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Phoenix Without Ashes

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  151 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Harlan Ellison, one of the Grand Masters of science fiction and a multiple Hugo-, Nebula-, and Edgar Award-winner, returns to his roots with the graphic novel, Phoenix Without Ashes. The year is 2785, and Devon, a farmer banished for challenging his community's Elders, discovers a secret that changes everything he knew about the world, leading him on a quest to solve a mys ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by IDW Publishing
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zaCk S
Oct 15, 2012 zaCk S rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
so the question is, would i have picked up this lil graphic novel if i'd known ahead of time that it wasn't a complete story? or even a volume 1? hard to say. but prolly not. this is apparently a graphic novelization of a television script penned by ellison for a sci-fi tv show that was apparently so bad it didn't even survive in canada.

ok - if you'd told me THAT and handed me the book - yeah. i'd've read it.

harlan ellison's bread and butter is short works. i feel like his stories work better
Craig Childs
In 1973, Harlan Ellison wrote a pilot script “Phoenix Without Ashes” which he hoped would launch a groundbreaking 8-episode science fiction miniseries on television. Instead, due to repeated mismanagement and interference from the producers, it became one of the worst series ever—the now infamous THE STARLOST, which lasted only one season on NBC/CTV.

Ellison quit the project before the first episode was filmed. The actual show that aired was much different than what he wrote. (His successor Ben B
Jun 17, 2011 Rae rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, people that don't mind authors that are tools,
I am a huge fan of the original series of Star Trek, so of course when I first saw that this book was written by the legendary Harlen Ellison, my mind immediately went to the episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” (perhaps the best episode of Star Trek ever created, in my opinion). Phoenix Without Ashes was no “City on the Edge of Forever,” but it still wasn’t bad.

As an art major, I always tend to pay more attention to the art then most when I’m reading a graphic novel, and this book was no
Jared Millet
Once upon a time, Harlan Ellison wrote a TV pilot about a generation ship that had been traveling for so long that all its inhabitants had forgotten where they'd come from and where they were going. It originally aired as the zero-budget Canadian show The Starlost, which bore little resemblance to Ellison's vision.

Phoenix Without Ashes is that original pilot, now seeing the light of day in comic book form. It's an excellent beginning, but for the moment that's all it is. Hopefully there will be
Oct 13, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it
Jacob's world is small, specifically fifty miles, and of greater concern to him, oppressive. By both overt and secret means, the Elder's control everyone's lives, determining who marries who, what they do, and what they think. For an inquisitive individual, not to mention one in love, like Jacob all of this is intolerable. With their secret discovered, the Elder's sentence him to death, but before they find him, Jacob falls through a tube. Beyond it, he finds out the truth of their world. Earth ...more
Jan 07, 2016 Alan rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This would have been the pilot episode of a short lived television series called The Starlost. Enfant terible Harlan Ellison was so unhappy with the changes being made by the producers, director etc., he had his named removed from the script, and pretty much disowned the show.

Devon is consistently punished by the Cypress Corners elders, a community apparently absed on an Amish/Puritanical community. A large part of his problems with the elders is that Devon loves Rachel who has been pledged to
I'm torn on this one. I honestly didn't realize that this was based on a series that flopped, until I read a few other reviews. I know that this wasn't specifically my cup of tea, but I'll explain what I did and did not like as best I can.

The illustrations are detailed, and there is a nice use of light vs. dark to depict the overall tone of each page. In terms of setting, I'd relate it most closely to an Amish homestead. I believe John K. Snyder III is the illustrator, if I'm correct. He does a

This is Ellison's first formal 'best seller' (listed in the NYT bestseller list for graphical novels). I'm not Mr Manga, much prefer text, but from time-to-time will try an adaptation or extension of novels or short stories I am particularly fond of.

The novel, written by Ellison and Bryant, is much better IMO. Nothing in the graphic novel extends the basic plotline of the novel, and to some degree dumbs it down.

One of the reasons I'm neutral on graphic novels is their tendency to take ideas and
Mark Terry
A graphic novel presentation of what should have been a good television series. Ellison fans will know the backstory of the Starlost, and will like this as a new telling a good first chapter. Those who aren't fans will likely be frustrated that this is really the opening of a series, and leaves a lot of hooks for future episodes. Appreciate it for what it is: a very good opening to an intriguing world.
'kris Pung
Jun 25, 2014 'kris Pung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay looking at the reader reviews this one seems to be all over the place. I for one liked the creative and big ideas presented here but WTF is up with the ending? Please tell me there is another volume or two planned or don't waste you time reading this one.
Jul 09, 2016 Joseph rated it really liked it
I thought this was a fantastic and beautiful little story, and presented well in this format. Its a quick read, with beautiful art, and could be the lead in to a wonderful science fiction epic, but I find it satisfying in and of itself.
Aug 20, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
A graphic novel rendition of a screenplay Harlan Ellison wrote and pitched to Canadian TV back in the early '70's called The Starlost. The show lasted one season. I remember the show was mind-blowing (for a newly minted fan of science fiction desparate for a Scifi TV show to take the place of Star Trek) and I would eagerly await each weekly episode. The special effects were very good (for the times) and one of the recurring plot advancers was The Library. A vast, voice activated, supercomputer t ...more
May 24, 2011 Kenny rated it it was amazing
Picked this up a few weeks ago, less surprised to see a new Ellison story in a graphic novel format than to see a new story by Ellison, period, but I was pleasantly surprised at the greatness of this release! Maybe a little less-is-more approach, but if there is more to this story I would like to read it. According to some other reviews this is an adaptation of an Ellison work that was released on film. The illustration by Alan Robinson was very easy on the eyes as was the paneling and lettering ...more
Nov 24, 2015 Blair rated it it was ok
So apparently this is an adaptation of the pilot for a failed television series from the 1970s. It doesn't show a lot of originality or interest in the writing. Very far from Ellison's best work. The art is pretty nice, though.
James Eckman
Oct 09, 2015 James Eckman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, fiction
The hoary, cliched generation ship story, briefly brought back to life (AGAIN!) by Ellison, based on the Starlost TV series. Artwork is OK but a bit off somehow.
Nov 04, 2014 Macha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
based on Harlan Ellison's original pilot script (as opposed to the one actually filmed) for the shortlived 1973 SF TV series The Starlost.
Jennifer Oblad

Need more info. Way to short. Good start though. Hi by try my why lie to me be see.good
I am upset and frustrated because I need to know more. I am entirely engaged and I know that somewhere on the internet I can find the answers but this story has sparked a fire in me that rarely burns so brightly. I can only assume that this is the set up to an epic story about man insulated in his little world only sometimes the world is a lot larger than one initially assumes. This is a graphic novel with novel text included, and I actually took the time to read both because I was so consumed b ...more
Philip Athans
Oct 20, 2014 Philip Athans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific, but ... NO ENDING! Is there a Book 2?
Jan 22, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it
Harlan Ellison, baby. I can sense a 60s-70s Scifi trend coming on after Jo Walton's Among Others and now this.

Devon's life is constrained by the Elders (in what looks like a straight-up Amish community), but Devon's questioning ways keep getting him in trouble. He is being hunted when he falls down a mysterious tube and everything he thinks he knows gets up-ended. Really lovely art in this GN. . . a quick read and lots of good threads to pursue and books to LADDER UP after this.
Jul 31, 2011 zxvasdf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
HArlan Ellison was cutting edge in his time, but nowadays I think he's just trying too hard to keep up. His other forays into the Graphic Novel medium were all right, but with Phoneix Without Ashes he's struck paydirt. Although the premises is predictable, especially for a seasoned science-fiction reader, the story carries itself and the choice of artist for this endeavor was a boon. Beautiful and thoughtful, Phoenix Without Ashes leaves the reader anxious for the next installment.
May 27, 2011 Christine rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, galley
This graphic novel is half graphic and half novel. It includes the story Harlan Ellison wrote that spawned the TV pilot that spawned this GN. But I only read the GN part. I thought it was done very well. The illustrations were beautiful, especially the one of the ARC and all the stars around it. The story was interesting and left you wanting more.

Seriously, I want more. It kind of leaves us hanging at the end. Is there going to be another volume? I hope so.
Rjurik Davidson
Feb 08, 2013 Rjurik Davidson rated it liked it
Solid little story, though the whole thing is left somewhat unresolved. But elegantly handled and evidence of Ellison's mastery of the short story. From a writer's point of view, the first two thirds are deftly handled and worth studying as an example of structure. All the usual Ellison themes are here: the lone outsider facing an oppressive society, bolstered by the ignorant and apathetic; existential emphasis on the individual choice; etc. Good stuff.
Aug 24, 2011 Cristov rated it liked it
Good but too short to really enjoy. The artwork is well done and there are actually several pages where the art itself propels the story forward instead of dialog which in my opinion is a good thing in a graphic novel.

The real downside is that most of the story elements seem familiar. As if I've seen it in some episode of Twilight Zone or something before. It's still not bad.
Jan 06, 2012 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this one a whole lot more than I actually did. It's a well-written adaptation of the script, but I didn't care for the style of the art. It's rendered in a sort of muddy-Richard Corben way that doesn't do the sweep of the plot justice at all.
Keith Davis
Jul 30, 2011 Keith Davis rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Graphic novel adaptation of Ellison & Bryant's story about a young rebel in an agrarian community of religious fundamentalists who discovers that their tiny world is not what it appears to be. Kind of heavy handed anti-religious metaphor.
Feb 09, 2012 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad start, but the story is not complete in this book (frustrating). This seems to be a story that could have been told, to completion, in a well-done, four-issue comic.
The illustrations are splendid. The story is not bad, though it only really gets going when this volume ends. If IDW chose to continue the series, I'd certainly give it a read.
Nathan Triz
May 29, 2012 Nathan Triz rated it it was amazing
Beautifully crafted sci-fi short story. Makes you want to shake your fist at any religious "authority" - take that dirty bible-thumpers!
Jul 11, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it
Pretty good graphic adaptation of Ellison's original teleplay and Ed Bryant's novelization for what became THE STARLOST t.v. series...
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Harlan Jay Ellison is a prolific American writer of short stories, novellas, teleplays, essays, and criticism.

His literary and television work has received many awards. He wrote for the original series of both The Outer Limits and Star Trek as well as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; edited the multiple-award-winning short story anthology series Dangerous Visions; and served as creative consultant/write
More about Harlan Ellison...

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