The Top of the Volcano, the Award-Winning Stories of Harlan Ellison

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Dust Jacket Art by Michael Whelan.

A beautiful book. And a must-read for Ellison fans!

We’re pleased to announce a volume that may well be considered The Best of Harlan Ellison, which will be printed as an oversize 7*10 inch volume.

Firebrand, Touchstone, Trailblazer, Risk-Taker!

“Only connect,” E.M. Forster famously said, and Harlan Ellison was canny enough to make that the lifeblood of his achievement from the get-go.

New, fresh and different is tricky in the storytelling business, as rare as diamonds, but, as a born storyteller, Harlan made story brave, daring, surprising again, brought an edge of the gritty and the strange, the erudite and the street-smart, found ways to make words truly come alive again in an over-worded world.

From the watershed of the ’50s and ’60s when the world found its dynamic new identity, to a self-imitating, sadly all too derivative present, he has kept storytelling cool and hip, exhilarating, unexpected yet always vital, able to get under your skin and change your life.

And now we have it. The Top of the Volcano is the collection we hoped would come along eventually, twenty-three of Harlan’s very best stories, award-winners every one, brought together in a single volume at last. There’s the unforgettable power of “’Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” “The Whimper of Whipped Dogs” and “Mefisto in Onyx,” the heart-rending pathos of “Jeffty Is Five” and “Paladin of the Lost Hour”, the chilling terror of “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” the ingenuity and startling intimacy of “Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans…”

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Happy ❤️ Day! Love the world today…

from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra…

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Art by Henry Cline.

 

The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,
Burnt on the water. The poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar’d all description: she did lie
In her pavilion—cloth of gold, of tissue—
O’er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature.

– Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

“Meditation at Lagunitas”— a Poem by Robert Hass, 1979

 

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Meditation at Lagunitas

Robert Hass, 1979


All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
pine, hair, woman, you
and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled
bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as
numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

(from Praise, 1979)

(Art: “Blackberries” watercolor artist unknown. Pinterest)

“Bedlam” a Mystery Story by Ken Bruen

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Bedlam Hospital. Photographer unknown. (Pinterest)

Bedlam

Ken Bruen

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I’ve been out of the hospital, near three weeks.

I know because I precisely counted and oh, so…………………delicately counted the days.

I wish I knew how long I was incarcerated.

The heavy medication, the padded room, you lose all sense of nigh everything.

A room designed to drive you…………madder.

It did.

I alas, remember, months gone by, weeks, years?

Curled up in the foetal position, and cackling to me own self.

They’d just hosed me down, those fucking lethal sprays of water that bounce you off the freaking walls.

A day came when I managed to feign taking the pills and slowly, oh, so fucking slowly, I began to get back to me own self. Now play the game.

I became the model patient.

It mostly worked.

I was released into the general population.

One slight hiccup.

One of the orderlies didn’t buy my new act.

Kept on my case, pushing me to reveal my real self.

I did.

When she was least expecting it.

I got her on the early morning of the night shift, drowned her in the toilet. Took a time but then I didn’t have anywhere else to be yet, so I drew it out a bit.

Heard the bitch plead.

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