Dangerous Visions

Harlan Ellison
Dangerous Visions Cover

No Longer Dangerous, But Still Worthwhile


Every work is a product of its time, and this work is a perfect example of the truism. What has been declared the work that ignited the New Wave is, of course, nothing of the sort. This assumumption implies that the plenitude of authors had never explored such issues and themes before, and only this work could be seen as evidence of completely new ideas, themes, approaches and styles.

Rather, this work legitimized the New Wave in all its variagated glory. It proved the the conservative publishing establishment that such stories and approaches were commecially viable, as well as being stimulating, challenging and even daring.

So, for the first time reader, who has been otherwise immersed in speculative fiction for a while, reading this will not startle you. Instead, it will show the source of much of the work which followed, work which expanded and extended the range of ideas and approaches seen here. As an exploration of the source of much that followed, it is still worthy of your time. Just don't expect to be awed by the entirety of the book.

I read this a couple of times about 40 years ago, and just finished reading it again. It is now less challenging and 'dangerous' than it was 40 years ago, but the quality of the best stories is still worth enjoying and savoring.

As for the Ellisonian forwards, read them for amusement or historical perspective, or simply skip past them. The afterwords, by the authors themselves, are somewhat more worthwhile, but not esssential any more either.