1975 - NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS

The SPIDER Symposion: in-depth discussion of specific Ellison stories and works.

Moderators: Moderator, Jan, Duane

User avatar
Jan
Posts: 1817
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: Köln

1975 - NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS

Postby Jan » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:15 am

Image

NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS

Image

The first collection of suspense stories by "the leading craftsman in the literature of error and dread." 15 traumatic terror/tales available nowhere else; plus the winner of the 1974 MWA Edgar award. (1975 Pyramid front cover)

Tired of the everyday grind? Got a lousy tension headache? Having crazy thoughts about tossing your boss out a window, feeding your old man through the blender, bricking up your wife in the basement? Need an escape before you do something nasty? Here's a book that may help for a few minutes, long enough to catch your breath. Sixteen stories of mayhem and panic, fear and fantasy by the writer the Louisville Courier-Journal & Times says "is currently the leading craftsman in the literature of terror and dread": Harlan Ellison, winner of the Mystery Writers of America award for Best Short Story (included here). This book will at least reassure you: even looneytune paranoids really have enemies. (1983 Ace back cover)

Buy the current edition at Amazon or the e-book at E-Reads.

The opening story THE WHIMPER OF WHIPPED DOGS had already appeared in Deathbird Stories.

User avatar
Jan
Posts: 1817
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: Köln

Postby Jan » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:28 am

TIRED OLD MAN (1975) - Writer Billy Landress encounters a mysterious old writer named Marki Strasser at a writers’ party in New York. - Also appears in The Essential Ellison.

This story is based, as we learn in the general introduction to the book, on a real event involving the mystery writer Cornell Woolrich, of "Rear Window" fame, whom Harlan had talked to at a late-60s Hydra Club gathering without knowing it, despite having admired him since the late fourties. (Harlan wrote an introduction to the Woolrich collection Angels of Darkness in 1979.) As such, the story has autobiographical elements in both its halves. In the first half, Billy returns to New York after having become a very successful novelist in Los Angeles, and he meets, after being talked into it, the writers who formerly considered him the least of their lot. Now the roles are reversed, though no one at the gathering would admit it. This part, which is reminiscent of the opening section of „Final Shtick!“ (from Gentleman Junkie), sets up what Billy reveals to the old man about his relationship to his late father. He is not trying to prove anything to his old colleagues - on the contrary, the situation is unpleasant for him. But there is someone whom he’d like to know about his successful life - his father.

Image

The actions of the old man, on the other hand, remain partly a mystery. However, it seems clear he wanted to pass on a few of the ideas he had no time and power anymore to execute, after finding in Billy someone who appreciates a writer’s wish for a legacy. Harlan probably wrote the story mainly to recreate the older Woolrich in the shape of this loving and probably very true portrait. Both the fact that he did this and the manner say something about what writers can mean to each other, which I always thought is one of the more important things to appreciate about Harlan, for people who want to understand him as a professional and as a person. He called the story an hommage to Woolrich. It suggests that this man's ideas have inspired him to write several stories; at least they inspire Billy.

Apart from a few redundancies the prose is slightly superior to that of most stories Harlan published in the mid-70s. The main character is not particularly likeable due to his quick way of judging nearly everyone else a failure; he partly makes up for it with his enthusiastic appreciation for crime stories and true talent. :| :| :oops:

Visit: cornellwoolrich.com and detnovel.com.

User avatar
Jan
Posts: 1817
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: Köln

Postby Jan » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:32 pm

PROMISES OF LAUGHTER (1969) - The love affair of two writers is threatened when one manages to provide well-paid assignments for the other.

This story, like certain others obviously written too late for inclusion in LOVE AIN’T NOTHING BUT SEX MISSPELLED, concerns a relationship right in the middle of the women’s lib movement. It feels autobiographical and presents itself as true, although the names and details have been changed. Harlan was discovering that he and perhaps other men of his generation would have certain problems adapting to the more strong-willed, independent women who in some ways didn’t need men. From today's perpective, the basic conflict hasn't aged at all. The narrator is uncertain who of the lovers is more to blame, if any, for the failure of the relationship. The story has to be seen as part of the large number of stories that examine relationships and women and that tend to feature some self-examination on the narrator's part as well. With regard to the historical context, it not only reflects the climate of the late 60s but the (slightly annoying) hip language of the time, as well as something of Harlan’s lifestyle in LA as a successful writer between marriages. It’s also distinguished by giving a little insight into the lives, work habits and financial problems of young and ambitious writers in those days. Today, of course, thing are already different. Those simply looking for a good story, especially one of "mayhem and panic" (back cover), will probably be disappointed that Harlan's life at times is a bad soap opera. :| :|


Return to “Literary Symposium”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests