The Unquiet Dreamer: A Tribute to Harlan Ellison® edited by Preston Grassmann
Trade Paperback – Drugstore Indian Press – Apr 2023 – 575 pages
As Nabokov says, “I think it is all a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger and stranger it becomes”.
It was in 1998 at Dangerous Visions Bookstore, when a seismic shift altered the foundations of the room—in walked Harlan, the man who had written “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes”, “Repent Harlequin . . .” and “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”. The man who had met Bruce Lee, mouthed off to Sinatra, marched in Selma, had lived through the insanities of Hollywood producers . . . Something had happened to the crowd as if they had fallen into the path of a McCormick thresher—husks torn away to reveal something essential in their awe-struck silence.
I knew all too well how meeting one’s heroes can turn out badly, but I was indefatigable in my youth and I told him my dream of putting together an anthology someday, with a TOC that included some of the very writers in this book. “That’s a pretty nifty list,” he had said. “Do it, kiddo.” As the years passed, the dream had fallen by the wayside, but Harlan never let me forget.
And though I wish Harlan could see it, the dream is finally here—a book full of memories and love—thirty-three international contributors who have joined together to celebrate his life. It’s strong and strange in ways I never expected, full of inspired ideas, anecdotes and stories of Harlan.