Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

January Books 4) Again, Dangerous Visions

4) Again, Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison

This is the famous follow-up volume to the even more famous Dangerous Visions, which I read almost exactly three years ago; an anthology of 41 stories, mainly by the leading lights of sf as it was in 1972, with vast amounts of prefatory material by editor Harlan Ellison and an afterword from each author, and nice art from Ed Emshwiller introducing each story.

But what is striking is how unmemorable and self-indulgent most of the stories are (also true of Ellison's long-winded prefaces). The three best are definitely Ursula Le Guin's "The Word for World is Forest", Joanna Russ's "When it Changed", and James Tiptree Jr's "The Milk of Paradise"; interestingly all three have the same basic plot, of an unspoilt planet being wrecked by us humans. Many of the others are just silly, Kurt Vonnegut being particularly proud of Using Rude Words To Be Grown-Up. In fact, the only other one I enjoyed was James Blish's erotic pastiche "Getting Along", which parodies numerous High Gothic writers - I particularly liked his riff on The Moon Pool.

But four memorable stories out of 41 is a very poor strike rate. I couldn't in all conscience recommend anyone to spend money on this collection, and I am wondering, heretically, if it is really such a shame that the third volume of the series never appeared.
Tags: bookblog 2008, reading resolutions 2008, writer: harlan ellison, writer: james blish, writer: james tiptree jr, writer: joanna russ, writer: ursula le guin
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