The Last Dangerous Visions
The Last Dangerous Visions is a mooted 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 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 It has become something of a legend in science fiction as the genre's most famous unpublished book. 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. 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.
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 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.
The contents of The Last Dangerous Visions were announced on several occasions beginning in 1973, with stories sometimes being added, dropped, or substituted between each announced version. The most complete version was announced in 1979; listed were 113 previously unpublished stories by 102 authors, to be collected in three volumes.
1979 contents list
It was announced in the April 1979 issue of Locus that the anthology had been sold to Berkley Books, which 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.
34 authors, 35 stories, 214,250 words.
- "Among the Beautiful Bright Children" by James E. Gunn (9100)
- "Dark Night in Toyland" by Bob Shaw† (4000) (withdrawn by the author's estate after his death)
- "Living Inside" by Bruce Sterling (2250)
- "The Bing Bang Blues" by Delbert Casada (2000)
- "Ponce De Leon's Pants" by Mack Reynolds† (1800)
- "The True Believer" by A. Bertram Chandler† (7000)
- "The Bones Do Lie" by Anne McCaffrey† (7000)
- "Doug, Where Are We? I Don't Know. A Spaceship Maybe" by Grant Carrington (3800)
- "Child of Mind" by Lisa Tuttle (6800)
- "Dark Threshold" by P. C. Hodgell (1500)
- "Falling From Grace" by Ward Moore† (4000)
- "The 100 Million Horses of Planet Dada" by Daniel Walther (both French and English versions) (4200)
- "None So Deaf" by Richard E. Peck (2000)
- "A Time for Praying" by G. C. Edmondson† (7700)
- "The Amazonas Link" by James Sutherland (6000)
- "At the Sign of the Boar's Head Nebula" by Richard Wilson† (47000)
- "All Creatures Great and Small" by Howard Fast† (1200)
- "A Night at Madame Mephisto's" by Joseph F. Pumilia (1200)
- "What Used to be Called Dead" by Leslie A. Fiedler† (2800)
- "Not All a Dream" by Manly Wade Wellman† (5400)
- "A Day in the Life of A-420" by Felix C. Gotschalk† (Jacques Goudchaux) (2600)
- "The Residents of Kingston" by Doris Piserchia (5000)
- "Free Enterprise" by Jerry Pournelle† (11000)
- "Rundown" by John Morressy† (1200)
- "Various Kinds of Conceit" by Arthur Byron Cover (2000)
- "Son of 'Wild in the Streets'" by Robert Thom† (15800)
- "Dick and Jane Go to Mars" by Wilson Tucker† (7500)
- "On the Way to the Woman of Your Dreams" by Raul Judson (3800)
- "Blackstop" by Gerard Conway (5500)
- "Ten Times Your Fingers and Double You Toes" by Craig Strete (3500)
- "The Names of Yanils" by Chan Davis (9000)
- "Return to Elf Hill" by Robert Lilly (900)
- "The Carbon Dream" by Jack Dann (9500)
- "Dogs' Lives" by Michael Bishop (6000) (since withdrawn by the author)
32 authors, 40 stories, 216,527 words.
- "Universe on the Turn" by Ian Watson (4200) (since withdrawn by the author)
- "The Children of Bull Weed" by Gordon Eklund (17000) (some sources title this "The Children of Bull Wood")
- "Precis of the Rappacini Report" by Anthony Boucher† (850) (with an Afterword by Richard Matheson†)
- "Grandma, What's the Sky Made Of?" by Susan C. Lette (1500)
- "A Rousing Explanation of the Events Surrounding My Sister's Death" by David Wise (1800)
- "The Dawn Patrol" by P.J. Plauger (10000)
- "I Had No Head and My Eyes Were Floating Way Up in the Air" by Clifford D. Simak† (6600)
- "To Have and To Hold" by Langdon Jones (20000)
- "The Malibu Fault" by Jonathan Fast (1750)
- "û-1 Think, Therefore û-1 Am" by Leonard Isaacs† (1000)
- "The Taut Arc of Desire" by Philippe Curval (7200) (both French and English versions)
- "A Journey South" by John Christopher† (21500)
- "The Return of Agent Black" by Ron Goulart (3800)
- "The Stone Which the Builders Rejected" by Avram Davidson† (2000)
- "Signals" by Charles L. Harness† (13125)
- "Thumbing it on the Beam and Other Magic Melting Moments" by D. M. Rowles (2000)
- "End" by Raylyn Moore† (9250)
- "Uncle Tom's Time Machine" by John Jakes (3000)
- "Adversaries" by Franklin Fisher (4700)
- "Copping Out" by Hank Davis (1000)
- "Stark and the Star Kings" by Edmond Hamilton† and Leigh Brackett† (10000)
- "The Danaan Children Laugh" by Mildred Downey Broxon (5300)
- "Play Sweetly, In Harmony" by Joseph Green (6300)
- "Primordial Follies" by Robert Sheckley† (4000)
- "Cargo Run" by William E. Cochrane (18800)
- "Pipeline to Paradise" by Nelson S. Bond† (5000)
- "Geriatric Ward" by Orson Scott Card (7000)
- "A Night at the Opera" by Robert Wissner (3000)
- "The Red Dream" by Charles Platt (9800)
- "Living Alone in the Jungle" by Algis Budrys† (1352)
- "The Life and the Clay" by Edgar Pangborn† (6500)
36 authors, 38 stories, 214,200 words.
- "Mama's Girl" by Daniel Keyes† (4000)
- "Himself in Anachron" by Cordwainer Smith† (2500)
- "Dreamwork, A Novel" by Pamela Zoline (16000)
- "The Giant Rat of Sumatra, or By the Light of the Silvery" by the Firesign Theatre (5000)
- "Leveled Best" by Steve Herbst (1300)
- "Search Cycle: Beginning and Ending" by Russell Bates†
- "The Last Quest" (2500)
- "Fifth and Last Horseman" (5000)
- "XYY" by Vonda McIntyre (1600)
- "The Accidental Ferosslk" by Frank Herbert† (3500)
- "The Burning Zone" by Graham Charnock (6000)
- "Cacophony in Pink and Ochre" by Doris Pitkin Buck† (5500)
- "The Accidents of Blood" by Frank Bryning† (5500)
- "The Murderer's Song" by Michael Moorcock (7500)
- "On the Other Side of Space, In the Lobby of the Potlatch Inn" by Wallace West† (6500)
- "Two From Kotzwinkle's Bestiary" by William Kotzwinkle (5000)
- "Childfinder" by Octavia E. Butler† (3250)
- "Potiphee, Petey and Me" by Tom Reamy† (17000)
- "The Seadragon" Laurence Yep (17000)
- "Emerging Nation" by Alfred Bester† (2000)
- "Ugly Duckling Gets the Treatment and Becomes Cinderella Except Her Foot's Too Big for the Prince's Slipper and Is Webbed Besides" by Robert Thurston (3500)
- "Goodbye" by Steven Utley† (2000)
- "Golgotha" by Graham Hall† (3200)
- "War Stories" by Edward Bryant† (10000)
- "The Bellman" by John Varley (11500)
- "Fantasy for Six Electrodes and One Adrenaline Drip (A Play in the Form of a Feelie Script)" by Joe Haldeman (10000)
- "A Dog and His Boy" by Harry Harrison† (4000)
- "Las Animas" by Janet Nay (6800)
- "False Premises" by George Alec Effinger†
- "The Capitals Are Wrong" (4000)
- "Stage Fright" (2500)
- "Rocky Colavito Batted .268 in 1955" (5500)
- "Fishing With Hemingway" (3000)
- "The Senior Prom" by Fred Saberhagen† (4800)
- "Skin" by A. E. van Vogt† (7000)
- "Halfway There" by Stan Dryer (3000)
- "Love Song" by Gordon R. Dickson† (6000)
- "Suzy is Something Special" by Michael G. Coney† (8000)
- "Previews of Hell" by Jack Williamson† (3000)
Missing or withdrawn stories
The following eight 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)
- "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
Thirty-two 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. (As noted above, this story had been withdrawn from TLDV, and Ellison may never have purchased it.)
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bob Leman's "How Dobbstown Was Saved" was published in Leman's 2002 collection Feesters in the Lake 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.
- 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, but he felt that after so many decades it would never happen.
- "Precis of the Rappacini Report" by Anthony Boucher (published as "Rappaccini's Other Daughter" in 1999)
- "Living Alone in the Jungle" by Algis Budrys (1991)
- "A Journey South" by John Christopher (1991)
- "The Names of Yanils" by Chan Davis (1999)
- "Love Song" by Gordon R. Dickson (2017), published in "The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume 1"
- "What Used to be Called Dead" by Leslie A. Fiedler (1990)
- "Among the Beautiful Bright Children" by James E. Gunn (2002), published in Gunn's collection "Human Voices"
- "Signals" by Charles L. Harness (1987)
- "A Dog and His Boy" by Harry Harrison (2002)
- "Mama's Girl" by Daniel Keyes (1993, only published in Japanese)
- "The Bones Do Lie" by Anne McCaffrey (1995)
- "The Swastika Setup" by Michael Moorcock (withdrawn and replaced by "The Murderer's Song", published in 1988)
- "The Sibling" by Kit Reed (published as "Baby Brother" in 2011)
- "Dark Night in Toyland" by Bob Shaw (1988)
- "Ten Times Your Fingers and Double Your Toes" by Craig Strete (1980)
- "Universe on the Turn" by Ian Watson (1984)
- "At the Sign of the Boar's Head Nebula"by Richard Wilson (2011)
- "Childfinder" by Octavia E. Butler (2014)
- "The Accidental Ferosslk" by Frank Herbert (published as "The Daddy Box" in 2014)
- "I Had No Head and My Eyes Were Floating Way Up In the Air" by Clifford D. Simak (2015)
- Paul Tomlinson, Harry Harrison: An Annotated Bibliography, 2003, p. 41
- David Langford, The Sex Column and Other Misprints, 2005, pp. 11-12
- The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
- NEWSARAMA.COM: HARLAN ELLISON: BRING ON THE DANCING FROGS, Part 2 (via the Internet Archive)
- "1995 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
- ISFDB: Bibliography: Baby Brother
- "ConFrancisco Continued". Ansible. 76. November 1993. ISSN 0265-9816.
- "Infinitely Improbable". Ansible. 77. December 1993. ISSN 0265-9816.
- Allen, Mike. "Roanoke writer widely admired," The Roanoke Times, November 6, 2006.
- "Slow Trains", Spring 2008
- ISFDB: Bibliography: Baby Brother
- "Unexpected Stories | Open Road Media". Open Road Media. Retrieved 2015-08-25.