This one is for
more than just a friend for twenty-seven years
whose camraderie stretches back through thirty-eight years to days of youth in Cleveland
Contents and Copyright DatesForeword: The Cricket Beneath the Hammer (by Robert Crais, 1990)
The Lost Secrets of East Atlantis (July 8, 1989)
Installment 1: My Father (Los Angeles Free Press, 10/26/72)
Installments 2-4: Valerie (Los Angeles Free Press Nov 3-24 '72)
Installment 5: Getting Stiffed (Los Angeles Free Press, 11/30/72)
Installment 6: The Tyranny of the Weak, and Some Foreshadowing (Los Angeles Free Press, 12/07/72)
Installment 7: With Bloch and Bormann in Brazil (Los Angeles Free Press, 12/14/62)
Installment 8: The First of Three Culinary Comments (Los Angeles Free Press, 12/21/72)
Installment 9: No Offense Intended, but Fuck Xmas! (Los Angeles Free Press, 12/28/72)
Installment 10: The Day I Died (The Los Angeles Free Press, 03/04/73)
Installment 21: Fair Weather Friends, Summer Soldiers, and Sunshine Patriots (Los Angeles Free Press, 03/29/73)
Installments 22&24: Troubling Thoughts About Godhood (Los Angeles Free Press, 04/06/73)
Installment 23: Bless That Pesky Wabbit (Los Angeles Free Press, 04/19/73)
Installment 25: Where Shadow Collides with Reality: A Preamble (Los Angeles Free Press, 05/11/73)
Installments 26 & 27: When I Was a Hired Gun (Los Angeles Free Press, 05/25/73 and 06/27/73)
Installment 28: A Rare, Kindly Thought (Los Angeles Free Press, 07/12/73)
Installment 29: 3 Small Pleasures for a More Endurable Existence (Los Angeles Free Press, 07/19/72)
Installment 30: Varieties of Venue (Los Angeles Weekly News, 08/09/73)
Installment 31: Why I Fantasize About Using an AK-47 on Teenagers (Los Angeles Weekly News, 08/16/73)
Installment 32: In Which the Imp of Delight Tries to Make the World Smile (Los Angeles Weekly News, 08/23/73)
Installment 33: I Go to Bed Angry Every Night, and Wake Up Angrier the Next Morning (Los Angeles Weekly News, 08/30/73)
Installment 34: Ahbhu (Los Angeles Weekly News, 09/06/73)
Installment 35 & 36: Death Row, San Quentin (Los Angeles Weekly News, 09/30/73 and 09/27/73)
Installment 37, 39, & 40: College Days (Los Angeles Weekly News, 10/25/73, 11/08/73, and 11/15/73)
Installment 38: The Death-Wish of a Golden Idea (Los Angeles Weekly News, 11/01/73)
Installment 41: The Last of Three Culinary Comments, Gonzo-Style (Los Angeles Weekly News, 11/22/73)
Installment 42: Out of the Mail Bag (Los Angeles Weekly News, 11/29/73)
Installment 43: Oh, Dear, He's Not Going to Do Xmas Again, Is He? (Los Angeles Weekly News, 12/13/73)
Installment 44: The Death of My Mother, Serita R. Ellison (Saint Louis Literary Supplement, 1976)
Installment 45: Enormous Dumb
Installment 46: Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don't Look So Terrific Yourself (Strange Wine, Harper & Row, 1978)
Appendix A: Comic of the Absurd
Appendix B: Dogging It in the Great American Heartland
Appendix C: Darkness Falls in the City of the Angels
Appendix C: Lenny Bruce is Dead
Appendix E: Did Your Mother Throw Yours Out?
Appendix F: The Song the Sixties Sang
Appendix G: The Dingbat Appendix
Stories about Louis Laverne Ellison, his life and death.
I had a hard time with this one, to say the least. I have had three "fathers" in my life. Biological, whom I know nothing whatsoever about, adoptive, whom I discussed earlier, and step, which I hate with a fierce passion for a number of reasons. As I read about the many kindnesses and sacrifices of Louis Ellison, I couldnt help but feel hurt and jealous, both in equal measure. Not everyone is as fortunate as to have a kind and compassionate father. There are plenty who abuse their children physically, verbally and sexually, more than most of us would like to admit. Some abuse the position of fatherhood, while others, like Louis Ellison, honor it.
Presented in three columns--
Part 1: The author finds himself attracted to woman named Valerie, and continues an off-and-on relationship with her.
Part 2: Valerie makes off with the authors credit cards. He eventually confronts her.
Part 3: Harlan Ellison decides to press charges and finally sends her to jail.
A focus on the hypocrisy, loneliness, and pain of this so-called "joyous season".
As one of the most controversial essays in the Hornbook, it is almost impossible to not feel strongly one way or the other. Many people, especially the very religious sort, will hate this essay as coming from the lips of Satan. But a great deal of others, myself included, will nod in agreement, and thank whatever god they worship that someone finally had the guts to tell it like it is. Ask any psychologist and they will tell you that the suicide rates soar during the Xmas season. And the holidays are hell for the families of alcoholics, as they give the person a perfect excuse for drinking. Makes the phrase "Merry Xmas" sort of a contradiction in itself, no?
Presented in two parts--
Part 1: A story from Harlan Ellisons teenage years, when he was a gofer and bodyguard for a paranoid neurotic by the name of Al Wilson. He is given strange errands, odd instructions, and dangerous jobs.
Part 2: Al falls in love, and commissions the author to deliver the girl a raw steak as a token of his love, then asks him to travel to Cincinnati with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist.
A look at the apathy and ignorance of the teenage generation.
Even though I am a teenager myself, I have to agree with Mr. Ellison. My generation is flat-out pathetic. The only thing they ever seem to think about is popularity, fashion trends, and boyfriends or girlfriends. Shallowness, superficiality, and a frightening lack of concern are the hallmark of this generation. They worship television, but shudder in terror at the concept of reading a book just for the enjoyment of it. Insecure, they fear thinking for themselves, and Athena Herself help them if they ever have to be alone and silent for a moment! Closed minds and empty heads are the result of our times. Granted, there are exceptions, but these are few and far between. What ever happened to the concept of free thinking, of learning rather than ignorance, of being more than just mediocre? Many, many times I have looked at my peers, and hung my head in shame, embarrassed to be grouped together with these people.
Harlan Ellison talks about the loss of his beloved dog, Ahbhu.
The loss of a pet is probably one of the most painful experiences anyone can go through. A pet listens when no one else does, a pet loves unconditionally, and a pet will always be there to cheer you up. It is best friend, child, and family all in one. And losing that companion hurts like hell. The hardest part of all this is making the decision to put that animal to sleep. It is the final acknowledgment that your friend, your pal, is truly sick and in pain. In a case like this, love carries a heavy burden. On one hand, it ends the creatures pain, but it is not easy to let go. Still, let go one must. This brings about the realization that love is doing what is best, not what is always the easiest or most pleasant.
Presented in two parts--
Part 1: Harlan Ellison visits killer Ronald Fouquet at San Quentin, and describes the prison in detail.
Part 2: Harlan meets Ronald Fouquet face-to-face, and gives his impression of him.
Presented in three parts:
Part 1: The authors short college experience, and how he ended up being kicked out of Ohio State.
Part 2: The author's fraternity days at OSU, and subsequent expulsion.
Part 3: The story of Don Epstien, who had his dreams killed by the college system
Mrs. Ellisons death, funeral, and euology
"You dont know what you got till its gone" is a quote that sums up this essay. Indeed, when our loved ones are alive, it is easy to overlook how special they are to us. Remembering the dead is painful, but essential for us to do so that we may continue to grow. The loss of a parent in particular is difficult, because parents, in many cases, are the people that we have lived with most of our lives, our caretakers, and our teachers, and when they die, a part of ourselves goes into the grave with them.
Stories Review by Nicole WalterHarlanEllison.com is under new management. Thank you to Rick Wyatt for his many years of dutiful stewardship of this site.