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Slippage: Previously Uncollected, Precariously Poised Stories

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  960 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Harlan Ellison is undoubtedly one of the most audacious, infuriating, brazen characters on the planet. Which may help explain why he is also one of the most brilliant, innovative, and eloquent writers on earth. Slippage simply presents recent, typical Ellison. In a word, masterful. The 21 stories in this 1997 collection, which is encased in black boxes, show Ellison at the ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 17th 1998 by Mariner Books (first published 1997)
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Brian Steele
Jan 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Todd Charlton
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slippage is another great Harlan Ellison volume of short stories. It includes the great novella, Mefisto in Onyx, The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore, Anywhere but here, With Anyone But You, and Jane Doe 112.
I like his nearly running theme of an entity that has many forms, living hundreds of years and watching what we do. And how good is the Mark Twain thing?
She's a Young Thing and Can't Leave Her Mother, is as Harlan once said, about his wife Susan. It was nothing that I expected!
Craig Childs
Published in 1997, Slippage was the first collection of new fiction from Harlan Ellison in nearly a decade, after the seminal Angry Candy in 1988. (OK, I am fudging just a bit. Technically, there was Mind Fields, which contained 33 short-short stories inspired by the art of Jacek Yerka. However, these efforts were slight; that volume was always more a vehicle for Jacek's art than Harlan's.)

No one knew it at the time, but Harlan's health was deteriorating, and this would be his penultimate
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
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
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Jun 09, 2012 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.
K. A. Botello
Harlan Ellison always challenges both my mind and my imagination. I appreciate him so much, he writes the way I don't quite have the courage or skill to yet. I may never get there, but it's a good goal.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
It has been along time since I read my Harlan Ellison books and my memory of them was dark. Since his death I have been rereading his books and this one I just bought with stories I had never seen before. It brought it all back, the edge of the seat, the twist endings, the darkness and the light, the fabulous use of words and images and the fast pace at which the words and the story carry you along. I had read his reviews (Two Glass Teats and Watching) which give you a flavour of his personality ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been over twenty years since this book appeared, which is the last collection of Ellison's uncollected new and recent stories. Tempus sure do keep fugiting, don't it? The centerpiece is Mefisto in Onyx, a novella originally published alone as a small-press offering, and many of the other pieces are short, lyrical mood works, some of which first appeared in Ellison's Dream Corridor comic. It's a strong collection, full of the emotion, angst, and feeling which made him so famous in the '60s, ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book because a friend said "You MUST read 'The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore'". And he was right. Loved most of the protagonists, varied as they were. A mix of mythology, history (though sometimes skewed), literature (including the Bible), and human interactions. What a great collection. A what great storytelling. Thoroughly enjoyed.
Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You
I have been a massive Harlan Ellison fan ever since i grabbed "Essential Ellison" and was astounded at the audacious and astounding brilliant writing. It has been a while since I read this book, but I remember loving it because its Ellison after all. I have yet to read another author with his imagination and skill and bravado and angry intelligence.
Read and revel.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Floyd Gantt
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
23 or so shorts. Some show their age while others still hold up pretty well.
Joshua Dick
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great collection of some very unique short stories.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's weird and it makes me feel weird and I love it.
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
Erica Hasselbach
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Dec 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!), ...more
J Simpson
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Matt Champagne
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Matt Lewis
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: libraryread-tcpl
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 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 11, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Matt Champagne
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
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Harlan Ellison ®: Slippage Discussion (No Spoilers) 1 10 Oct 29, 2012 08:55AM  

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Harlan Jay Ellison was 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
“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....” 10 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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