Phoenix Without Ashes
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Phoenix Without Ashes

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  226 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The Original Teleplay & Novel for the TV Series the Starlost
Paperback, 220 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by IDW Publishing (first published 1975)
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TK421
First off, let me tell you that I didn't finish this book. For two reasons. One, the introduction by Harlan Ellison, which was brilliant, gave too much away about the story (even if the story was a mini-series that floundered back in the day). And two, Ellison didn't write this. He came up with the premise, but Edward Bryant wrote the novel. Now I have nothing against Mr. Bryant, but his writing didn't scintillate me enough to want to keep on reading. Perhaps had I skipped the introduction (as I...more
zaCk S
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...more
Rae
Jun 17, 2011 Rae rated it 3 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
Alan
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...more
Richard Corey (HMSH) Richard
So, a long while back, over a year ago, I got a copy of a godawful book for free. This book was called Low Red Moon and it was a cheapo Twilight rip-off. Girl falls in love with Werewolf who may have killed her parents, but it turns out that he’s a prosecuted minority and – okay, that sounds a hell of a lot better than the book actually was.

In any case, reading this awful book gave me an idea for a blog. I would find books for less than $2, and read them, and review them. Every book that I got...more
Jessica
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...more
The Fza
If you have never read anything Harlan wrote then you should!

He's the king of short stories so for you commitment fearing readers who like bold yet out of the ordinary fiction then please check him out. I recommend: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream or "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman.

Both mind-blowing tales in there own right. And as Harlan is not shy in pointing out, as a matter of fact he's not shy about saying anything, 'I Have No Mouth' is one of the most reprinted short-story in...more
Stephanie
Précis Devon is a loner in the town of Cypress Corners, an agrarian community with Amish values and beliefs. Instead of God, it is the Creator they follow and their world is 100 kilometers wide. Devon has dreams of things he cannot explain and questions the elders and even the Creator, especially over the issue of the girl he loves being already committed to his one friend Garth. His chastisement by the elders led by Micah ends up with his banishment to the hill country.
While there, he discover...more
Nick

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...more
Zack
This really needs to be reissued. A classic example of how to screw up a good idea for a science fiction TV series, THE STARLOST boasted a concept from Harlan Ellison, SF technology from Ben Bova, and special effects from Douglas Trumbull, who did the effects in 2001 and later CLOSE ENCOUNTERS...then the studio turned it over to low-budget Canadian TV and a staff of writers who had no knowledge of SF. The horible result will soon be available on DVD, but Ellison's adaptation of his original, awa...more
'kris Pung
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.
Jeff
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
Kenny
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
Randy
Aug 01, 2008 Randy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF fans
Another example of how the folks with money don't really understand good SF. The script was the pilot for a series(in the beginning a miniseries) and if they hadn't royally screwed Mr. Ellison, he would have produced a superior series for them.
He walked away and put in his pen name, Cordwainer Bird, to let fans know this wasn't his show anymore.
What came out was a hilariously bad series, further blackening the eyes of SF television to people who didn't understand the genre.
This was a novelizatio...more
David
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
Kim
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.
zxvasdf
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.
Christine
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
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.
Cristov
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.
Erik Graff
Feb 23, 2009 Erik Graff rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the Starlost tv series
Recommended to Erik by: Harlan Ellison
Shelves: sf
As I recall, this was Harlan Ellison's account of his work on the television series and the reasons for his breaking with the production entirely. It seemed petty and rather boring to me, but might interest fans in the program (which I have never seen) and would certainly interest any prospective biographer of Ellison.
Randy
The novelization of Ellison's pilot script for the series The Starlost by Bryant. A long introduction by Ellison explained how the idiot "money people" knew nothing about what they were doing and screwed up a promising. in the beginning, idea. What emerged bears no resemblance, unfortunately, to this novel. More's the pity.
David Allen
The novelization of a Harlan Ellison-penned pilot for a TV series, this tale of two starcrossed lovers and an Amish-like town that turns out to be on a space ark is pulpy fun, even if the ending is a hook for a continuing story that never developed. Today "Starlost" could make a fine miniseries, a la "Under the Dome."
Alex
Acceptable science fiction book. Based on a script by Harlan Ellison for the pilot episode of an apparently ephemeral SF TV show from the 70s called "The Starlost." Perhaps most easily described as Amish! In! Spaaaaaaaaaaace! Better than that description would imply, but still rather throwaway.
Patrick Nichol
Harlan Ellison's wonderful story about an ark-like spaceship careening toward a comet, and of mankind's impending doom. The model for his much-maligned Canadian TV series The Starlost.

Check out his essay on the subject, which offers biting criticism of network TV.
Craig
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
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.
Craig
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.
Matthew
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.
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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
More about Harlan Ellison...
Dangerous Visions I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Again, Dangerous Visions Deathbird Stories "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman

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