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Gentleman Junkie

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Bold and uncompromising, Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-up Generation is a watershed moment in Harlan Ellison’s early writing career. Rather than dealing in speculative fiction, these twenty-five short stories directly tackle issues of discrimination, injustice, bigotry, and oppression by the police. Pulling from his own experience, Ellison paints vivid portraits of the helpless and downtrodden, blazing forth with the kind of unblinking honesty that would define his career. Reviewing this ...

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Gentleman Junkie

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Bold and uncompromising, Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-up Generation is a watershed moment in Harlan Ellison’s early writing career. Rather than dealing in speculative fiction, these twenty-five short stories directly tackle issues of discrimination, injustice, bigotry, and oppression by the police. Pulling from his own experience, Ellison paints vivid portraits of the helpless and downtrodden, blazing forth with the kind of unblinking honesty that would define his career. Reviewing this collection, Dorothy Parker called Ellison “a good, honest, clean writer, putting down what he has seen and known, and no sensationalism about it.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497643017
  • Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media LLC
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 558,065
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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 seventy-four books; more than seventeen hundred stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns; two dozen teleplays; and one 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 Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America twice; the Georges Melies Fantasy Film Award twice; 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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Read an Excerpt


by Frank M. Robinson

Harlan Ellison is a talent. He could, if he desired, be a fairly hilarious stand-up comedian, a more-than-decent balladeer, a respectable jazz musician, or what-have-you.

He makes his living at none of these.

He's a Writer.

This is an easy thing to say, and a very difficult thing to be. You have to have a certain talent to begin with, and then you have to develop it.

You develop it by first giving up your regular job because, as you quickly find out, serious writing is a full-time proposition and steady employment saps your strength and enthusiasm--so you take part-time jobs in bookstores, libraries, and beaneries, and you write in the early morning hours when the rest of the city is sound asleep (few people in the rest of the city have talents they want to develop).

You develop your talent by living on crackers and beans, by washing your own clothes and stringing them up on a wire in the john, by wearing the same shirt for a week and sleeping on your pants to give them a crease, and by living in a roach-ridden third-floor walk-up where there's only one water tap and the water's the same temperature come summer or winter--cold.

You develop that talent by writing like mad every free moment you have; by stealing away a few of those moments to read what's been written by other people; by submitting material to every magazine you know of, even if they only pay in packets of birdseed, and by being thrown bodily out of publishers' offices as well as agents'.

A lot of writers go through exactly this.

Ellison did.

A few writers have the guts and stamina to claw their way up from the bottom and finally MakeIt.

Ellison did.

All writers worth their salt (and despite what they go through) develop an empathy and a compassion for people and realize what so few outsiders do: that the characters you read about in fiction are not much different from the people you meet in Real Life, the acquaintances you make and the friends you love. It's not so much the material you work with, it's the view you take.

Ellison realizes this.

Read the following stories and you'll know what I mean. Harlan Ellison writes about the golden people, the tarnished people--Spoof and Marty Field and Tiger and Frenchie and Irish and the kids who hang out in the college sandwich shop--the little people with big problems who are no different from the people you know if only you could see the forest for the trees.

To take issue with an old saying, the rewards of virtue are a good deal more than virtue itself--of all the things in this world that do pay off, hard work heads the list. Exactly where the Big Time begins is hard to say--where does Wealth start and Poverty end, the interminable chain of scrounged meals and tiny, stuffy rooms get replaced by a decent diet and a Room with a View? In one sense, the Big Time for Ellison is only a page away. "Daniel White for the Greater Good" has been sold to the movies (what sort of job they'll do, I don't know, but if they're half as honest as the author, it will make Hollywood's pap look like ... pap), a number--literally, plural--of novels are scheduled for early publication, and others have been inked on contract. Hard work pays. So does Talent.

And so does Truth. Ellison does not hide the fact that the hurtful youth and background of Marty Field in "Final Shtick" are his own, that Ivor Balmi of "Lady Bug, Lady Bug," is another dimly-realized facet of his own personality. In fact, like with any good author, most of his characters are partial reincarnations of himself. Literature is not found like raisins in the bland oatmeal of the Middle Classes. Authors with something to say are not Typical American Boys who have been raised in the soft and tender wombs of Suburbia. More often than not they've been kicked in the groin by life, and the scar tissue will always show.

So now the party's over and it's time to meet all those people behind the masks.

-Frank M. Robinson, coauthor,

The Glass Inferno

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgment vii
Dedication ix
Foreword xi
Introduction: The Children of Nights xv
Final Shtick 1
Gentleman Junkie 11
May we also speak? 20
1. Now you're in the box
2. The rocks of Gogroth
3. Payment returned, unopened
4. The truth
Daniel White for the greater good 30
Lady bug, lady bug 40
Free with this box! 51
There's one on every campus 58
At the mountains of blindness 64
This is Jackie spinning 72
No game for children 81
The late, Great Arnie Draper 93
High dice 96
Enter the fanatic, stage center 105
Someone is hungrier 114
Memory of a muted trumpet 120
Turnpike 127
Sally in our alley 133
The silence of infidelity 142
Have coolth 148
RFD #2 159
No Fourth Commandment 170
The night of delicate terrors 182
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Customer Reviews

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