In a prolific career spanning more than 50 years, Harlan Ellison has been the acclaimed master of speculative fiction. In fact, a 1999 Locus poll named him the all-time best writer of short fiction as well as the editor of the all-time best anthology (Dangerous Visions). In addition to his dozens of Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards, Ellison has won two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, and multiple Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Association (including the Lifetime Achievement Award). As an audiobook narrator, he's twice won Audie Awards and been nominated for a Grammy Award.
Shatterday & Other Stories presents, for the first time in audio, 11 of Ellison's visionary stories:
"Delusion for a Dragon Slayer" (Hugo nominee)
"Shatterday" (Nebula nominee)
"In the Oligocenskie Gardens"
"Basilisk" (Hugo & Locus winner; Nebula nominee)
"Shattered Like a Glass Goblin" (Nebula nominee)
"Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W" (Hugo & Locus winner)
"On the Downhill Side" (Nebula nominee)
"All the Lies That Are My Life" (Hugo nominee)
"Goodbye to All That" (Nebula nominee)
"Delusion for a Dragon Slayer" © 1966 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 1994 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "Shatterday"© 1975 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2003 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "Flop Sweat"© 1977 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2005 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "In the Oligocenskie Gardens" © 1994 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "Basilisk" © 1972 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2000 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "Shattered by a Glass Goblin" © 1968 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 1996 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38º 54' N, Longitude 77º 00' 13" W"© 1974 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2002 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "On the Downhill Side" © 1972 by Harlan Ellison. Renewed 2000 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. Music copyright 1984 by Elise Morris. "Susan"© 1994 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "All the Lies That are My Life" © 1980 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. "Goodbye to All That" and Introduction to: "Goodbye to All That"© 2003 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. All stories written by Harlan Ellison. All rights reserved.
©2011 The Kilimanjaro Corporation (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
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This was a far cry from the Harlan I remember from the late 60's. I did not even finish listening.
Always an amazing narration by Ellison and the others on these stories. My favorite tale was The Basilisk.
A few of the stories were too obtuse and nearly impossible to follow.
"sorry, can't go on"
it was my honest intention to get through all 5 sets of stories but I don't think I can make it. I got done with Adrift off the Islets... (another supposed award winner) and saw that I still have 3&1/2 hours to go. enough is enough.
my honest opinion is that Ellison's boorishness and brow beating have worn down those who should stand up to him. I find little of interest in his style and stories. after 50 + stories I have found 3 or 4 that I would recommend to friends. that is not a good percentage.
in his arrogance he is proud to tell you that a couple of these stories are as they were after first draft, no changes. Well, either he's lying or he doesn't respect the craft enough to rewrite. I suspect it's a little of both; I'm sure he thinks his every word and sentence are golden perfection. I guess he doesn't need to rewrite; he's better than Hemingway and Shakespeare and Melville and Nabokov then.
as far as I've gotten in this set, the best story is Shatterday. Now, here's an interesting tidbit. As litigious as Ellison is, filing lawsuits against anyone and everyone he feels is in any way stepping on his ideas, I wonder if he filed suit against himself on behalf of Walter Tevis, (author of Man Who Fell to Earth, a brilliant novel), whose story The Other End of The Line begins, opening paragraphs, with a man, George Bledsoe, mistakenly calling his own phone number and having it answered by himself. In Tevis' story there is a time displacement, but the opening is so strikingly similar that I was shocked and immediately thought Ellison cribbed it. (Tevis by the way is a far superior writer whose masterful Mockingbird deserves to be narrated here, as well as his non-SF novels.)
& why not acknowledge Tevis given Harlan's penchant for name dropping to make sure you know all the important people he's met etc., and read, let's not forget how badly he wants you to know how well read he is, and how intelligent and how many multisyllabic words he can use blah blah blah.
I have 5 books of Ellisons gathered over the years because he's "important" but it's time to get rid of them. Pain God; Strange Wine; Stalking the Nightmare; Deathbird; & Essential Ellison contain a majority of the stories in these 5 audios and I've read a handful outside the audios but again, not worth continuing.
& I see that Ellison is hit or miss with people as well, not just me. many are put off by his arrogance. some think he's a terrible narrator, others think he's great. some think his stories are terrible, others think they're great. obviously you have to find out for yourself. I can no longer overlook his slapdash style which i'm sure is considered by some to be experimental and cutting edge. I find it to be sloppy and uncontrolled. Perhaps I'm being harsh due to my disappointment and thinking of so many (like Tevis) who get passed by in favor of the loudmouth in the room. perhaps, but let's at least stop calling Ellison a masterful writer and his stories masterpieces; he does have a couple that are well written which stand out and that I will suggest to friends, & I admit Harlequin contains enough to be taught in class and discussed, but a handful is not enough.
I have read a ton of SF over the years and have sentimental favorites, but even I can admit that not everything Clarke & Bradbury wrote is brilliant. And oddly enough at least 2 of Bradbury's absolute masterpieces have nothing to do with fantasy or SF. Ellison should shut his mouth for a bit and concentrate and trust his writing and not throw in the kitchen sink when it doesn't belong.
I do think Ellison is more dark fantasy than SF and that element also I think bothers me; not because it's dark or fantasy, but because there is an element of "and then magic happened" that destroys the reality of a given story, or violates the internal logic of a story, and when there are no "rules" governing a narrative anything can happen, and does, and so how do i invest myself in a story or a character, how can you ground yourself in a surrealist landscape that shifts without notice? Alice in Wonderland's surrealism works for me, as did Berry's Manual of Detection, Ellison's doesn't.
And what are you going to do with a sentence like,
"Crickets gossiped shamelessly, close beside his head."
I'm sure he thinks it's precious and brilliant, I find it foolish. At the risk of sounding like Ellison, "you pays your money, you takes your chance."
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