Ellison to Last

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

Moderator: Moderator

User avatar
David Loftus
Posts: 3182
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:15 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Ellison to Last

Postby David Loftus » Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:57 pm

Here follows, on short notice, my list of Ellison writings that should last, and that he should continue to be known for.

The first set would make a tidy book of his best short fiction. The second set would be three separate volumes, and the third set (obviously incomplete) would be his representative essays.


SHORT STORIES

1. The Deathbird
2. “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman
3. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
4. Jeffty Is Five
5. Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans. . . .
6. Daniel White for the Greater Good
7. Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes
8. A Boy and His Dog
9. Mefisto in Onyx
10. The Resurgence of Miss Ankle-Strap Wedgie
11. The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World
12. Paladin of the Lost Hour
13. The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore
14. Soft Monkey


BOOK-LENGTH WORKS

1. Spider Kiss
2. Memos From Purgatory
3. I, Robot original screenplay


ESSAYS

1. The 3 Most Important Things in Life
2. The Death of My Mother, Serita R. Ellison
3. An Edge in My Voice, #55 (Norman Mayer)
4. Introduction to Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled (1976 Pyramid edition)
5. Ahbhu
6. Death Row, San Quentin, parts 1 and 2
7. Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs!... (intro to Strange Wine)
8. An Edge In My Voice, #6 – The Saturn Flyby

I might consider adding "True Love: Groping for the Holy Grail" and "Driving in the Spikes" to the essay set. Been a long time since I've read either, and the latter just doesn't read as well as the live recitation presents the same material on the "On the Road, vol 1" recording.

My memory and I suspect my readings are not sharp and deep enough to call to mind some representative selections of Ellison's writings on comics and films -- there probably should be an item or two from Harlan Ellison's Watching. There may even be a book review or author appreciation that should be stuck in there.
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

User avatar
Ezra Lb.
Posts: 4547
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:02 am
Location: Washington, DC

Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:56 pm

Okey Dokey try this-


Short Stories (alphabetical)

1)Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans

2)All the Lies That Are My Life

3)Basilisk

4)Croatoan

5)Daniel White for the Greater Good

6)The Deathbird

7)From A to Z, in the Chocolate Alphabet

8)Jeffty is Five

9)The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore

10)Mefisto In Onyx

11)The New York Review of Bird

12)Opposites Attract, or The Mad Bomber

13)Paladin of the Lost Hour

14)Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes

15)'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

16)Scartaris, June 28th

17)Seeing

Essays

1)The 3 Most Important Things in Life

2)From Alabamy, with Hate

3)A Love Song for Jerry Falwell

4)My Mother

5)Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don't Look So Terrific Yourself

6)Somehow, I Don't Think We're In Kansas, Toto

7)True Love: Groping for the Holy Grail


NOTES:

Congrats David on listing Daniel White. I thought I was the only one who remembered it.

My ringer is Opposites Attract, an early mindfuck I've always loved.

Some stories would just not be left out, like Maggie or Jeffty, others failed to make the grade by inches.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Tony Rabig
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 4:44 pm
Location: Parsons, KS

Posterity redux

Postby Tony Rabig » Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:21 pm

We've been through this before, but that's okay. This is what I posted on the pavilion back in 2003:

Posterity?......
...if you could pick one up off the racks in 2055, what would you expect to find not in a giant volume like THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON but, say, a Signet Classics Selected Works? Tastes differ, but my own guess (and this is off the top of my head without reference to the shelves, so no doubt I'm missing several goodies) is roughly as follows.

Tales of Fantasy: "Paladin of the Lost Hour;" "Jeffty Is Five;" "Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes;" "Repent, Harlequin...;" "Shatterday;" "One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty;" "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream;" "The Deathbird;" "Mefisto in Onyx;" "Grail;" "The Function of Dream Sleep."

Tales of the Real World: "All the Lies that Are My Life;" "Neither Your Jenny nor Mine;" "The Resurgence of Miss Ankle Strap Wedgie;" "Tired Old Man;" "Final Shtick;" "Daniel White for the Greater Good;" "Punky and the Yale Men;" "Prince Myshkin, and Hold the Relish."

Works for Television: "Demon with a Glass Hand;" "City on the Edge of Forever."

Essays: "My Father;" "Serita Rosenthal Ellison: A Eulogy;" the EDGE IN MY VOICE piece on Norman Mayer; "Telltale Tics and Tremors;" the introductions to SLIPPAGE, ANGRY CANDY, SHATTERDAY, and NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS; "Xenogenesis."

Well, I never said it would be one of the thinner Signet Classics volumes, did I? But I don't think there's much in this list that doesn't have a lot of staying power.

And bests to all.
--tr

User avatar
David Loftus
Posts: 3182
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:15 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Postby David Loftus » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:30 pm

Ezra Lb. wrote:Congrats David on listing Daniel White. I thought I was the only one who remembered it.

Some stories would just not be left out, like Maggie or Jeffty, others failed to make the grade by inches.



Forget Daniel White?!!

Hell, just yesterday I received a copy of the early 1960s men's magazine "Rogue" in which that story first appeared, which I purchased on eBay.

To be absolutely honest, I'm not personally that nuts about Jeffty, Christopher Columbus, or even I Have No Mouth, but I figure they're sufficiently distinctive achievements to merit inclusion on anyone's list, no matter how I feel about them.
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

User avatar
JohnPacer
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2003 8:42 pm
Location: Limbo
Contact:

Postby JohnPacer » Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:59 pm

I agree with the choices thus far, but I would make some space available for PHOENIX WITHOUT ASHES. The screenplay or the book with Ed Bryant. Why does this one never seem to get that much attention?

Ace_Arn
Posts: 118
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:06 pm

Postby Ace_Arn » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:13 pm

The screenplay, while very good, is just a build up to a story.... not a story. So there's not much there to be recognized for.

Never read the book. Does it have a conclusion?

Eric_Martin
Banned
Posts: 237
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:29 pm

Postby Eric_Martin » Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:42 pm

>I Have No Mouth<

That's a story that's truly of its time. It's not easy to read these days, but I think it's one of the most important things Harlan wrote from a historical perspective. And the title is half the battle...you don't get great ones like that every day.

I'm not crazy about Jeffty either, but it was awarded, and sometimes that skews perspective on a story. I think Harlan is close to it, though.

User avatar
JohnPacer
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2003 8:42 pm
Location: Limbo
Contact:

Postby JohnPacer » Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:48 pm

Ace: No, the book doesn't have a conclusion, per se. But it is self contained enough that it works on its own, IMO. In the same sense that the first Matrix movie, while being the first part of a trilogy, stands on its own. (I could have done without the other Matrix movies). I also think that its concept is quite different from the typical H.E. story (at least the ones I've read), which would warrant its inclusion.

User avatar
David Loftus
Posts: 3182
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:15 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Re: Posterity redux

Postby David Loftus » Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:17 am

Tony Rabig wrote:the introductions to SLIPPAGE, ANGRY CANDY, SHATTERDAY, and NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS



Refresh my memory, please. I recall the contents of the first two, but what is in the latter two?

And you rate them above the intros to Strange Wine and Love Ain't Nothing. . . "

(I'm not insisting they're necessarily better, just more representative of the range of Ellison's writings; but as I say, I don't remember what the Shatterday and No Doors intros cover.)
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

User avatar
David Loftus
Posts: 3182
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:15 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Postby David Loftus » Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:20 am

Eric_Martin wrote:>I Have No Mouth<

That's a story that's truly of its time. It's not easy to read these days, but I think it's one of the most important things Harlan wrote from a historical perspective. And the title is half the battle...you don't get great ones like that every day.



You and I are totally in accord on this one. It's a dynamite concept, and an unforgettable title, but the execution of the story strikes me as clumsy in places. There are things he tells you instead of either showing or leaving out.

Has anyone ever done this as a visual or audio dramatization (not a reading, but a full-out performance with multiple voices and sound effects)? I can't recall.
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

User avatar
Ezra Lb.
Posts: 4547
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:02 am
Location: Washington, DC

Postby Ezra Lb. » Wed Aug 23, 2006 11:14 am

David wrote

To be absolutely honest, I'm not personally that nuts about Jeffty, Christopher Columbus, or even I Have No Mouth, but I figure they're sufficiently distinctive achievements to merit inclusion on anyone's list, no matter how I feel about them.

This gets to why I left out such BIG GUNS as A Boy & His Dog or Whimper. My criteria for inclusion were, quality of the work, important place in Ellison oeuvre, and only lastly my own personal faves*. About half my list is obvious, no thinking required. But then you have to start making hard choices.

As important as Whimper is in the realms of Ellisonia, as powerful as it is on first reading, it rather gives up what it has at first blush and once you've got you've got it, it seems to me.

Deathbird, on the other hand is a hoard of riches that bears up for the long haul.

David my question for you is why you didn't include All the Lies...? That story seems to me to be so seminal that I can't help but be fascinated by reasons why someone else would not think so.

John, the essay Somehow, I Don't Think We're In Kansas, Toto is the intro to Phoenix Without Ashes and I agree un-leave-out-able.

And you other guys, don't just react to the lists already posted, let's see your own lists. The criteria is simply what "should" survive. And try to limit yourselves to what could be put in a normal sized single volume. Say, 15 to 20 stories, and maybe 5 or 6 essays.

At the very least it'll make you think about the stuff and maybe reread some you haven't visited in a while.

*Hitler Painted Roses, for example.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

User avatar
David Loftus
Posts: 3182
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:15 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Postby David Loftus » Wed Aug 23, 2006 11:40 am

Ezra Lb. wrote:This gets to why I left out such BIG GUNS as A Boy & His Dog or Whimper. My criteria for inclusion were, quality of the work, important place in Ellison oeuvre, and only lastly my own personal faves*. About half my list is obvious, no thinking required. But then you have to start making hard choices.

As important as Whimper is in the realms of Ellisonia, as powerful as it is on first reading, it rather gives up what it has at first blush and once you've got you've got it, it seems to me.


You'll notice I left out "Whimper" too. I've never been terribly enamored of it. It's really dark without having much of a point, other than its impact, in my opinion.

"A Boy and His Dog" still knocks me out, though. Great concept, terrific execution. Some truly lovely writing and punchy dialogue along the way. It's one of his best first-person narratives.

As for the other items you cited in the final five paragraphs, it's just been too long since I read them for me to be able to recall how they rate against the others. "Hitler Painted Roses" is such a terrific title, but I can't for the life of me remember a single thing about that story. I also had a twinge about leaving out Ellison's paean to the City of LA -- I think it's "Face Down in Gloria Swanson's Swimming Pool" -- as another representative essay, but couldn't remember the contents of that one, either.

Isn't there anyone here who can point us to the best Ellison film and comics essays? (I mean, BESIDES "Did Your Mother Throw Yours Out?")
. . . .
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

User avatar
FrankChurch
Posts: 16283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 2:19 pm

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Aug 23, 2006 5:03 pm

I would love to see one criticism of Harlan or his work by our David. I know you are no mere fanboy, but I can hardly tell here.

User avatar
Moderator
Site Admin
Posts: 10607
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:17 pm
Contact:

Postby Moderator » Wed Aug 23, 2006 5:20 pm

Um.

Can't speak for David, but...

1) I personally would be unlikely to criticize Harlan's writing here because a) it's Harlan's site and entering it with the intent to criticize his works is... well ... the work of a small mind, b) I don't have really the skill or chops -- and would suggest that only a few posters here do -- to correctly evaluate it without sounding like an arrogant prick. I may not like a specific work, and can simply leave it at "I never liked XXXX", but criticism implies something more detailed and harsh.

2) If you don't like his writing, why are you here? ("You" in the generic sense, not "you" as in Frank Church. See above "intent" comment.)
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Eric_Martin
Banned
Posts: 237
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:29 pm

Postby Eric_Martin » Wed Aug 23, 2006 6:08 pm

> would love to see one criticism of Harlan or his work by our David<

Actually Frank, David is one of the few people here most likely to offer criticism of Ellison work when it is warranted. And I would trust his opinion, whether or I agreed with it or not, because I would know he'd done his reading.

I disagree with Steve that this is not the place to praise, adore, heckle, or damn Ellison. This is indeed the ONLY place on the Internet where you will find people knowledgeable enough to engage in that kind of discourse. And while there is a very definite cadre who will freak at any slight, well, they can freak, that's their trip.

As for Ellison coming in here and seeing the sludge, he has, at least in the past. I still have the burn marks. But I would agree that the Pavilion is a different story, and not the place to toss literary darts.


Return to “Pop Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests