Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans

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"Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W" is an award-winning 1974 science fiction novelette by Harlan Ellison. It was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in October 1974, and subsequently republished in Ellison's 1975 anthology Deathbird Stories, in the 1991 Byron Preiss-edited anthology The Ultimate Werewolf, and in Ellison's 2006 anthology "The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective". It won the 1975 Hugo Award for Best Novelette[1] and the 1975 Locus Award for Best Novelette.[2]


Larry Talbot wants to die, but cannot unless he first knows the exact physical location of his soul. To this end, he tracks down Victor Frankenstein, who sends him on a fantastic voyage.


Jayme Lynn Blaschke has described "Adrift" as "impenetrable and baffling",[3] and John C. Wright has stated that his only recollection of the story is "a vague sense of disgust" — and that in the story, Dr Frankenstein was portrayed as quoting The Wizard of Oz.[4] Conversely, in 1977, George Edgar Slusser referred to the tale as "one of (Ellison's) most ambitious and provocative tales to date."[5]


  1. ^ 1975 Hugo Awards at; retrieved September 2, 2013
  2. ^ The Locus Index to SF Awards: Locus Awards Winners by Category; at Locus; published 2011; retrieved September 2, 2013
  3. ^ The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective, by Jayme Lynn Blaschke, at SF Site; published 2006; retrieved September 2, 2013
  4. ^ John C. Wright's Journal: The Fifty Essential Authors of Science Fiction (posted January 31, 2012); comment by Wright posted on February 1, 2012; retrieved September 2, 2013
  5. ^ "Harlan Ellison : Unrepentant Harlequin", by George Edgar Slusser; the Milford Series (volume 6); published by Borgo Press, 1977