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Publisher's Summary

Originally published in 1962 and updated in later decades with a new introduction, Ellison Wonderland contains 16 masterful stories from the author's early career.

This collection shows a vibrant young writer with a wide-ranging imagination, ferocious creative energy, devastating wit, and an eye for the wonderful and terrifying and tragic. Among the gems are "All the Sounds of Fear", "The Sky Is Burning", "The Very Last Day of a Good Woman", and "In Lonely Lands". Though they stand tall on their own merits, they also point the way to the sublime stories that followed soon after and continue to come even now, more than 50 years later.

©1962, 1974, 1990, 2002 Harlan Ellison (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc., and Skyboat Media, Inc.

What listeners say about Ellison Wonderland

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Your Audio Guide to Ellison Wonderland

For me any new Harlan Ellison audiobook is a cause for celebration. If you’re a fan, this 2015 edition of Ellison Wonderland includes a lengthy new introduction and a new story within the introduction section.

If you haven’t read Ellison before these are earlier works and you may first want to check out his Edge in My Voice collections, which include many of his best stories. He also reads/performs many of the stories in the collection, which I prefer. The other performers are also very good.

Ellison Wonderland is fun and the new material makes it worth your while if you’ve previously read the book.

Here is a breakdown of the contents:
• GO THOU AND DO LIKEWISE: AN APPRECIATION OF HARLAN ELLISON by J. Michael Straczynski
• Author’s Introduction: THE MAN ON THE MUSHROOM (1974/1984)
• Author’s new Introduction: DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU: THE LAST DANGEROUS INTRODUCTION TO ELLISON WONDERLAND (2013)
• COMMUTER’S PROBLEM
• DO-IT-YOURSELF (Written in collaboration with Joe L. Hensley)
• THE SILVER CORRIDOR
• ALL THE SOUNDS OF FEAR
• GNOMEBODY
• THE SKY IS BURNING
• MEALTIME
• THE VERY LAST DAY OF A GOOD WOMAN
• BATTLEFIELD
• DEAL FROM THE BOTTOM
• THE WIND BEYOND THE MOUNTAINS
• ARE YOU LISTENING? (AKA, THE FORCES THAT CRUSH)
• NOTHING FOR MY NOON MEAL
• HADJ
• RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY
• IN LONELY LANDS
• BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS
• AFTERWORD by Josh Olson

17 people found this helpful

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Early Ellison

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This is very early Ellison. So I would recommend this book to fans of his, but would not really recommend it to people who weren't fans. Ellison was just getting started, and the stories, particularly the endings, are a little bit... well the endings are just a lot of "let me explain what the ending is!" (Tell instead of show.)

Would you be willing to try another book from Harlan Ellison and Josh Olson - afterword ? Why or why not?

If Ellison wrote novels, and selected a single narrator or narrated them himself then I would select one of those to read. I like full cast productions but I don't think it works as well for a short story collection such as this. I had to switch gears so much in terms of narrators.

Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I enjoyed the narrators, except for Alex Hyde-White, whose voice just didn't work for me. He was not a bad narrator, his voice was just VERY deep and resonated in a way that almost hurt my ears. But overall they were good, and handled the different voices well. There weren't as many characters to differentiate because the stories were short etc. Harlan also narrates all of the nonfiction he wrote for inclusion in this new edition, as well as the introductions to each story, and a few of the stories. Ellison is a great narrator, and is the best narrator for his work.

Did Ellison Wonderland inspire you to do anything?

The afterword by Josh Olson mentioned a documentary Dreams With Sharp Teeth and I am going to get the documentary.

Any additional comments?

I am spoiled. This is my third Ellison collection. I have previously read Slippage and Hard Candy, which were very formative for me. This is in one way a disadvantage because I didn't follow Harlan from the beginning but in one way an advantage because I saw his later, more complex stories. Some things of note about the collection: There is one woman who narrates and she narrates one story (the story with a woman as protagonist, which Ellison co-wrote.) This means that it was very notable to me that other stories didn't have women as protagonists. Ellison is known for his introductions and essays as well--often giving writers permission, simply, for self-respect. If the advice doesn't apply to you the kinds of things he writes in these pieces might seem overblown in some ways. There are about 5 and a half of these essays in the beginning of the book. I love Harlan's attitude on writing, but these are a little bit repetitive, i.e. they were letters to people in publishing which he had saved and then dissected in an essay. It's writer geek stuff.

J Michael Straczynsky (Babylon 5) writes the foreward and Josh Olson (A History of Violence) writes the afterword.

5 people found this helpful

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more bio than stories, and the stories are a bore

The first 6 hours (not that you’d know, because as usual there’s no table of contents, despite numerous complaints to audible that story collections need story titles (and authors for multi-author collections listed), are all the author rambling on about his life as a writer. Once the stories begin, they all have mini author intros that you have to forward through. The stories NOT narrated by the author are listenable; the ones are are unbearable. I don’t know how Audible gets away with its game and have made numerous complaints that are supposedly documented, but never receive follow up.

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What a douche

I’m still struggling to get through the introduction. What an awful human being. Hopefully the actual short stories are worthwhile.

1 person found this helpful

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No stories

There must be something wrong with this file. Like another reviewer I only got the introduction and afterword. No stories.

1 person found this helpful

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A personal aversion to Ellison’s voice…

This is a decent collection of writings by a more than competent artist. Yes, he was almost intolerable as a person, but he worked very hard and had a true gift. That being said, this collection is almost unlistenable due to his choking, smarmy vocal patterns. I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m ranting, but… listening to this was like being held underwater by a cheese grater.

1 person found this helpful

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that introductions one hell of a rant Harlan...

but introduction was one hell of a rat Harlan! Come get me mofo.... Sigh... Damn it... not even that would raise him from the dead. I miss you cranky old man

3 people found this helpful

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Where are the actual stories?

I've given up listening to this "collection" of stories. There is a huge amount of author talking endlessly about himself, and hard to sort where the actual stories begin and end... I like Ellison's stories, but this is just obnoxious. Disappointing...

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This is Harlan's half assedly produced memoir.

I never thought it was possible to have a 1 star overall, and at the same time 5 star for performance and 5 star for story. Whoo fjkg hoo!! If you are an intelligent person who prizes your intelligence and have felt bullied for being smart then Harlan's memoir welcomes you. If you spent credits for the stories: psyk! The stories are awesome, but you can get them elsewhere. This is the "What I Know" message to all and and a special fu to idiots in his industry: readers writers publishers. More importantly it's a what "I Think" about writing, stepping up, giving, and taking. If you live by taking you may find this read... uncomfortable. His wisdom is right there in his written works. He naturally pops off as a wit, delivering the hard messages with a tasty shell. This is separate. His welcome to you lonely smart mates, his thumbs up to loyalty and friendship, and his moon to the bastards.

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all over the map, too much 1950's sensibility

This is a mixed bag of stories written in the 1950's. Some have aged better than others. The audio starts out with an intro by JMS. The rest of the six hour introduction is Harlan doing his usual schtick, which is venting his spleen. Love him or hate him, you know what you are getting with HE. Several times I thought I wouldn't make it through the intro, but just as I was about to give up there would be some interesting or funny anecdote. I don't know how old HE was when he recorded his portions of this audio, but there are times when he sounds about one hundred years old and like his voice will give out at any moment. This was distracting, but for the most part the narration is okay. Commuter's Problem, for those who abhor the rat race. 4.0 Do-It-Yourself, had potential, but I can't say I liked it. Neat freak vs. slob. 2.0 The Silver Corridor. A lot of nothing. 1.0 All the Sounds of Fear is Ellison's rage against banality. I enjoyed the concept of it, but the ending was disappointing. So much for the Stanislavsky Method; it's like Olivier said "why don't you try acting?" 3.0 Gnomebody (1956) did not age well. 2.0 The Sky is Burning (1958); aliens arrive and shatter our dreams, well some dreams. Ellison's shrill narration of this is just too over the top, even for him. 2.0 Mealtime. "You aren't as hot as you think." Not a bad tale if you don't die from testosterone poisoning before the end; very 1950's. 2.5 The Very Last Day of a Good Woman. Not for me. Deal From the Bottom. Oh my. Harlan likes puns and this is meant to be funny, but it is so bogged down with a hip, cool, daddy-o demon character and it's beatnik vernacular that I cringed through most of it. This really didn't age well. 1.0 Battlefield. How is warfare going to be handled in the future from a perspective in the 1950's. Interesting and somewhat disturbing. 3.0 The Wind Beyond the Mountain. "The home is where the heart is." HE touches on a lot of things in this brief tale; telepathy, the economics of space travel, and ethnocentrism. In very few words he creates an alien planet inhabited by an alien species visited by shortsighted humans. A moving love letter to home. 5.0 Are You Listening? This is an anti-conformity anthem disparaging the quiet life. Someone can be so unnoticeable as to literally disappear. Both Kafkaesque and funny. 3.5 Nothing for My Noon Meal. Hell/not Hell? A story of loss that somehow seems apropos to read during a quarantine. It is a little bit Robinson Crusoe in outer space. 3.0 Hadj is a humorous tale of hubris involving an invitation to Earth from "the masters of the universe". 3.0 Rain, Rain, Go Away is another story of a shmoe living a life of if not quiet desperation than at least extreme tediousness in a job he hates. There is also a touch of 'be careful what you wish for'. 2.0 In Lonely Lands is a story of loneliness and friendship. An old man has returned to Mars to finish out his last days. 3.0 Back to the Drawing Boards. "Pay me my wages", sums up the robot Walkaway as well as the author HE. 3.0