Dangerous Visions

Harlan Ellison
Dangerous Visions Cover

Dangerous Visions


If any book deserves both 5 stars and 1 it is this one. Harlan Ellison, the man/ego, took so much away from Harlan Ellison the author and editor. He couldn't stop himself from writing intros that vacillate between "I'm awesome because I'm part of the good-ol-boys club" and "no homo".

On the other hand, there were some stories in here that I loved and which absolutely deserve to be read. In particular, "Go Go Go, Said the Bird" by Sonya Dorman contains a moment so completely human and out of real life (despite being a story about post-apocalyptic cannibals) that I was nearly in tears. I also enjoyed "Judas" by John Brunner, which went for the religious story without being....boring? I can't say that it had any subtlety, just style and an interesting facade. And no review would be complete without the anchor story "Aye, and Gemorrah" by Samuel R Delaney who hits the ball so far out of the park that I can't help but leave the book with a good feeling. He takes on so many things that are still relevant, the fetishization of the "exotic", asexuality, peoples irrepressible curiosity about sex and genitalia (and in his afterword he addresses this last one, though I wish he'd have left it without comment. Specifically, he addresses those who read his story and asked, of the neutered spacers, "But what do they do?" That's a natural question, which may not deserve an answer, or at least not demand an answer. Other people don't owe me an answer to my curiosity. Writing a story that demands the examining and tolerating of that feeling of disappointment is something that still might be "dangerous", because it requires admitting that other people's needs may be more important than my wants.)

So that's my Opinion. For the casual science fiction reader, skip reading this cover to cover and hone in on the gems. For others, my recommendation is to read all the stories and judge them for yourself, but skip every word of the intros and afterwords (and that steaming turd "Riders Of The Purple Wage" which is too long and terrible to be tolerated).