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The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective Paperback – 28 Oct 2005

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1250 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Group; Rev Ed edition (28 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883398606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883398606
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,285,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Master fantasist, Harlan Ellison has written and edited nearly eighty books and has garnered countless awards. He has won everything from Hugos, Nebulas, Silver Pens, and is the only writer to have won the Writers Guild Award for Outstanding Teleplay four times. He is considered by many to be the finest contemporary short story and essay writer.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the title, this collection is an eclectic hodge-podge of Ellison's writings. They haven't included his shopping lists, but it's getting close. I found myself ploughing through articles on, say, video dating, in the hope of finding another "I Have No Eyes But I Must Scream"-quality story that I hadn't read yet.

Sadly, sifting this morass of Ellison for nuggets rapidly became a chore for me rather than a pleasure, and I would only recommend this volume to people who just can't get enough Ellison rather than those who want an essential collection of his fiction.
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Format: Paperback
The point of this book is that Ellison ISN'T and never was just a fantasy story writer. This is why the book - a weighty tome to be sure - goes all over the map in terms of content. Criticism, articles, scriptwriting...there's something to represent most of his activities. That may make it a little 'bitty', but it does cover a wide spectrum of his writing activity.

If you've ever read his book concerning his 'City on the Edge of Forever' script for STAR TREK, you will know that the essay that starts the book is one of the most amusing things he has done, and yet it's Ellison at his angriest and most irrascible too. It's NOT just his stories that are worth reading (in fact, often they're the least captivating of his output).

If you want a varied introduction (and I don't actually speak as a particular admirer of the man) this isnt a bad place to start.

Make sure you keep a big space on your bookshelf though.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 18 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Long live Harlan! 7 Sept. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Few writers are able to craft prose like Harlan Ellison. There's an economy to his writing that is as striking now as it was 50 years ago. My only complaint is that I would have preferred a simple comprehensive chronological reprint of his library without so many long and repetitive introductions. I will read the stories over and over but the intros quickly become something just to flip through to get to the meat.

The "essence" is there but many of my favorite stories, regrettably, are not.

But since so most of his work is out of print and he exercises such tight control over distribution, I'm very happy to have this collection.

Absolutely worth it. Can't wait for 60 year edition!
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks, Harlan, you've never let me down. 19 July 2015
By Steve Tedder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harlan Ellison is one of the all-time greats of science fiction. He has that genius for finding the right word that makes the hair on the back of the reader's neck stand up. His writing has mostly been in short formats, which makes it hard to assemble a good selection without looking for dozens of odd paperbacks. Hence, this massive tome, which makes it possible to grab most of the best stuff at a single stroke. I was amazed to find that one of the first stories in the book was one I remembered reading as a kid when it was first published. Thanks, Harlan, you've never let me down. And thanks particularly for busting up that joint in College Station!
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessity for those who value wit, vision, & individuality 10 Oct. 2001
By punkviper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This truly is a godsend for those folks who always heard about Ellison's work, but were thwarted upon realizing that 90% of his written output is out-of-print. This tome was long-delayed [...] but thankfully delivered into the eager hands of any who wish to experience the vivid freedom of HE's pen. Ellison remains the classic "angry young man" of speculative fiction, even after all these years, and this compendium harbors so many of the highlights that make him, quite possibly, America's greatest living short-story writer.
There really is no way to put an exacting finger on what Ellison writes. It is certainly not your run-of-the-mill sci-fi, not cheap-shock horror, and not suspense dreck. It's thoughtful, highly engaging, sometimes allegorical, and always thought-provoking stuff that you just don't find in modern writers anymore. Almost like a prickly cross between George Orwell and Lewis Carroll. He is most certainly still ahead of his time, and will most likely require decades after his passing for the world to truly catch up to him and realize what a treasure he is.
So start here if you're curious about Ellisonia, then after your appetite is whetted and your curiosity piqued, track down the stuff in its original form so you can experience all of the good stuff, not merely highlights from a superb & lengthy career.
This is vital American literature.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 14 Mar. 2017
By Leigh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've waited forever to get my hands on a copy, and this is in excellent shape--highly recommended collection from one of my inspirations!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the premier collection of Harlan Ellison Stories 17 Mar. 2013
By Hholly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best collections of Harlan Ellison's writings I've ever read, or started to read. That is, I'm savoring my way through the book, as I write this review. I'm enjoying stories I haven't read in years, as though for the first time, as well as stories that are wonderfully new to me.

I would recommend this anthology to anyone: from a long-term and devoted fan, to someone who's only recently discovered the wonderful diversity of his work.
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