conclude Ellison Wonderland.

Originally published in the January 1959 issue of Fantastic Universe.


In the Fourth Year of the War

Collected in Shatterday.

A man decides to murder everyone who’s pissed him off because he’s been having a war with his split personality. Ellison said this is about where not properly dealing with your baggage can lead you. We think it’s about a revenge fantasy!

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Introduction (1965): Spero Meliora: From the Vicinity of Alienation

Introduction to the 1965 edition of Paingod and Other Delusions.

Ellison writes that he had attempted to write an introduction to the book on seven different occasions, but none of them worked. He mentions the murder of Kitty Genovese, which was also mentioned in the introductions to The Deadly Streets and No Doors, No Windows. The 1964 murders of three civil rights activists are brought up.

Spero meliora is Latin for I hope for better things. The introduction was written in Hollywood in 1965.


Introduction: Having an Affair With a Troll

Introduction to Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

The book opens with a quote from the Hemingway short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro, about the skeleton of a leopard found near the summit of the African peak. (Ellison would later name his holding company The Kilimanjaro Corporation). The riddle is: what was the leopard doing there?

Ellison goes on to list his observations on love, with elaborations on all of them:

Ellison concludes this section by returning to the leopard:

[T]he answer to Hemingway’s riddle is that the leopard lost his way. He took the wrong path. And that’s what so many of us do in love. … This is all I know of love: like the leopard we must pick the right path, and we must never confuse what the body needs with what the soul demands [Emphasis ed.]. Beyond these idle thoughts, I know no more than than you.

The introduction concludes with some words on stories omitted from, and added to, the 1983 edition of the book. Ellison writes that he had become self-conscious about publishing stories in collection that were already available in other collections, and was striving to avoid that for future publications.

Written in Los Angeles, California.


Introduction to the Introduction

This is an introduction that Ellison wrote in 1984 for the second publication of Approaching Oblivion.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Jane Doe #112

Collected in Slippage.

This is about a man who has the ability to absorb people’s memories, and has no way to control that power.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Jeffty Is Five

Collected in Shatterday.

The narrator, a boy who grows into a man, has a friend named Jeffty. Years and decades pass but Jeffty never grows past the age of five even as the world around him changes.

One of Ellison’s most famous stories, it has been reprinted many times. Ellison stated that Jeffty was inspired by Andrew Koenig, the late son of Star Trek actor Walter Koenig.

Originally published in a 1977 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (the Harlan Ellison issue). It was reprinted in the 1985 anthology The Dark Void, edited by Isaac Asimov.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Johnny Slice’s Stoolie

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

A JD named Fairchild who is wrongfully accused of ratting on his gang. He is found guilty in a kangaroo court and flees, only to be told it was his friend who accused him to get back in the gang’s good graces.

Originally published under the title I Never Squealed! in a 1956 issue of Guilty Detective Story Magazine.


Joy Ride

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

Told from the perspective of man trying to process a traumatic event. The narrator was driving with his friend when he was nearly run off the road by a juvenile delinquent in a hot rod. The man’s friend flies into an uncharacteristic rage and chases the JD down with tragic consequences.

Very compact short story filled with intensity and nice character notes.

Joy Ride was not previously published in a periodical, The Deadly Streets was its first publication.


Keyboard

Collected in Slippage.

Chris Hudak’s work is centered around his computer. This becomes a problem as his computer gradually begins to suck the life out of him. Another allegory from Ellison about the dangers of being mesmerized by technology.

Originally published in 1997.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Kid Killer

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

Anton Coskanof has recently moved with his parents to New York City, where he’s stalked and beaten by a street gang. Cornered, he pulls a stolen gun on the gang and shoots their leader, Snake. While hiding from the gang and police, the intoxicating power of the gun pushes him to a ridiculous plan to get over on the gang for good.

Originally published in a 1957 issue of Guilty Detective Story Magazine.


Killing Bernstein

Collected in Strange Wine.

The story is told in the first-person. The narrator is director of marketing at a toy company, and is having a sexual relationship with Dr. Netta Bernstein, head of the psychology department that oversees kids playtesting the toys. After a night of passionate lovemaking, Bernstein not only seems not to know the narrator, but ruthlessly blasts his toy ideas in a meeting. Enraged by this apparent sabotage, the narrator murders Bernstein, only to see her alive at work the next morning.

A simple story with a neat twist ending.

In his introduction to the story in Strange Wine, Ellison notes that all the toys described were based on actual proposals from a major toy company.

Killing Bernstein was orignally published in the June 1976 issue of Mystery Monthly.


Kiss of Fire

Collected in Approaching Oblivion.

This is story takes place tens of thousands of years in the future in a unified alien society where people are bored by just about everything except for death and destruction. A being named Redditch curates a mega ship that contains the memories of destroyed planets.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Knox

Collected in Approaching Oblivion and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

Adapted for Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, issue #1.

Assembly line worker Charlie Knox, an otherwise unremarkable and ho-hum WASP, yearns for a sense of belonging. He is seduced to join The Patriotism Party. He is given a pamphlet of instructions to follow: a large list of slurs to rhythmically recite, shooting exercises to perfect and crimes to commit. As he gets ahead in the party through acts of violence … this takes a toll on Knox’s family.

Inspired by how ordinary citizens got wrapped up into the Third Reich, this is another one of Ellison’s stories that he held in high regard. A very scary, occasionally darkly humorous and prophetic one from Ellison, Knox is sometimes written in an unusual, tone poem-like cadence. The use of racial slurs in this story is shocking and certainly not for the blue-nosed as Ellison says.

When Ellison served in the Army, he was stationed at Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

Kiss of Fire was first published in the Spring 1972 issue of Halcyon.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Diana Schutz, and painted and lettered by Teddy Kristiansen.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Kong Papers

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This was a small series of bawdy King Kong comics by William Rotsler, with captions written by Ellison. Rotlser and Ellison created the comics for fun at a St. Louis science fiction convention in 1969. The cartoons were then privately published in a folio of one hundred copies.

In his introduction in Partners in Wonder, Ellison writes that Rotsler hates them (the comics).


Leiber: A Few Too Few Words

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Having been asked to write some words of praise for Fritz Leiber, a pioneer of the sword-and-sorcery genre, Ellison writes that this will be his last time doing so. He writes that Fritz Leiber is …a major entry in every important study of literary forces in the Twentieth Century. Leiber, he writes, was the equal of Poe, Kafka, Borges, and Shirley Jackson, and better than Lovecraft, A. Merritt, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Ellison writes that Leiber is too good for his fans: he deserves the Nobel Prize for Literature, not small-time praises at science-fiction conventions. That Leiber needs writers like Ellison to remind people of his greatness is, to Ellison, a tragedy.

Originally published in the program book for the 1979 World Science Fiction Convention.


Life Hutch

Life hutches are small life-support stations spread throughout the solar system for survivors of spaceship accidents. After escaping a massive space battle, an astronaut takes refuge in a life hutch, only to find the station’s robot has gone screwy and will try to kill anything that moves. Collected in From the Land of Fear and Alone Against Tomorrow.

This is an exciting short story, good old-fashioned hard science ficiton that focuses on high-pressure problem-solving.

Life Hutch is part of the Earth-Kyba War saga, which also includes the novella Run For The Stars. It was originally published in the April 1956 issue of If magazine.


The Lingering Scent of Woodsmoke

Collected in Slippage.

In this very short story, the past of a Nazi war criminal catches up with him.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Lonelyache

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow, I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream, and the 1968 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

After losing his marriage, a man tries losing himself in a string of liaisons, and ends up losing his sanity. Ellison makes an odd aside towards the end of the story.

Lonelyache was originally published in the July, 1964 issue of Knight Magazine.


Lonely Women Are the Vessels of Time

Collected in Strange Wine.

A man named Mitch treats women cruelly after the death of Anne, his most recent partner. Mitch later hooks up with a woman who is not quite what she seems, and gives Mitch more than he bargained for.

Lonely Women Are the Vessels of Time was orignally published in the program book for MidAmeriCon in 1976.


Look Me In The Eye, Boy!

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

After a deadly brawl, a young delinquent named Tommy Kilpatrick is arrested and brought in for a lineup. Tommy has an ace up his sleeve: his father is the precinct Captain. When he’s brought into his father’s office, Tommy overplays his hand and his father decides to not let him off the hook this time.

Not much to be said about this one.

Originally published with the pen name Ellis Hart in a 1957 issue of Guilty Detective Story Magazine.


Made In Heaven

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

A girl named Chickie is dating a gangmember namec Torcy. One night she is nearly raped by the gang’s leader, Twist, but she fight him off and beats him in a vicious rage. Later, the gang is involved in the botched robbery of a bar, and Chickie stabs the bar owner Fat Benny to death as he beats up Twist. Twist attempts to blackmail Chickie, saying he’ll tell the police she killed Fat Benny. The story ends with Chickie remembering she’s still holding the switchblade knife.

This story seems incomplete, as if they ran out of page space before it could be finished.

Originally published as The Big Rumble in a 1956 issue of Trapped Detective Story Magazine, under the pen name Ellis Hart.


The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore

Collected in Slippage.

This story is formatted as if it were the daily planner of an impish time-traveling being called Levendis. Every day in an unusually long month of October, Levendis travels through time doing good and bad throughout human history. This is one of Ellison’s favorite stories. He stated his intention for the story was:

Originally published in 1992.

Writeup provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Man Who Was Heavily Into Revenge

Collected in Shatterday.

Fred Tolliver has been grossly overcharged for crummy bathroom repairs by a scumbag contractor named William Weisel. Tolliver wishes for Weisel to have his comeuppance and the Universe grants his wish.

Ellison stated this story is about the ultimate futility of revenge. Uh huh…

Originally published in 1978 for Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Man On the Mushroom

Introduction to Ellison Wonderland.


The Man With the Golden Tongue

Collected in the 1975 second edition of The Deadly Streets.

A nervous, shy man is questioned by a policeman about whether he’ll come out of hiding to testify about a mob killing he witnessed.

Really good, minimal suspense story that relies on human nature.

Originally published in the June 1961 issue of the British edition of The Saint Mystery Magazine.


The Man On the Juice Wagon

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

Harry’s job involves driving a truck full of explosives, what truckers might call a suicide jockey. Stopped at a carnival, he saves a young girl being whipped backstage by her cruel father, leading to a wild chase full of explosions, sex, and helicopters.

In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison writes that the original ending to the story was too misogynistic, and he re-wrote it for the No Doors collection. Ellison also writes that the story is based in part on his personal experiences.

The Man On the Juice Wagon was originally published with the pen name Cordwainer Bird in a 1963 issue of Adam Bedside Reader.


Me ’n’ Isaac At the Movies:
A Brief Memoir of Citizen Calvin

Ellison’s introduction to the Edgeworks edition of I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay.

Ellison describes the history of his unproduced I, Robot screenplay. He wrote the screenplay in 1977 and 1978, receiving praise from Asimov himself.

A major hurdle to the script’s production was Ellison’s acrimony with Bob Shaprio, then the president of Warner Brothers. During a meeting to discuss the script, Ellison became convinced that Shapiro hadn’t read it. An enraged Ellison denounced Shaprio, to his face, as having the intellectual capacity of an artichoke. Despite the high praise the script received, Shapiro refused to work with Ellison. Director Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) and producer Gary Kurtz (Star Wars, The Dark Crystal) each expressed interest in filming Ellison’s screenplay, but it languished in development hell.

By the time the script was published in the Edgeworks book edition, Isaac Asimov had passed away, and Ellison writes about his regret that he and his friend will never share the experience of seeing the movie on the big screen.

Ellison ends the introduction with a personal appeal to readers, asking them to write to Lucy Fisher, then a vice-president at Warner Brothers, in support of finally producing the movie.


Mealtime

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

Mealtime is about three astronauts who travel to distant star systems and catalog planets. One of the astronauts has a colonialist attitude and wants to civilize any alients they meet, the second is a bigot who wants to kill any aliens they meet, and the captain tries to keep them from coming to blows. They come across a truly alien planet which, by the end, defies all of their prejudices.

This is a gag story that relies on a punchline at the very end, so fortunately it’s very short.

Originally published in the September 1958 issue of Space Travel magazine.


Memo ’69

Introduction to the second edition of Memos From Purgatory, published in 1969. This introduction was written in Los Angeles in 1969. Ellison expresses optimism that gang violence has improved, with gangs transitioning to militant civil-rights groups. Ellison would later disown his optimism in the introduction to the 1975 reprinting of the book.


Memo ’75

Introduction to the third edition of Memos From Purgatory, published in 1975, and written in New York City on December 11, 1974. Ellison disowns his views from the introduction to the second edition, saying that gang violence has only gotten worse.


Memos From Purgatory

For the entry about the book, click here.

Memoir, first published in 1961.

The first part, The Barons, covers a ten-week period in 1954 when Ellison went undercover to research street gangs in New York City. Under the name of Cheech Beldone, Ellison joined a gang called The Barons in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. This part of the memoir included recollections of his inititation into the gang, and a violent rumble the Barons had with a Puerto Rican gang known as the Flyers. While serving in the Army in 1957, Ellison wrote the crime novel Web of the City, based on his experiences with the gang. The stories in his crime-fiction collection The Deadly Streets were also based on things he saw in the gang.

The second part of the book, The Tombs, takes place in 1960, when Ellison was jailed for twenty-four hours. It is based on his article Buried in the Tombs, published in The Village Voice in 1960. Ellison had kept some weapons from his time in the Barons, and would share them during public lectures about street gangs. A disgruntled acquaintance tipped off the cops about Ellison’s collection, and arrested him for illegal possession of a concealed firearm. Ellison spent twenty-four hours in police custody, including time in Manhattan’s detention facility known as The Tombs.

While in police custody, Ellison writes that he met the former leader of the Baron gang, who was facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon. In his introduciton to the 1969 edition of the book, Ellison writes that this was a fabrication meant to tie the two parts of the book together. While he did meet a man in The Tombs, it was a stranger.

The book’s first edition is dedicated to jazz critic Ted White, a friend of Ellison who encouraged him to write about his experience in The Tombs.

The second edition of the book was dedicated to Ed Sherman, author of the Out of My Head column for DownBeat magazine and known by the pseudonym George Crater. Ellison credits George Crater with inventing the Common Man wind-up doll idea that Ellison uses in the conclusion to the book. The third edition, published after Ed Sherman’s passing, is dedicated to both him and his widow Madeline.

Memos From Purgatory was adapted into an episode of the tenth season of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1964 (the book incorrectly says 1963), starring James Caan in the Ellison role. The gang leader was played by Walter Koenig, who would later collaborate with Harlan Ellison on the TV show Babylon 5, the two even shared a scene together in the fourth season. On the back of the third edition, and in the introductions to the book, the adaptation of Memos is described as the first of [Hitchcock’s] hour-long TV dramas. This does not seem to be accurate, the show changed to an hour-long format in the eighth season (originally titled Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Ellison writes that the TV rights were purchased in 1962, so it may have been one of the first stories purchased for the show when it switched to an hour-long format.


Mephisto in Onyx

Originally published in a 1993 issue of Omni magazine. Reprinted as a hardback novella. Re-collected in Slippage.

Rudy Pairis, a black man with telepathy, uses his psychic powers to go into the mind of a white supremacist. At ninety- something pages, Mephisto in Onyx is one of Ellison’s longer works.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Midnight in the Sunken Cathedral

Collected in Slippage and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

Dennis Lanfear, a deep-sea diver, meets the Atlanteans, which leads to revelations about his long-lost father.

Originally published in 1995.

When it was published in Dream Corridor, this short story featured paintings by Stephen Hickman and Michael Whelan.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Mom

Collected in Strange Wine.

A young Jewish man is haunted by the ghost of his recently-deceased mother, who keeps scaring away the man’s romantic partners that she disapproves of.

Ellison provides a glossary of Yiddish phrases used in the story, as he did with the story Looking for Kadak.

In his introduction to the story in Strange Wine, Ellison denies that his mother was the inspiration for the story. Instead, he writes that the story came about during a dinner with friends at the Golden China restaurant in Los Angeles in 1975. A friend claimed that there was nothing original left to write about ghost stories. Ellison proposed the premise for Mom, and wrote the first two pages right then and there on typewriter a friend had stashed in their car. Ellison completed the story in the front window of the Los Angeles book store A Change of Hobbit. His own mother died the following year.

Mom was orignally published in the August 1976 issue of Silver Foxes magazine.


Mona at Her Windows

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

Twenty-three-year-old Mona becomes a recluse, living vicariously through the women she watches from her apartment window. While other people have one single life, she enjoys thousands of lives, until she witnesses a horrific crime.

Some parralels to The Whimper of Whipped Dogs, with violent crime seen from a distance.

Written in New York City in 1962, and originally published in an issue of Rogue Magazine that same year.


Mortal Dreads

Introduction to Shatterday. Ellison explains that the connecting theme of the stories in the book is a fear of human frailty.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


The Museum on Cyclops Avenue

Collected in Slippage and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

A professor goes to a museum of mythological creatures.

When it was printed in Dream Corridor, this short story was illustrated with a painting by Ron Brown.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


My Brother Paulie

Collected in From the Land of Fear. While on the first manned flight around the moon, the lone astronaut discovers his sadistic brother has stowed away on board.

My Brother Paulie was originally published in the December 1958 issue of Satellite Science Fiction


Nedra at f:5.6

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

A veteran photographer in New York City becomes capitvated by a woman named Nedra. He takes her to his apartment for a photo session, but when he develops the photos in his darkroom, he notices something strange….

The f:5.6 in the title refers to a camera aperture.

In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison writes that the story bears a strong resemblance to the Fritz Leiber short story The Girl With the Hungry Eyes.

Nedra was originally published under the title The Hungry One in a 1956 issue of The Gent magazine. The story was completely revised, and published under its current name in a 1976 issue of Knight magazine (after being published in No Doors, making it both the oldest and youngest short story in the book.


Neither Your Jenny Nor Mine

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled. The story is tied to the book’s theme as follows: Love is: the young couple who took her to Tijuana for the abortion … and the inevitable tragedy.

When a young woman is impregnated by a cad, her friend arranges to take her down to Tijuana for an abortion. This is a brutal story, with vivid descriptions of the Tijuana underworld.

Originally published in a 1964 issue of Knight Magazine, and written in Tijuana and New York City in 1963.


New Introduction (1975): Your Basic Crown of Thorns

Introduction to the 1975 edition of Paingod and Other Delusions.

Ellison writes that the theme of the book is human pain, and its varieties. He relates two anecdotes about pain. The first story is in a letter he received from a nurse, who used Ellison’s story Lonelyache to get a patient through a suicide crisis. The second story is about Ellison’s experience in a driving class, watching a highway horror documentary and hearing a grieving mother’s cries of anguish.

This introduction was written on November 9, 1974.


The New York Review of Bird

Collected in Strange Wine.

Angry, no-bull author Cordwainer Bird wreaks his vengeance on the pretentious New York literary establishment.

In the introduction to this story from Strange Wine, Ellison explains the history of his most well-known pen name, Cordwainer Bird, used when he did not want to be credited or associated with a project. The name is both a tribute to author Cordwainer Smith (also a pen name), and a reference to flipping the bird.

The New York Review of Bird was orignally published, in a heavily-edited form, in the 1975 anthology Weird Heroes, Vol. 2. The printing in Strange Wine was the original, intended form.


The Night of Delicate Terrors

Collected in Gentleman Junkie and the 1968 edition of Love Aint’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.


Night Vigil

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow.

A man named Ferreno is conscripted into a manning an outpost on a remote asteroid, to keep watch in case aliens from a nearby galaxy try to invade. Ferreno ends up staying alone at the outpost for over twenty-four years.

In a rather short story, Ellison conveys the horrors of isolation over such a long period, and the fluctuations in Ferreno’s mental state.

Originally published in the May, 1957 issue of Amazing Stories, under the title Yellow Streak Hero.


Nothing For My Noon Meal

Collected in Ellison Wonderland and Alone Against Tomorrow.

A nice bit of body horror. A widowed astronaut crash-lands on a planet so desolate he names it Hell. His attempts to investigate the flora of the planet, and ultimately to survive, take a decidedly dark turn.

This story is recommended for its descriptions of alien plant life and themes of loneliness. A good read.

Originally published in the May 1958 issue of Nebula Science Fiction.


On the Slab

Collected in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

A lightning strike uncovers the body of a giant cyclops buried in a Rhode Island orchard. A rock-concert promoter purchases the giant’s body and displays it at the Providence Civic Center, where it draws huge crowds. The promoter becomes obsessed with the giant, even taking to sleeping in a bed next to its slab.

In his introduction to the story for its Dream Corridor adaptation, Ellison describes it as his tribute to HP Lovecraft.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Faye Perozich, illustrated by Gary Gianni, colored by James Sinclair, and lettered by Sean Konot.


One Life Furnished in Early Poverty

Collected in Approaching Oblivion.

Forty-something Gus Rosenthal finds himself back in the time and place of his youth, Ohio where he befriends a younger Gus Rosenthal.

This is very similar to an episode of the original Twilight Zone called Walking Distance. A very personal story to Ellison and one of his favorites, Rosenthal acts as a stand-in for the curmudgeonly author. The piece draws heavily from his life. It was adapted for the 1980’s version of The Twilight Zone to critical acclaim. Ellison was reportedly satisfied with the adaptation.

One Life etc. was written in 1969, and first published in the 1970 anthology Orbit 8.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Opium

Collected in Shatterday.

A very short piece based on the idea that people are increasingly interested in escaping Reality rather than trying to better the world around them… so Reality must fight back!

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Opposites Attract

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

In this suspense story, a man makes and plants pipe bombs as a hobby. He is frustrated that the newspapers make him out to be a madman. One day one of his bombs falls onto the sidewalk, blowing his cover to a passerby. This is a dark and rather funny story with a wry twist ending.

Opposites Attract was originally published under the title Mad Bomber in a 1956 issue of Caper magazine.


Ormond Always Pays His Bills

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

Ormond has a mess on his hands when he impulsively kills his secretary after she uncovers his corrupt construction dealings. A meat-and-potatoes crime story with a nice poetic twist at the end.

Ormond was originally published in a 1957 issue of Pursued magazine.


The Other Eye of Polyphemus

Collected in Shatterday.

A man who is doomed to service the needs of other people is visited by ghosts who give him the service he needs.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


O Ye of Little Faith

Originally published in Ellison’s collection Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled from 1968, and also collected in Alone Against Tomorrow and Deathbird Stories.

On a trip down to Tijuana to get his girlfriend an abortion, a man named Niven finds the edges of reality crumbling away. This is a story about what it means to believe in something, be it a higher power, a principle, or even another human, and what happens when no belief is left. The descriptions of Tijuana are rich and nightmarish.


Paingod

Collected in Paingod and Other Delusions and Deathbird Stories.

The story is about an alien being called Trente, who is the latest appointed to the role of Paingod, tasked with spreading pain and misery through the universe. After eons of performing its job without much thought, it begins to wonder why it spreads pain. To answer this question, Paingod takes over the body of a recently-deceased man on Earth, and begins questioning a man named Colin Marshak. Colin is a talented sculptor, but his hopes and dreams have been crippled by arthritis.

The Paingod’s time on Earth leads him to a surprising conclusion.

Originally published in abridged form in the June 1964 issue of Fantastic.


The Pale Silver Dollar
of the Moon
Pays Its Way
and Makes Changes

Collected in Slippage.

This is a duology of interlinked prose that initially seems like autobiographical essays but gradually devolve into fiction. Ellison described them as “a history that is both personal and fiction.”

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


A Path Through the Darkness

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

In this nonfiction piece, Ellison describes his life after moving to New York City in the 1950s. After landing a job at a Times Square bookstore, he celebrated by inviting everyone he remotely knew for a party in his cramped apartment. A woman named Stephanie Cook showed up uninvited, and Ellison fell in love with her instantly.

Ellison explains how their relationship continued, even after red flags started mounting. He stayed in the relationship because it is far better to be lonely with someone that to be lonely alone. A traumatic incident finally pushed Ellison to leave.

This piece includes a fair bit of homophobia, particularly the line … I was very nearly pathological in my abhorrence for those of the gay set …. This can also be seen in some comments made in The Tombs section of Memos From Purgatory. Ellison’s attitudes did improve later.

Written in New York City and Chicago in 1960, and originally published in a 1962 issue of Fling Magazine.


Paulie Charmed the Sleeping Woman

Collected in Approaching Oblivion.

Told in the second person, this is a very short and simple story written in a jazz-like verse about a jazz man named Paulie playing a tribute for an old flame after he’s banned from her funeral. It contains no real speculative fiction elements to speak of.

Ellison described his motivation behind writing this one as for the love of Jazz and noted this one is all about the experience.

Paulie Charmed etc. was first published in the August 1962 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Pennies, Off a Dead Man’s Eyes

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow.

The title refers to the practice of placing coins on the eyes of corpses at funerals, so they can pay to be ferried to the afterlife. The main character believes stealing those coins can cause the desceased to be sent straight to Hell.

In the story, an alien who crashed on earth was raised by a black pastor in the South. He returns home many years later for the pastor’s funeral, and spies a woman stealing the coins off of his eyes. He follows the woman to find out why she did this.

This story was first published in the November, 1969 issue of Galaxy magazine.


Phoenix

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

A long and surreal journey through an alien desert, with a twist at the end.

Originally published under the title Phoenix Land in the issue of Worlds of If magazine. Ellison notes at the end of the story that it was written at Clarion State college in Pennsylvania in .


The Pitll Pawob Division

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

This is an extremely short, humorous story about an alien whose job requires him to interact with humans who are never happy to see him.

Originally published under the title The Pawob Division in the issue of Worlds of If magazine. It was written at Clarion State College in Pennsylvania in .


The Place with No Name

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World and Deathbird Stories.

After killing one of his victims, a mugger named Norman hides in a strange shop, where he is offered escape. His escape takes him to a lush fantasy world, where the myth of Prometheus lives on.

This is a superb short story, with the recurring Ellison theme of the mundane and the mythical never being too far apart.

Originally published in the issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It was written in Cupertino, California and Los Angeles, California in and , respectively.


The Power of the Nail

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This story was co-written by Samuel R. Delany.

A married couple are stationed on a distant planet inhabited by strange creatures. The couple start to get on each other’s nerves, and things go awry.

In his introduction to the story in Partners in Wonder, Ellison writes that he wrote the first draft with Delany at a house party to impress the other guests. Neither Ellison nor Delany felt the story worked.

The Power of the Nail was first published in the November, 1968 issue of Amazing Stories magazine.


A Prayer For No One’s Enemy

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

Two teenagers, Arch and Frank, are waiting in line for a movie when the crowd is attacked by neo-Nazis. Following the riot, an old woman in the crowd, Lillian Goldbosch, asks Frank and Arch to find and bring her a teen she saw wearing a Nazi uniform. Lillian is a Holocaust survivor, and she must know what motivated the teen to embrace evil. Frank and Arch eventually track down the young brownshirt, leading to a surprising and tragic conclusion.

Parts of the story seem to be influenced by the antisemitism Ellison experienced growing up in Ohio.

Written in Hollywood in 1965, and originally published in a March 1966 issue of Cad Magazine. Given the year this story was written, it is possible that it was inspired by the story of Dan Burros, which was later adapted into the 2001 movie The Believer starring Ryan Gosling.


Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes

Collected in Deathbird Stories, I Have Not Mouth & I Must Scream, and the 1968 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.


Pride In the Profession

Collected in No Doors, No Windows and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

Matthew Carty witnesses a lynching as a child, planting the seeds of his dream of becoming a hangman. His macabre goals make him a social pariah, but he sees being a hangman as an honorable profession, steeped in craftsmanship and history.

This suspense story was first published in a 1966 issue of Adam magazine.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Nancy A. Collins, painted by Heinrich Kipper, and lettered by Sean Konot.


Promises of Laughter

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

A young couple enjoy a relationship based on their mutual passions for professional writing and enthusiastic sex. When the man brings her a writing opportunity, she refuses, not wanting to be beholden to someone else for her career success, leading to an argument that gets a little too real.

In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison writes that the events of the story actually happened to him. The woman in the story was a real, well-known writer, though her name was changed. After the fight, described in the ending of the story, Ellison drove home, typed up what had been said, drove back to the writer’s home, and handed her the story, giving him the last word. The story was later published in the same publication the woman had been offered to write for. Ellison writes that he later received a story from the writer with her version of events, which Ellison concedes was the superior story. He concludes by saying that he and the woman are still good friends, and that he has learned a lot from her about being a non-macho male.

Promises of Laughter was originally published in a 1969 issue of Adam magazine. The story was re-written a little before being collected in No Doors, No Windows.


A Toy For Juliette/The Prowler In the City At the Edge of the World

Collected in Dangerous Visions and Partners in Wonder.

These two stories were a collaboration with Robert Bloch, inspired by Bloch’s short story Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper. Ellison suggested the idea of Jack the Ripper continuing his murder spree in the future, so Bloch wrote A Toy for Juliette.

A Toy for Juliette is set in a distant future where mankind has been reduced to a few thousand people living in a sealed, antiseptic city. Juliette, named for the Marquis de Sade character, is a sadist who enjoys torturing and murdering people. Juliette’s victims are supplied by her equally murderous grandfather, who travels through time to acquire them. Juliette is killed when her grandfather brings her one last toy: Jack the Ripper.

The Prowler is written by Ellison, and serves as a direct sequel to Juliette. Jack the Ripper explores his new home, an ultra-clean city full of technological marvels. The citizens of this future city are all as amoral and sadistic as the grandfather from Bloch’s story. Jack goes on a murder spree, guided by his twisted visions of social reform, but soon realizes that he has been transported to the future solely for the amusement of his captors.

The story shares certain motifs and themes with I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.

In an afterword to the story in Partners in Wonder, Ellison writes that The Prowler took fifteen months to write, and he devoted a lot of time to researching Jack the Ripper.

Robert Bloch’s introduction to The Prowler in Partners in Wonder is the source of his quote that Ellison is the only living organism I know whose natural habitat is hot water.

Both A Toy for Juliette and The Prowler In the City At the Edge Of the World were originally published in Ellison’s anthology Dangerous Visions.


Pulling Hard Time

Collected in Slippage and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

A man is unfairly punished for a crime he didn’t commit and is subject to virtual reality torture. A statement from Ellison about the injustice of wrongful conviction.

Pulling Hard Time was first published in the October/November 1995 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.

When it was published in Dream Corridor, this short story was illustrated with a painting by Sam Raffa.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Punky & The Yale Men

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

Superstar writer Andy Sorokin made a name for himself by going undercover with a street gang in the 1950s, turning the experience into the novel Children of the Gutters. Now, he has been hired by Marquis Magazine to go back to Brooklyn twenty years later and write about how things have changed. Andy is terrified that those who knew him years ago will call him a fraud, but takes the job to prove something to himself.

This story’s background was inspired by Ellison’s own experience of going undercover with a street gang, the resulting novel was Rumble, or Web of the City.

Written in New York City and Hollywood in 1965, and originally published in a 1966 issue of Knight Magazine.


Quicktime

Collected in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

A nobleman barely escapes a revolution that has killed most of his fellow nobleman. He coerces a scientist indebted to him into sending him back in time where he can safely ride out the revolution until it is safe to return.

A short and sweet story with a nice twist at the end.

The comic-book adaptation in Dream Corridor was written by Len Wein of X-Men fame. Penciling was by Pat Broderick, inking was by Ralph Cabrera, coloring was by Matt Hollingsworth, and lettering was by Sean Konot


Rain, Rain, Go Away

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

This is a gag story, though the gag is gradually revealed, rather than being a quick punchline at the end.

The weather researcher at a farming periodical contemplates the sad state of his life during a torrential storm.

This story explores the interesting idea of a person’s thoughts having an effect the world around them. The descriptions of the rainstorm are very good.

Originally published in the December 1956 issue of Science Fantasy.


Rat Hater

Collected in the 1975 second edition of The Deadly Streets and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

A short, sweet revenge story about a man named Lew Greenfield whose sister was murdered by the mob to keep her from testifying about the mob. Years later, Lew has become a powerful gang leader in his own right. Lew has the aging mob boss who killed Lew’s sister brought to a filthy warehouse, and plans to have the mobster eaten alive by rats.

Originally published in a 1956 issue of Manhunt magazine.

The comic-book adaptation in Dream Corridor was by Faye Perozich, with illustration by Michael T. Gilbert, coloring by Marcus David, and lettering by Sean Konot.


Reaping the Whirlwind

Introduction to Approaching Oblivion.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow and Paingod and Other Delusions.

In the future, society has become so obsessed with efficiency that people who waste time have time deducted from their lives. People’s time is regulated by a man called (in private) The Ticktockman.

The Ticktockman is frustrated by a mysterious man dressed as a harlequin, who deliberately wastes time with practical jokes, such as dropping barrels of jelly-beans on the floor of a factory.

The introduction to the story in Paingod and Other Delusions offers some personal insight from Ellison: he describes himself as being chronically late to events.

Writer Alan Moore has cited Repent, Harlequin as an influence on his graphic novel V for Vendetta.

This story was originally published in the December, 1965 issue of Galaxy Magazine. Repent, Harlequin is known for breaking a number of literary conventions: the story features a long run-on sentence, direct appeals to the reader to ignore plot holes, and references to other books as shorthand.

Harlan Ellison sued the producers of the science-ficiton film In Time, claiming they stole the conceit of time as a commodity from his story. The case was settled out of court.

Repent, Harlequin! was originally published in the December, 1965 issue of Galaxy magazine.


The Resurgence of Miss Ankle-Strap Wedgie

Collected and originally published in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

A novella set in 1960s Hollywood. The story is narrated by publicist Fred Handy, who is tasked with promoting a new movie starring Robert Mitchum. After a day of location shooting, the crew stop at a diner out in the California desert. Handy finds Valerie Lone, a famous movie star from Hollywood’s Golen Age, working as a waitress in the diner. Handy convinces her to come out of retirement for a supporting role in the new movie, hoping the publicity and her star power will drive ticket sales.

This is the longest story in Love Ain’t Nothing. In its favor, Ellison brings to life the energy of a big-budget film production, and the complicated politics of Hollywood. The prologue describes a city so transitory that it thinks nothing of tearing down its own landmarks, and that is is a good summary of the story’s theme. Although this is a showbiz tragedy, Ellison throws in some surprises: Valerie Lone is both more and less than she seems, and these revelations about her character are the best parts of the story.

Against the story, the ending is an anticlimax, especially when considering the prologue. A character is set up as a major player in the story but is abruptly dropped. A good journey, but a middling destination.

Written in Hollywood and Montclair, New Jersey in 1967.


Revealed At Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don’t Look So Terrific Yourself.

Introduction to Strange Wine, also collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

In this introduction, Ellison recants his central thesis from The Glass Teat that television, while misused, could be a force for good. Now, almost a decade later, Ellison insists that the influence of television has been entirely bad. He specifically rejects his earlier hope that television could hold elected officials accountable.

Ellison begins his introduction by discussing Christine Chubbuck, a local news anchor who killed herself on live television. In Ellison’s view, Chubbuck understood TV as a medium: the suicide would only feel real to viewers if it happened on their TV screens. This is one of the biggest threats for Ellison, that it feels more real than real life.

For Ellison, books and radio theatre require a degree of imagination from the audience, while TV encourages passivity.

In the concluding section, Ellison writes that the dinosaurs went extinct because they lacked imagination, the strange wineand you don’t look so terrific yourself.


Riding The Dark Train Out

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

A profile of a deadly hobo riding on a train. Two lovers hop into his boxcar, and his devises a plan to kill the man, rob him, and have his way with the woman.

Written in Elizabethtown, Kentucky in 1959, and originally published in Rogue magazine in 1961.


Robert Silverberg

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Originally published in The Best of Omni No. 5 1983, which included several short stories from Robert Bob Silverberg.

Another appreciation piece for Silverberg, following 1977’s Voe Doe Dee Oh Doe. This essay is much shorter than its predecessor, and was published after Silverberg ended his first retirement.

Ellison begins by writing that Silverberg, more than any other author, reflects the conscience of our times. He goes on to write that this role became too much for Silverberg during the scandals and crises of the 1970s, and this is why he retired.

Silverberg returned with books in the fantasy genre, which seems to have disappointed Ellison: the empty dreams of elfin creatures and unicorns held sophomoric sway over Silverberg’s former constituency.


Rodney Parish for Hire

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This story was co-written by Joe L. Hensley, to whom Ellison dedicated his book No Doors, No Windows.

After witnessing a fatal car collision, and blackmailing the driver responsible for it, grade-schooler Rodney Parish starts killing classmates in exchange for stamps and baseball cards.

In his introduction to the story in Partners in Wonder, Ellison writes that Rodney Parish for Hire was a particular favorite, and that it gave some insight into the minds of killers like Charles Starkweather, Charles Manson, or Susan Atkins (a member of the Manson Family).

Ellison notes that his collaborations with Hensley were especially positive. He criticizes himself for using some cliches, like a character having their fist in their mouth.

Rodney Parish for Hire was originally published in the May, 1962 issue of Swank magazine.


Rolling Dat Ole Debbil Electronic Stone

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Ellison reviews the 1982 video game The Empire Strikes Back, the first home-console Star Wars video game.

The game takes place during the Imperial attack on the Rebel’s base on Hoth. Players command snow-speeders as they try to stop the Imperial Walkers from reaching the base and destroying it.

Ellison’s main complaint is that the game has only two end consitions: the Imperial Walkers reach the base, or all of the player’s snow speeders are destroyed. Ellison writes that since the player cannot win, only eventually lose, the game is like the Greek myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was condemned to roll a huge boulder up a hill, but every time he got to the top of the hill, the boulder would roll back down, and Sisyphus would start over.

Ellison blasts the game for being boring, and, in his view, for teaching players to embrace a fatalistic attitude to life.

In a postscript to the original review, Ellison reflects on the essay’s impact. He notes that Parker Brothers, publishers of the game, pulled all their advertising from Video Review after the essay was published. The president of Atari and Dr. Alan Kay both requested copies of the review, and Dr. Kay had his framed on his office wall.

The review drew a response from Bruce Apar, editor of Video Magazine, titled Video Game Critics & Cranks.

Ellison mentions a 1982 statement from the U.S. Surgeon General, expressing concern about the impact of video games on children.

The postscript, written in 1983, concludes with mention of the then-ongoing collapse of the video game market, which would not begin to recover for a few years. Ellison claims the collapse as vindication of his review.

Originally published in the September 1982 issue of Video Review magazine, and republished with an epilogue in the October 1983 issue of The Comics Journal.


The Rough Boys

Collected in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

In this crime story, two hitmen are hiding from the police after their latest job. One of the men is able to get the drop on his victims thanks to a certain dead-eye look which makes them hesitate.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Jan Strnad, illustrated by Skip Williamson, and lettered by Sean Konot.


Runesmith

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This story was co-written by author Theodore Sturgeon, and is dedicated to the memory of Cordwainer Smith.

A man named Smith struggles to evade his pursuers, both human and demonic, in the desolate ruins of New York City. He carries immense guilt, since it was his experiments with the occult which caused the destruction of civilization.

In his introduction to the story in Partners in Wonder, Ellison writes that Sturgeon took the story in a very different direction than he had intended, and procrastination by Sturgeon made it difficult to finish the story.

Runesmith is full of suspense, eerie descriptions, and a creative take on magic. This is one of the better stories in Partners in Wonder.

Runesmith was originally published in the May, 1970 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.


Run For The Stars

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, and together in a paperback with Echoes of Thunder by Jack Dann and Jack C. Haldermann in a TOR paperback in 1991. Originally published in the June 1957 issue of Science Fiction Adventures.

The story is about Benno Tallant, a lowlife junkie and looter who is left behind on a besieged planet to be hunted by the invading Kyba army. Tallant was left there as a trap for the Kyba: a planet-destroying bomb has been put in his stomach.

This novella has a pretty cool premise that could be adapted into a suspenseful movie or video game. Sadly, there was a lot less running in this story than I’d hoped for. The story includes two recurring Ellison themes: the exploitation of the vulnerable by the elite, and violent revenge fantasies.

Run For The Stars is part of the Earth-Kyba War saga that also includes the short story Life Hutch.

Written in New York City in .


Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R.

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

Santa Claus is real, and he’s a secret agent who fights off an invasion by aliens who have taken over the minds of America’s politicians. He has lots of guns and gadgets, and all the women have the hots for him.

This is a demented story, but not without its entertainments. It is true that The Beast That Shouted Love is a work of literary brilliance, but Santa Claus vs. S.P.I.D.E.R. is the story from that book that has refused to leave my head.

Originally published in the issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. A note at the end of the story indicates it was written in Los Angeles in .


Scartaris, June 28th

Collected in Slippage.

In an unusual move for Ellison, this is a low-key sequel to The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore. Levendis, in a new guise, decides he needs new followers.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Scherzo for Schizoids: Notes on a Collaboration

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This is a two-part introduction to the short story Up Christopher to Madness, co-written by Harlan Ellison and Avram Davidson. In both parts, the two men give their respective versions of a run-in with a gang in Greenwich Village. In Ellison’s part, he also provides a glossary for the slang and inside jokes used in Up Christopher to Madness. This is one case where the introduction is better than the story it’s introducing.

Scherzo for Schizoids was first published in the November, 1965 issue of Knight Magazine.


Science Fiction: Turning Reality Inside-Out

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Ellison lists a number of recent events that, if published in an sf magazine as a short story, would receive angry letters for being too unrealistic. These include:

Ellison further writes about the then-current popularity of science-fiction. He denies the existence of a new wave of science-fiction. Instead, the current generation of writers in the genre took their work seriously, and considered it real literature, worthy of study and discussion. Ellison laments that while the work of new writers in the field received praise from critics, these same critics turned on the writers when it started to receive financial success, which was seen as selling out.

Originally published in the October 1974 issue of New Times.


Seeing

Collected in Strange Wine.

In the distant future, criminals Berne and Grebbie get paid to abduct people so their body parts can be transplanted into new clients. Their latest target is Verna, a prostitute trying to save enough money to travel off-world. Verna has rare eyes that can see other spectrums of light, other times and places. A wealthy tycoon wants these eyes for herself.

The story was prompted by editor Terry Carr, who asked Ellison to consider what new horrors might exist in the future. Ellison eventually conceded that few things scared him, but he was truly terrified of contact lenses, or any object getting close to his eyeballs. Further inspiration came from the story of Burke and Hare, two criminals who killed people to supply cadavers to scientists.

Seeing was orignally published in the 1976 anthologies Andromeda I and The Ides of Tomorrow: Original Science Fiction Tales of Horror.

The story’s publication in The Ides of Tomorrow caused controversy, as the book was published on a young adult imprint. Reviewers criticized Ellison for writing such a graphic story for children, even though it was never intended for that audience.

Seeing placed sixth at the 1977 Locus awards in the category of Best Short Story.


Sensible City

Collected in Slippage.

Two corrupt cops try to get out of their sententing for a crime and end up in an even worse situation.

Originally published in 1996 for Best New Horror.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Serita Rosenthal Ellison

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

An essay containing Harlan Ellison’s eulogy for his mother Serita, which he gave at her funeral on October 10, 1976.

Ellison begins the essay by describing his tenuous relationship with his family, especially his older sister Beverly.

Ellison’s extended family was concerned about what Ellison would say in his eulogy, and his sister left the room when he read it. The two never spoke again.

In his eulogy, Ellison describes a joke his mother told when he was young. He remembers it because his mother laughed after telling the joke, and after Ellison’s father died in 1949, she never laughed again.

After his father died, Ellison and his mother became distant, and he felt unable to connect with her in her grief. He describes one time when she joined him at a book signing

Originally published in the November 1976 issue of the Saint Louis Literary Supplement.


Shattered Like a Glass Goblin

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World and Deathbird Stories.

Having recently returned from Vietnam, Rudy finds his long-lost girlfriend Katrina living in a drug house. The druggies in the house discover Rudy is a good man to have around, since he is still somewhat competent and can talk away the cops. Rudy discovers too late that things in the house are not what they seem.

In the introduction to The Beast That Shouted etc., Ellison writes that the story drew a strong reaction when he read it at colleges, and that the drug-crowd always bums me for having written it. Hmm, can’t imagine why!

Originally published in the anthology Orbit 4, edited by Damon Knight. Written in Milford, Pennsylvania in .


Shatterday (short story)

Collected in Shatterday.

At a bar, Peter Jay Novins calls his apartment by mistake. Another Peter Jay Novins picks up the phone on the other end. Novins has apparently split into two. The two Peters battle each other on a strange week that starts on Someday going into Moanday, Duesday… eventually leading to the climax on Shatterday.

Famously adapted as the pilot of the 80’s Twilight Zone by Alan Brennert, starring Bruce Willis.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


She’s a Young Thing and Cannot Leave Her Mother

Collected in Slippage.

A man meets the family of his lover, who turn out to be a clan of cannibal killers.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Ship-Shape Pay-Off

Collected in The Deadly Streets, and co-written by Robert Silverberg.

This is a very blunt and abrupt story, not sure why it took two authors.

After being promised $500 to kill the witness to his affair with an officer’s wife, the sailor goes to collect his money. When she admits she doesn’s have the money, the sailor blackmails the woman into continuing the affair.

The rape and murder, and the fact that the sailor gets away with it, make for a sordid story. Little details, like the narration as the sailor carries his murder victim around in a duffle bag, and the interior of the officer’s house, make it interesting.

Originally published in the March 1957 issue of Murder! Digest, under the title of Pay Up Or Else!


Shoppe Keeper

Collected in Shatterday.

A short story inspired by the fantasy cliché of a shop that sells magical artifacts.

Originally published in 1977 for The Arts and Beyond: Visions of Man’s Aesthetic Future.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Silent in Gehenna

Collected in Approaching Oblivion.

Joe Bob Hickney is the lone voice of dissent in a militarized and totalitarian society. After he protests at a university, he is sent to another planet for punishment.

Silent in Gehenna was first published in 1971 for The Many Worlds of Science Fiction, edited by Ben Bova.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Silver Corridor, The

Collected in Ellison Wonderland and Alone Against Tomorrow.

Two intellectuals try to settle an academic debate with a duel to the death. Their duel is fought in a virtual-reality contruct where their shared subconscious ideas become real. The duelist who is less confident in their convictions will get attacked by their own fantasies, killing them in real life.

The virtual world of the duel anticipates concepts like The Matrix, the Holodeck from Star Trek: TNG, and certainly the movie The Cell.

The story benefits from its ending.

The Silver Corridor was originally published in the October 1956 issue of Infinity Science Ficiton.


The Sky Is Burning

Collected in Ellison Wonderland and From the Land of Fear. Aliens arrive at Earth by the thousands to burn up in the atmosphere. The telepath aliens look like Egyptian gods, and communicate their purpose to a few scientists and military officials. The revelation causes thousands of people to commit suicide.

The Sky Is Burning was originally published in the August 1958 issue of If magazine.


Sleeping Dogs

Collected in Paingod and Other Delusions.

This story is set in Ellison’s Earth-Kyben war saga. During an assault on a Kyben planet, the attacking Commander Drabix is at odds with Lynn Ferraro, whose is tasked with acting as a Friend of the Enemy. Ferraro is there to advise diplomatic solutions, and to generally prevent any war crimes from happening.

The bloodthirsty Commander Drabix is single-minded in his goal to destroy the planet, even if this might lead to unintended and dire conseqeuences.

In his introduction to the story in Paingod and Other Delusions, Ellison writes that the pain described in this story is the pain of someone whose mind is blocked from all joy and satisfaction by the all-consuming pursuit of one idea, to the exclusion of all others. Ellison also writes that this story was an attempt at simple, straightforward science-fiction.

Originally published in the October, 1974 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Fact.


Sob Story

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

This story was co-written by Ellison and Henry Slesar.

A woman comes to the police station to report her husband is missing. She says they were at the bar, he got up to use the bathroom, and never came back. The detective taking her story has heard this story many times before, but humors the woman and goes to the bar to investigate.

This is a very short story, and the ending comes as a delightful and macabre surprise.

Orginally published under the title He Disappeared! in a 1957 issue of Guilty Detective Story Magazine. Ellison and Slesar published it under the joint pen name Sley Harson.


Soldier (Short Story)

Collected in From the Land of Fear. A battlefield fluke sends a soldier from a post-apocalyptic future back to present-day New York City. The heart of the story is the detectives and linguistics experts piecing together the reality of the situation, and then trying to figure out what to do with the soldier. Good ending.

In From the Land of Fear, Ellison presents Soldier alongside his own adaptation of the story for the TV series The Outer Limits.

Soldier, also known as Soldier From Tomorrow, was originally published in the October 1957 issue of Fantastic Universe.


Soldier (Outler Limits Screenplay)

Collected in From the Land of Fear. This is Ellison’s adaptation of his own short story Soldier for the 1960’s TV series The Outer Limits.

The screenplay differs from the short story by focusing more on the soldier Qarlo’s relationship to the family of the linguist who tries to communicate with him. The screenplay also introduces an enemy soldier who is sent back in time as well, and tracks down Qarlo over the course of the episode.

Ellison famously sued the producers of The Terminator, accusing them of plagiarizing his Soldier screenplay. The accusation was supported by quotes from James Cameron himself, who said he’d ripped off some Ellison stories. Later home video releases of The Terminator acknowledge The works of Harlan Ellison in the end credits.


Some Sketches of the Damned

Introduction to the first edition of The Deadly Streets.

In the second edition, Ellison adds a footnote to the introduction, effectively disowning it.

In the introduciton, Ellison explains that all the stories in the book (meaning, the first edition) have some basis in an actual event. Ellison shadowed a gang of juvenile delinquents called the Barons for ten weeks, and that experience inspired the stories. He says the children in the book live a brutal law of the jungle existence, and most never had the chance at a humane, normal life.

Ellison concludes by saying that the stories are not necessarily meant as entertainment, rather he hopes some juveniles will read the book and give them enough motivation to avoid the deadly streets.


The Song of the Soul

Introduction to Alone Against Tomorrow.

Ellison introduces the central theme of the book’s stories: alientation, both literal and figurative. He also writes that alienation is a challenge for the artist. If there is any hope, it lies in knowing that people are not alone in feeling alone, as Sting would later write.


The Song the Zombie Sang

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This story was co-written by Robert Silverberg.

In the future, deceased musicians are reanimated to perform concerts for their fans.

The story feels especially relevant today, as the likenesses of celebrities are revived through special effects to perform at concerts and in movies. The prose descriptions of music are especially vivid.

The Song the Zombie Sang was fist published in the December, 1970 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. As Ellison notes in his introduction to the story in Partners in Wonder, it was unusual for Cosmo to publish a science fiction story, and they paid around five times what a science ficiton magazine would have paid.


Sons of Janus

Introduction to Ellison’s book Partners in Wonder, a collection of collaborations with other authors. The title reflects this theme: Janus was the two-faced god, and the stories in this book are the product of two people working as one.

Ellison writes that these stories were only possible through collaboration, the meeting of two minds. He emphasizes that the co-writers in the book were all respected contemporaries and/or influences on his own writing, though his personal feelings about the various writers ranges from platonic love to enmity.

Ellison concludes that he regrets not having collaborated with Norman Spinrad, Isaac Asimov, Michael Moorcock, and Philip José Farmer. He also regrets that none of the stories were co-written by women. He writes that he is unlikely to produce a second book of collaborations, and he did not.


Spider Kiss

Ellison’s second novel, first published in 1961 under the title Rockabilly.

The novel is set in the late 1950’s, and follows an event promoter named Sheldon Shelly Morgenstern. Shelly works for the successful promoter Colonel Jack Freeport, a pastiche of Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker. Shelly discovers a talented young singer named Luther Sullers and transforms him into rockabilly superstar Stag Preston.

In most other stories, Stag Preston would be an innocent country boy who gets corrupted by fortune and fame, but Ellison has Stag be corrupt from the very beginning: sociopathic, narcissistic, and predatory. It’s his manager Shelly who’s put back on his heels, and this gives the novel a unique edge.

The introduction to the 1982 paperback edition of the novel says that Harlan Ellison later toured with The Rolling Stones and Three Dog Night.

In his book Danse Macabre, Stephen King cites Spider Kiss as one of the best novels about the cannibalistic nature of rock ’n’ roll music.


S.R.O.

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World and Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

Bart Chester is a constantly-broke entertainer, trying to put together shows and events with no success. His fortunes change when he witnesses an alien spaceship land in Times Square. The aliens begin to present a theatrical performance that has a positive, transcendent influence on everyone who sees it. Chester is able to capitalize on the alien theater, building to an incredible twist ending.

Originally published in the issue of Amazing Stories magazine. Written in New York City in .

The retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Steve Niles, and painted and lettered by John K. Snyder III.


Status Quo at Troyden’s

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

An old man is finishing out his days at a flophouse in New York City, sustained by a $70 check from his son each month. When the latest check is for only $50, the man becomes desperate to get his rent paid to the miserly landlord.

In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison writes that he was very proud of Status Quo at Troyden’s, and that its preservation for posterity in No Doors, No Windows made the whole short story collection worth it.

Originally published in a 1958 issue of The Saint Mystery Magazine.


Strange Wine (short story)

Collected in Strange Wine.

Willis Kaw is a middle-aged man who has suffered a string of tragedies: his son was crippled in a swimming accident, his daughter has been killed in a highway collision, and now their whole house has flooded. Kaw believes he is an alien from another world, sent to Earth as punishment. The story concludes with an unsettling twist.

In his introduction to the story in Strange Wine, Ellison writes that his story was inspired by his uncertainty about life. What’s it all about? Life seems like so much misery, but it also contains moments of joy that keep us going. Ellison writes that he doesn’t have any answers: maybe this is it, or maybe there’s more.

Strange Wine was orignally published in the 50th anniversary edition of Amazing Stories, 1976.


Street Scene

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This story was co-written by Keith Laumer.

A giant prehistoric bird falls from the sky and crashes into a New York City street. The absurd event prompts a flurry of debate amongst NYC residents about the nature of the creature, whose responsible for its disposal, how to profit from its apperance, and whether or not the dead bird is kosher.

As Ellison writes in his introduction for the story in Partners in Wonder, this is a Marx Bros. slugfest meant for laughs. The core of the story is its caricatures of different New York City archetypes and groups: perverts, academics, Hassidic Jews, Black Panthers, worker’s unions, gangs, the neighborhood watch, the CIA, and the NYPD all make appearances.

Street Scene was written at the Tom Quick Inn in Milford, Pennsylvania.

Ellison and Laumer disagreed on how the story should end, and each wrote their own ending. Ellison’s ending sees a man who witnessed the crash get caught up in the same space-time rift that brought the bird to Earth. The man, now much larger, crashes into the planet of the bird creatures, starting off an inverse of the events of the story.

In Laumer’s ending, the giant bird’s carcass is disposed of, the chaos subsides, only for a second giant bird to crash into the street.

Street Scene was first published under the title Dunderbird in the January, 1969 issue of Galaxy Magazine, with Ellison’s ending. It was published with Laumer’s ending in the March, 1969 issue of Adam magazine.


Students of the Assassin

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

Two JDs start mugging people. After robbing a couple, they try mugging a second victim, only to be knocked unconscious by the man. He reveals himself as Topper Kalish, famed robber and all-around criminal. He takes the boys under his wing, teaching them his brutual-yet-effective style of robbery.

Ultimately, the boys think they’ve learned enough, and let Topper die in a robbery by failing to alert him to an approaching cop, before beginning their own successful string of robberies.

One little detail: Topper mentions George and Lenny’s Bar & Grill, likely a reference to the protagonists of John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men.

Originally published in a 1956 issue of Hunted Detective Story Magazine.


Survivor #1

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This story was co-written by Henry Slesar.

Science-fiction reader Milt Klowitz comes home to find a green alien with a blob of a nose waiting for him. The alien tells him that humanity’s development of nuclear energy has made it a threat, and Earth is slated for destruction. Klowitz has been selected to be saved as Surviror #1— provided he can find a mate in three days.

This is a fun, fast story, with a delightful twist ending.

In his introduction to the story in Partners in Wonder, Ellison writes that he met Slesar when Slesar was a student at a night class that Ellison was teaching. Ellison writes that Slesar was the first writer he ever collaborated with, and was the easiest writer for him to collaborate with. Survivor #1 was the last of the dozen or so short stories Ellison and Slesar wrote together.

Survivor #1 was originally published under the title The Man With the Green Nose in the September, 1959 issue of Knave magazine.


Thicker Than Blood

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

When his wealthy in-laws won’t lend him money to save his linoleum business, a man resorts to desperate measures. This is a straightforward crime story with a gruesome ending.

The title’s meaning is given in the story’s epigraph, from an alleged old New York City saying: blood may be thicker than water, but money is thicker than blood.

Thicker Than Blood was first published in a 1957 issue of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.


Stealing Tomorrow

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

In this brief essay, Ellison writes that he has the soul of an outlaw in a coward’s body. If his soul had its way, he would steal tomorrow, wresting it from the present. He would build a tomorrow worthy of mankind’s best and noblest ambitions, no longer chained to our weaker impulses.

Stealing Tomorrow was originally published in Tom Reamy’s magazine Trumpet, in 1974, as an introduction to Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman.

The Time of the Eye

A conversation between two inmates of a mental hospital, a Korean War vet and a blind former model. A little twist at the end. Ellison describes this one as a romance. Collected in From the Land of Fear and Alone Against Tomorrow.

The Time of the Eye was originally published in the May 1959 issue of The Saint Detective Magazine.


Tired Old Man

Collected in No Doors, No Windows. This is one of the few stories in No Doors that deviates from the book’s general categories of suspense and crime, instead, it is a kind of ghost story.

A successful young author attends a party of old mystery writers. Unimpressed by the past-their-prime guests, he becomes captivated in conversation with an ancient author who seems to take a genuine interest in the young man’s life.

In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison writes that this story was based on an experience from his own life. Though he rejects the suggestion that he is the young man in the story, Ellison did attend a party of mystery writers in 1968, and struck up a deep conversation with an old man. When he stepped away for a moment, one of the hosts told Ellison that the old man was Cornell Woolrich, one of the greatest mystery writers of his generation, and a major influence on Ellison’s writing. Ellison thought Woolrich had died years ago. He had spent the evening talking with one of his literary heroes and didn’t even know it.

None of the other guests knew that Woolrich was at the party. When Ellison went to look for Woolrich again, he was nowhere to be found. Ellison maintained that based on where he was standing at the party, Woolrich could not have left without Ellison seeing him. Cornell Woolrich died later that year.

Ellison wrote the first two pages of Tired Old Man in 1968, but did not finish the story until 1975. It was first published in a 1975 issue of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, making it one of the most-recent stories in No Doors.


Toe the Line

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

Before his release from a two-year jail sentence, a car thief is advised by the warden to toe the line if he wants to do well on the outside. The phrase sticks with the ex-con, and leads to an epiphany about the perfect way to steal cars without getting caught.

This is a pretty neat suspense story with a shocking ending.

Toe the Line was originally published in a 1957 issue of The Saint Mystery Magazine.


Tolerable Terror or, To Read Him Is to Fear Him

Introduction to the book Shadows of Death: Terrifying Tales by H.P. Lovecraft.

In this introduction, Ellison writes about how a collection of Lovecraft short stories was one of the few books on the family bookshelf while growing up in Ohio. He also explains why Lovecraft’s fiction rightfully earns the description of weird.


A Toy For Juliette

Please see The Prowler In the City at the Edge of the World.


True Love: Groping For the Holy Grail

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Lengthy magazine article about Great Expectations, an early video-dating service.

At Great Expectations, members would visit the company office and sit down for a five-to-seven minute video interview. This interview could then be screened for other members. If someone was interested in someone else, a postcard would be sent out to the other party, and a date could be arranged.

Ellison admits his bias, writing that he is a difficult person to be in a relationships, but is trying to improve himself. While deeply skeptical of technology, and though he does not find a long-term relationship while writing the article, Ellison ends up praising the video-dating service. He feels that people seeking a relationship, like those seeking a job, are really asking just give me a chance. While everyone feels this, it is a turn-off for people. He contrasts this with the sense that when one is in a relationship, and more at ease, hopefuls come out of the woodwork. Ellison believes that at Great Expectations, the sentiment of just give me a chance is out in the open, and this relieves some of the attention, allowing them to be more at ease.

In Ellison’s estimation, none of the members came across as creepy in their interviews. Ellison starts up a platonic friendship with one of the members he was matched with, and even finds that many of the men on the tapes seem like people worth getting to know as friends.

Originally written on assignment for Los Angeles magazine, published in February 1982.


Try a Dull Knife

Collected in Alone Against Tomorrow and The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

Eddie Burma stumbles into a resturant, badly bleeding, and tries to recall the events that led him there. A story about bloodsuckers both real and metaphorical, and still relevant to modern readers. The story of Eddie Burma is not unlike today’s live-streaming celebrities.

Try a Dull Knife was originally published in the October, 1968 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The end of the story in The Beast That Shouted etc. indicates it was written in Los Angeles intermittently in , , and . In his introduction to the book, Ellison says the story was inspired by a six-year-long chain of paranoid events.


Turnpike

Collected in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, Volume One.

A straightforward femme fatale noir story, about a truck driver who becomes obsessed with a beautiful young woman as they both drive across the country.

The comic-book retelling in Dream Corridor was adapted by Max Collins, painted by Craig Elliot, and lettered by Sean Konot.


Two Inches in Tomorrow’s Column

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

The publicist for a mob boss has been sleeping with a famed newspaper columnist in the hopes she’ll write a favorable review of his client’s new nightclub. Once the review has been sent to press, he sends columnist a letter, letting her know she’s been used. Little does the publicist know he has a big surprise coming his way….

This sex-and-crime story published using the pen name Ellis Hart in a 1965 issue of Adam Bedside Reader.


Unnecessary Words

Introduction to Web of the City.

Ellison writes about the urban legend that Ernest Hemingway tossed the manuscript of his first novel overboard on a passenger liner. Ellison disagrees with the implied moral of the story, saying he remains proud of his first novel.

Ellison goes on to describe the origins of Web of the City: for ten weeks, he joined a street gang in Brooklyn, and documented his experiences with them. Later, when he was drafted into the Army, he wrote Web of the City based on his street gang experiences, writing the story at night in a bathroom on the army base with his typewriter sitting on a wooden board on his lap. Ellison had to fight off soldiers who were sick of hearing his typing all night.


The Universe of Robert Blake

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

A young boy eagerly explores the world around him, embracing everything he sees with a child’s love. His innocence is broken when he enters a segregated restaurant, and is warned by a black cook that he cannot be in the whites-only section. For the first time, little Robert Blake becomes aware of race, and that he is black.

In the introduction to the 1983 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing, etc., Ellison clarified that while he was friends with actor Robert Blake, the name is a coincidence.

Written in New York City in 1962, and originally published in Rogue magazine in 1962.


Up Christopher to Madness

Collected in Partners in Wonder.

This story was co-written by Avram Davidson. Ellison and Davidson describe their working relationship, and the development of the short story, in their two-part introduction Scherzo for Schizoids.

This story is written in a mannered style, full of slang and inside jokes, that makes it impenetrable. It also relies on the wearisome trope of gangsters with over-developed vocabularies, e.g. Sin City and The Last Boy Scout. The story itself is about the guide for a bus tour in a seedy part of New York City who runs afoul of organized crime.

Up Christopher to Madness was first published in the November, 1965 issue of Knight Magazine.


Valerie

Collected in the 1983 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

In this nonfiction story, Ellison details his disastrous relationship with a woman named Valerie, who ended up running off with his credit cards and racking up thousands of dollars in charges.

Written in Los Angeles in 1972, and originally published in the Los Angeles Free Press between November 3 and November 24, 1972 as part of his column The Harlan Ellison Hornbook.


The Very Last Day of a Good Woman

Collected in Ellison Wonderland and Alone Against Tomorrow.

An unremarkable man gets a premonition of the end of the world. Before the world ends, he wants to lose his virginity. This story has a terrific sense of dread, and the last few paragraphs are outstanding. Special praise for the descriptions of the light coming through the window.

Originally published in the November 1958 issue of Rogue magazine.


Voe Doe Dee Oh Doe

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

The subtitle for this essay is (A Silverberg Medley) Recorded by the L.A. Syntopicon Syncopaters (Harlan Ellison & His Orchestra) Victor 22600.

A profile of the friendship between Ellison and fellow sf author Robert Bob Silverberg.

Silverberg, even more prolific than Ellison, had retired from writing in 1975. Ellison feels Silverberg deserved the rest, but blamed the sf fandom in part for his friend’s lack of enthusiasm for writing. Silverberg would resume writing in the 1980s.

At one point, Ellison writes that he plans for Silverberg to be executor of his estate. In actuality, writer J. Michael Straczynski was Ellison’s executor. One wonders what caused the change.

Originally published in the program book for the 1977 World Science Fiction Convention.


A Voice in the Garden

Collected in From the Land of Fear. This story is only a few paragraphs long, and was written for the Milford, PA Science Fiction Writer’s Conference. The story is a parody of Shaggy God stories.

According to the ISFDB, A Voice in the Garden was first published in the June 1967 issue of Lighthouse magazine.


Wanted in Surgery

Collected in Paingod and Other Delusions.

In the late 21st century, surgery has been automated by robots, pushing human surgeons into menial medical tasks. The robot surgeons have superior precision, and soon a law is passed prohibiting human surgeons for all but the most banal of surgeries, and only then under robot supervision. The story begins a few years after the passage of the law, on the day a world-famous heart surgeon, forced into retirement, has died.

The story follows Dr. Stuart Bergman, a former surgeon still grieving the loss of his indentity. While supervising a routine surgery, Dr. Bergman discovers the one crucial flaw in the robot surgeons: they have no bedside manner, and cannot offer emotional comfort the way a human doctor could. The doctor concocts a plan to reveal this problem, but it carries a tremendous moral cost.

A good story for discussing ethics and morality, both in general, and in relation to AI and automation.

Originally published in the August 1957 issue of IF: Worlds of Science Fiction.


The Waves in Rio

Introduction to The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

The introduction is dated , and was written in Rio de Janeiro. Ellison was in Brazil for the 2nd International Film Festival of Rio de Janeiro, which was screening an episode of The Outer Limits that he wrote (this is explained in his Glass Teat essay 21 March 69.

Ellison writes that he rejects the idea that he is part of any wave of literature, especially a new wave.


We Mourn For Anyone…

Collected in From the Land of Fear. This vision of the future has an oddly Deep South vibe: there are professional mourners, and family feuds are settled with duels. A man kills his wife in what appears to be the perfect crime. He tries to cover his lack of remorse by hiring the best mourners money can buy, and this leads to his downfall.

Also known as Mourners for Hire, this story was originally published in the May 1957 issue of Fantastic.


We Take Care of Our Dead

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

This short story is a direct sequel to I’ll Bet You A Death. The rest of the Strikers gang has found out that Vode intentionally got Checkers killed, and now they want revenge. They coerce him into a candy store robbery, during which he is framed for murder.

Originally published in a 1957 issue of Guilty Detective Story Magazine.


Web of the City

This is Ellison’s first novel, and first published book, first appearing in 1958, under the title Rumble.

Web of the City follows a Puerto-Rican teenager named Russell Rusty Santoro who has walked away from leading the Cougars, a street gang in NYC. After spending a night in jail for a street brawl, Rusty is told that his beloved sister Dolores has been raped and murdered. Rusty swears to avenge Dolores, and begins seeking out her murderer across the city.

The novel is shocking because of the character’s ages: Rusty and the Cougars are described as being fifteen or younger. This makes the violence in the novel, which includes knife fights, a home invasion, and torture, all the more sickening.

As described in the novel’s introduction, Unnecessary Words, Web of the City is based on Ellison’s experiences with a street gang in Brooklyn called the Barons. Ellison wrote the novel during his stint in the Army.


What I Did On My Vacation This Summer, By Little Bobby Hirschhorn, Age 27

Collected in Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

Bobby Hirschhorn is hitchhiking in the Nevada desert, when he is picked up by three men delivering a car from Detroit to the west coast. The three other men decide to stop in the town of Winnemucca and visit a brothel, and Bobby decides to join them.

Some elements of the story seem to be drawn from Ellison’s childhood in Ohio.

Written in Hollywood in 1964, and first published in Knight Magazine that same year.


When I Was a Hired Gun

Collected in the 1983 edition of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled.

The seventeen-year-old narrator becomes acquainted with a strange man named Al Wilson, who allows his apartment to be used by the local science ficiton club for meetings. Wilson soon hires the narrator as a hired gun, performing errands and picking up supplies. The narrator is never sure of the purpose of these errands, but it seems Al Wilson is much wealthier than he appears.

This story includes many elements from Ellison’s early life in Ohio.

Written in Los Angeles in 1973, and originally published in the Los Angeles Free Press between June 1 and June 6, 1973 as part of his column The Harlan Ellison Hornbook.


Where I Shall Dwell in the Next World

Collected in Slippage.

A non-ficiton essay where Ellison answers the question Where do you get your ideas?

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


Where the Stray Dreams Go

This is an introduction to the short story collection From the Land of Fear . Ellison includes the openings to several unfinished short stories, including: The / One / Word / People, Moth on the Moon, and Snake in the Mind.


The Whimper of Whipped Dogs

Collected in Deathbird Stories and No Doors, No Windows.

A woman looks out of her apartment windows and sees a woman murdered on the street. Like many of her neighbors and fellow eyewitnesses, she does nothing about it.

The Whimper of Whipped Dogs won the Mystery Writers of America award for Best Short Story in 1974.

Ellison was inspired by the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese. According to a news story at the time, Genovese’s murder was seen by thirty-eight people at her apartment complex, none of whom tried to stop the attack or call the police as she screamed for help.

Later investigations have shown that this account of the murder is inaccurate: there were far fewer than thirty-eight eyewitnesses, and some did attempt to call the police. None of the eyewitnesses saw the attack in full, or were aware that a murder had taken place.

The short story was originally published in the 1973 anthology Bad Moon Rising: An Anthology of Political Forebodings.


White On White

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

One of Ellison’s stag-mag stories. A womanizer knows true love is out there, and finds it in the most unexpected of places.

Originally published in the issue of Knight magazine. It was written on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York City in .


White Trash Don’t Exist

Collected in No Doors, No Windows.

A young mentally-impaired man named Charles lives in the Deep South, where he is the object of torment for the rich man in town, Herm Cressman. Cressman’s conniving wife tries to seduce Charles, knowing that if they were caught, Herm would kill him. A straightforward crime story leads to a satisfying ending in the depths of the primeval swampland.

In his essay Blood/Thoughts, Ellison claims he stole the story’s core plot element from the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men. Ellison also writes that the story was originally about black characters, with the working title of Niggers Don’t Exist. Ellison intended for the story to be a statement about life for blacks in areas of the South I’d passed through. The editor would not publish the story with black characters, so Ellison rewrote the story with white trash and changed the title.

White Trash Don’t Exist was originally published with the title Murder Bait in a 1956 issue of Mantrap magazine, making it one of the oldest short stories collected in No Doors.


The Wind Beyond the Mountains

Collected in Ellison Wonderland.

Not a very memorable story. Aliens called Ruskinds find their planet contacted by what I think are human astronauts. Unless I wildly misunderstood the story, the Ruskinds are the mutated descendants of Soviet cosmonauts.

Originally published in the January 1957 issue of Amazing Stories.


The Wine Has Been Left Open Too Long and the Memory Has Gone Flat

Collected in Strange Wine.

As the heat-death of the universe approaches, the last sentient species meet to share different sounds from their worlds.

In his introduction to the story in Strange Wine, Ellison writes that he offered to write editor Terry Carr the story he wanted, in a rare gesture. Carr told Ellison he wanted a story featuring a wide variety of alien life forms, a strange alien setting, a happy ending, and a long title.

The Wine Has Been Left Open Too Long etc. etc. was orignally published the 1976 anthology Universe 6, edited by Terry Carr.


With A Knife In Her Hand

Collected in The Deadly Streets.

Theresa is the teenage leader of a small gang of delinquents. Her MO is to lure men into alleys with the prospect of sex, and then have the gang beat and rob the men. The story follows her though a few robberies, and her increasingly deadly attempts to maintain leadership of the gang.

This is probably the best story in The Deadly Streets, and Theresa makes for a very interesting character. The story ends with a scene of spectacular violence, which is well-earned by the ever-ratcheting suspense.

Originally published in a 1958 issue of Guilty Detective Story Magazine.


Wonderbird

Collected in Partners In Wonder.

This story was co-written by Algis Budrys.

Written in an arcane style, Wonderbird is about a tribe of aliens who have based their culture and religion off human radio transmissions. When a spacefaring husband-and-wife comedy duo land on the planet, they are hailed as divine beings. The story calls to mind the cargo cults of islands in the South Pacific, who hailed American sailors as gods bearing gifts.

In the introduction to the story in Partners in Wonder, Ellison writes about how Algis Budrys was a mentor to him in his early writing career, reading his stories, introducing him to people in the field, and providing a role model of what a professional writer looked like.

Ellison makes a quick digression to talk about David Ish, who introduced him to Budrys. Ellison notes that Ish was a promising writer who fell into obscurity. In the second edition of Partners in Wonder, Ellison includes a letter from Ish, where Ish describes his life, and that he found personal fulfillment writing poetry.

Ellison and Budrys wrote Wonderbird at a house party. Ellison closes the introduction by implying that he and Budrys later had a falling-out, something Ellison regrets.

This is another case of the introduction being more interesting than the story.

Wonderbird was first published in the September, 1957 issue of Infinity Science Fiction.


Working With the Little People

Collected in Strange Wine.

The story follows Noah Raymond, an author who finds fame and fortune at a young age. Then one day he wakes up and finds he can no longer write, his ideas plain dried up.

Raymond’s despair is lifted when he is visited by gremlins. Raymond had written books about gremlins, and people reading those books has kept gremlins alive. In gratitude, the gremlins offer to ghostwrite for Raymond, an offer he accepts. While their agreement is amicable, there is an amusing complication, making for a funny conclusion.

The idea of things existing to the extent that people believe in them is explored other books like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. The story shares some ideas with the folk tale The Elves and the Shoemaker.

This story was written in the front window of a London bookstore called Words & Music. Ellison would write in public places like this to remove some of the mystery about writing, to show that it was a job like any other.

Working With the Little People was orignally published in the July 1977 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, also known as the Harlan Ellison issue. The cover for that issue shows Ellison sitting at his typewriter, surrounded by tiny gremlins.


Worlds to Kill

Collected in The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

A dark and cynical story about a mercenary named Gill, who is in high demand for his talent at destroying entire civilizations. A key part of his method is going undercover in the worlds he is hired to kill. He is assisted in his work by a vast machine intelligence of his own design. Strong themes of fate vs. free will, and man vs. machine.

Originally published in the issue of Worlds of If Magazine. Written in New York City in 1968.


Would You Do It For A Penny?

Collected in Shatterday.

In a collaboration with Haskell Barkin, the two authors tell a story about a womanizer and his coin collection.

Originally published in 1967 for Playboy.

Write-up provided by AT Gonzalez.


You Don’t Know Me, I Don’t Know You

Collected in Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed.

Originally published as the introduction to the July, 1977 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (the Harlan Ellison issue).

The title refers to Ellison’s insistence that readers do not really know him just because they read his work; nor does Ellison have any special relationship with his readers.

Ellison reflects on a recent issue of Publishers Weekly. Heavy promotion is given to Sterling Hayden’s debut novel, while a new book from Fritz Leiber is included as an afterthought at the back of the magazine. In Ellison’s view, a great writer like Leiber is ignored because he has been consigned to the ghetto of genre fiction (one reason Ellison pushed back against the label of science fiction writer).

Ellison goes onto desribe his contempt for his fans, and science fiction fandom in general, feeling fans are small-minded and act entitled. He recounts a fan who insulted him at a convention. When the fan attempted to block Ellison’s exit from the elevator, Ellison physically threw the fan out of the way, only to see a crowd of fans gawking at him in the hallway. The next day, rumors spread that Ellison had thrown a fan down the elevator shaft.

Ellison concludes the essay by offering brief insights into the origins of the three stories he wrote for this issue of F&SF: Working With the Little People, Alive and Well on a Friendless Voyage, and Jeffty is Five.


BOOKS

ALONE AGAINST TOMORROW

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1971.

The theme of this collection is alientation. The stories are about people who find their way, or are pushed, to the margins of society.

The book is dedicated to Evelyn del Rey, and from the second edition onward, is also dedicated to the four students killed in the Kent State shooting: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Glen Miller, William K. Schroeder, and Sandre Lee Sheuer.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


APPROACHING OBLIVION

BACK TO BOOKS

Approaching Oblivion is a short story collection published in 1974 with the subtitle Roadsigns on the Treadmill Toward Tomorrow. The splash page describes it as a bizarre book about love, hate, sex and strange things. It features several stories about dystopian future societies and individuals rebelling against the system. This trade paperback collects several of Ellison’s then-recent short stories from the first half of the decade, plus Paulie Charmed the Sleeping Woman from 1962 and the vignette Ecoawareness, published for the first time. Approaching Oblivion was reprinted in 1985.

Ellison explains in his introduction Reaping the Whirlwind that the underlying theme of these stories is the inevitability of death and the finality of things; these thoughts and stories are very much a product of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Events like the assassination of Malcolm X and the Vietnam War filled him with dread.

Writeup provided by AT Gonzalez

TABLE OF CONTENTS


THE BEAST THAT SHOUTED LOVE AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1969.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


THE DEADLY STREETS

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1958, later republished in an expanded version.

This is Ellison’s first short story collection. All the stories are crime fiction, based on Ellison’s time shadowing a street gang.

Most of the stories are about young men and women in street gangs. Others are told from the perspective of civilians who are the victims of street crime. The remainder are about organized crime or lone criminals.

In the second edition, Ellison included five additional, previously-uncollected stories.

For some reason, a lot of the stories feature or mention robbing a candy store.

The book opens with an epigraph from the book The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. Jacobs contends that the health of a city’s sidewalks usually represents the health of the city as a whole. Jacobs was a critic of the mass-scale urban planning as done by Robert Moses and Le Corbusier.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


DEATHBIRD STORIES

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1973.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


ELLISON WONDERLAND

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1962.

This is a very entertaining collection of stories, highly recommended.

The cover of the first edition shows Ellison on a mushroom, surrounded by characters from the short stories. From left to right, they are: the gnome from Gnomebody, the android Walkaway from Back to the Drawing Boards, a Ruskind alien from The Wind Beyond the Mountains, the beatnik devil Skidoop from Deal from the Bottom, the centaur from Gnomebody, the crocodile lady from The Silver Corridor, and an Ithk alien from The Sky is Burning.

The cover of the first edition shows Ellison on a mushroom, surrounded by characters from the short stories. From left to right, they are: the gnome from Gnomebody, the android Walkaway from Back to the Drawing Boards, a Ruskind alien from The Wind Beyond the Mountains, the beatnik devil Skidoop from Deal from the Bottom, the centaur from Gnomebody, the crocodile lady from The Silver Corridor, and an Ithk alien from The Sky is Burning.

What’s odd about the cover art is that Back to the Drawing Boards was not included in the first edition.

Each short story includes a short introduction by Ellison.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


FROM THE LAND OF FEAR

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1967.

I believe the purpose of this book is to show a range of works from Ellison’s writing career, but that said, the book covers a fairly short timespan: from 1956 to 1959, with two additional stories published in the 1960’s.

Each short story includes a short introduction by Ellison.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


THE GLASS TEAT

BACK TO BOOKS

Essay collection, first published in 1969.

The Glass Teat collects Ellison’s work as a the TV columnist for the Los Angeles Free Press newspaper in California.

A recurring theme in the columns is that the immense power of television to educate and inform is wasted on the promotion of consumerism, mindless entertainment, and defense of the status quo.

The Glass Teat is dedicated to Crazy June Burakoff, Ellison’s secretary at the Free Press.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


HARLAN ELLISON’S DREAM CORRIDOR, VOLUME ONE

BACK TO BOOKS

A collection of issues #1-5 of the comic book Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor, plus the first issue. First published in October, 1996.

Dream Corridor was originally intended as an anthology TV series. When the studio execs didn’t understand the show’s framing device, they asked Ellison to produce storyboards. Ellison opted to produce a comic book instead of storyboards, since instead of paying for storyboards few people would see, he could sell the comic book and recoup some of his expenses.

A lifelong comics collector, Ellison was especially proud to produce his own comic book series.

The framing device in Dream Corridor is a response to the question Where do you get all of your ideas? Within the world of the comic, Ellison gets his ideas in the Dream Corridor, a fantastical structure where each room contains one of his stories.

The framing sequences of the comics were illustrated by Eric Shanower. The coloring was by James Sinclair, Rachelle Menashe, Bernie Mireault, and Matthew Hollingsworth. The lettering was by Sean Konot.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay

BACK TO BOOKS

Published in 1994 as part of the Edgeworks series.

This book includes Harlan Ellison’s unproduced screenplay adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s short story collection I, Robot.

The book features artwork by Mike Zug, including character sketches in the margins of the screenplay, and sixten full-color illustrations (including the cover).

I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay is dedicated to Isaac Asimov and Julie Schwartz.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


LOVE AIN’T NOTHING BUT SEX MISSPELLED

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection, first published in 1968.

The theme of this collection is love, its meaning and the different forms love can take.

This book is notable for the insight it provides into Ellison’s personal life. In addition to the introduction, it includes a number of nonfiction pieces, and many of the short stories draw heavily from Ellison’s childhood and professional life.

For the 1983 edition, Ellison removed nine of the stories from the 1968 edition that were published in other collections, and added three more. Either way, this is one of Ellison’s largest short-story collections, around twice the size of his usual books.

The dedicaton reads: For Sherri, who picked up the pieces. For Lesie Kay [Swigart], who arranges the pieces. For Lori, who is opting to be one of the pieces. Lori Horowitz was married to Ellison from 1976 to 1977.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


MEMOS FROM PURGATORY

BACK TO BOOKS

A memoir by Harlan Ellison, first published in 1961. It covers Ellison’s going undercover with a street gang in Brooklyn in 1954, and his experiences while jailed for twenty-four hours in 1960.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS

Short story collection.

First published in 1975. This is a collection of suspense and thriller stories, although two stories, The Children’s Hour and Tired Old Man, fit within the speculative fiction genre.

This book includes the The Whimper of Whipped Dogs, which won Ellison the Mystery Writers of America award for Best Short Story.

The book is dedicated to Joe L. and Charlotte Hensley. Joe Hensley was a lawyer, author, and science fiction fan. In addition to his own science fiction novels, Joe Hensley co-wrote the Ellison short stories Do It Yourself and Rodney Parish for Hire.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


PAINGOD AND OTHER DELUSIONS

BACK TO BOOKS

A short story collection originally published in , centered on the theme of human pain.

The book is dedicated to fellow author Robert Silverberg, who co-wrote Ellison’s short story The Song the Zombie Sang.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PARTNERS IN WONDER

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1971.

The stories in Partners in Wonder are all collaborative efforts. It was the first book in literary history to collect stories that a specific author co-wrote with other authors.

Partners in Wonder is dedicated to Judy-Lynn Del Rey, science fiction editor and co-founder of Del Rey Books.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


RUN FOR THE STARS

BACK TO BOOKS

Please see Run For The Stars.


SHATTERDAY

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1980.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


SLEEPLESS NIGHTS IN THE PROCRUSTEAN BED

BACK TO BOOKS

Essay collection. First published in July, 1984. Edited by Marty Clark, Ellison’s secretary at the time.

The essays in this book had not been collected previously.

The Procrustean bed refers to the Greek myth of Procrustes. Procrustes was a bandit who would invite travelers to sleep in his home. If they were too tall for his bed, he cut their legs off, if they would too short, he would pull them apart. The Procrustean Bed is a euphemism for ineffective one-size-fits-all solutions, and refers to Ellison’s struggle against convention.

The first edition, published by Borgo Press, includes a section of editorial notes by Marty Clark, and a thorough index.

The book is dedicated to Henry W. Holmes, Jr.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


SLIPPAGE

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection.

First published in 1997.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Spider Kiss

BACK TO BOOKS

Please see Spider Kiss.


Strange Wine

BACK TO BOOKS

Short story collection, first published in 1978.

In the introduction to the book, Ellison writes that the strange wine is the human imagination, so rare, but our only hope of survival. The book is Ellison’s own effort to replenish the dwindling supply of the strange wine, and offer some of it to others.

In his book Danse Macabre, author Stephen King selected Strange Wine as one of the best horror books in the 20th century. He singled out the short stories Croatoan and From A to Z in the Chocolate Alphabet.

Strange Wine is dedicated to Sherry and Terry and Terry and Sheryl.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


WEB OF THE CITY

BACK TO BOOKS

Please see Web of the City. For the introduction to the novel, please see Unnecessary Words.


HELLO WORLD4949