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HARLAN ELLISONS WATCHING.
by Harlan Ellison.
This is an enjoyable, irascible collection, (surprisingly) fully indexed, and a welcome companion to Ellisons 1970 collected TV musings, The Glass Teat. - Library Journal.
Collected herein are roughly twenty-five years worth of film essays from Ellison, renowned author of a dazzling variety of stories, scripts, and articles (as well as the noted futurist featured in recent Chevrolet commercials). The majority of the pieces are drawn from the last few years issues of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but earlier compositions from such diverse publications as Cinema, The Los Angeles Free Press, The Staff, and Starlog are included as well. Ellison is a man of strong opinions, and part of his magnetism lies in his refusal to dilute his declarations to mollify readers. Those unfamiliar with Ellisons style may be taken aback by the unfiltered fallout of his rants and raves. The following unmitigated burst regards a convention at which the author spoke: ...In the neighborhood of ten thousand people attended this combined Star Trek/space science/rV addict media melange: a hyperventilated whacko-freako-devo two-day blast that served as cheap thrill fix for a tidal wave of incipient jelly-brains who would rather sit in front of the tube having their mind turned to puree-of-bat-guano than ... deal with the Real World in any lovely way. Ignore for the moment that the preceding seems to have little to do with cinema per se (Ellisons digressions are many and lengthy, but they logically and invariably wind their way back to the core subject matter); disregard the fact that the author seems to be attacking some of his own fans; focus instead on Ellisons raw assertions, and youll get an idea of what this book holds in store. Not one to limit his vendetta to passive audiences, Ellison takes no prisoners when dealing with the films creators: Throughout this collection, he points out the endless ego wars and unceasing one-upmanship that transpire behind Hollywood studio doors. Many fascinating anecdotes, some anonymous, some replete with casually-dropped celebrity names, can be found here. This volume can be taken as a collection of views to be read linearly or as a reference work to be pulled from the shelf for occasional perusals. Either way, its an entertaining and infonnative piece of work that amply displays Ellisons talents. If the English language is an instrument, Ellison is a virtuoso player. -- From Independent Publisher.
OVERVIEW: Most overviews of film are written from some high, sunlit mountaintop. In this first collection of Harlan Ellisons cinema criticism (with expanded, never-before-collected articles as well as an essay written especially for this volume) come from the darkened interiors of a thousand movie houses where this most peculiar of all Observers of the Passing Scene has spent much of his life. The view is guaranteed to make you grind your teeth in anger, nod your head in blessed agreement, and open your eyes in a manner of judging films that is definitely not plebeian. Harlan Ellisons love affair with movies is obvious. As an essayist, he has no equal; as a film critic he has no friends. Take care.
1992 Underwood-Miller trade paperback, unread in Very Good.