Again, Dangerous Visions

Harlan Ellison
Again, Dangerous Visions Cover

Again, Dangerous Visions


Once, I really liked short stories, but now, not so much, I guess. Or maybe it was just these particular short stories. I read Dangerous Visions not too long ago and it was okay. I got Again, Dangerous Visions mostly because it contained Ursula K Le Guin's novella The Word for World is Forest, which is wonderful. But on the whole, Again, Dangerous Visions missed its mark.

Again, Dangerous Visions is a voluminous anthology. It contains stories by many well known science fiction writers of the day, the likes of Bradbury and Vonnegut, and some not so well known. It took me a long time to read this book, about four months. It seemed I just couldn't take it on a continuous basis, so would read a story or two between novels. Ellison wrote an introduction for each author's story. I found myself skipping many of these introductions.

Aside from Le Guin's novella, there were a few others of note. One that particularly caught my attention was Monitored Dreams and Strategic Cremations by Bernard Wolfe. this is actually two stories, the first of which is named 1. Biscuit Position. It wasn't science fiction but rather a commentary on the war in Vietnam, which was being fought when the book was published. Many short stories fade quickly into the fog of my memory, but this one will stay with me for a long time. I reacted very emotionally to it.

Another entry of note was Getting Along by James Blish. it was actually a series of skillfully written parodies of classic works such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and H. G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau. Blish's contribution is a real gem.

The final story is by James Tiptree, Jr. In his introduction, Ellison said he had saved the best for last: "Tiptree is the man to beat this year. Wilhelm is the woman to beat, but Tiptree is the man." and he complained that, "James Tiptree refuses to provide any personal data on himself." I'm sure Alice Sheldon smiled at this, or just maybe, they were in on it together.

There were several good stories in this collection and many forgettable ones. I've already forgotten them.