Approaching Oblivion (2021 Edgeworks Abbey Archive Hardcover)

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Ellison, this collection assembles the preferred texts of each story and essay along with previously uncollected and unpublished material to create the definitive edition.

The New York Times called him “relentlessly honest” and then used him as the subject of its famous Sunday Acrostic. People magazine 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’s like to witness the end of the world and what happens on the day the planet Earth swallows Barbra Streisand. Oh yeah, this one’s a doozy!

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

Cover photograph by Rod Searcey.

The complete table of contents of the 1984 Bluejay Special Edition of APPROACHING OBLIVION, including later revisions by the author from subsequent short story appearances.

  • 1984 Introduction to the Introduction
  • Foreword: Approaching Ellison by Michael Crichton
  • Introduction: Reaping the Whirlwind
  • Knox
  • Cold Friend
  • Kiss of Fire
  • Paulie Charmed the Sleeping Woman
  • I’m Looking for Kadak
  • Silent in Gehenna
  • Erotophobia
  • One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty
  • Ecowareness
  • Catman
  • Hindsight: 480 Seconds

NEW Edgeworks Abbey Archive Content:

No Winners by Jason Davis
An original essay detailing the history of Ellison’s fourteenth short story collection.

Selling Oblivion: 1974-1984
A compendium of Ellison-written cover copy for 10 years’ worth of APPROACHING OBLIVION reissues.

Story Commentary: 1971-1980
Ellison-written commentary on the stories from FINAL STAGE, edited by Edward L. Ferman & Barry N. Malzberg (Charterhouse, 1974); THE FUTURE NOW, edited by Robert Hoskins (Fawcett Crest Books, 1978), and GALAXY: Thirty Years of Innovative Science Fiction, edited by Frederik Pohl, Martin H. Greenberg, and Joseph Olander (Playboy Press, 1980).

Dostoevsky Never Wrote for Tony Either, So Get On with Your Life (previously uncollected)
Ellison’s 1999 essay on getting published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty & Knox (previously unpublished)
Ellison’s first drafts of these short stories.

RIF (previously unpublished)
A 1971 prospectus for an abandoned novel.

The Song of the Soul
The introduction to Ellison’s 1971 retrospective, ALONE AGAINST TOMORROW.

Ellison Speaks… (previously uncollected)
An edited compilation of two 1972 letters and a recorded interview on writing prose and for the screen.

You Are What You Write (previously uncollected)
The second of Ellison’s trilogy of essays featured in the three CLARION anthologies edited by Robert Scott Wilson.

Breaking and Entering Pandora’s Box (previously uncollected)
A humorous intro to an apocalyptic story from an unusual perspective.

Thoughts on Turning Eighteen (previously uncollected)
Ellison’s 1973 afterword to Leslie K. Swigart’s Harlan Ellison: A Bibliographic Checklist.

6″ x 9″ Trade Hardcover with Dust Jacket, 302p. ISBN: 978-1-946542-25-0.

Additional information

Weight 1.8125 lbs
Dimensions 6.5 × 9.25 × 1 in

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