May 18

My cat is purple and I put my underwear on the outside. Dude, I'm wasted.Click for full image

Phils Art Direction: It contains Ellison’s famous story, “A Boy and his Dog.” So let’s have a boy with his dog, but don’t make the boy too boyish and keep the dog cat-like.

Purple cat on lead! Thanks to Phil!

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 8.42 out of 10)

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77 Responses to “The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World”

  1. cutmanmike Says:

    So much room for more nonsense… Not feeling it here sir, definitely not feeling it.

  2. Si Says:

    Yea I agree, it could be a lot busier! Does the guy look a little bit like Tom Baker or is that just me?

    And most importantly, what’s going on with his socks. Are they made of reptile skin?

  3. SophaLoaf Says:

    Do you know what we need on this cover?

    Just a purple kitten
    …with accessorized matching spikes with his owner
    …and fangs, can’t forget the fangs…and a head that is half the mans body.

    Oh yeah and the owner has his pants over his tousers.
    And they’ll be walking in the midst of yellow rumble …the junk yard of existential angst.

    YES! And the owner should be cast as Christopher Watkin.

  4. CSA Says:

    Hey, if i lived in a post-apocalypse world with like 2 humans within a mile of me i wouldnt even bother to wear clothes. Atleast this dude is trying, he’s even painted his nails.

  5. e.lee Says:

    I have no mouth but I must scream: “Follow the yellow rubble road!”

  6. James Lovegrove Says:

    Me, I think he looks like Russell Brand emerging after a particularly hard night’s partying. The backcombed hair, the unique fashion sense, the rubble and debris, the purple cat-dog creature… All in an evening’s work for our Russ.

  7. Herm Says:

    The shape of that head… imagine turning the mouth into a beak, moving the eyes outwards and toning down the ears and it’d make a fine purple bird!

  8. DeadRobot Says:

    “Here at Pan Publishing we’re an equal opportunity employer. We thrive in hiring from the vast untapped pool of resources the public calls ‘Differently Challenged'”

    “I’m a colour blind Graphic Designer.”

    “You sir, are hired.”

  9. Brian B Says:

    Oh…I HAVE to get that jacket! And then take my wild beast of a cat for a walk after dying him purple. It’s gonna be a good day!

    This is another one where I really wish I could have been there to see Ellison’s face when they first showed him this cover. “No seriously Harlan, the kids will love it. Trust us.”

  10. Sage Tyrtle Says:

    Love ain’t nothin’ but a middle-aged hipster and his purple fanged kitty-dog.

  11. Chuck Says:

    Nice zooba thong, I think it goes under the pants though. You’ll get it next time, I believe in you spikey coat guy.

  12. Mr. Convoluted Says:

    The title reminds me of that Mr. Show sketch: The Return Of The Curse Of The Creature’s Ghost. Can that Ellison title be any more needlessly convoluted?


    Oh, my gracious goodness me. Unlike surgeons, who get to bury their mistakes, we mere scriveners have to exst with the nameless horrors of semiliterate art directors perpetrated on our works. I’ve been blessed, oh perhaps 80% of my publishing life, with art both intelligent and eye-catching.

    But every once in a while, something akin to this long-ago Pan cover shows up (almost always because I was out of the packaging loop completely) and the naive or merely uninformed, oh maybe Tyrtle-like, observer trips over the half-dead thing, gasps in disbelief, and lays the hideous mischief at the Author’s door. Like a kitten dragging home a garotted mouse, no one means any harm, but it is, nonetheless, a reopened wound.

    Because of this genuinely inappropriate and not-too-terrific cover (and a couple of others Pan heaved up on my books), I ended my publishing relationship with what was, at the time, my main UK paperback reprint partner.

    Um, by the by, Tyrtle old mate, I will be 76 on the 27th of this month. I may or may not have been a “hipster,” but “middle-aged” is not responsive to the jackal-pack of old-man old-fart aches and fissures I manifest. But I smile and thank you for the sweet thought.

    Yr. Pal, Harlan

  14. CSA Says:

    We should post a pic of the Bible tomorrow and see if Jesus posts within 24hours.

    Fakey Mc Fakerson would also like to comment. Fakey Mc Fakerson says:
    “Your” early covers are univerisally awful, but have the excuse because that they were written before style was invented, i particularly enjoyed “your” work under the pseudo name Paul Merchant

    Oh, and i know with “you” being ancient “your” mind may wander ;-), but “you” continued to get published by Pan for many years after this particular monstrosity. A harsh, but fair point. I’m sure “you” agree.

    (i don’t actually think the cover is that bad, certainly compared to other 60’s publications, i’m just calling the bluff that “Harlan” found this page only a few hours after it was posted)

  15. Mr. Convoluted Says:

    I’m surprised Mr. Ellison didn’t simply punch me in the face for mocking his book?

  16. CSA Says:

    He’s trying, but just can’t reach you.

    I’m expecting atleast a brick through my window on the extremely unlikely event that sweetly worded piece of prose above was written by the same author who said:

    “Why do people keep insisting that I join the 21st Century? I *LIVE* in the 21st Century! I just don’t want to be bothered by the shitheads on the internet!”

    , thats the Harlan we know and love, not “Oh, my gracious goodness me.”

  17. Don Hilliard Says:

    @CSA: It really is Ellison.

    Phil Nichols posted the link to this cover on Ellison’s message board this morning. (Ironically, that same message board is where I originally found a reference and link to Good Show Sir – not from Phil, but from another regular at that board.)

    Go here:

    and scroll down to Tuesday 18 May, 13:20:50.

    Pig’s Breakfast, Sir.

  18. CSA Says:

    Haha brilliant. You’ve made my day.

    Well, i take my hat off to you Ellison. I have never been more genuinely wrong and surprised in my entire life. You have a certain reputation and your post above did not at all sound like my expectation of you. Much respect, I guess i’m just one of those “shitheads on the internet” afterall. 🙁

    I still stand by my comment about the early publications having just as bad covers (not just Pan), but like i said, 60’s & 70’s fantasy covers were all bad almost without exception. I’m guessing then, that it was as much the latter books with Pan that ended your relationship. I found publications up to about mid 70’s with Pan, which was my main reason for doubting you.

    Much apologies for doubting! You can assume those comments were aimed at Mr Fake Ellison, and as such i hope you take no personal offense. I’m actually usually very nice to people (honest), but i wrongly assumed someone was impersonating you! Very impressed with the rapid response from someone who i assumed didnt use the internet. I had honestly even considered emailing the webmaster of the website to confirm it was fake. Kind of wish i had done that now, boy is my face red! In my (lame) defense the website claims in multiple places “Harlan Ellison does not surf the net”…

    Please dont throw a brick through my window 😉
    Dammit, i should have guessed it was real by the fact it didnt contain spelling errors and made sense.

    So much for no internet! Talk about a lightning fast response. Sorry again.

    Me = Gobsmacked

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post here! And i genuinely hope you dont take offense at my previous comments.

    Please feel free to submit any book covers! (god im never gonna live this one down)…. I’ll shut up now


    To: CSA, whomever you may be.

    Thus we have a splendid summation of what is toxic about all this internet twaddle. From you, doubting thomas, to Wikipedia, NOTHING can be trusted to be real or reliable.

    That I want as little to do with this internet undertow as I can, that I spend most of my time trying to avoid being sucked in as one more prattler in a clangorous conversation among total strangers, that you are so benumbed by it all–apparently–that you cannot tell the fake from the genuine, makes it all the more wearying. Here I am for a moment, responding to nobody on an evanescent landscape. What part of oh goodness gracious me (intended as tone of voice, even to the tone-deaf, as mock outrage) offends thee. That there are no eff-words in it? That it was not tendered in vulgate Latin or Phoenician? That I did not behave like the rude thug you seem to think Harlan Ellison should be?

    Did you know me even one billionth of a jot or tittle as well as you pretend, you would know that I consider the cover of Paul Merchant’s SEX GANG (which I art-directed) a perfect trash cover guaranteed to make even Those Whose Heads Should Be Boiled Like An Onion salivate at its promises of salaciousness. So there goes THAT troll observation. That Pan continued to reissue my books is not testimony to my leaky memory and/or fraudulent authorship of the post, it is merely lack of information or education on your part. I had signed contracts, oh nameless one: their terms had not expired. The books sold, they continued on. Even a gobbet should’ve parsed that out.

    Sorry I couldn’t be more abrasive in this reply; but if you knew me one billionth of a jut or tussle as you presume, you’d know that I am a real sweet guy, and I bury my fangs only in the gizzard of an opponent who might best me in a fair fight. And since I have no problem giving my name, as opposed to those who sign in ciphers and codices, well, I try never to kick anyone I can outrun.

    Cheerily, and respectfully, Yr. Pal, Harlan

  20. e.lee Says:

    Phew! Mr. Ellison didn’t notice my awful punning use of one of his short story titles

  21. CSA Says:

    @ e.lee Its okay, i think i distracted him so much that everyones elses comments are good.

    Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

    CSA are my initials, Chris is an extremely common name, thus i use CSA so people can tell the difference on who posts comments, not that you care.

    You are completely right, of course. I WAS expecting the real Ellison to be more abrasive. And again you are right about the nature of the internet, such that alot of publically available statements on the internet are skewed to make you sound worse than you are. Specifically, my thoughts were on disscussions i had read about serveral statements you had made about internet piracy.

    In fact here is a perfect example of the “real sweet guy” in the first post to the reared fangs in the last post. Although i can imagine the fangs are barely showing and you could have/should have been harsher on me.

    Thank you for correcting me about Pan.

    You seem to doubt my sincerity of my previous apology, and i wish no conflict. I respectfully bow out, as i can see there could never be a fair fight. And as you say, i shall not comment on anything else you have said thus far to avoid further “clangorous conversation among total strangers”.

    Humbled. CSA


    CSA, Chris, if I may:

    Rest easy: I do not question for an instant the graciousness of your reply, nor the goodness of your heart.

    You are a good guy, AKA scholar&gentleman. Everything is copacetic. You must come over whenever you feel so inclined, to — home of fine intellectual dining. Hunt around, and you’ll find the one semi-secret place I check in, once, twice a week. Very nice people; no trolls except during the full moon or the birth of a two-headed goat in Shropshire.. You can feel as witty and querulous as you choose. They are inordinately bright, if occasionally a bit prickly…no more or less than you and I. If they give you any billingsgate, tell them you are under my protection, on a trial basis.

    Oh. At risk of sounding like a welk hawker on a Saturday morning in Great Yarmouth, if you haven’t seen the full-length film documentary about my misspent life, DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH, it’s around, came out last year, won any number of awards and can be obtained on DVD from the usual sources. And Richard Thompson, who wrote the music, is showing it at his Arts Week at Purcell Hall in London. It will provide you more of an insight into the repugnant fiery hell of my true nature than any candied words I may proffer here.

    Be well. And thank you for the notice. Yr. Pal, Harlan

  23. CSA Says:

    You are most gracious.

    I will check out the website.

    The DVD sounds good, might have to get family in the States to post me it. (to UK). We have a few readers here from London, some may even check that out.

    I’m glad you’ve taken my mix-up well.

  24. Parker Says:

    I’ll just leave this here then. Best title ever!

  25. Brian B Says:

    This entire exchange has been indescribably interesting. My hats off to you Mr. Ellison; we are all great admirers of your work. It was eye-opening and amusing to see your reaction to this cover. Thank you goodshowsir for this magical wish-granting website. For my next wish I’d like a purple cat-dog like on this cover.

  26. David Loftus Says:

    Just in case anyone’s not entirely clear . . .

    1. Harlan Ellison indeed does NOT surf the ‘net.

    2. The official Harlan Ellison Web Site at was launched, oh, some 16 years ago by a fan, the estimable Rick Wyatt, and only years later received the approval and imprimatur of The Man.

    3. The Art Deco Dining Pavilion page of said Web site is one of the very few places Mr. Ellison DOES visit regularly on the Internet, to commiserate and comment among a mostly sympathetic crowd.

    4. Fans and admirers of Mr. Ellison who ARE inveterate surfers of the Web often bring matters of import to his attention at said Art Deco Dining Pavilion, from illegal (or rather, unapproved) reprints of his stories — Mr. Ellison can be quite forgiving to folks who respond appropriately when notified of their errors — to critiques and passing references on other sites, which is how this particular page came to his attention so quickly.

    5. There is an adjunct to the Pavilion, a Bulletin Board called the Pavilion Annex, where readers of Ellison can and do discuss a much wider range of topics, from Middle East policy to the latest incarnation of Dr. Who, but Mr. Ellison rarely if ever goes there. Everyone else is welcome, assuming you bring a decent mind and a modicum of manners to the table.

    When I heard on the Pavilion yesterday about this page and the awful cover art, I assumed I would see the cover of one of the several editions I own — “The Beast” has had especially bad luck with cover art over the decades, in my opinion — but by gosh, I had never seen this particular one before!

  27. Frank Church Says:

    Chris, yes, dine on the entrails of wisdom and bristling humour. Take up a cup of grog, prop up your feet and even light a smoke if you must, we at the Webderland will treat you as swell as kittens dancing on ice. We need all the smart people we can find, and not just people who harp on about comic books all day. Cheers.

  28. Kathleen Says:

    if we are making wish requests, I would like a cover featuring purple cat-people wrestling with effeminate albinos

  29. Thomas Pynchon Says:

    Harlan Ellison is a fame whore. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have conspiracies to concoct and songs to write.

  30. Seth Says:

    So Mr. Ellison gave the “you don’t even know me!” rebuttal, and everyone accepted it. Interesting.

    I take issue with a couple of Mr. Ellison’s assertions. First, he is a public figure with a public persona. I don’t know Harlan Ellison the Man any better than I know Gore Vidal the Man or Russell Crowe the Man or George W. Bush the Man. In private, these individuals may completely diverge from their public personas: Gore Vidal may be as quick-witted as John Wayne, Russell Crowe may be as passive as a baby penguin, and George W. Bush may be an intimidating intellectual. Harlan Ellison may be a really sweet, non-abrasive guy. But that doesn’t nullify the very real existence of their public personas and the fact that these public personas are what we, the public, know about them. As little knowledge as this provides about their deepest, truest essences, it does give some basis for preconceived ideas about them (e.g., Harlan Ellison can be a prickly guy…and really, nothing in his posts here seem terribly uncharacteristic).

    Second, anonymity doesn’t necessarily lessen the quality of discourse on the Internet, and one shouldn’t ignore criticisms just because they emerge from behind a mask. In many ways, the Internet usefully emphasizes the critique – the content of the criticism – by de-emphasizing the identity of the critic. Because the text is faceless, it can be challenged directly. Someone who is criticized must either face the criticisms head-on, or simply lash out at the critic’s anonymity. I think the former is always the best approach. When someone on the Internet says something like, “You’re not man enough to come out from behind your handle and say that to my face,” they’re just trying to draw attention away from the content of what has been said (and in doing so, they often “protest too much,” or at least appear to).

    Trolls aren’t trolls because they’re anonymous. They’re trolls because they say stupid, disruptive, or untrue things.

  31. Satan Says:

    I don’t understand this book-cover thing. It’s a plucking sci-fi, not a hiking William Faulkner. If I nun-chucking read a ducking sci-fi, I don’t expect the clicking cover to be nice and understandable and adaptable to my sucking world-view.

    Moderators Note: Anything in italics was a naughty word. Someone got up on the angry side of the bed today. We should wash your mouth out with soap sir!

  32. Satan Says:

    Regarding book covers – I really, really can’t stand these new reprinted stuff with a new cover. Yesterday, I stumbled upon a Left Hand of Darkness or The Disspossesed by Le Guin, and these new covers are ‘profanity’. What are the publishers thinking? That I’ll like some random ‘profanity’ photo more, that original, lucid and hallucinogenic art from the 60’s? ‘Profanity’!

    @moderators: I’am happy to announce that I managed to moderated myself this time, and it feels &%$£ing great. Ups..

    Admin edit: I missed that one, you cheeky devil

  33. Bookworm Bas Says:

    Sweet !! Not only do I get a submission posted but when I go to check it out THE Harlan Ellison has posted to one of his own covers! My copy is the New American Library 1974 Signet classic edition with the top half of a skull plugged into machinery and wires with a circle surrounding fangs enclosing a woman praying/supplicating. I was going to post it to but someone beat me to it. I think the PAN edition cover is pretty terrible though. I notice that they used the same titling for “The Shape of sex to come”. Perhaps a scoreboard is in order to see which publishers have the worst covers, after Baen of course.

  34. David Loftus Says:

    I am passing on a brief notice from Mr. Ellison, who called me on my cell phone (which number he obtained from my spouse at home, who is under the strange impression that Mr. Ellison is a perfect gentleman, since that is the manner in which he invariably has behaved whenever he has spoken with her on the phone).

    Mr. Ellison wishes you all to know that he has mostly enjoyed chatting on this particular page, and that this afternoon he was working on a lengthy riposte (mostly responding to the comments of “Seth,” I gathered), and though he managed to preview and tidy up his post, when he went to submit the comment, he ran up against a “Forbidden” and “Apache Server” message. So he regrets that he has not been able to continue with this discussion and may try again later.

  35. CSA Says:

    I think to be fair to Mr Ellison, he has been nothing but polite on our website, and any interpretation of him acting otherwise is surely justified after i “set him off”.

    (i’m not sure why he is getting that message, i get it occasionally aswell, sometimes the filter picks up certain words in a message and will block it assuming it to be spam, if you like, the message can be emailed to the admin, and it will be added unedited)

  36. admin Says:

    @David Loftus – CSA is right. Usually when you get a forbidden page it is our spam filter picking something up. This is mostly likely because of a sexually explicit word. Sometimes even the word p0rn can set it off.

    Our appologises and as CSA suggested if it still doesn’t work please feel free to email it to me via our submit/comment page.

  37. Steve Barber Says:

    “Admin Person”

    You will undoubtedly get this from several people. Last evening I worked with Harlan to see if I could determine the issue of the errant message (I have some familiarity with the internet having some 26+ years in advanced datacom at my fingertips). As he explains below we had surmised such a problem as you describe, but cannot figure out what the offending remark might be.

    Or, as Harlan sez: “Please get this to the Administrator of “Good Show, Sir!” if you can. And I apologize for being a Luddite burden.

    Sir or Madame:

    Thank you for the explanation.

    As my new post employs pretty much the same sort of verbiage and Ethical Arguments of Aristotle as the previous three, which were “moderated” and passed on to posting with you, I am at a loss to know WHICH words your electronic bluenose of a censor finds “forbidden” or “unacceptable.” This seems to me, and I mean no trouble, a pretty arbitrary and ham-fisted way to keep a public forum in check. Though I rankle at random censorship such as what-this-seems-to-be, I would attempt to mollify your Big Brother if I knew what has gotten up his/her/its nose. But I am limited e.wise, and would somehow have to download my post, get it o you, discover what–after your scrutiny–has put the cat among the canaries and, if it’s not core-necessary, to alter the choice of words. I assure you, up front, to the best of my recollection from the other day, there are no incommodious or usually outcast words, or phrases.

    Which is to say, simply, I have no idea where the problem lies.

    Please contact me here, to tell me how to proceed to accomodate you. Or, we can just forget the whole thing. Ball in your court.

    Respectfully, Harlan Ellison”

  38. Admin's minion Says:

    The master admin is probably being sensible and sleeping, since it is 2.50ish in the morning here.

    The bot adds alot of p0rn messages every day to the spam box, and many other messages are blocked for bizzare reasons before the message even hits the moderation queue. It blocks our fragile eyes from the many terrible images the internet has to offer, alas, however, we lose a few legitimate comments into the ether every now and then. The reason for using a comment system allows people wishing to make quick once off comments to do so without the hastle of registering a forum account. It’s a pity it seems to have failed us now while we await Mr Ellisons response. Sorry for the inconvenience

    Another possibility is that the message is too long for the comment box, i’m not sure what the max character count is, perhaps a solution would be to split the message in to two posts. Aside from that, the only admin with access to the email account is asleep and will get back to you as soon as possible.

    We are all greatly enjoying Mr Ellison’s posts. Hopefully we can add the comment in the morning if splitting the message into two posts doesnt help. The admin email account is goodshowsir*at*googlemail*dot*com

    Much Thanks.


    Administrative Minion:

    Thank you for your courtesy. Now all I have to do is get to Mr.Barber, to whom I sent my reply to you, for Seth, before I was FORBIDDEN, to get goodhearted poor impinged-upon Mr. Barber to send YOU the reply I couldn’t get to you to send to you…

    Alice, mutton. Mutton, Alice.

    Woefully, Yr. Pal, Harlan

  40. admin Says:

    Indeed I was in bed. And when I awoke, I was out enjoying one the warmest days of the year. It doesn’t happen often here in the UK, warm weather and no rain.

    I do appologise for the problems and I have taken a look at whats going on.

    It seems, that is I believe, that you were hitting one of the pharmacy spam rules.

    I have sent an email to Mr Barber with a bit more explanation, so hopefully we can get it all resolved.

    Please be assured we aren’t specifically forbidding anyone. I do enjoy the idea of running a totalitarian style site, but alas, that requires effort.

  41. Bookworm Bas Says:

    Ah the plot thickens. Shall the erstwhile and erudite Ellison get his point on the page ( as I’m sure Admin is trying to do.) or will we have to go to his page to see his rebuttal to Seth’s critical statements. Tune in next week for the next installment. By the way Seth I agree with you in principle but not in this instance. Harlan can behave how he wishes whether or not it clicks with his personal or public persona. Why should he be held to account by you who probably have little idea of his personal characteristics and may not have interperted his personality from his public works and statements all that accurately. I just enjoy his stories and appreciate the opportunity to gain some perspective on their author from the authors comments. If you provoke a further response from him so be it. If I was him I would be thinking “And this is why I keep to my own fansite.”

  42. Seth Says:

    Bookworm – I don’t really disagree with anything in your post. I’m not disparaging Mr. Ellison for NOT conforming to some abstract idea of Harlan Ellison in these posts. (And as I indicated in my original post, Mr. Ellison’s contributions to this discussion don’t seem all that uncharacteristic for him…as many others have noted, they sound a lot like the Harlan Ellison we know and love from essays and interviews.)

    I’m simply saying that he shouldn’t honestly be surprised when people, in the public, have an abstract idea of Harlan Ellison based on a general public persona. He has every right to dispel or resist that general public persona…I just think the “you don’t even know me” defense is weak. Of course we don’t know you; only so many people can have that honor. But we do have an idea of you, based on a public persona, and that idea isn’t illegitimate (even if it’s not particularly accurate).

  43. David Loftus Says:

    I think two different issues are getting mixed up here: the murky and largely unwritten “rules” of netiquette, and Harlan Ellison the man versus the legend. Mr. Ellison is the world’s leading expert on the latter, but he is the equivalent of a stone-cold newbie with regard to the former because he does not surf the Web the way you and I and almost everyone else here has for years.

    Mr. Ellison likely responded with his usual “you don’t know me” ramadoola because he has undergone decades of irritations from folks who treated him as if they knew what he was like and how he was likely to respond to any particular input or provocation. CSA (and admit it, many of the rest of you) responded to his initial post with skepticism because we’ve ALL been hoodwinked by electronic wolves in sheep’s clothing, many times before, especially when the assumed identity is that of someone who has a combative or flashy public reputation to begin with.

    As for anonymous posting, well . . . it may not necessarily lower the tone of debate in theory, but in practice I don’t think anyone could argue the point convincingly. Look at any online newspaper’s comments section that allows unmoderated postings (are there any that don’t?) and compare the difference in tone and substance between the posts that have realistic names and those that are obvious pseudonyms. Among the most verbose and obnoxious on the Web site of my hometown newspaper, the Portland Oregonian, are such lovelies as “ipackaglock,” “itsamess,” and a variety of disrespectful permutations of the name of the U.S.President (e.g., “obamasabum” and “nobamanator”).Such posters tend to be abusive, disrespectful, given to calling names, and repetitive in their “analyses” and insults because they know they can’t be held accountable.

    In contrast, Ellison asserts that he always uses his real name. For many years, his Los Angeles home phone number was listed, until one too many smartasses took advantage of the fact by calling and abusing him in the wee hours of the morning. Putting one’s name on one’s pronouncements is a form of self-respect, and respect for others, that speaks for itself.

    Nearly everything I put on the Web has my real name on it, as well; and as a consequence, I find I get in few flamefests and have developed few Internet enemies . . . partly because I have to take great care with everything I “say.” You are right that trolls are trolls because they say stupid, disruptive, or untrue things; but they tend to say stupid, disruptive, and untrue things far more often than other posters BECAUSE they are anonymous.

    It’s the same principle that guides many people’s tendency to break laws and engage in petty theft primarily when and because they think no one will see them.

  44. Simon Says:

    I just wish to make it clear that I, for one, am not, nor ever have been Harlan Ellison. I am, though, very stoked to see him posting here.


    Ummm. Imposed on Mr. Barber, a few days ago. E.Mailed HIM the reply to Seth (with a sidewise to “Thomas Pynchon”) and returned to this site today, but do not see what I would’ve hoped was a non-FORBIDDEN posting of my — one can only hope — mollifying, yet throatily fearful — adieu.

    But thus far, days later, nothing. So I fear Admin. found something objectionable. Cannot figure out what…? But, well, go sweetly, all of you.

    Yr. Pal, Harlan

  46. admin Says:


    I have yet to receive your message through Mr Barber. Maybe he is having problems somewhere?

  47. James Lovegrove Says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if all the famous authors with covers featured here got in touch? Except the dead ones, of course.

  48. SI Says:

    James> Yes it would, apart from the ones we kinda slag off. Won’t mention any names… *coughs* Roberts *coughs*

  49. James Lovegrove Says:

    I said famous authors. Or are you trying to tell me he’s dead? Hey, break the news gently, why don’t you.

  50. SI Says:

    No.. I am still seeing sign’s of twitter life. He’s fine or his ghost has an iphone.

  51. James Lovegrove Says:

    So addicted is Adam to Twitter that I wouldn’t be surprised if he was tweeting from beyond the grave.

  52. David Loftus Says:

    I’ve been in touch with Steve Barber. We’re still rummaging around for the text of Mr. Ellison’s response.

    I realize that perhaps my example above, of the rancourous and abusive comments on unmoderated newspaper sites, might not be so apropos on your side of the pond. The few exposures I’ve had to them (mainly, the responses to columns by the theater critics in The Guardian, which I have to monitor when I don one of my other semi-professional hats) have been remarkably erudite and well-mannered. I assumed that things might be different on the sites that belong to more raucous tabloids in England, but perhaps not.

    All I can say is, the comments sections on most American newspapers’ web sites usually make me ashamed to be a Yank.

  53. Wendy W Says:

    After seeing this cover, I have added this book to my reading list – if it has even half of the post-apocalyptic-ness presented on the cover, I will be a happy woman! 😉 Been a while since I read a good post-apocalyptic yarn. The last would have to be Brin’s The Postman or Mockingbird by Tevis. Fantastic tales. Looking forward to hunting down a copy of this – especially if I can find this beautifully garish cover <3

  54. Phil Says:

    Wendy W, the story “A Boy and his Dog” is one of the must-read post-apocalyptic tales. Don’t worry about the cover on this, the contents are great!

    The movie version, starring a young Don Johnson, is pretty good too (albeit with a different tone to the ending).

  55. Craig T Says:

    I just discovered this site and have been working my way backward. I haven’t been reading the comments, but the description of the Manga Bible convinced me I should read these. I’m glad I did.

    “A Boy and his Dog” really is a must-read.

    When I was a young man my uncle gave me a copy of Nebula Award Stories Five. It was published in paperback in 1972, so I was probably twelve or thirteen. This was my first exposure to “adult” science fiction, and I was captivated. “A Boy and his Dog” was the highlight, and I’ve never forgotten it.

  56. Stuart Hughes Says:

    Just found this site…really enjoyable. I painted this cover back in 1975ish …was my first ever book cover and was half way through one design when I was asked to change it.
    Not one of my favourites but I painted the cover for another Harlan book Shatterday…which I am proud of and in fact Harlan has this artwork.

  57. FearofMusic Says:

    Fantastic!! Double bonus mega-point absolute jackpot on this post! Good show sir indeed! Both the author and artist for the cover commenting! Good show, sir, I believe you have arrived at the giddy high level of ‘ site of interest and worthy of comment.

    @Stuart Hughes: Bravo sir. Always enjoy hearing from the artist. Especially considering the not entirely kind,(but usually good hearted…somewhat) treatment you receive here.

  58. Stuart Hughes Says:

    Fearofmusc…it’s just nice getting comments…ANY comments. What was strange was The Beast was my introduction to Harlan’s writing …I loved it and loved even more Shatterday (heres a link to the cover )
    and I avidly devoured all of Harlan’s writing. Anyway one evening I got a phone call and this voice says ‘Hi I’m Harlan Ellison ‘…I presumed it was one of my mates winding me up as they knew how much I liked (most of) his writing…so I goes into a ‘Yeah sure ..’ sort of conversation….eventually he convinces me he is Harlan and he say he wants to buy the Shatterday artwork. I said I would be honoured for him to have it as a gift…eventually we did a swap of some signed books for the artwork…he then gets in touch and says it’s hanging in his house next to a Chagall!!

  59. FearofMusic Says:

    @Stuart Hughes: How absolutely cool! Like the cover of Shatterday as well. That is the cover on my copy of that book. Not expecting we will see that one here. Again, always wonderful to hear from the artists and get a bit of the inside story. And congratulations on having your work in the Hayward Gallery. Well done sir.

  60. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    /me is away, looking for a copy of Shatterday. Or, maybe, two. 🙂

  61. The Tag Wizard Says:

    That’s a spectacular cover for Shatterday, Stu! I can see why Harlan might have wanted it for his wall.

    Thanks very much for visiting and providing us with some insight into how things can go down!

  62. A.R.Yngve Says:

    The Beast That Fell Into a Vat Of Purple Paint

  63. anon Says:

    The Beast That Shouted “Attack” at the Small Purple Dog

  64. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Not for nothing, and with all due respect (don’t want to get things started years later), but that cover of Shatterday (pub. 1980) is pretty much a direct ripoff (or maybe an uncredited homage ?) of R. Crumb’s legendary nine views of Bo Bo Bolinski, which was published in 1970.

  65. Stuart Hughes Says:

    “that cover of Shatterday (pub. 1980) is pretty much a direct ripoff (or maybe an uncredited homage ?) of R. Crumb’s legendary nine views of Bo Bo Bolinski,”…..I wondered when someone would realise that!!!!!!!?????? Now back to ‘ripping’ off other artwork.
    Sorry but I had never seen Crumb’s drawing before this… it must have been another bit of artwork I ripped off!

  66. GSS noob Says:

    This thread is still enjoyable years later.

    I heard Harlan tell the “dead gopher mailed to a publisher” story at Worldcon 2006. I think it’s on YouTube. I may have hurt myself laughing at several points. It is a spectacular example of Harlan The Persona and naturally completely NSFW.

    The people at Pan are lucky all he did was refuse to renew the contract, is all I can say.

    (This needs “artist in comments” tag too.)

  67. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Goodness! He shouted too much and he crashed the sky.

  68. Tat Wood Says:

    All the excitement about Famously Cantankerous Author on the site and all I can think about is how Monocephalic Zaphod puts on that jacket. There must be a way to take it off and put it on that doesn’t make the collar sag but if it folds down when not in use then erecting it after donning the garment would result in a severed artery.

  69. fred Says:

    I think someone heard purple puss coughing up a hair ball and mistook the sound for actual speech.

  70. GSS ex-noob Says:

    The beast that shouted “HACK-HORK-URP” at the heart of the world.

  71. JuanPaul Says:

    The working title of this piece of art was ‘Foreshortening is a Bitch’.

  72. THX 1138 Says:

    I know we mercilessly took the mickey out of Harlan, but I was sad to see he’s died today. He was a polarising character, but a character is what he was, a diehard advocate for science fiction (and didn’t let you forget it). Maybe the world’s angriest man, too. RIP.

  73. Bibliomancer Says:

    @THX – Whoa! Big news. I wonder if the authors will finally get their Last Dangerous Visions manuscripts back?

  74. THX 1138 Says:

    @Biblio: ITYM “the authors’ descendants”.

  75. B. Chiclitz Says:

    A thousand years ago in the early ’70s when I was an undergraduate I wrote Ellison an angry letter criticizing him for his attitude toward women Science Fiction writers. He’d written something like (old memories are vague) “Joanna Russ and Ursula LeGuin would bash me with their picket signs if they knew I said this,” or something similar. Dating a feminist, and fancying myself a newly-liberated post-New Left man, I yelled at him for being a fatuous twit. He sent me an even nastier letter in reply. He didn’t try to defend himself, he just insulted me, pretty effectively I must say. But at least he did write back personally, and now I regret not saving his letter. RIP Ellison.

  76. Bibliomancer Says:

    @BC – I remember that letter! And I remember reading Again, Dangerous Visions back then. I’ve thought about re-reading some of it but I doubt it would be as good now.

  77. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @Bibliomancer—I’d like to reread “With the Bentfin Boomer Boys in Little Old New Alabama.” Remember that one? Or Vonnegut’s “Big Space Fuck.”

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