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Phoenix without Ashes

I have written previously that I am reading all of Harlan Ellison’s books in published order. I had finally reached the novelization of the script Phoenix without Ashes. Although the book is written my Edward Bryant it is based upon Harlan Ellison’s script for the pilot episode of The Starlost.

Now there are a few variations of the printed script as well as the filmed episode itself. I decided to indulge in all of them, the original script, the episode, the novel and finally the graphic novel in that order.

The basic premise of The Starlost is that 500 years ago the earth faced unknown destruction, and the scientist, technicians, artists and humanitarians of the world got together to construct a gigantic space ark that would carry 450 million people to another star system. The people were separated into different biospheres in order to preserve their cultural heritage. The script focuses on one of these biosphere which appears to represent a culture very similar to the Amish, in dress, and speech.

I will not go over any of the plot point, if you are really interested you can always buy the book. I just want to give a little take on each of the formats.

First, the script. This is a wonderful way to read the story, it is beautifully written by Mr. Ellison and his descriptions really put the images right into your head. I would really have liked to have seen this script be the basis of the television pilot.

starlostAfter reading the script I watched the actual pilot which was renamed “Voyage of Discovery”.  The show is pretty unwatchable. Although the series kept the main premise of the original screenplay, it changed some other major plot points and order of scenes. The biggest mistake is that the audience knows that it is a large spaceship from the very start. Also the costuming is horrible the residents of the biosphere have 70s style “old clothing” and they give the information holograms 70s style “future clothing”. The costuming is so bad they give the main female character pants in later scenes although they are of a type of Amish heritage. Also the effects are horrible, and not horrible for the time period just horrible. Everything is shot on green screen, even if it is not needed. Finally the acting is just bad. Not one person emotes any feelings.

I then read the novelization by Edward Bryant. This novel follows the script pretty well, but also adds some scenes and make some minor changes to strengthen the love story. It is very short easy read, but not a great book. I finished it and it was mostly meh. I think the problem is that I really liked the script and the book just does not add anything to the overall story.

Finally I finished up with the graphic novel. I really love this book. It is taken directly from Harlan Ellison’s script and the visuals match perfectly with the descriptions in that script. The artwork is beautifully done by Alan Robinson. Reading this graphic novel is like looking at what The Starlost series could have been.

So out of all the versions, I would recommend the original script and the graphic novel.

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Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Glass Teat

Pyramid 1975 1A little while ago I had written an article about rediscovering Harlan and of my goal on reading all of his books in published order. Well, in moving forward with this goal I recently read The Glass Teat.

I was looking forward to this book, since it has a great reputation, being well reviewed and received. Also the book contains columns of articles Mr. Ellison wrote in the late sixties for the Los Angeles Free Press and I am a huge fan of Mr. Ellison’s essays.

Now I had heard this book was about television, and I had heard that these columns got the attention of then Vice President Spiro Agnew, who helped limit the popularity of the book and killed the Sequel. This never made sense to me. How does television criticism make you an enemy of the government? Well I have read The Glass Teat and all my questions have been answered.

The Glass Teat is not really about television shows it is really about television as a medium, and how that medium relates to our society at that time. Television is an amazing invention of man. It is a tool which can reflect our society as a whole and in parts, it also can inform society about current news and of our history, but it also can be used to shape or society with ideas and opinions.

Harlan Ellison was commenting on all of this within the pages of The Glass Teat as well has telling you why Family Affair Sucked and why everyone should be tuning into the Smothers Brothers.

Ellison was using these columns as a way of pointing out political climate of our times as they were being broadcast into everyone’s living room.  His beliefs are very liberal and his language at times is raw and full of passion. He observes current events of the time, through his television and gives the reader his observation and opinions, right down their throats!

The subject matter ranges from Vietnam, college protest, religion, education, film, tv shows and the Common Man.

As I read the book, I found that it was affecting emotionally. It was making me depressed, sad and very angry! Why? Because as I read I began to realize that we have not changed. Many of the issues that Ellison was writing about has not changed one bitAce 1970 since the late 60s. If fact if anything they have gotten worse. At least in the 60s there were protestors marching in the street demanding change, today everyone is too damn busy looking into their iPhones to care. For example, Ellison touches on news outlets shaping political opinion, today we have FOX news and MSNBC news each with their own political propaganda (However I do believe that FOX has this down to an art). Ellison notes about cover ups of mass killings of Vietnam civilians with Senators at the time saying it’s okay since they are not Americans. Today we have Gitmo and Senators saying it’s okay to torture if they are terrorists. Also Mr. Ellison does a column about a film review of a documentary about the “Common Man”. While reading his column and their opinions on welfare, race, and war I thought “Oh my god, that’s the Tea Party”.  It appears that the old adage “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” hold true, horribly true. It’s been over forty years since these articles were first written, and we as a society we have not evolved have not grown. Yes it saddens me and I am angry.

Many people before me have stated that Harlan Ellison’s book The Glass Teat was an important book when it was first released. I contend that it is even more important today. Yes this book upset me, thank goodness for that.

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Posted by on June 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


Rediscovering Harlan

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.

The Deathbird

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 and early stories published by Kicks books. Oh my so much Harlan available.

The Deadly Streets

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).

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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in Uncategorized




I did this pastel of a Stromtrooper this week end. The coloring was inspired by Van Gogh’s Skull.

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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


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New Artwork

Did a new piece of artwork. I based this piece on the famous painting of The Scream but added the internet meme of the grumpy cat.



Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


New Piece of Artwork


Edgar Allen Poe





Did a new piece of artwork, Poe from charcoal and soft pastel.



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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


Paul, please comment on this post with w

Paul, please comment on this post with what your actual email address is. I’ll update your hootsuite account (and start referring other inquiries) to your correct address instead of mine.

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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

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