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Strange Wine

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  1,667 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
From Harlan Ellison, whom The Washington Post regards as a "lyric poet, satirist, explorer of odd psychological corners, and purveyor of pure horror and black comedy," comes Strange Wine.

Discover among these tales the spirits of executed Nazi war criminals who walk Manhattan streets; the damned soul of a murderess escaped from Hell; gremlins writing the fantasies of a gone
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by iBooks (first published June 1978)
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Jul 10, 2011 S.D. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror, fiction
When someone says the name “Harlan,” I usually think Harlan Coben. I am afraid to say I have never heard of Harlan Ellison for fear it might send this caustic, “speak your mind” author into apoplexy. Ellison is more known for short stories than full length novels. STRANGE WINE is a collection of fifteen short stories “from the nightside of the world” published in 1978. I had heard his name tossed around on a few chat lists, even saw a video of a rant against studios that expected him to donate a ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Brady rated it really liked it
There's a lot you can tell about an author by looking at the shape of his or her words. Ellison's writing is a mad collage of words, symbols, numbers, names and titles - not to mention little quotes, subheadings, stage directions, bullet points, and every other form of literary embellishment the mind has yet drilled.

Ellison's writing style is as patchwork as it appears: he grabs every writing technique he thinks he can use to get the story from his head to the readers'. Which is just how I like
John Wiswell
Jul 27, 2011 John Wiswell rated it really liked it
Harlan Ellison had (and still has) a wild imagination. Published over thirty years ago, this short story collection showcases how easily he brewed ideas. “Mom” is about the ghost of a Jewish mother nagging after her surviving son. “Croatoan” is about aborted babies and abandoned crocodiles residing in the sewers. “The New York Review of Bird” is about Ellison’s own invented pseudonym coming to life and harassing a bookstore clerk.

The collection left me grateful that we have the umbrella of Specu
This was my first encounter with Harlan Ellison. Well, almost. I had read his introduction to the fourth Sandman volume The Season of Mists, which I'd always enjoyed, but nothing beyond that.

And now Strange Wine... A collection of short fiction that reveals a very fertile imagination and a sense of language that ranks among the best short fiction writers of the 20th century (at the very least). The collection, first published in 1978, includes an introduction railing against the evils of televis
Crusty old bastard (and still longtime favorite) Harlan Ellison takes some pretty cruel potshots at copy editors ("literary vampires") no fewer than five times in his introductions to the fifteen stories in Strange Wine. I caught several errors in his writing that any copy editor worth her Chicago Manual would have immediately stricken, including my personal pet hatred, "It didn't phase me." It's FAZE, dammit! Take that, Harlan!
Harlan Ellison is one of those writers who I don't like as a person, but I do like his work. Strange Wine is a short story anthology and it's good. Very good. Normally I write more in-depth reviews, but short of reviewing each story in this anthology (which I am not going to do) just trust me when I say that the stories are all consistently well written. They cover the gamut from humorous to horrifying and all points in-between. I have no trouble giving it four stars.
Sep 30, 2010 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autographed
Another superb collection of Harlan Ellison's unique fiction. This is my second favorite Ellison short fiction collection right behind Deathbird Stories. Highlights: The stunning "Hitler Painted Roses" and the equally impressive "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". Also, The introductory essay "What Killed the Dinosaurs! And You Don’t Look So Terrific Yourself" is not to be missed.
Mar 23, 2013 L. rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Ellison for a quarter of a century and this, by far, is my favourite book of his. If you have never come across Ellison before, you're in for a treat. A master story-teller, he breaks new ground with practically every story, whether it is in the style of the telling - such as "From A to Z, The Chocolate Alphabet"-, or in the subject matter - "Croatoan." Whatever the style or the subject matter, the voice of Ellison is unmistakable, -uncompromising, vivid, funny, and ...more
Oct 12, 2010 Bryce rated it really liked it
This is my first encounter with Harlan Ellison, my interest being piqued by his mention in Stephen King's Danse Macabre. I'm a fan of short form in general and especially the type of stories published during what I consider the golden period of the 50s through the 70s.

Strange Wine is a little darker than works by Philip K. Dick, doesn't have the moralistic twist ending favored by Ray Bradbury, and isn't as darkly terrifying as Charles Beaumont. What it does have is an energy, a clarity of purpo
Oct 02, 2007 J.P. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers, fantasy readers
I first read this book in high school. I've dipped into it regularly since then. Technically, you can call it "fantasy" or "science fantasy". I call it American literature of the highest degree.

Ellison is one of my main inspirations as a writer. His work transcends the "science fiction/fantasy" tag. Ellison is an American Borges, a U.S. Italo Calvino He easily takes his place among first-tier 20th Century American short story writers. The guy's language, his vision, are just that original. His w
Belinda Lewis
May 06, 2016 Belinda Lewis rated it did not like it
Shelves: didnt-finish
So I've read a few of these stories and they read like the worst kind of art school pretentiousness.

And in between each story theres an exposition by the author who whines about 'kids these days and their damn tv,' while boasting about his sexual prowess and equating the act of writing to something akin to all the acts of Jesus, Buddha and Odin combined.

He comes across like such a wanker I can't finish this.

Jan 20, 2008 Tressa rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite Harlan Ellison short stories collections, and it's probably mainly for the awesome, and brilliant "Hitler Painted Roses." I don't know how many times I've read this story but it's truly unforgettable, horrifying, and beautiful.

The one negative of the story: it introduced me to the evil that is Gilles de Rais. I did a little research on this infamous man in history and still haven't been able to sweep him from my mind. *shudder*
Chris Brimmer
Sep 26, 2016 Chris Brimmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
What to say? The man is the master of speculative fiction short story. Somehow I missed this collection when it came out in the late '70s and I am so pleased to have found it. Ellison writes perfect Swiss watch constructions with his short stories. His combination of a dark view of human nature, society and even himself (a self professed asshole) and the sheer craft of his writing never disappoint.
What can I say about Harlan Ellison that I haven't already said in other reviews of other books? This extraordinary author writes with a burning luminosity that most authors only dream of. His writing has an energy and compelling tone that pulls the reader in and sweeps her along with the force of the story. He writes everything from straight science fiction to dark humor to bone-chilling horror. He is hard-hitting and pulls no punches. He parades ideas before the reader, disguising them as ...more
Todd Martin
Jun 27, 2015 Todd Martin rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
There’s a dark edginess to Ellison’s writing that I like quite a bit. Also, there’s the fact that he lacks the internal filter that keeps many of us from blurting out whatever inappropriate thing comes to mind.

I found this particular collection stories somewhat hit or miss however. I suspect this reflects the reality of a science fiction author whose work doesn’t command huge sums. To make a living a large volume of material must be written and sold and one doesn’t have the luxury of time to ho
Jan 12, 2016 Faye rated it liked it
I have thoughts about this book.

First thought - some of these are really excellent stories, and made me think about things, or were cleverly written. I approve of this.

Second thought - if you go to read this book... skip the author's forward and all of the introduction pieces, because Harlan Ellison is an asshole. A sexist asshole. He, in fact, pretty much says this of himself... and, having just looked him up on wikipedia, this is not news to anyone.

Of course, if I stopped reading any authors w
Jul 16, 2011 Debra marked it as to-read
Stephen King recommended author and book.

King calls Harlan Ellison a "ferociously talented writer."

Book noted as "important to the genre we have been discussing" from Danse Macabre, published in 1981. Book and author discussed in chapter 9 where King also said this about the book: "My Plan is to discuss ten books that seem representative of everything in the genre that is fine; the horror story as both literature and entertainment, a living part of twentieth-century literature..."
Adi Elkin
Jul 14, 2016 Adi Elkin rated it really liked it
Harlan Ellison. You either love him or hate him. I love him. Yes, some of his stories are kinda pointless, but when he's good, he is GOOD. And the introductions to each story are hilarious.
To my Israeli friends: Try to put your hands on the rare translation by Amos Gefen. It's got its own... quality.
Jun 03, 2008 Omar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the most influential book of short stories I've read. This hit me at exactly the right age and made me a lifelong fan of Harlan Ellison.
Sep 03, 2008 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lura
Recommended to Valerie by: Jeff
Shelves: short-stories
I don't read short stories very often, but I have read these multiple times.
Mar 27, 2009 Gary rated it it was amazing
Holy shit.
Tippy Jackson
This is a pretty amazing collection. Harlan Ellison's use of language makes me shudder. The man has skills. Reading this reminds me that writing can be a craft, not just a way to put down brain dribble. Most of these short stories build up and up and up until Ta-Da! Mind Blown. He's very good at misdirection too. He'll set the reader up to think one way and then BAM! You had it all wrong. Didn't you know? Clever stories. Before each story, he also writes a brief introduction to it-why he wrote ...more
Jul 05, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
This was another Stephen King recommendation from Danse Macabre, so I figured it was worth a shot. Harlan Ellison is one of those writers I've heard about but never got around to reading. While it's tough to judge a writer on a single collection of short stories, this was a solid place to start. Each of the stories in this collection is preceded by a (mostly) short introduction by Ellison, giving a background for the piece and his general thoughts on it. That really helped me to jump into his ...more
Jun 07, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic collection of short fiction from the immensely talented Harlan Ellison. This set includes author introductions to each story. These introductions usually detail the origins of the story but sometimes just provide a little background or the author's thoughts on the piece. I love the story introductions. F. Paul Wilson usually includes them in his story collections too. In this case, some of Mr. Ellison's introductions are stories unto themselves. My favorite piece in this set ...more
David Watson
Sep 24, 2016 David Watson rated it really liked it
The 1970s are everywhere in this collection. Not in all of the stories - one is set in the far future and another on a distant planet with a giant grotto that has great acoustics - but Ellison's short introductions to each piece often contain anecdotes about what he did in '75 or '76, adding to the 70s feel. Typewriter anecdotes feature in many of the intros and a typewriter is the centrepiece of one story, "Working with the little people". The typewriter talk takes you back to the pre-PC and ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Jacqui rated it liked it
This is a bit of a strange book. It is a collection of short horror/sci-fi stories, each one being introduce by the author how he came about to write them, which strangely adds enjoyment to the book. He can sometimes be a bit ranty, but you have got to hand it to the guy, he is/was a prolific writer and could churn out a story at the drop of a hat. Or seems to at any rate. Some of them sound a bit dated (it was published in 1978) especially 'Mom' which was a humorous story about the ghost of a ...more
Jun 09, 2016 Pamela rated it it was ok
The most important aspect of this book is that it shows how even a writer of Ellison's caliber needs time (and privacy) to write. Most of these stories were written either as a bet, as a race, or as a publicity stunt (Ellison sitting in a bookstore window typing away).

As good as Ellison is (and he is very good), he isn't good enough to pull this off. The stories range from mediocre to forgettable to annoying. Not a one--not a single one--comes even close to "I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream" o
Jul 28, 2016 Fred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Another fantastic collection of short stories by one of the all time great legends in speculative fiction from the United States or any other country and in any age. Harlan Ellison is a master story teller who is able to tell timeless tales in such a way that a half century later they're just as or more relevant than the day he penned them.

I'll say this for him, I haven't read a bad one of his books or stories yet. His worst, no doubt published as Cordwainer Bird, are still better than the best
Feb 06, 2015 Doc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories within range from amazingly inventive to merely well-executed, but the prefatory set-ups by the author don't really do much for me. Nor does the resoundingly awful portrayal of pretty much any woman in any of the stories. The women characters are sexually predatory, duplicitous, and manipulative across the board, to a variety of generally unlikable men who are narcissistic, misogynist assholes. In that regard, I guess the treatment of genders is relatively even-handed, but there's ...more
David Allen
After a remarkable output from '65-'75, Ellison is moving toward a more mature style in this 1978 collection, but to my mind this is mid-transition and hit-or-miss. The title story and "Mom," for example, are excellent. "Croatoan" (about the fate of aborted babies flushed into the sewers) is vivid but dreadful. A mixed bag.
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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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