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Slippage: Previously Uncollected, Precariously Poised Stories

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  823 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
With this, his best-selling and most critically acclaimed collection ever, Ellison celebrates four decades of brilliant, outrageous writing. The award-winning novella "Mefisto in Onyx" is the centerpiece of an irreverent and wildly imaginative book that the San Diego Union-Tribune called "electrifying...Ellison is back, as unsettling as ever."
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published June 24th 1997 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1997)
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Brian Steele
Jan 02, 2010 Brian Steele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bizarre-fiction
It is a disappointment that while authors like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark and Robert A. Heinlein have such immediate renown and recognition, the name Harlan Ellison does not often get the respect it deserves. Asimov and company were true visionaries, but Ellison was just a few too many years late onto the scene. Most famous for his short story collections, he has penned countless works over the last 50 years and is best known for editing the book “Dangerous Visions”; an anthology of tales by ...more
I love Harlan Ellison. Every-in-your-face, cocky, let's turn what you think upside-down and inside-out word of him. The man can write. He can write so darn well that he can tell you about his bypass surgery and make you think it's freakin' awesome. He can spin a tale about living through an earthquake on a mountain top and make you wish you had been there. And that's just in the introduction, folks. Haven't even made it to the "real" short stories yet.

I've said it before (back when I read his co
The Basics

Slippage is a short story collection, which shouldn’t surprise any Ellison fans. Many of his collections have a theme, and this one has to be the saddest of all. At the time, he’d been through the wringer, and this was his last collection of new material. The term “slippage” is one he uses to emphasize a life being pushed in a direction it never wanted to go. A bad one.

My Thoughts

I’ll start out by saying that this has to be one of my favorites of his collections. There is so much stron
Chris Duval
This is an uneven collection that includes some very good stories, and an equally good description of the author's living through the Northridge [California, USA] earthquake. The more interesting stories are horror, and--while they might not meet E. Burke's criterion of 'sublime'--they are well told.
Erica Hasselbach
I had read about Ellison's writing style and wanted to check out his works, so I figured a collection of his short works would be perfect. That's why I bought Slippage.
Since the book itself was a bunch of different stories (about 22, but "The Pale Silver Dollar of the Moon Pays Its Way and Makes Change" had two versions), it was hard to give an overall rating for the work. Obviously, I liked some stories more than others.

I'm glad that I took the time to read his work though, since his characte
Sep 14, 2014 carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took me about six months to read. Not because this was hard but because the language and imagery is so dense and after finishing each story, I felt a need to sit back and ponder what I had just read. Each word choice Ellison made is deliberate and careful, thus the lot of the reader to discern the intent and meaning is layered. There are several standout stories - too many to list.
Jan 03, 2015 Kars rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Even when treading familiar ground, Ellison puts a twist on things so that you keep guessing. He pulls no punches and is always true to the genre: speculative fiction should ask "what if" questions and run with them as far as it can. That's what you'll get here, plus some enjoyable bits of autobiography which provide you with an inside view into one of the genre's most contentious authors.
Matt Champagne
Though overrated, I admire Ellison's rage. There's a huge chunk of this book that's about the battle with television censorship over one of his stories. At first, you take his side. Then you learn what it was he wanted to get approved and you're like: "Well, of COURSE no network is going to approve that!" I enjoyed the non-fiction stuff more. There's not a lot of that in here, but I liked reading that more. Appropriately, this book feels like "The Twilight Zone." The best thing about Harlan Elli ...more
Dec 03, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it
Now that I've finally picked up Ellison's work, he's rapidly becoming a new favorite author. There are many startling ideas and blindsiding surprises in this collection. Again, each story has its own strength and appeal, but my list of favorites would include Darkness Upon the Face of the Deep, Crazy as a Soup Sandwich, The Lingering Scent of Woodsmoke (a short one, but a particular favorite), the totally brilliant (in my opinion) Go Toward the Light (it doesn't mean what you would think!), Meph ...more
Sep 28, 2008 Rob rated it it was ok
I don't have much to say about Slippage. I had never (consciously) read any Harlan Ellison before and because of how celebrated the man's name is, I decided it was worth giving his werk a shot.

Maybe Slippage just isn't one of his better collections. I'm certainly open to the possibility that I got the bad egg from the dozen, if you catch my meaning.

This is not to say that there was nothing redeeming or at all enjoyable about this collection. "This Story Is Titled the Man Who Rowed Christopher Co
Dec 31, 2013 J.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I love magical realism, speculative fiction whatever you want to call it (anything grounded in reality but where anything can happen as well) so I really, really, really wanted to like Harlan Ellison. Overall his stories were good, but I can't say I fell in love with the guy.

I'd give this book five stars for creativity, four stars for social commentary but only two stars for delivery. I can't stand an author is too smart for his own story/creativity and Harlan Ellison is right up there with the
J Simpson
Feb 24, 2008 J Simpson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Harlan Ellison collection i read, and it started me on a mad rampage of speculative fiction addiction which i am still wallowing in to this day. I think the short story is an excellent format for weird fiction, because you don't have to develop ideas and characters for hundreds of pages. I call them 'vignettes' and it makes possible all manner of whimsy and inspiration and odd quirky moments. I don't particularly remember which stories are included in this collection, although ...more
Jul 07, 2013 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ellison is a master. Some of these stories are riveting, some are medium hot, but they're all Elison, which elevates them to a higher standard. The most peculiar selection is a screenplay for the Twilight Zone TV series from the 80s, "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich". Screenplays are sad things to read because they're just blueprints for the films they become. I can only assume that Ellison considers his screenplays to be rather eloquent, or at least masterfully imagined. I find his constant scene dire ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Egil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some great stuff in here, lots of range and themes in the different stories.
Matt Lewis
Feb 15, 2016 Matt Lewis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
These are the short stories of a veteran of his craft. Ellison starts the book with his cantankerous, autobiographical rumblings about his state of health and state of mind at (what he considers) the end of his career. The stories he's complied for this collection reflect a mature storyteller who can utilize a variety of perspectives, themes, & structures of varying gravity or levity. This book would be great for travel reading or lazy Sundays at home.
Randolph Carter
This is probably the best Ellison anthology I've ever read. There are many other that I have not so I may not be a good judge of the "best." The contents run the gamut from sci-fi to rant to pure horror with plenty of genre bending, as you would expect. The entire "Nackles" controversy is laid out from the original Donald Westlake story to Harlan's teleplay. I had forgotten how good Ellison could write straight horror.
A good mix of Ellison stuff - not quite as brutal as some previous works, and while I enjoyed the intro, the biographical comments inbetween didn't do much for me. THe typographical tricks also got old rather quickly. It probably didn't help that I was finishing up Deathbird and Other Stories at about the same time.
Jun 21, 2013 Sherry rated it it was amazing
Ellison is a master. There are so many great stories in this collection its breathtaking. "Mephisto in Onyx" is absolute perfection and its worth it to pick up the book just for this one story alone. A master at the very peak of his writing. Although I'm sure that has been said before, and I'm sure that Ellison will top it, he's just that good.
Jun 08, 2012 Piotr rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Not bad, not bad at all. What it lacks in coherence, it more than makes up for in imagination: Harlan has Gaiman's dream-sparkle wit and acumen of myth, making this collection of short stories very enjoyable. Be sure to check out the one on Anubis: very nicely done.
Dec 19, 2007 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, michigan
I remember I liked it a bunch. I enjoyed the short essay at the beginning and especially the short "Mephisto in Onyx". I remember bits and pieces of the other stories... and, in general, was happy with the book. This was my introduction to Ellison.
Matt Champagne
Love his attitude, but the story of the censorship he endured when attempting to get a certain racially-themed episode to air on "The Twilight Zone" is more engaging the episode itself. I like him best when he's writing about himself.
niko bates
Nov 24, 2008 niko bates rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much as he's an obtuse, arrogant, insufferable cock monkey, Harlan Ellison plays the short story like a fiddle. My all time favorite short of all time ever is in here, "Scartaris, June 28th".
Oct 01, 2007 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember much about this book, frankly, because I read it an awful long time ago. I do remember feeling the need for a Harlan Ellison fix, and being very satisfied with this purchase.
Aug 03, 2009 Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellison is one of my favorite authors ever. His stories have intrigued, haunted and scarred me for years. (and in this case, that's very good.) This one did not disappoint.
Daniel Appleton
Sep 27, 2012 Daniel Appleton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any lover of fantasy / fiction
Recommended to Daniel by: it was a gift
Typical Ellison - Cautionary tales, & his razor - sharp wit make SLIPPAGE quite a read.
I'll have to read my ( autographed ) copy again, & look for my other anthologies by HE.
Apr 06, 2010 Fred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first experience with Harlan Ellison. The stories were, for the most part, very enjoyable. But boy does he ever have some "interesting" descriptions...
Jul 30, 2008 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My wife really liked this book, but I don't think it's his best work. Some of the stories are really good, but a lot just wander.
David Allen
Feb 23, 2009 David Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A late-period roar from Ellison, with "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore" and "Mefisto in Onyx" ranking among his best.
Chris Brimmer
May 27, 2009 Chris Brimmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, short-story
Ellison what else needs to be said.
Ben Francis
Jun 06, 2010 Ben Francis marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Sonja said read it. So read it!!
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Harlan Ellison ®: Slippage Discussion (No Spoilers) 1 7 Oct 29, 2012 08:55AM  
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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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“The mistake we all make is in assuming anybody remembers anydamnthing from one day to the next. If that were true, we'd stop getting involved with approximately the same kind of wrong lover each time, we'd learn the lessons of history, the death penalty would discourage those plotting murder, and George Santayana's famous quote would be about as popular as "the bee's knees." But few of us keep accurate records of what we've learned as we hobble through life barking our shins in the dark on experiences we've already had....” 8 likes
“Entertain, yes. That goes without saying. But a good writer does that automatically, it's built into the machine. Telling a thumpingly good, mesmerizing story is what one does without question. But beyond that, any writer worth his/her hire knows that all writing, one way or another, is subversive. It is guerrilla warfare against the status quo.” 7 likes
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