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The Essential Ellison:  A 35-Year Retrospective
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The Essential Ellison: A 35-Year Retrospective

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Author: Harlan Ellison
Publisher: Nemo Press, 1987
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Book Type: Collection
Genre: Science-Fiction
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Synopsis

In Egyptian mythology, Iai is th rebel, the tester, the stubborn resisting force of intellect and insight which donkey-like stands its ground, refusing to budge, and challenges what is accepted and valued and thought to be sensible and true. This book is a portrait of one artist as sublime Rebel. Fortunately, it doesnt have to be a "Best of" collection (though it does contain much of his finest work). Rather, it is a sound representation, "warts and all," of the writing of someone who is perfectly, vigorously, cast as the Iai of his age.

Though Harlan's work is widely known and applauded, not enough is made of the sense of social responsibility that is central to it. In fact, this dimension often seems to be deliberately overlooked and the major thrust of his fantasy trivialized. He deals in ideas, sometimes so full of love and compassion that they stun with their simple honesty; sometimes set with barbs and hooks that catch and tear and make us gasp and make us feel. Dr. Johnson would have been proud. Shakespeare would have smiled fondly. Because that's the dimension of achievement occurring here. Ellison is as close to the pulse of his age as Chaucer and Shakespeare and Dickens ever came to theirs.

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