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Again, Dangerous Visions: 46 Original Stories Edited by Harlan Ellison Hardcover – 1972
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OVER 40 SHORT STORIES FROM HARLAN ELLISON, KURT VONNEGUT, ROBIN SCOTT, JAMES TIPTREE, JAMES SALLIS, LEE HOFFMAN AND MANY OTHERS. Minor marks to covers. DJ not present. Interior is clean with no writing etc. Strong binding. All pages are present. Nice book great price!
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Top Customer Reviews
Because it is WONDERFUL. Yes, I've read at least half the stories elsewhere in other collections; yes, some of them are dated (especially Fred Pohl's); no, some of the concepts are not so dangerous anymore - but as a collection, for someone who is genuinely interested in how SF has evolved, this was brilliant.
One could wish that Harlan Ellison had restrained himself a little - he is so over-the-top he comes over like an excited over-erudite schoolkid - but the afterwords to each story by the authors were wonderful, and give a real insight into the Why of each story.
For history buffs, then, and those who REMEMBER the Golden Age and th New Wave (I was there for the end of one, and during the next) - a Must Read.
For youngsters: go on - find out why your parents liked it! Thrill at teh wild punny ride of The Purple Wage with Phil J Farmer; go on another crazy, androgynous ride with Chip Delany; feel a chill go down your spine with Robert Bloch and Ellison's Jack the Ripper. But ENJOY!
Even the most conventional story in the book, "The Jigsaw Man" by Larry Niven, extrapolates a current trend to an unhappy future (at least for the protagonist).
This is not a bad thing. Golden Age SF is full of stories where the future is good and the protagonists overcome the central challenge. The time was ripe for a collection of dystopian stories.
And some of the stories fall outside this theme. After all, Ellison's stated goal is fresh, taboo-breaking stories, and there's more to that than bad views of the future. Theodore Sturgeon breaks taboos and stays upbeat. Norman Spinrad writes a psychedelic fable and makes it work. Philip Jose Farmer's story is so weird that I couldn't even understand the first few pages, and I didn't even notice when it did start to make sense. And Fritz Leiber doesn't break any taboos but damn his story swings.
Ellison got Asimov to write an introduction, a classy touch -- a way of showing respect to the old school while starting a new one.
Here are seven that seemed a little better than the others:
- Frederik Pohl's "The Day After the Day the Martians Came" - When the Martians arrive there is worldwide excitement. Then the wonder wears off and everybody starts talking about them.
- Miriam deFord's "The Malley System" - A new method of punishing violent criminals reduces the recidivism rate dramatically. But not the rehabilitation rate.
- Larry Niven's "The Jigsaw Man" - In the future there is strong public support for an organ donation program integrated with the driving licensing process. What possible harm?
- James Cross's "The Doll-House" - This is more of a three-wishes-from-a-genie fantasy story than it is science fiction. The moral: Treat your genie well.
- John Brunner's "Judas" - This story reenacts an important New Testament lesson.
- Norman Spinrad's "Carcinoma Angels" - A man who has achieved everything is diagnosed with cancer. He fights and wins his last battle. Alone.
- Samuel Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah..." - Explores relationships between asexual Spacers, who are neutered before puberty, and frelk, who are attracted to them.
This anthology and its second volume, Again, Dangerous Visions, are important landmarks in science fiction history and contain some innovative and provocative ideas. There is a noticeable, but not off-putting air of adolescence about the way many of the stories jump in the reader's face. You can get a feel for this from two of the shorter stories. Henry Slesar's "Ersatz" delivers a sexual shock (to 1960's sensibilities) without having much else to say. Damon Knight's "Shall the Dust Praise Thee?" makes similar gratuitous use of a religious topic. It's a sixties thing.
Nevertheless, there are some good stories that are worth reading.