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The Last Dangerous Visions

(10 posts)

  1. Marian
    Member

    Remember The Last Dangerous Visions of almost half a century ago? The anthology that was never completed or published? Well, it's supposed to come out next year! I don't know if it will be the stories Harlan chose or not. I only know what this says. Interesting they promise to explain soon why Harlan never published it. I'll be honest. I'll believe it when I see it. https://www.patreon.com/posts/43848905?fbclid=IwAR3PP8hB9TJ32j8FX-DJsE1BKCVTqU4tgiiK05oMcPOtOvpVTwp93WEH3M0

    Posted 1 week ago #
  2. CarlGlover
    Member

    I imagine everyone here who's interested in the subject is aware of Christopher Priest's polemical takedown of Ellison in his scathing and merciless essay entitled "The Last Deadloss Visions," which for me has the ring of truth and is the final word on the subject. It's still available, I believe, on the Wayback Machine at archive.org.

    As for publishing whatever stories may still be available from Ellison's original inventory, I really don't see the point. They may well have been revolutionary in their day (although I was never much impressed by this argument for DV), but any such elements these stories may have contained have little or no relevance to the current state of the field. They almost certainly have little value beyond that of historical curiosity and nostalgia, which has its place, of course, but won't sell many copies.

    Anyway, apparently most of the better stories were reclaimed by the authors or their estates and placed (or not) elsewhere. Replacing these with newly-written stories mimicking the DV philosophy, as the article intimates, seems doubly pointless given the half-century of evolution in the field. It is telling that no major publisher has done more than express lukewarm interest in the possibility of thinking about it, maybe, when the time comes. I'm afraid that this neo-LDV has as little chance of seeing the light of day as did Ellison's original version.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  3. What Carl said, though I give it a percentage or two higher of a chance of seeing publication. I know this will go over like a lead balloon here in this Forum, but there were enough key words in the description of what to expect in the antho that I think it's safe to say that most of the new stories will be of the Woke variety to some degree or another, or written primarily by women or poc or non-hetero writers. If my theory is correct, and given that so many of the original stories won't be represented for one reason or another, putting Harlan's name to it seems a little thin to me, as hardly any of it will represent the original. Almost a bait and switch for the unwary purchaser. I hate to be a wet blanket on this but I can't help the way this looks to me. Time will tell if I'm even halfway correct or not, but given the direction the field has gone the past few years, I may end up being more correct than some would like to think.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  4. CarlGlover
    Member

    That angle hadn't occurred to me, Dave. I think you might be right -- which is all the more reason to question the legitimacy of the enterprise.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  5. Mark Pontin
    Member

    Carl G: "...Christopher Priest's polemical takedown of Ellison in his scathing and merciless essay entitled "The Last Deadloss Visions ...."

    I just read it earlier today.

    While Priest has occasionally gotten overly annoyed in public about a few things over the years, I wouldn't say he was "scathing and merciless" in this instance, or anything but absolutely on point and -- as you say -- fair.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  6. CarlGlover
    Member

    Mark Pontin: I seem to recall that Harlan himself was highly agitated and annoyed with Priest and, if he didn't use the words "scathing and merciless," he made his reaction known in his own inimitable way, probably with use of even stronger language than that. I vaguely recall that there may have even been threats of legal action or possibly physical harm, although I couldn't swear to it. So, I don't think my terminology is in any way an inaccurate reflection of Harlan's interpretation, which is what I was trying to convey and which, after all, was really all that mattered in contemporary terms.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  7. Chris DeVito
    Member

    Did Ellison ever have a "reaction" that didn't involve "threats of legal action or possibly physical harm"? In what way is that remarkable? Or even worth mentioning?

    Posted 1 week ago #
  8. CarlGlover
    Member

    Quite right, Chris. Harlan appears to have spent most of his prime years in battling persecution by his innumerable enemies, real and imagined, rather than turning his considerable energies and talent to more creative ends. Yes, he produced some fine work during this time, but how much went undone in service to his paranoia?

    I thought it was worth mentioning because there are probably some people on the Forum who are not familiar with the Ellison of that era. For me, it is necessary background for any discussion of his DV period.

    But, your point is well taken. And, yes, I am aware that it was essentially rhetorical in nature.

    Posted 6 days ago #
  9. Ron
    Member

    Carl Glover: I imagine everyone here who's interested in the subject is aware of Christopher Priest's polemical takedown of Ellison in his scathing and merciless essay entitled "The Last Deadloss Visions," which for me has the ring of truth and is the final word on the subject. It's still available, I believe, on the Wayback Machine at archive.org.

    Ron says: I agree.

    Carl Glover: As for publishing whatever stories may still be available from Ellison's original inventory, I really don't see the point. They may well have been revolutionary in their day (although I was never much impressed by this argument for DV), but any such elements these stories may have contained have little or no relevance to the current state of the field. They almost certainly have little value beyond that of historical curiosity and nostalgia, which has its place, of course, but won't sell many copies.

    Ron says: I would not say--a priori--that the stories would have little value beyond that of historical curiosity and nostalgia. For example, Fred Pohl's "Day Million" was published in 1966. It was not in the DV anthologies, but it is the kind of story that would have fit right in. I first read "Day Million" circa 2005--nearly 40 years after it was published--and found the story very good.

    Just because a story is 40-50 years old doesn't necessarily mean it has declined in value or quality.

    Carl Glover: Anyway, apparently most of the better stories were reclaimed by the authors or their estates and placed (or not) elsewhere. Replacing these with newly-written stories mimicking the DV philosophy, as the article intimates, seems doubly pointless given the half-century of evolution in the field. It is telling that no major publisher has done more than express lukewarm interest in the possibility of thinking about it, maybe, when the time comes. I'm afraid that this neo-LDV has as little chance of seeing the light of day as did Ellison's original version.

    Ron says: Hey, what is really so wrong with an anthology of new stories? Could not a good, or even great story come out of it?

    Posted 6 days ago #
  10. CarlGlover
    Member

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Ron.

    I have only one quibble. An anthology of mainly new stories under Harlan's name and imprimatur would simply constitute trading on his reputation and the fame of the original anthology, with little more than a tenuous connection to either of them, a sort of literary malpractice. In fact, I could envision Harlan rolling over in his grave at the very thought, or possibly even coming back to haunt all concerned. Whether any of the new stories have intrinsic value is largely beside the point.

    Posted 5 days ago #

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