Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Man with Nine Lives & A Touch of…

The Man with Nine Lives & A Touch of Infinity

by Harlan Ellison

Other authors: Ed Emshwiller (Cover artist), Ed Valigursky (Cover artist)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
361313,489 (4.5)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

When you go back and read the earlier writing of authors (particularly well-established and famous authors) it can be with a sense of trepidation. Most recently, I have found this to be true as I’ve explored early works of Heinlein – an excellent author, but an early history that holds more misses than hits. Likewise, the early writing of Asimov (and who would ever question his ability to tell a story) can be a bit painful. So, I kept putting off reading this Ace double novel. Printed in 1960, and with the kind of covers that screamed 50s science fiction (not a bad thing – just not necessarily a good thing), I was just not sure I wanted to invest the time. I kept telling myself I didn’t want to crack open this old paperback that was in relatively good condition. I’m no collector – it was an excuse.

Finally succumbing to the inevitable, I jumped into the novel The Man With Nine Lives. (Quick aside for those unfamiliar with the Ace doubles – they are two books in one paperback, printed upside down to one another so there are two front covers and the two texts meet in the middle.) Science fiction is often called the fiction of ideas, and this novel supports that. Ellison’s ability to tell a story is well exhibited, as is his ability to write to the needs of that story. But within these 130 pages, he has put a number of fascinating ideas – some of which are explored, others just the foundation of what happens. An example of the latter… The protagonist (Emory) is seeking revenge. In this pursuit he comes under the control of the computer “Manuvac”. (This sounds like old, cliché science fiction – trust me, it’s not.) Manuvac is sending people into the bodies of creatures on other planets in order to better pave the way for mankind’s rule of the universe. It is terraforming (uniforming?) on a completely different scale. This is integral to the story, yet only a supporting concept in the overall tale.

And Ellison is exploring his writing chops here. A set of chapters are a set of numbered “Dialogues” and are just that – only dialogue. (Don’t worry – they work.) Another set are numbered “Travelogues” that make up Emory’s unintended travels to other planets. In the notes, Ellison even comments “…this book is an experiment – both in content and style…” It is an excellent prelude to the works to come. Only one quibble, the ending seemed more thud than bang. Not a bad ending; just a little too quick to its point.

The second book (titled A Touch of Infinity) is a collection of Ellison’s early stories. (Funny note – the title over both books says “Two complete novels”. Too busy putting out to publication to make sure things are correct, I guess.) These are in other collections (I had previously read all except “Back to the Drawing Board”), but it does make a nice companion to the novel. Included here are the stories “Run For the Stars”, “Back to the Drawing Boards”, “Life Hutch”, “The Sky is Burning”, “Final Trophy”, and “Blind Lightning.” Again, excellent examples of Ellison’s early stories and excellent stories on their own. In particular, “The Sky is Burning” gives an indication of the Ellison future.

A long review for a short novel (and collection of short stories.) But, whether you want to explore Ellison’s early writing, or just read a good old-fashioned (with a touch of change) science fiction novel, this is worth searching out. ( )
  figre | Sep 7, 2008 |
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harlan Ellisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Emshwiller, EdCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Valigursky, EdCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This Ace Double contains both The Man with Nine Lives and A Touch of Infinity by Harlan Ellison. It should not be combined with either individual work.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio

Popular covers


Average: (4.5)
4.5 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 118,514,166 books! | Top bar: Always visible