With SLIPPAGE, his most outrageous and wildly imaginative collection to date, Harlan Ellison celebrates the fortieth anniversary of his career (now in its forty-second year), confirming his position as “the dark prince of American letters” (as Pete Hamill put it.) With characteristic fits of brilliance and irreverence, Ellison writes like an angel—or possibly a certifiable demon-crosscutting the political and the humorous, the domestic and the cosmic, and commingling ancient history, modern morality, and the surreal.
Displayed here are the centerpiece showstopper, “Mefisto in Onyx,” a major, award-winning novella, in which a black mindreader pays a singular and terrifying call on a white serial killer on an Alabama death row; the tour de force “The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore,” selected for THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1993; and “Keyboard,” a sardonic commentary on our uneasy alliance with the toys of technology, based on a theme suggested by Robin Williams. Introducing the collection is a new, long “toad-strangling, belly-whopping” essay in which Ellison talks about slippages of all kinds: of life, art, heart attacks, and earthquakes.
This is the 70th book Harlan Ellison has written or edited; more than 1700 stories, essays, and articles; as well as dozens of screenplays and teleplays. He has won two Mystery Writers of America Edgars, three Horror Writers of America Bram Stoker Awards, multiple Nebula and Hugo awards, the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Silver Pen for Journalism from PEN, among a plethora of honors.