The Last Dangerous Visions

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The Last Dangerous Visions
EditorHarlan Ellison
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreScience fiction

The Last Dangerous Visions is an unpublished speculative fiction anthology intended to follow Dangerous Visions (1967) and Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). Like its predecessors, it was edited by American author Harlan Ellison, with introductions to be provided by him.

Ellison died in 2018 with work on the anthology still incomplete, but on November 13, 2020, the Ellison estate's executor J. Michael Straczynski announced his intention to publish it.

Background[edit]

The projected third collection was started but, controversially, has yet to be finished. It has become something of a legend in science fiction as the genre's most famous unpublished book.[1][2] It was originally announced for publication in 1973, but has not seen print to date. Ellison came under criticism for his treatment of some writers who submitted their stories to him, who some estimate to number nearly 150.[3] Many of these writers have since died.

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 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 for Best Related Work-nominated[4] 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.

On June 28, 2018, Ellison died, with the anthology still unpublished.

2020–2021 work[edit]

On November 13, 2020, the Ellison estate's executor J. Michael Straczynski announced on Twitter[5] that he would oversee the project to publish the book, giving more details on Patreon.[6] Straczynski's forthcoming volume will not include withdrawn stories and will exclude stories "overtaken by real-world events" but will include new stories from major contemporary science fiction writers as well as work from new authors, including one story from an unpublished writer. The book will conclude with "one last, significant work by Harlan which has never been published" which "ties directly into the reason why The Last Dangerous Visions has taken so long to come to light." The stories will be organised by theme and will be accompanied by artwork from Tim Kirk. The rights to all stories not used will revert to the authors. Straczynski initially intended to market the book to publishers in March/April 2021, but was still working on the book by that time. He announced a call for unpublished writer story submissions in April 2021,[7] and reported to be in the final stages of editing as of July 20.[8]

Contents[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Contents as of 1979[edit]

It was announced in the April 1979 issue of speculative fiction news magazine Locus that the anthology had been sold to Berkley Books, which planned to publish the 700,000 words of fiction in three volumes. A table of contents was published in the June 1979 issue of the publication. Story titles are followed by an approximate word count. 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. Stories marked with a '‡' have been published elsewhere by the author or their estate.

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 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 was sold to LDV in 1984 and 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 was submitted to LDV, but possibly not accepted.
  • "How Dobbstown Was Saved" by Bob Leman was sold to LDV in 1981).
  • "The Swastika Setup" by Michael Moorcock was withdrawn and replaced by "The Murderer's Song".
  • "An Infinite Summer" by Christopher Priest was withdrawn in 1976.
  • "The Sibling" by Kit Reed† was originally sold to LDV).[9]
  • "The Isle of Sinbad" by Thomas N. Scortia† was listed for inclusion in a 1973 issue of the fanzine Alien Critic but not in the Locus 1979 list.

Stories published elsewhere[edit]

Thirty-eight stories purchased for Last Dangerous Visions were published elsewhere.

  • 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.)
  • "Ten Times Your Fingers and Double Your Toes" by Craig Strete (1980)
  • "Primordial Follies" by Robert Sheckley (1981 in German, 1998 in Italian)
  • "The Murderer's Song" by Michael Moorcock (the replacement for "The Swastika Set-Up") was first published in German translation in 1981 and appeared in the 1987 anthology Tales from the Forbidden Planet. It has since been republished several times in Moorcock's collections.
  • "Universe on the Turn" by Ian Watson (1984)
  • 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.
  • "Signals" by Charles L. Harness (1987)
  • "Dark Night in Toyland" by Bob Shaw (1988)
  • "What Used to be Called Dead" by Leslie A. Fiedler (1990)
  • "Living Alone in the Jungle" by Algis Budrys (1991)
  • "A Journey South" by John Christopher (1991)
  • "Himself in Anachron" by Cordwainer Smith (died 1966) was published in the 1993 retrospective collection of Smith's short fiction, The Rediscovery of Man. Ellison threatened to sue the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) for publishing the story, sold to Ellison for the anthology by Smith's widow.[10] He later reached an amicable settlement, with a writer in Ansible guessing that Ellison had consulted the contract and discovered that he had let the rights to the story lapse because of TLDV's continued delays.[11]
  • "Mama's Girl" by Daniel Keyes (1993) has, to date, only appeared in Japanese)[12]
  • 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 publicly acknowledged soliciting the story from Bond, who at the time had retired from writing.[13]/
  • "The Bones Do Lie" by Anne McCaffrey (1995)
  • Prom Night, an original anthology edited by Nancy Springer (and Martin H. Greenberg, uncredited), contains Fred Saberhagen's story, "The Senior Prom".
  • "Precis of the Rappacini Report" by Anthony Boucher, published as "Rappaccini's Other Daughter" in 1999.
  • "The Names of Yanils" by Chan Davis (1999).
  • Bob Leman's "How Dobbstown Was Saved" was published in Leman's 2002 collection Feesters in the Lake and Other Stories.
  • "Among the Beautiful Bright Children" by James E. Gunn (2002), published in Gunn's collection "Human Voices"
  • "A Dog and His Boy" by Harry Harrison (2002)
  • John Varley's "The Bellman" was published in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine in 2003, and in his collection The John Varley Reader in 2004.
  • 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. This contains Williamson's story, "Previews of Hell".
  • In 2005 Haffner Press published a large reprint collection of Edmond Hamilton's two "Star Kings" novels and Leigh Brackett's three stories starring her Eric Stark character, entitledStark and the Star Kings. The title story is the long-lost tale by both writers which should have been published in Last Dangerous Visions.
  • 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 published in his 2006 collection A Separate War and Other Stories.
  • Steven Bryan Bieler's story "Where Are They Now?" appeared in the Spring 2008 (Volume VII, Issue 4) online magazine Slow Trains.[14]
  • In 2008, Orson Scott Card published "Geriatric Ward" in his collection of short fiction, Keeper of Dreams.
  • "To Have and to Hold" by Langdon Jones appeared in audio format on Episode 146 of the podcast StarShipSofa.
  • "The Sibling" by Kit Reed was published as "Baby Brother" in 2011.[15]
  • "At the Sign of the Boar's Head Nebula" by Richard Wilson was published in 2011.
  • "Childfinder" by Octavia E. Butler (2014)[16]
  • "The Accidental Ferosslk" by Frank Herbert was 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)
  • "Love Song" by Gordon R. Dickson was published in "The Best of Gordon R. Dickson, Volume 1" (2017).
  • "The Carbon Dream" by Jack Dann appeared in 2019 as "The Carbon Dreamer" in Shivers VIII from Cemetery Dance Publications. The same anthology also includes "Squad D", a Stephen King submission to The Last Dangerous Visions which Ellison had rejected.
  • "Various Kinds of Conceits" by Arthur Byron Cover was included The Unquiet Dreamer, a 2019 tribute to Harlan Ellison from PS Publishing. The same anthology also includes Steve Rasnic Tem's "The Thin Silver Line".
  • "Free Enterprise" by Jerry Pournelle was published in the 2019 Baen Books collection The Best of Jerry Pournelle under the title "The Last Shot".
  • "Not All a Dream" by Manly Wade Wellman will be issued as a chapbook to customers preordering the two volume Haffner Press The Complete John the Balladeer.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tomlinson, Paul (2003). Harry Harrison: An Annotated Bibliography. p. 41.
  2. ^ Langford, David (2005). The Sex Column and Other Misprints. pp. 11–12.
  3. ^ The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
  4. ^ "1995 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
  5. ^ "Straczynski's intent to publish announcement". Twitter. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  6. ^ "On Finishing The Last Dangerous Visions". Patreon. 2020-11-14.
  7. ^ "Straczynski's new submission timeline reminder". Twitter. Retrieved 2021-07-14.
  8. ^ "Straczynski's July 20, 2021 progress update". Twitter. Retrieved 2021-07-20.
  9. ^ ISFDB: Bibliography: Baby Brother
  10. ^ "ConFrancisco Continued". Ansible. 76. November 1993. ISSN 0265-9816.
  11. ^ "Infinitely Improbable". Ansible. 77. December 1993. ISSN 0265-9816.
  12. ^ Janet Clark, CliffsNotes on Keyes' Flowers For Algernon, Cliffs Notes, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, pp. 57
  13. ^ Allen, Mike. "Roanoke writer widely admired," The Roanoke Times, November 6, 2006. Archived September 9, 2012, at archive.today
  14. ^ "Slow Trains", Spring 2008
  15. ^ ISFDB: Bibliography: Baby Brother
  16. ^ "Unexpected Stories | Open Road Media". Open Road Media. Retrieved 2015-08-25.

External links[edit]