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Author Ellison's Book
'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman
This parable of individual freedom versus social control is one of Ellison's most famous stories, and indeed one of the most famous and anthologized of science fiction/fantasy stories ever. Everett C. Marm, a nobody who dubs himself the Harlequin (the resemblance to the author's name is entirely intentional), is perpetually late -- or heedless of the necessity for being on time -- in a society where timeliness has become an absolute value. He is in rebel...
This is perhaps Ellison's most powerful collection of stories. There are some clunkers, but many mind-blowing originals. Two losers (male and female) meet and intermingle over a Vegas slot machine that invariably hits the jackpot. Lawrence Talbot, the Wolfman, goes to Victor Frankenstein for help in locating his soul so that he can die peacefully. A former POW-Vietnam vet returns to his Midwestern hometown to face the music among his neighbors who believ...
Jeffty is Five
Jefty is a five year old who should be in his 20's when story begins. A childhood friend returns to his hometown and they resume their friendship. Through a course of strange events, the older friend discovers that what we think is progress really isn't progress at all. In fact, the course our present society is on is destructive and suicidal....
Love Ain't Nothing but Sex Misspelled
Dating from the late 60s, this is one of Ellison's stronger short story collections. He's known primarily as a fantasist, but most of these are gritty, down-to-earth tales about anything from an illegal abortion in Mexico ("Neither Your Jenny Nor Mine") and a shy late 20s fellow's introduction to sex in a Nevada brothel, to an old Jewish woman confronting a neo-Nazi, and a prison riot. The two outstanding pieces are "The Return of Miss Ankle-Strap Wedgi...
Mefisto in Onyx
Memos From Purgatory
First published in 1961, this book details the author's experiences after joining a Brooklyn kids' street gang for several months in the mid-50s. He details their rules, behavior, gets in a knife duel with a rival, and generally depicts the gritty life of the street in those days. The second half of the book takes the reader inside "The Tombs," a chilling New York City jail. At the insistence of his publisher, he included an encounter with one of his for...
It's a kind of rock'n'roll fantasy, or rockabilly fantasy, about a boy from the sticks with the golden charisma, voice (the title refers to the feeling of his voice in your ear), and moves who makes it to the top (and the bottom) on the strength of his amoral appetites. The protagonist might remind you of Elvis, but Ellison said he based it more on Jerry Lee. _Spider Kiss_ is not a highly skilled piece of writing -- it's messy and at times sophomoric -- ...
Stalking the Nightmare
This 1982 collection is not one of Ellison's strongest. It came during a quiescent period when he was struggling with health problems, so roughly half of the stories are rescued and updated from the 1950s -- much more classic sci-fi stories than much of his other work: hunting alien game, rescues and mysteries in mountain wilds, a desperate killer trying to escape incarceration in a future civilization, etc. However, the book also contains several essays...
The Glass Teat
This is the first of two book collections of columns Ellison wrote for the Los Angeles Free Press. Dating from Oct. 1968 to January 1970, the subject is ostensibly television criticism (if that doesn't strike you as an oxymoron or an exercise in futility!), and as such it might seem badly dated (who wants to read detailed discussions of Adam-12, Mod Squad, or the Banana Splits show now?), but Ellison comments on many other events of the day -- Yippies an...
The Other Glass Teat
Picking up where _The Glass Teat_ left off, these columns date from February 1970 to March 1972, with a May 1972 coda. Ellison fulminates against racism, sexism, and just plain idiocy in TV programming. There's a lot about a tussle he had with the networks over a script for "The Young Lawyers" (the script is included); his disgust over the "Our Little Miss" Variety Pageant, featuring contestants 3 to 12 years old (which has a certain creepy resonance, po...
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