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Strange Wine

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,543 ratings  ·  39 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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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
John Wiswell
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
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!
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.
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 perceptive ...more
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 5 of 5 stars
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
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..."
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.
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*
Todd Martin
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
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Holy shit.
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 fabl ...more
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 i ...more
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 j ...more
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 mo ...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.
Harlan sparked my interest in short stories, even though I didn't like a lot of his endings. I'm supremely glad I read this book. The story from which the book gets its name is easily my favorite, perhaps out of all the short stories I've ever read.
Sep 21, 2009 Rachel is currently reading it
I've gotta be honest, y'all. I have no idea where this book has gone. My purses generally being large and literary, I suspect it is in one of my discards, somewhere towards the bottom of a pile of whatnot in a neglected corner of my apartment.
Allan Dyen-shapiro
Some clear gems here. My favorite was Mother, about a recently deceased Jewish mother who comes back solely to nudge her son. Hysterical. The funny are better than the more conventional science fiction/horror in this collection.
Filled with beautiful prose and provocative turns of phrase, Ellison's work leaves you with more than a sense of enjoyment; his tales make you think. And what you think will change the more you ponder.
Jayne dArcy
I originally read this collection of stories back in 1970. They were relevant to my teenage self, and now are great for just making me think as I read. Very good stories. Harlan Ellison is always surprising.
Titus Hjelm
It was good, but maybe not as great as I anticipated. I haven't really read 'dark fantasy' short stories before, so maybe it's just unfamiliarity with the genre...
Jeff Yrmom
Jul 09, 2007 Jeff Yrmom rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of fantasy
He says he's not fantasy. But these are awful fantastic. The underground city of aborted fetuses looking for the abandoning daddies? Come ON!
More great stuff, short stories, from Ellison. I saw him in Madison a few years ago. Amazingly, he speaks as he writes. And vice-versa.
Kurt Newton
Another highly recommended collection of Ellison's. Read this way back when and still remember a majority of the stories.
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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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