Fish-Headed Musings

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

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FinderDoug
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Fish-Headed Musings

Postby FinderDoug » Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:21 am

A Fish-Head In Aspic

Let the prognostication begin! Before Harlan answers Steve in the Pavvy. ;)

If I were a gambling man, my suspicion would be this is a collection. We’re not talking long odds on that, but the absence of chatter about a longer work (and I believe there’d have been some) suggests a collection.

Further suspicion: mixed content, on the order of Stalking The Nightmare. Not straight fiction, but fiction/essay commingled. Also possibility for a script.

At the minimum, prime suspects for a table of contents include:

Fiction:
“The Toad Prince or, Sex Queen of the Martian Pleasure-Domes”
“From A to Z, In the Sarsaparilla Alphabet”
“Incognita, Inc.”
“ Goodbye to All That”
“Loose Cannon, or Rubber Duckies from Space”
“How Interesting: A Tiny Man”
“Weariness” (finished, unpublished 350 or so word short written by Harlan at Foolscap in 2005 and read afterwards to the crowd at his lecture)
The three-part recounting of Carl Sagan and floating crap game mayhem as posted on Webderland (my rationale for inclusion: this was promised to Bill Schaefer for publication many moons ago, and if he’s doing the book en toto…)

Essay:
“Terrorists”


Suspects I’d consider less likely:

- “Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts” – collected in Troublemakers; I wouldn’t expect to see it reused here from the stand-alone collection for which it was revised.

- “Objects of Desire in the Mirror are Closer Than They Appear” – collected in The Essential Ellison 50th, and as such perhaps less likely to appear re-collected here, but you never know – 50/50 on this one

- “Prologue to the Endeavor: Luck be a Lady Tonight” – I suspect including this is solely a “what mood am I in?” decision for Harlan, since it is, in essence, a fragment.

- The Heaven’s Gate cult essay – Because Harlan read the unexpurgated text on a segment of “Harlan Ellison’s Watching” back in the day, it would seem more likely for a super-deluxe and complete HEW down the road; but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a contender for the here and now.

- A script – two anthologized previously are floating out there, plus “The Discarded” is recent, and one of which Harlan is proud; not unheard of in a collection, but a long shot none the less.


A few other contenders:

- Any one of the over 100 still-uncollected short stories, predominately from the late fifties, could be resurrected between covers; Stalking The Nightmare was liberally peppered with uncollected bits from the late fifties, so there's precedent.

- Any one of the stories in progress of which we’re aware – might “Pet” be finished? Or “Bring On The Dancing Frogs”? Or either of the stories in progress he read Nebula weekend a few years back? Or stories he’s asked for factual input on in the Pavvy – an inscription on a furnace door, for example. Difficult to see.


One I’d Love to See Included, But Expect To Not See:

“Abiding With Sturgeon: Mistral in the Bijou” - The forward to the eleventh volume of Ted Sturgeon’s collected stories. 23 pages, straight from the heart. Deserves a spot in a collection.

Anyone else? Thoughts? Wild guesses?

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby swp » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:41 am

you pretty much nailed it. at least, your thoughts mirror my own.

the only thing missing is the "yr pal, Harlan" collection. highly unlikely, but still.

nice overall summary.
swp

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby Moderator » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:11 am

Okay, I'll go on record that I think it's a combination of the above, as Doug notes -- with perhaps a heavy emphasis on essays and commentary (some of which may be pulled from the Pav.)

Doug is far more up on Harlan's publishing record for the last few years, so I won't take a shot at the table of contents. I'm just really pleased he's putting something into the market. The title alone suggests it's something different, and possibly with a more deliberately humorous tone than some of his preceding. I'm gonna have to look up what exactly ASPIC is. I know it's a featured ingredient on some cans of cat food, so the combination of fishheads and ASPIC carries an anti-feline thread (though I doubt Harlan would make his isdain of cats the core of a new book. He ain't that doddering old lady yet.)

Not even sure Harlan will answer me, but we'll have word of something shortly, I hope.
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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:22 am

No idea about content but SUBTERRANEAN PRESS is a nice specialty house. Currently they're in the fourth volume of Robert Silverberg's short stories and have a nice limited edition of China Mieville's new one THE CITY & THE CITY. Also they're about to publish a drool-worthy edition of Bradbury's MARTIAN CHRONICLES with added (unpublished!) stories, essays and movie scripts.

http://www.subterraneanpress.com/
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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby FinderDoug » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:13 am

I freely admit this was a wiki play, but for quick insight:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspic

The neat piece here is thus:

Since fish gelatin melts at a lower temperature than gelatins of other meats, fish aspic is more delicate and melts more readily in the mouth.


Nasty, melt in your mouth goodness. Not unlike angry candy in its way...


Subterranean produces some nice volumes, and Ezra has cited to volume I covet most of all on their forthcoming list - although I'm equally interested in Gauntlet Press' forthcoming Bradbury volume, Bullet Trick. I like a good screenplay for an unproduced Twilight Zone segment. I like it more when there are two.

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:41 pm

Isn't this his non-fiction book?

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:43 pm

Dougie, Prince has two amazing videos of him doing Little Red Corvette and When Eye Lay My Hands On U online, from the Montreaux jazz fest. Did you see them? He really does a different version of both. Very modern rock.

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby Moderator » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:42 pm

Doug -
I read the same wiki item and was tempted to post. Second time today you've beaten me to the punch.

I'll have to remember that...

:twisted:
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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby FinderDoug » Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:55 am

Frank - I'm not aware of a specific mention of a forthcoming non-fiction collection; if one's been mentioned in the pipe, then that would result in a little rethinking. I'm happy to be wrong. The underlying element here: new book.

(And really, Frank - with a whole big pop culture thread all your own, you need to perpetrate thread drift in here? Happy to talk Prince, but you've got a place for that. I mean, I don't go tracking thoughtful and reasoned analysis through your news corner...)

Steve - I have to strike while the iron is hot. Otherwise, the brand is smudgey, and then the Franks of the world are rustling my ideers...

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby remarck » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:47 am

I was going to suggest "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore" but then, WHACK!, realized it's the first story in Slippage.

MY BRAIN IS GOING DOWN THE TUBES.

I really love that story.

Doug, I think your analysis is spot on. I'd like to see one of the stories he read at Minicon. Not the homage to Wells' "The Island of Dr. Moreau," but the other one, where the protagonist keeps snapping back in time to the same spot after living his life for years and years, without even a hint or echo or even a flavor of "Groundhog Day."

Also, what about that story...I can never remember the name. Recent. McSweeney's. Let-me-talk-to-the-head-Jew-in-charge story.

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby FinderDoug » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:13 am

Um, Keith? The McSweeney's story? "Goodbye To All That".

I'm going to stop by with some ginko... and a Ray's Hell Burger to wash it down!

Then again, who am I to talk? I thought those readings were at the Nebulas in AZ, and damned if I can remember the title of the one you cite. D'oh! They all begin to blend after a while. I can only begin to imagine the trouble Barney has keeping them all straight. I suspect they become one long con memory after a while.

Except for World Horror. Brrrrrrr.

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:07 pm

Dougie, my only problem with you is that you are a bit too reasoned..lol

Infect my room any time, sexy.

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby Moderator » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:15 pm

Gawd I love that cover.

I spoke with Harlan a couple hours ago, and when I told him of our little debate here (expecting some sort of special hint and/or details about the contents) he replied with a simple "HA! Tell 'em I said that: HA!" (He then told me a tidbit about a new acronym he created for the anti-Healthcare townhall yellers: "'They belong to the AMA!' Sez I (Harlan)" "What's that? The American Medical Association?" you say??" "'Nooo, sez I: The American Morons of America!" === Yes, it was much funnier live and in-person.)

So much for connections.

But Gawd I love that cover.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:56 pm

Time for my cent and a half.....

Has it occurred to anyone that perhaps that cover has a clue as to what we should expect?

After I caught my breath, I kinda thought. "oh, goody... all of the stories about mindless humans allowing atrocities to happen all in one spot!!!!"

One never can be too sure. Now watch I'm totally wrong!

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Re: Fish-Headed Musings

Postby FinderDoug » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:14 pm

Is it me, or does that cover have a typo? Because unless there's some new typesetting rule the cool kids are using, that looks like an underline instead of a hyphen in "Fish-Head".

Sorry kids. It's what I do for a living. Still, very evocative.

Frank: I'm very reasoned, and reasonable. I like being that way. Until you hurt a loved one of mine. Or dick me over. Then Finder Doug takes on new depth and meaning and scale.

Steve: HA? Is our Unca becoming a man of fewer words?


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