From the Land of Fear

From the Land of Fear

by Harlan Ellison
     
 

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Eleven side trips to the dark edge of imagination by master storyteller Harlan Ellison, From the Land of Fear presents some of the author’s early work from his start in the late fifties. Here you can see a vibrant, imaginative young writer honing his craft and sowing the seeds of what would become his brilliant career, including the standout piece

Overview


Eleven side trips to the dark edge of imagination by master storyteller Harlan Ellison, From the Land of Fear presents some of the author’s early work from his start in the late fifties. Here you can see a vibrant, imaginative young writer honing his craft and sowing the seeds of what would become his brilliant career, including the standout piece “Soldier,” a clever antiwar tale included both in short‑story form and as a screenplay for TV’s The Outer Limits. True Ellison fans will enjoy this collection as a chance to see the writer’s growth over time. As Roger Zelanzy says in his wonderful Introduction, “He is what he is because of everything he’s been up until the Now.”
 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781497643000
Publisher:
Open Road Integrated Media LLC
Publication date:
06/03/2014
Pages:
204
Sales rank:
1,122,447
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Foreword

In Praise of His Spirits Noble and Otherwise

Here sighs, plaints, and deep wailings resounded through the starless air: it made me weep at first.

Strange tongues, horrible outcries, words of pain, tones of anger, voices deep and hoarse, and sounds of hands amongst them,

made a tumult, which turns itself unceasing in that air for ever dyed, as sand when it eddies in a whirlwind.

Inferno (Canto III, 22--31)

PREAMBLE

Harlan Ellison wrote the stories in this book, and they come from all over that strange thing we call a writing career. When a man is a writer and writing means as much to him as it does to some of us, his career and his life are pretty much inseparable things. He is what he is because of everything he's been up until the Now that equals the current Is, and the writing is an integral part of the Now of its composition and the Is of that time's being for him. I don't know how else to put it without breeding a Sudden Metaphysic.

Now, many of these stories come from Nows long gone by and from many an Is which has since become a Was.

In other words, they're from all over that thing we call a writing career, and because of this they differ from one another--which is a good thing indeed for those of us who would, in a way, observe a pilgrim in his progress. They differ, because of a thing called growth.

About growth: It means getting bigger, one way or another. Now forget essential biology and switch to the psyche: The voice you will hear in such things as Battle Without Banners is the voice of a bigger man than Time of the Eye. Why? That man knowsmore because he's lived more, is more. What's why. And growth operates on many levels: One, of course, is that of technical competence. Another, and I think more important one, is insight/outsight/hindsight/foresight. This capacity increases as one gets bigger. What would Thomas Mann or Hokusai be like if they'd lived to be a hundred and fifty and remained in full possession of this capacity? I wish I knew. I love them both. After reading Harlan's Introduction to this volume, I hope that he makes it at least that far, for he made a promise in there, knowing it or no, and he's a man who keeps his promises.

Harlan is around my age, and he was born in Painesville, Ohio, like twenty-five miles east of Euclid, Ohio, which is where I'm from, and we grew up that close to one another without ever running into each other and saying, "Hi! You want to write, too! Huh?" I wish I had known him in those early and, I suppose the word is "formative," days. I wish I had known him then, because I like him now.

Harlan, I am happy to say, is a man free of influences. He is his own man, come hell or high water, and that's one of the things I love about him. He will freely acknowledge a debt to such an humane and exceedingly capable writer as Lester del Rey--but this will be in the way of a journeyman's compliment to the man who taught him how to use certain tools, because he and Lester del Rey really have very little in common in the way of style and thematic materials. Harlan is eclectic when it comes to subject matter, autodidactic when it comes to what he knows, offensively personal (in a military, not pejorative, sense) when it comes to telling you about it and, to use a Henry James term because it applies here, he is possessed of his own "angle of vision." Whatever he sees, he sees. It is never anybody else's borrowed view of the subject that informs his materials. He is his own camera. Period.

And in all these respects, he has grown, is growing, will--I feel--continue to grow, because he's got something inside him that won't let him rest until he says what he must, at any given moment, say.

Okay, so much for uniqueness. I call him unique and I mean to honor him by it.

End of Preamble

BEGINNING OF AMBLE

What does it take to be a writer and why? The quotation from Dante which I stuck at the head of this piece contains the answer. There are these sounds, this tumult, turning in that air for ever dyed, eddying in a neat simile and beginning with that all important word "Here." Everybody hears the sounds, some people listen and a writer, for some damfool reason, wants to put them down on paper and talk about them--here, right now. So that's the answer to the question: "Some damfool reason." It's why Dante wrote, too. My damfool thing, the thing inside me that makes me say what I have to say, is a thing that I don't understand at all, and sometimes I curse it because it keeps me awake at night. So I can't tell you what Harlan's is, but go look at those nine lines of Dante's once more.

They're filled with spirits making the kinds of sounds you will hear in this book. That's why I put them there. Harlan writes about sighs, plaints, deep wailings, strange tongues, horrible outcries, words of pain, tones of anger, voices deep and hoarse and the sounds of hands moving to do many things. It's been around four years since I last read the Inferno, but when I sat down to write this piece, those lines suddenly came into my head. Because of the fact that I trust my personal demon when it comes to matters such as this, they're valid.

Meet the Author


Harlan Ellison has been called “one of the great living American short story writers” by the Washington Post. In a career spanning more than fifty years, he has won more awards than any other living fantasist. Ellison has written or edited one hundred fourteen books; more than seventeen hundred stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns; two dozen teleplays; and a dozen motion pictures. He has won the Hugo Award eight and a half times (shared once); the Nebula Award three times; the Bram Stoker Award, presented by the Horror Writers Association, five times (including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996); the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America twice; the Georges Melies Fantasy Film Award twice; and two Audie Awards (for the best in audio recordings); and he was awarded the Silver Pen for Journalism by PEN, the international writers’ union. He was presented with the first Living Legend Award by the International Horror Critics at the 1995 World Horror Convention. Ellison is the only author in Hollywood ever to win the Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Teleplay (solo work) four times, most recently for “Paladin of the Lost Hour,” his Twilight Zone episode that was Danny Kaye’s final role, in 1987. In 2006, Ellison was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Dreams With Sharp Teeth, the documentary chronicling his life and works, was released on DVD in May 2009.

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