Doomsman

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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kevinkirby
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Doomsman

Postby kevinkirby » Sat Oct 21, 2006 5:25 pm

THis is the book which, at one time, one could count on Harlan to rip to shreds any copy brought to a signing. Has anybody ever caught this on camera? It may take some advance planning, and some copies of Doomsman are fairly pricey, but it would be worth a try just for the funny picture.

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Sat Oct 21, 2006 6:11 pm

I bought a copy of Doomsman (paired with Carter's "The Thief of Toth") before I found out that Harlan hates that story. I haven't read it, but I wonder if trying to sell it on eBay would be a betrayal of Harlan.

What is the story behind the Belmont/Tower operation, and how did it get its grubby mitts on some of Harlan's work? The company also printed "From the Land of Fear." In a couple of essays, Harlan made offhand comments that portrayed Belmont as the schlockiest (is that even a word) of the SF publishers.

but it would be worth a try just for the funny picture.


Why would you want to embarrass Harlan like that? I think that would be rude. Sounds like something that would wind up in a "Xenogenesis II."

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kevinkirby
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Postby kevinkirby » Sun Oct 22, 2006 5:40 pm

Here's a site with some info on that publishing house:

http://www.booksareeverything.com/books ... earch.html

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Bud Webster
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Postby Bud Webster » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:14 pm

Harlan doesn't "rip to shreds" any copy of _Doomsman_ handed him to sign. He won't sign it, but will offer to buy the copy from you. If you sell it to him, he'll tear the two books (it was paired with Lee Hoffman's _Telepower_ first, then a year later with Lin Carter's _The Thief of Thoth_) apart down the middle and hand the OTHER title back to you.

If you won't sell, he just won't sign it. No "funny picture" here at all.

Belmont was a shady operation even at its best. The second printing of _Doomsman_ was done without Harlan's knowledge, and he received no payment for it (unless I'm remembering incorrectly, he didn't get much payment for the first printing, either).

The book is a reprinting of his story, "The Assassin", from the October 1958 IMAGINATION. It's not as bad as Harlan thinks it is, but it's certainly nowhere near as good as the stories he was doing even five years later.

He even did a self-parody of it in Lee Hoffman's fanzine, SCIENCE-FICTION FIVE YEARLY, titled "!Nissassa".

Kevin, please don't spread these myths any more than they already have been.
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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:35 pm

Kevin, you are becoming our next Eric Martin. Watch it fella.

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kevinkirby
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My Myth-take

Postby kevinkirby » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:45 pm

:D

I actually did read this myth on another website. Somebody's subjective version of a Doomsman event, probably.

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Re: My Myth-take

Postby Carstonio » Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:48 pm

kevinkirby wrote:I actually did read this myth on another website. Somebody's subjective version of a Doomsman event, probably.


That reminds me of the elevator incident in "You Don't Know Me, I Don't Know You." Apparently, some fans believe that Harlan is a psychopath who becomes violent at the slightest provocation. Why else would they be willing to believe such myths? Maybe they're like me, in that they equate strong emotions with danger, and both Harlan and his work are intensly emotional. The fans who believe the myths don't seem to grasp the other side of Harlan's emotionality, such as his commitment to doing what he believes is right and his commitment to his work.

That reminds me of the Time Magazine blurb when Harlan won the "Future Cop" case. The magazine referred to Harlan as "feisty," which sounded condescending to me, like a word you use for a child. That's a word I often hear used to describe Senator Barbara Mikulski, who is barely 5 feet tall. I bet they wouldn't use that word if Mikulski was a foot taller.

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yamsham
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Postby yamsham » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:30 pm

As someone who witnessed Harlan tear up his copy of "Doomsman," I beg to differ. Once he got his hands on it, I got the distinct feeling there was no way I was getting it back. He was very polite about it, though. As compensation, I got a "Strange Wine" hardcover, so I guess I wound up with the better end of the deal. But I would have liked to read "Doomsman" first. I'd just bought the book five minutes before from the dealer's room, not knowing anything about it or his disdain for the circumstances surrounding its publication.
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FinderDoug
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Postby FinderDoug » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:54 pm

He may have destroyed them at one time, prior to simply offering to buy them; if he did, he no longer does. He certainly doesn't sign it.

My good buddy Bernie and I once gave him ten copies of "Doomsman" at I-CON during the nineties. They were chained together like prisoners down on the farm. He even signed a 'prisoner transfer order' to take possession of them. It made for a very amusing picture. :)

And I believe it was at Foolscap where he went on at some length about the illogic of people who believe that he could, for instance, drop a fan down an elevator shaft, or drop a massive light fixture on someone from on-high, and suffer zero consequences.
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." -- Anton Chekhov

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:37 am

> He even signed a 'prisoner transfer order' to take possession of them. It made for a very amusing picture.


And you call yourself a writer.

Don't just tell, Doug, SHOW!
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus


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