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Approaching Oblivion (Pan science fiction)…

Approaching Oblivion (Pan science fiction) (original 1974; edition 1977)

by Harlan Ellison

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554825,947 (3.71)7
Title:Approaching Oblivion (Pan science fiction)
Authors:Harlan Ellison
Info:Macmillan (1977), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 164 pages
Collections:Your library

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Approaching Oblivion by Harlan Ellison (Author) (1974)



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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Part of my mission to go back and read books I'd left unfinished for no good reason. This was one of the featured selections in the very first month of my Science Fiction Book Club subscription (in 1974). The collection is a bit raggedy and uneven, but sometimes brilliant and bold and moving. Ellison takes risks, and I admire the effort even when it doesn't work and sometimes marvel at the results when it does. This was from a time when "sci-fi" was morphing into "speculative fiction," making its bid as literature, experimental, political, graphic, and profound. It also brought back the whole time period to me, but that's another story... ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
I don't know how I missed entering this book when I did the first pass on all those things I'm putting into storage. It has the brief biographical nightmare that is "One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty." It provides such a window into what created that angry young writer, all those aeons ago. This also contains that most touching of dedications:

To the memory of
the first editor to buy a book
from me: a good man, a fine editor,
a friend...
Who approached oblivion,
passed through it, and is gone,
for what reasons I do not know....
Though I saw him seldom,
I miss him greatly....
With luck, he's found peace
at last.

It's a great collection, from Harlan's early days. ( )
  Lyndatrue | Dec 20, 2013 |
*note to self.copy from Al.
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
Harlan is an incredible writer, and I'd put his non-fiction up against anyone who's ever written non-fiction. With that being said, I'm usually hit or miss with the short story collections. Some of his stuff has such an effect on me that I'm almost afraid to read them again, simply because I can remember the feelings they brought forth, or the things they made me feel. Or remember. Harlan is great about making me remember things I've carefully buried away. But some of his stories make me want to skip ahead to the next, hoping that one is one of those stories. Approaching Oblivion is one of those collections.
  johnylitnin | Apr 20, 2010 |
After seeing a documentary film about kind of cuckoo firebrand author, Harlan Ellison, called "Dreams with Sharp Teeth," I wanted to read his autobiographical short story of a fraught childhood in northeastern Ohio, since I share that kind of background. The story is called "One Life Furnished in Early Povery" and is contained within "Approaching Oblibivion." "...Oblivion" was not easy to locate. Several copies that New York & Brooklyn Public Libraries had were listed as 'missing' and the other few that had not been stolen were constantly checked out. It is also out of print, so it's not so easy to buy a copy, either. When I did finally get my hands on a copy, I enjoyed the story. It qualifies as science fiction in that the narrator has arrived back at his childhood via time travel. The spring semester 09 was starting, so I did not have time to read many more stories besides "One Life.." but from what I understand, it is atypical of his work, being light on the classic sci-fi elements. ( )
  hhalliday | Aug 3, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ellison, HarlanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crichton, MicahelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Layzell, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, BarclayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The the memory of


the first editor to buy a book
from me: a good man, a fine editor,
a friend...

Who approached oblivion,
passed through it, and is gone,
for what reasons I do not know....

Though I saw him seldom,
I miss him greatly....

With luck, he's found peace
at last.
First words
Soon after I came to Los Angeles in 1970, I was called by a producer who offered me a job writing a science fiction screenplay. (Frontispiece)
If it hadn't been for my getting beaten up daily on the playground of Lathrop Grade School in Painesville, Ohio - this book would not be what it is. (Introduction)
In Germany they first came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Collects 12 stories:
"Reaping the Whirlwind"
"Cold Friend"
"Kiss of Fire"
"Paulie Charmed the Sleeping Woman"
"I'm Looking for Kadak"
"Silent in Gehenna"
"One Life Furnished in Early Poverty"
"Hindsight: 480 Seconds"
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Over the course of his legendary career, Harlan Ellison has defied-and sometimes defined-modern fantasy literature, all while refusing to allow any genre to claim him. A Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, as well as winner of countless awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Edgar Allan Poe, and Bram Stoker, Ellison is as unpredictable as he is unique, irrepressible as he is infuriating. Over thirty titles in Ellison's brilliant catalog are now available in an elegant new package featuring Ellison himself. Genius never felt so combustible. The New York Times called him "relentlessly honest" and then used him as the subject of its famous Sunday Acrostic. People said there was no one like him, then cursed him for preventing easy sleep. But in these stories, Harlan Ellison outdoes himself, rampaging like a mad thing through love ("Cold Friend," "Kiss of Fire," "Paulie Charmed the Sleeping Woman"), hate ("Knox," "Silent in Gehenna"), sex ("Catman," "Erotophobia"), lost childhood ("One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty"), and into such bizarre subjects as the problems of blue-skinned, eleven-armed Yiddish aliens, what it is like to witness the end of the world, and what happens on the day the planet Earth swallows Barbra Streisand. Oh yeah, this one is a doozy!… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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