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The Harlan Ellison Hornbook


In 1972-73, after the essays that became The Glass Teat but before those collected in An Edge in My Voice, Ellison wrote a column of wide-ranging personal opinion for the Los Angeles Free Press and the L.A. Weekly News titled "The Harlan Ellison Hornbook." These is them, published, for various reasons, nearly two decades after their first appearance.

Some did see book publication previously (including "When I Was a Hired Gun," in Love Ain't Nothing But Sex Misspelled). Others are little more than period pieces, evocative of the era but offering little else of interest for contemporary readers. More than a few of the essays, however -- more even than Ellison recognizes, judging from the apologetic tone of his new introduction -- speak such universal truths that their datedness becomes immaterial. A fine read.

In 1997, it was republished as half of Edgeworks 3 along with the script to Harlan Ellison's Movie, which was omitted from the first edition (except for a special, now hard-to-find, two-volume limited edition).


  • Author's Note
  • Foreword: The Cricket Beneath the Hammer (by Robert Crais)
  • Introduction: The Lost Secrets of East Atlantis
  • 46 columns, dated 26 October 1972 to June-July 1977
    • 1: Everything I Know About My Father
    • 2: Valerie, Part One
    • 3: Valerie, Part Two
    • 4: Valerie, Part Three
    • 5: Getting Stiffed
    • 6: The Tyranny of the Weak, and Some Foreshadowing
    • 7: With Bloch and Bormann in Brazil
    • 8: The First of Three Culinary Comments
    • 9: No Offense Intended, but Fuck Xmas!
    • 10: The Day I Died
    • 11 though 20: Harlan Ellison's Movie, a Complete Screenplay (not included in this edition)
    • 21: Fair Weather Friends, Summer Soldiers, and Sunshine Patriots
    • 22: Troubling Thoughts About Godhood, Part One
    • 23: Bless That Pesky Wabbit
    • 24: Troubling Thoughts About Godhood, Part Two
    • 25: Where Shadow Collides with Reality: A Preamble
    • 26: When I Was a Hired Gun, Part One
    • 27: When I Was a Hired Gun, Part Two
    • 28: A Rare, Kindly Tought
    • 29: 3 Small Pleasures for a More Endurable Existence
    • 30: Varieties of Venue
    • 31: Why I Fantasize About Using an AK-47 on Teenagers
    • 32: In Which the Imp of Delight Tries to Make the World Smile
    • 33: I Go to Bed Angry Every Night, and Wake Up Angrier the Next Morning
    • 34: Ahbhu
    • 35: Death Row, San Quentin, Part One
    • 36: Death Row, San Quentin, Part Two
    • 37: College Days, Part One
    • 38: The Death-Wish of a Golden Idea
    • 39: College Days, Part Two
    • 40: College Days, Part Three
    • 41: The Last of Three Culinary Comments, Gonzo-Style
    • 42: Out of the Mail Bag
    • 43: Oh, Dear, He's Not Going to Do Xmas Again, Is He?
    • 44: The Death of My Mother, Serita R. Ellison
    • 45: Enormous Dumb
    • 46: Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don't Look So Terrific Yourself
  • Appendix A: Comic of the Absurd
  • Appendix B: Dogging It in the Great American Heartland
  • Appendix C: Darkness Falls in the City of the Angels
  • Appendix D: Lenny Bruce is Dead
  • Appendix E: Did Your Mother Throw Yours Out?
  • Appendix F: The Song the Sixties Sang
  • Appendix G: The Dingbat Appendix
  • Index (by Gil Lamont)

(Many chapters are preceded by "Interim Memos" of introduction or explanation)

Penzler hardcover 1990
(first edition)

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