The Last Dangerous Visions

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The Last Dangerous Visions is a planned sequel to the science fiction short story anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions, originally published in 1967 and 1972 respectively. Like the first two, it was and is scheduled to be edited by Harlan Ellison.

The projected third collection was started but, controversially, is yet to be finished. It has become something of a legend in science fiction as the genre's most famous unpublished book.[citation needed] It was originally announced for publication in 1973, but other work demanded Ellison's attention and the anthology has not seen print to date. He has come under criticism for his treatment of some writers who submitted their stories to him, who some estimate to number nearly 150.[1] Many of these writers have since died.

Various difficulties delayed publication many times. As recently as May 2007, Ellison said he still wants to get the book out.[2]

British author Christopher Priest, whose story "An Infinite Summer" had been accepted for the collection, wrote a lengthy critique of Ellison's failure to complete the LDV project. It was first published by Priest as a one-shot fanzine called The Last Deadloss Visions, a pun on the title of Priest's own fanzine, Deadloss. It proved so popular that it had a total of three printings in the UK and later, in book form, as the 1995 Hugo Award nominated[3] The Book on the Edge of Forever (an allusion to Ellison's Star Trek episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever") by American publisher Fantagraphics Books. The essay is available online at the Internet Archive mirror of the original site.

1979 contents list[edit]

It was announced in the April 1979 issue of Locus that the anthology had been sold to Berkley Books, who planned to publish the 700,000 words of fiction in three volumes. The following tables of contents were published in the June 1979 issue of Locus. Story titles are followed by an approximate word count. Also note that the totals given for each book do not exactly match the published list.

Authors marked with a '†' are known to have died since submitting their work to Ellison.

Book one[edit]

34 authors, 35 stories, 214,250 words.

Book two[edit]

32 authors, 40 stories, 216,527 words.

Book three[edit]

36 authors, 38 stories, 214,200 words.

Missing or withdrawn stories[edit]

The following stories were listed in previous published contents lists, or were known to have been submitted to Ellison for inclusion, but were not listed in the 1979 contents.

  • "Where Are They Now?" by Steven Bryan Bieler (Sold to LDV in 1984, withdrawn in 1988)
  • "The Great Forest Lawn Clearance Sale: Hurry Last Days!" by Stephen Dedman (According to the author's website)
  • "Squad D" by Stephen King (Submitted to LDV, but possibly not accepted)
  • "How Dobbstown Was Saved" by Bob Leman (Sold to LDV in 1981)
  • "The Swastika Setup" by Michael Moorcock (Withdrawn and replaced by "The Murderer's Song")
  • "An Infinite Summer" by Christopher Priest (Withdrawn in 1976)
  • "The Sibling" by Kit Reed (Originally sold to LDV)[4]
  • "The Isle of Sinbad" by Thomas N. Scortia (Listed in Alien Critic #7, 1973, but not in the Locus 1979 list)

Alternative publications of the stories[edit]

Several stories purchased for Last Dangerous Visions were eventually published elsewhere. Perhaps the first was Christopher Priest's "An Infinite Summer", which appeared in Andromeda 1, edited by Peter Weston and published in 1976.

Michael Bishop's story "Dogs' Lives" was published in the Spring 1984 issue of The Missouri Review. It was subsequently reprinted in the 1985 edition of Best American Short Stories.

"Himself in Anachron" by Cordwainer Smith (died 1966), was published in the 1993 collection of Smith's short fiction, The Rediscovery of Man. Ellison threatened to sue the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) for publishing "Himself in Anachron," sold to Ellison for the anthology by Smith's widow.[5] He later reached an amicable settlement when it was discovered that he had let the rights to the story lapse because of TLDV's continued delays.[6]

Nelson Bond's contribution, "Pipeline to Paradise", saw publication in 1995 in the anthology Wheel of Fortune, edited by Roger Zelazny. It was reprinted in 2002 in Bond's second Arkham House collection, The Far Side of Nowhere. Ellison has publicly acknowledged soliciting the story from Bond, who at the time had retired from writing.[7]

In 1999, DAW Books published an original anthology entitled Prom Night, edited by Nancy Springer (and Martin H. Greenberg, uncredited), which contains Fred Saberhagen's LDV story, "The Senior Prom". In 2004, Haffner Press published a coffee-table retrospective of the works of Jack Williamson, Seventy-Five: The Diamond Anniversary of a Science Fiction Pioneer, which contains his LDV story, "Previews of Hell".

John Varley's "The Bellman" was eventually published in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine in 2003 and has since been reprinted. Joe Haldeman's "Fantasy for Six Electrodes and One Adrenaline Drip" (which Haldeman had believed lost until finding an old carbon copy of the manuscript) was finally published in his 2006 collection A Separate War and Other Stories.

In 2005 Haffner Press published a large reprint collection of Edmond Hamilton's two "Star Kings" novels and Leigh Brackett's three stories starring Eric Stark, called Stark and the Star Kings. The title story is the long-lost tale by both writers which should have been published in Last Dangerous Visions.

Steven Bryan Bieler's story "Where Are They Now?" appeared in the Spring 2008 (Volume VII, Issue 4) online magazine Slow Trains.[8]

In 2008, Orson Scott Card published "Geriatric Ward" in his collection of short fiction, Keeper of Dreams. He wanted to see the story published in The Last Dangerous Visions, as Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions had essentially taught him the art of writing speculative fiction,[citation needed] but he felt that after so many decades it would never happen.

At the time of this writing, these stories have also been published elsewhere:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]