Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dangerous Visions #3: Review

Harlan Ellison is an author who likes to shakes things up.  He is well-known for his own dangerous visions and his skill at twisting the everyday and making it thought-provoking. And just when you think you've figured out what kind of writer he is...science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, horror, black comedy, psychological...he throws you a curve ball and does something completely different.  Those qualities made him the perfect person to collect and edit the Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions collections back in the 1960s.

Dangerous Visions #3 is the paperback version of one-third of the stories which appeared in the original hardback collection, Dangerous Visions. In it you will find stories by SF greats such as Theodore Sturgeon, Roger Zelazny, Norman Spinrad, J. G. Ballard and Samuel R. Delaney.  You will also find names that may not be quite as well-known to you (this was at least the case with me): Kris Neville, Jonathan Brand, Sonya Dorman.... A total of fourteen stories which are every bit as disturbing and thought-provoking as when Ellison first tossed them out to the reading public in 1967.

My personal favorites:

"Judas" by John Brunner: where a man thinks he's defying and dismantling the mechanical "god" of his times...only to find that he's playing right into the myth.

"Test to Destruction" by Keith Laumer: A rebel leader is tested to the limit--both by his opponent and by alien forces.  He manages to use one against the other...but at what cost to his own humanity?

"Encounter with a Hick" by Jonathan Brand: A young man's explanation to the court about why an elderly man dropped dead in a hotel bar.  Some people just can't take the demolition of their cherished beliefs. 

The stories are a mixture of styles and subject matter...as well as producing a mixture of reactions.  There were a generous portion that I enjoyed and found interesting and through-provoking as well as those that just didn't touch a chord with me.  And one that I just sat and thought "What?" the entire time I was reading it.  Good solid science fiction selected by a master...three stars.


Challenges Fulfilled:  100 Plus Challenge, A-Z Reading Challenge, Book Bingo, Bookish TBR, Eclectic Reader, How Many Books, Million Pages, Mount TBR Challenge, Outdo Yourself, Science Fiction Experience, Vintage SF Month, Out of This World, 

6 comments:

littleredreviewer said...

"just sat and thought "what?" through the whole thing".

"what" like "i can't believe that happened!" or "what" like "what the hell is this?". sometimes those WTFs are fun and crazy, other times they just make no sense.

I've been meaning to look into more Harlan Ellison stuff, thanks for this great review!

Bev Hankins said...

What...like what the heck is going on?

I didn't understand it all.

bloodymurder said...

Great stuff Bev, though I will admit, when I saw the title of the post, I thought maybe Ellison had finally released the third title in the series - too much to hope for now I guess ...

Bev Hankins said...

Yeah, Sergio, I just don't think that's going to happen...

fredamans said...

Great review! I love short stories, and this looks like a fun and eclectic group!

bookdout said...


Thanks for sharing your Eclectic Challenge review - it sounds like you enjoyed it

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out