A bit of history about my first exposure to Harlan Ellison. I got my first glimpse of Mr. Ellison when he was doing commentaries for the Sci Fi channel back in the early 90s. What struck me about him was not his opinions but his belief of his opinions, and the relentlessness of his opinions. This was a man who had the convictions of his conscience, A man who spoke the gospel of his truth. For me I felt he was preaching to the choir.
My first Harlan Ellison book, The Deathbird
I was living outside of Boston at the time and I started searching for his books. At this time they were very difficult to find. Finally I was able to find a copy of The Deathbird at our local book store.
I devoured that book, it was so different from most of the “science fiction” that I had been reading at the time. It was almost like reading poetry, I thought I was pretty well read, but the structure of the stories were so different from anything that I had come across before.
After that I wanted to read nothing but Harlan Ellison. However, his books were hard to find. I did manage to start finding some additional books at a small used book store located in Harvard Square, and soon my collection consisted of Harlan Ellison Watching, Approaching Oblivion, Shatterday, Stalking the Nightmare, and the Special hard covers of The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World and The City on the Edge of Forever. I loved them all, and found that I appreciated his essays maybe even more. In a couple of years I would acquire copies of Angry Candy, Slippage and the four volumes from White Wolf, devouring them as I found them. Harlan Ellison was my favorite writer.
And then life happened, work demands, a move across the country, I lost three of my White Wolfs (maybe I lent them to someone) whatever, but I stopped reading Harlan Ellison. Yes it was extremely difficult to find his books, no I did not want to keep hunting on Ebay, I don’t have time to read, blah blah blah.
And so it went for nearly ten years.
And then suddenly I discovered Harlan again, almost the exact same way I did the first time. His Sci Fi Channel commentaries were being posted on YouTube. Once again I was being entertained and educated by Harlan Ellison. I started to think about his writings again and dragged out all my books. I began to wonder if anything was in print again. Now, I live in Pocatello, Idaho and we do not have a book store in the city, I know can you believe it. So I checked out Amazon, and behold almost all his books had been reprinted by e-Reads. This was my opportunity to start reading Harlan again, but now I could read the books in chronological order, starting with his oldest book moving through all this titles till I reached his latest publication.
I also found new books were being published harlanellisonbooks.com and early stories published by Kicks books. Oh my so much Harlan available.
e-reads printing of The Deadly Streets
So Starting about September of 2013 I began with The Deadly Streets and as I write this, it is March 2014 and I am beginning The Beast That Shouted Love At The Heart Of The World. I have decided that if a story is reprinted in multiple books I will read them again.
You can check on my progress by checking out my goodreads account.
I’m having a wonderful time rediscovering Harlan, and remembering why I’ve always considered him my favorite writer (sorry Neil).