Honorable Whoredom at a Penny a Word (2021 Edgeworks Abbey Archive Trade Hardcover)

Five years in the making, the Edgeworks Abbey Archive represents Harlan Ellison’s last word on his written legacy. Researched and edited by Ellison’s long-time associate, Jason Davis, under the supervision of Harlan and Susan Ellison, this collection assembles the preferred texts of each story and essay along with previously uncollected and unpublished material to create the definitive edition.

HONORABLE WHOREDOM AT A PENNY A WORD collects the hard-boiled fiction Ellison wrote for the mystery/suspense digests of the 1950s, along with a few later contributions to the genre from the men’s magazines of the 1960s. In these pages, you will find Ellison’s only recurring character, insurance investigator-turned-fixer Jerry Killian, as well as the diminutive private dick Big John Novak, a character intended to continue, but only appearing in one suspenseful outing. His aborted second appearance, “In Small Packages,” makes its debut herein, alongside a pair of first drafts that showcase the rapid development of Ellison’s craft across his first years as a professional writer—a time when pros were paid a penny a word.

N.B. The books graded as “fair” were poorly packaged for shipment from the printer and have dents, gouges, and holes along the spine. They would make excellent reading copies and are priced the same as the trade paperbacks.

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


Edited by Jason Davis, director of the Harlan Ellison Books Preservation Project.

Cover photograph by Marty Woess.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction to Burn My Killers (incorporating Naked Deranged Psycho Thrill-Demon or, Bitch-Slut Gun-Crazy Homicidal Rat)
  • Burn My Killers!
  • The Golden Virgin (starring Jerry Killian)
  • Thrill Kill
  • Riff
  • Scum Town (starring Jerry Killian)
  • Kill Joy
  • Girl at Gunpoint
  • Can Opener (starring Big John Novak)
  • Knife/Death
  • They Killed My Kid! (starring Jerry Killian)
  • Final Movement
  • The Honor in the Dying
  • Mac’s Girl
  • The Honor in the Dying (first draft)

NEW Edgeworks Abbey Archive Content:

Is a Purveyor of Literary Whoredom a Publishing Pimp? by Jason Davis
An expanded version of the original 2013 introductory essay.

The Final Movement
Previously unpublished text deleted from the story.

The Only Thing Piper Kell Knew (previously unpublished)
The first draft of “Riff,” which features a different narrator than the published version of the story.

In Small Packages (previously unpublished)
The abandoned first draft of “Find One Cuckaboo,” which was originally written to star Big John Novak and featured references to “Can Opener.”

6″ x 9″ Trade Hardcover, approx. 262p. ISBN: 978-1-946542-42-7.

Additional information

Weight 1.25 lbs
Dimensions 6.5 × 9.25 × .9 in

New, Fine, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor, Binding Copy, Reading Copy