on 10 January 2003
.....make sure its this one. Originally published in 1967 and now reissued by IBooks in three different covers, this is one of the landmark works in science fiction, an essential read for anyone interested in the field, and a kick in the intellectuals for those who demean the world of SF for its lack of ‘quality writing’. Here are 33 stories with not a bad one among them.Certainly some are better than others, and some will leave you wondering what on earth they were meant to be about. But some will stimulate, some will thrill and a few, just a few, may change the way you view life. And that’s a few more than in most anthologies available nowadays. Honourable mentions go to Theodore Sturgeon’s “If all Men Were Brothers Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?”, Larry Niven’s “Jigsaw Man”, Fritz Leiber’s “Gonna Roll the Bones”, Spinrad’s “Carcinoma Angels”, and Philip Jose Farmer’s wild and weird ‘Riders of the Purple Wage’. Even the UK gets included with fine stories by Brian Aldiss and J G Ballard. Ellison provides a useful introduction to each story. It’s obvious from these short pieces that he’s passionately enthusiastic about both the writers and their subject matter. Allowing each writer an afterword to their story is an interesting device which works on some occasions and not others. Apparently this book has been in print ever since it was published but this is the first time I’ve been able to get hold of a copy . I suggest you take advantage of this opportunity to do the same.
on 11 June 2012
"Dangerous Visions" is the Sgt Pepper of science fiction - the most famous symbol of the achievement and ambition of its artform in the 1960s (to the extent it even came out around the same time). And like Sgt Pepper, it's not necessarily the best work in that particular artform in the 1960s, but no-one's arguing about landmark status.
Ellison's intention was to create the first wholly original SF anthology, and one which, by dropping the censorship restrictions of the magazine market, would show the maturity and daring in both form and content which the genre had achieved by the mid-sixties. This was partly done because it was a good idea, and partly as a thumbed nose to the serious literary world, which then as now had a rather disdainful view of genre fiction. The full story is told in Ellison's introduction, which also explains why it all ended up being way, way bigger than anyone had originally expected.
That's partly because it's not just full of stories. Ellison's copious editorial material, the afterwords to each story by the authors, not one but two why-the-hell-not prefaces from Isaac Asimov (and Ellison's response), and the excellent illustrations all add to the book's length. They also create its rollicking, carnivalesque feel and uniquely sixties sense of optimism. For a book that prides itself on "danger", it's a remarkably upbeat read.
The stories themselves vary widely in style, content and quality: there are no stinkers, a few classics, several award-winners and a few that don't stay in your memory. Some, inevitably, have dated a bit, but not as many or as much as you might think. Many very big names from the era are present, including Anderson, Farmer, Aldiss, Leiber, Ballard, Pohl, Sturgeon, Dick, Spinrad, Niven, Laumer, Delany, Zelazny, Silverberg and Ellison himself. I don't normally single out "best" stories when discussing anthologies, as individual tastes in these things vary so much, but the understated wisdom of Pohl's "The Day After The Day The Martians Came" has stayed with me for decades, Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah..." says all you'll ever need to know about the cult of the celebrity, and Sturgeon's "If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?" has the best title. David Bunch's "Moderan" stories are the most audacious literary efforts, darkly ironic fabulations with a heart of pure steel.
There was some controversy at the time as to whether the book was really as "dangerous" as the large amounts of accompanying hype, much of it fomented by the editor, suggested. Although it's widely cited as a "New Wave" book, some of the stories and contributors certainly fall way outside that admittedly vague (sic) umbrella. It was often suggested that the contemporary work in the UK's "New Worlds" magazine, edited by Michael Moorcock, was far bolder in terms of both content and literary inventiveness. That's almost certainly true, though ironically the argument would have been less strong if the story Ballard's agent submitted, "The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered As A Downhill Motor Race", had ever reached Ellison. It didn't, and the "replacement", "The Recognition", is one of Ballard's weakest stories, prompting some in the Moorcock camp to criticise Ellison's timidity. Ellison's side of the story is told in the 1972 follow-up, "Again, Dangerous Visions".
"Again, Dangerous Visions" is a better (and even longer) book, and one which comes much closer to fulfilling the promises made by the original volume. But it's less of an event than the first book, which, nearly 50 years on, still conveys exuberance, fun and energy. Is "Sgt Pepper" really a great album? Maybe, maybe not. But it's a great experience, with amazing moments. And "Dangerous Visions", the "Sgt. Pepper" of SF, is one of SF's greatest experiences, and if at least some of its amazing moments don't dazzle you, nothing will.
on 19 September 2012
I originally bought this superb anthology when it was originally released (in two volumes) during the early 1970's.
I treasured it and re-read it many times and so I was delighted to see a one volume re-issue here on Amazon.
The contents are;
FOREWORD: YEAR 2002
by Michael Moorcock
by Lester del Rey
by Robert Silverberg
THE DAY AFTER THE DAY THE MARTIANS CAME:
THE DAY AFTER THE DAY THE MARTIANS CAME
by Frederik Pohl
RIDERS OF THE PURPLE WAGE:
RIDERS OF THE PURPLE WAGE
or The Great Gavage
by Philip José Farmer
THE MALLEY SYSTEM:
THE MALLEY SYSTEM
by Miriam Allen deFord
A TOY FOR JULIETTE:
A TOY FOR JULIETTE
by Robert Bloch
THE PROWLER IN THE CITY AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD:
THE PROWLER IN THE CITY AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
by Harlan Ellison
THE NIGHT THAT ALL TIME BROKE OUT:
THE NIGHT THAT ALL TIME BROKE OUT
by Brian W. Aldiss
THE MAN WHO WENT TO THE MOON--TWICE:
THE MAN WHO WENT TO THE MOON--TWICE
by Howard Rodman
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS:
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS
by Philip K. Dick
THE JIGSAW MAN:
THE JIGSAW MAN
by Larry Niven
GONNA ROLL THE BONES:
GONNA ROLL THE BONES
by Fritz Leiber
LORD RANDY, MY SON:
LORD RANDY, MY SON
by Joe L. Hensley
by Poul Anderson
A PAIR OF BUNCH:
INCIDENT IN MODERAN
by David R. Bunch
by David R. Bunch
by James Cross
SEX AND/OR MR. MORRISON:
SEX AND/OR MR. MORRISON
by Carol Emshwiller
SHALL THE DUST PRAISE THEE?:
SHALL THE DUST PRAISE THEE?
by Damon Knight
IF ALL MEN WERE BROTHERS, WOULD YOU LET ONE MARRY YOUR SISTER?:
IF ALL MEN WERE BROTHERS, WOULD YOU LET ONE MARRY YOUR SISTER?
by Theodore Sturgeon
WHAT HAPPENED TO AUGUSTE CLAROT?:
WHAT HAPPENED TO AUGUSTE CLAROT?
by Larry Eisenberg
by Henry Slesar
GO, GO, GO, SAID THE BIRD:
GO, GO, GO, SAID THE BIRD
by Sonya Dorman
THE HAPPY BREED:
THE HAPPY BREED
by John T. Sladek
ENCOUNTER WITH A HICK:
ENCOUNTER WITH A HICK
by Jonathan Brand
FROM THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:
FROM THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
by Kris Neville
LAND OF THE GREAT HORSES:
LAND OF THE GREAT HORSES
by R. A. Lafferty
by J. G. Ballard
by John Brunner
TEST TO DESTRUCTION:
TEST TO DESTRUCTION
by Keith Laumer
by Norman Spinrad
by Roger Zelazny
AYE, AND GOMORRAH . . .:
AYE, AND GOMORRAH . . .
by Samuel R. Delany
Each story has something to offer and any fans of horror, science fiction or weird fiction will love this.
I do hope this edition is successful enough that "Again, Dangerous Visions" is also re-released and I would love someone to finally put out the planned but unpublished third volume "The Last Dangerous Visions".
on 2 May 2016
Dangerous Visions was originally published in 1967 and remains perhaps the most famous anthology in the history of science fiction. It is credited with defining at least the US version of the New Wave movement in SF (as opposed to the related but slightly different British version). It contains over 30 short stories, novelettes and novellas, each with an introduction, nearly all by the editor Harlan Ellison, who also contributes a story, and a short afterword by the author.
Many of the stories were written to have some shock value. This is inevitably less so when they are read today, though by no means entirely lacking. There is some variation in story quality and no doubt even more in the reactions to each story by individual readers. Several of the stories won major awards in the SF field and it remains an interesting and varied collection with some top quality pieces.
For me personally the following are the stand-put stories. “Gonna Roll the Bones” by Fritz Leiber features a strange and macabre game of craps between Joe Slattermill, a miner, and a professional gambler who may be Death incarnate. “Auto-da-Fe” by Roger Zelazny concerns a future version of a bullfight where a “mechador” fights cars with electronic brains. "Aye, and Gomorrah" by Samuel Delany features a future in which space pilots are neutered before puberty to avoid the affects of cosmic radiation on the reproductive cells, producing androgynous beings who are objects of sexual fetish for a particular subculture. Other excellent stories in the anthology include the contributions by Robert Silverberg and Philip K. Dick. The best story by a British author is for me "The Recognition" by J. G. Ballard. Another notable and award-winning contribution is "Riders of the Purple Wage" by Philip José Farmer.
I would recommend this anthology, especially to anyone interested in the New Wave SF writing of the 60s and 70s.
on 20 May 2014
This review is of the Kindle SFMasterworks edition.
Anyone who reads SF has heard of this anthology. First published in 1967, it's the literary equivalent of films like Psychedelia: a great many big names appearing early in their careers. Larry Niven, Philip K Dick, Poul Anderson, Theodore Sturgeon, John Sladek. I recently started reading SF again and hadn't heard many of these names since my childhood.
It's fair to say this book was the "Sopranos" of SF: it took an established genre and shook it up, making people reconsider what they thought SF was. All these stories are idea-driven, genuine explorations of what happens when mankind and his technology develop in ways these writers imagine.
Only one of Ellison's own stories appears (The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World) but you can "hear" his voice in other stories, since they influenced many later careers. Perhaps this book and the Gardner Dozois anthologies are all you need to read the best work ever in short-form SF.
on 8 June 2013
I originally bought this book when it was first published in 1967, back when many of these stories were actually considered dangerous - dealing with such "controversial" subjects as incest and homosexuality, and a physical manifestation of God. Some of them are still moderately controversial today, but it's interesting to reread them now, 46 years later, in ebook form.
Harlan Ellison is one of the best science fiction and fantasy short story writers, and I've bought every nook he's written. There was a lot of hype when this book was published; it contained short works by well-established and much less well-known authors, all with the remit of producing a story which challenge conventional views of the world.
Standouts are Robert Bloch's and Ellison's takes on the Jack the Ripper story; Philip Jose Farmer's "Riders of the Purple Wage" and Theodore Sturgeon's wonderfully titled "If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?"
Well worth buying, but don't expect to be as shocked in 2013 as some were in 1967.