Dangerous Visions

Harlan Ellison
Dangerous Visions Cover

Dangerous Visions


It took me 46 years to get to this, and in the Kindle version - I blame lack of print versions reaching these far shores (South Africa), and forgetfulness - and it is WONDERFUL. I see what all the hype was about. In fact, I read Again, Dangerous Visions about 30 years ago and was not overly impressed, so I am very pleased that the first was so good.

Sure, it's aged ungracefully in some respects, but PJ Farmer's "The Purple Wage" stills pulls one along on a rollicking journey through incest, art, drugs and execrable puns (and, incidentally, spawned Hendrix's "Purple Haze"); Robert Bloch and Harlan Ellison trade riffs on Jack the Ripper...and Ellison over-hypes everything as only he can.

Yes, I've read at least half the stories elsewhere in other collections; yes, some of them are dated (especially Fred Pohl's); no, some of the concepts are not so dangerous anymore, even the incest - but as a collection, for someone who is genuinely interested in how SF has evolved, this was brilliant.

One could wish, however, that Harlan Ellison had restrained himself a little - he is so over-the-top he comes over like an excited over-erudite schoolkid - but the afterwords to each story by the authors were wonderful, and give a real insight into the Why of each story.

For history buffs, then, and those who REMEMBER the Golden Age and the New Wave (I was there for the end of one, and during the next) - a Must Read. Really recommended, especially if you're into seeing why it is that SF looks the way it does now.

For youngsters: go on - find out why your parents liked it! Thrill at the wild punny ride of The Purple Wage with Phil J Farmer; go on another crazy, androgynous ride with Chip Delany; feel a chill go down your spine with Robert Bloch and Ellison's Jack the Ripper and Larry Niven's Jigsaw Man. But ENJOY!