Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion

Discussion of the man and his work.

Welcome to the Art Deco Dining Pavilion! Here's the deal. This is Harlan's little breakfast nook at Webderland. When he's not here, we chat about him and his work. When he is, we act like we're guests in his home. That's about all there is to it. (link to More specific rules) Oh, and since the nook doesn't exactly hold a crowd (and to prevent the less frequent voices from being drowned out), please limit yourself to one post a day unless Harlan asks you a direct question. The Pavilion Annex is available if you're the logorrheic type. Also, we have archives of old posts. RSS Feed

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Displaying board posts 1 through 25 - showing messages at a time.

- Thursday, April 27 2017 23:13:46

Note to Charlie in St. Pete & "Just Sayin"
CHARLIE (in St Pete): While I can't make a statement one way or the other as regards publication dates rarely being met and Science Fiction & Fantasy books, I'm guessing that,while your statement is only partially tongue-in-cheek, you also are referring to SMALL PRESS publications (since the majority of larger, corporation-type, publishers generally meet most of their publication dates).

I CAN tell you that what most gets under MY skin as regards egregious behaviour and SF & Fantasy Publishers is THE LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM AND COURTESY they so often direct at "customers" -- the people who KEEP THEM IN BUSINESS!!

The people "running" NESFA, at the moment, suffer from that problem (I suspect that it is heightened in the SF & fantasy community, because many of the publishers tend to have been part of the fan community, and those folks are too often the type to commit egregious acts of discourtesy and worse (see "Xenogenisis" for some scary examples).

I am currently in the middle of an email exchange with (at various times) the Vice President, the President and yet another person (status unknown). The president, for his part, responded pretty quickly to my request for information regarding shipping and tracking, advising that such info would be provided soon, but that they are a non-profit, and they had limited time to do their work, which is "all volunteer". THAT should not preclude good customer service and interaction, as well as information about shipping (something that SHOULD be provided in all cases, but especially in my case -- international shipping -- and considering I paid $52 for the purpose, there's no reason not to do so). Nevertheless, I appreciate the professionalism of the President. Unfortunately, some "mook" responded three hours later, advising me that they are "non-profit" (yadda, yadda) and then finishing by saying he couldn't provide a date for when my book would arrive, but that if it didn't arrive in two weeks, I could contact the sales department THEN to ask where it was (and, of course, someone at the sales department would check the tracking number -- which I asked for and didn't received -- to try and locate the package).

THAT, my friends, is anything but good customer service.
And seems like the response of a ten-year-old, pimply, basement-hidden geek who using his or her only means of power over someone who trusted in them to provide mature, courteous, customer service.

For my part, I CAN say that at least THREE Small Press Publishers have displayed GREAT professionalism and a high quality of customer service: Ziesing, Arkham House, Golden Gryphon, and SUBTERRANEAN PRESS. The last one is, of course, still in business, and STILL an EXEMPLARY producer of both QUALITY BOOKS and GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE!

If only ALL small publishers were as great as Subterranean Press.
"JUST SAYIN": you have me at an advantage. You know my name, but I don't know yours. Care to share?

All best from oz,

Just Sayin'
- Thursday, April 27 2017 16:58:39

Dorman: You may be right, but I still haven't found his initial gripe about that -- it certainly wasn't in the previous post I responded to -- must "of" been on another page.

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Thursday, April 27 2017 13:24:59

An amusing sidenote to the story of the Isis militants killed by wild boars: USA TODAY's article about the event was written by (you can't make this up) James Bacon.

- Thursday, April 27 2017 7:24:51

bombs, boars & mystics
One of my favorite Ellison stories is known alternatively as "Mad Bomber" or "Opposites Attract". The scholars amongst us will correct me if I'm wrong but I believe it is included in the NO DOORS NO WINDOWS collection and it was adapted in the second volume of HE's DREAM CORRIDOR. It's a love story really, about two people who were, well...made for each other.

I was reminded of this detonative little tale this week by the publication of INCENDIARY: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling by journalist Michael Cannell. It is about the comburent career of George Metesky, the so-called "Mad Bomber", who terrorized New York in the 40s and 50s. What set him off was a labor dispute with Con Ed that ignited into a reign of terror interrupted only by a patriotic hiatus for the duration of WWII. The book is also not least a wonderful evocation of 50s New York which I understand was a charged place to live back then.


This is the surreal story of the day. (http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/wild-boars-overrun-islamic-state-position-kill-3-militants/ar-BBAmjUs) Here one can only root for the pigs but I'm sure even as we chat here so enjoyably someone on the Trump National Security Council is deep in thought about this.


Haven't thought about Carlos Castaneda in years. I remember being absorbed by the first book which I would have read in the mid-70s I guess as a teenager. It read like a good fantasy novel of mystic adventure and personal transformation which is of course what it turned out to actually be. It certainly captured the spirit of the times.

But it was presented as scholarship and got Castaneda a reputation as an expert which he did not deserve. And it made Castaneda and UCLA a shitload of money under false pretenses. Not to mention that it exploited and falsified and trivialized a traditional culture whose "wisdom" it claimed to be explicating for clueless teenagers like your humble correspondent.

But almost as bad, Castaneda helped create the New Age Ancient Wisdom industry that plagues us still. "Noble Savage" romanticism and racism we seem destined to have with us always, propagated by well meaning seekers who think they are honoring the ancients while erasing them from history no less certainly than our own ancestors did.

St. Pete, FL - Thursday, April 27 2017 4:6:35

DTS, thanks for that NESFA update. Are SF books the only category where you pay in advance for a book and the promised publication date is almost never met?! When you order an item in advance which hasn't been produced they should only charge you once the item ships.

- Thursday, April 27 2017 3:1:48

addendum: NESFA -- not nefsa
Addendum: make that NESFA, _not_ Nefsa, Hurried off without looking the note over when posting earlier in the day.

- Wednesday, April 26 2017 15:29:40

A LIT FUSE -- limited edition shipping now or real soon
ALL WEBDERLANDERS (concerned): My last email exchange with a Rep at NEFSA (4 days ago, approx.) informed me that the Limited Edition books were in their offices and that a "team" was being assembled -- LOL -- to ship the books via the US Postal system.

Just a heads up for you folks in the USA that ordered a copy. Mine, heavy sigh, won't arrive for a couple of weeks (or more) _after_ it ships. (Still not sure if it has shipped, yet).

JUST SAYIN: For a guy who decries Bill O'Reilly and claims to never have watched him, you definitely have his "no-spin"/spin on things down pat! LOL From what I discerned, Simon grumbled about you and another referencing things posted many pages ago without quoting obscure references. Which is decidedly NOTHING like saying one shouldn't reply to old messages. (What's the point of making a purposely erroneous post like that anyway?)

ALL: With the Brand New Harlan Ellison biography printed and soon to be in the mails, I have renewed high hopes for another Harlan Ellison-written book -- BLOOD'S A ROVER -- or story ("Stalactites"; "Pet"; "From A to Z, in the Lemon-Lime Alphabet") to appear real soon!

To quote "Ash" (of the "Evil Dead"): Groovy!

Cheers from oz,

Just Sayin'
- Wednesday, April 26 2017 12:27:18


"Simon sez" we shouldn't reply to messages that went up (p)ages ago, as if everyone were here as often as he is.

But I guess his questions to me will be left hanging -- except for one: I never watched Bill O'Liely, so his ouster affects me not at all. Likewise Faux News -- "we distort, you deride". I doubt you (alan) can claim the same. So rather than making inflated claims for a dead man, why not deal with something current?

- Wednesday, April 26 2017 4:23:2

Kenneth, dude...
...Silicon Valley is on the way "out" -- as a major player, power, etc.

Much like -- and I type this with a wistful keyboard -- Amurrica.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, - Tuesday, April 25 2017 17:25:34

Robert Nason
Your religious scam should be based on the nonsensical notion of the Singularity. Not only is Silicon Valley where all the money is these days, but there is no question whatsoever that that particular bunch is extremely vulnerable to appeals to their smugness and intellectual vanity. Just make sure your sermons come across like TED Talks.

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Tuesday, April 25 2017 17:12:8

alan -- You're right, I don't give a damn. But I see that Castaneda's first book, THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN, ranks 7,571 on Amazon's today, not bad for a book published nearly a half century ago. I should probably reread it in order to educate myself on how to perpetrate a lucrative scam of my own. Maybe I can start a new religion...

largo, fl. - Tuesday, April 25 2017 10:50:46

I do believe Mr. Nason,you just don't give a damn.....
about the many millions rushing out to buy the newest Castaneda book,rocketing to number one on all the book sales chart for one week,then poof,gone.One year later the same,remarkable,really.

Jason Davis <ellison.editor@gmail.com>
Burbank, CA - Monday, April 24 2017 11:46:30


Thanks for remembering my plea for help in spotting typos.

Before I got properly underway with the Harlan Ellison Books Preservation Project, I thought it would be helpful. Now that I'm four months in, the system in place circumvents the need to chronicle typos in later editions of Harlan's books.

No need to tell me about any Ellison typos...unless you find one in a book bought from HarlanEllisonBooks.com; tell me about those, by all means!

My thanks to all who assisted with this matter.


- Monday, April 24 2017 4:28:52

Shatterday/Open Road typos
Alexander, last I heard, Jason Davis at HarlanEllisonBooks dot com wants any and every one to email him --at that site -- with news of any typos and errors. He's trying to correct all of them during his digital transfer, or upgrade or whatever, project.

Perhaps you should send him a note.

Alexander Nystrom <alexnystrom@yahoo.com>
Stockholm, Sweden - Monday, April 24 2017 3:12:31

Good stories and lack of proofreading
I'm currently re-reading Shatterday, which is a wonderful collection of stories. However, I'm astonished at the amount of typos. Are all Open Road Media editions like this? A shame, considering the fact that Harlan is very much pro-correct grammar, spelling and all.

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Saturday, April 22 2017 23:10:28

Frankly it's a disgrace that David Miscavige was able to blackmail the IRS into giving Scientology tax-exempt status as a religion. Because once it was officially classified as a religion, Scientology has been able to indulge in all sorts of scary and harmful shit with legal immunity. Is it possible for a religion to to have it's tax-exempt status revoked? In fact, why not have all religions' tax exempt status revoked? The rest of us could sure use the money.

Chuck Messer <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Lakewood, Colorado - Saturday, April 22 2017 23:2:52

First they came for Pussy Riot, and they applauded. Then the Jehovah's Witnesses. Etc.

I think of Scientology as a cult and a possible criminal enterprise. So does Interpol, so guess who's on Scientology's shit list?

I was once awaked by someone ringing my doorbell. I work graveyard, so I sleep during the day. I went to the apartment building's front door, and there was a guy in a suit and tie who smiled brightly when he saw me approaching in my jammies. He said he wanted to talk about Our Lord God. I told him about my sleeping situation and he looked genuinely distressed and apologized. That was that. The JW's may be obnoxious, but they seem to be decent people. Certainly not deserving of the treatment that they (and I suspect anyone trying to compete with the Orthodox Church) could be getting at the hands of Putin's dictatorship.

I'm sure there's plenty to investigate about Scientology without impinging on their religious freedom.

Ask Interpol.


Andrew Laubacher
Lackawanna, Noo Yawk - Saturday, April 22 2017 19:9:47

I know: we should respect the beliefs of others. Yadda, yadda, yadda. But that's difficult when we get to such scams/cults as scientology and such figures as con artist Joseph Smith.

- Saturday, April 22 2017 4:38:35

John Q, sadly...
"John Q." sadly, your comment -- replete with the need to label one of "the person who wrote" the quote you refer to --

"Most of our views are shaped by communal groupthink rather than individual rationality, and we cling to these views because of group loyalty."

-- merely underscores the valid point that the two authors (there was more than one person, which you missed in your rush to make that kneejerk comment) have made in those first three sentences:

"Most of our views are shaped by communal groupthink rather than individual rationality, and we cling to these views because of group loyalty. Bombarding people with facts and exposing their individual ignorance is likely to backfire. Most people don’t like too many facts, and they certainly don’t like to feel stupid." -- THE KNOWLEDGE ILLUSION by Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Friday, April 21 2017 15:20:32

To Andrew and JW -- This is when I relate the well-known anecdote that begins "First they came for the Jews..." But I don't have to continue -- you know the rest.

John Q.
- Friday, April 21 2017 15:17:13

"Most of our views are shaped by communal groupthink rather than individual rationality, and we cling to these views because of group loyalty."

This would be credible if the person who wrote the above was not also entrenched in The New Religion, i.e., the so-called progressive left, which comes with its own entrenched version of cock-sure groupthink.

Andrew Laubacher
Lackawanna, NY - Friday, April 21 2017 12:35:18

Religion and Russia
"Russia has officially banned the Jehovah's witnesses."

no. don't. stop.

For an encore could Russia ban scientology (if it hasn't done so already)? Pretty please? What's their feelings over there about the Mormons?

- Friday, April 21 2017 12:23:39

Jovo's Heave Ho
Russia has officially banned the Jehovah's witnesses. I suppose from a religious freedom perspective we should be concerned, but I just can't.

SAN DIEGO, California - Thursday, April 20 2017 21:16:6

Hey, kids, just an FYI:

There will be a three hour memorial/celebration of Ed Bryant and his life and work in Denver at the famed Mercury Cafe on Sunday, June 4th, from 1 -4 pm. I'll be flying to Colo. for the event and lots of other writerly types (Connie Willis, Wil McCarthy, etc.) will be in attendance.

- Thursday, April 20 2017 19:43:12

Sorry bout the typo in the subject line below.
And I have no fucking idea what "Denise" is on about.

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