Original language: English

Original title: Dangerous visions

Translation: Domingo Santos and Francisco Blanco

Year of publication: 1967

Valuation: Recommended for fans

One thinks that life is like a boat adrift; Sometimes, light winds carry us at high speed, as if trying to reach some unknown destination as soon as possible, and at other times, however, we let ourselves be carried away by the flow of the current; I wonder what strange currents have carried my life to the moment when I find myself reading a story about a postmodern Bosco with a prehensile penis, the son of an obese, gambling nymphomaniac and the grandson of a centenary Hellenic Unabomber, told in the style of Finnegans Wake for 70 pages – all courtesy of good old Philip José Farmer -. By the way, a shout out to the Association of Mouth and Foot Painters, which has been providing us with Christmas greeting cards for so many years; I don’t know why I remembered them now.

I must clarify: today’s review is about Dangerous visionsan anthology of original stories (this is important) by more than thirty science fiction greats from the 60s, and of course, the time… the New Wave, the summer of ’67, the hippies, the drugs… everything leads to an irregular result. But hey, at least Philip K. Dick acknowledged that he used drugs to compose his story: more honest than others who left the forum silent, but what do you want me to tell you, there are arguments – like the one mentioned above, or bullfighting with cars – that seem to have been conceived with some lysergic help.

Well, the truth is that it is a commendable work: nothing less than the cream of the era, as well as old glories surviving from the previous generation, creating new and never published stories, expressly compiled for the occasion and also told with total freedom creative. What could go wrong? Well, it is inevitably irregular.

It is, as I say, inevitable to realize who has taken it more seriously, who has retrieved a text from a drawer and who has completely lost their hair, bordering on the boutade. The texts range from five pages (really, Damon Knight?) to seventy-odd pages, with a very variable level: from very great stories like a and if? from the Soviet bloc winning the Cold War, going through the then controversy of the death penalty and organ donation, to some totally watered down story like that of Harlan Ellison himself – not at all up to par with his colleagues – or some short story of fairies already read a thousand times and integrated into the collective subconscious of humanity.

Those fans of the genre will find it very interesting (or at least that was my case) to read the work of more or less beginner writers at that time who would soon shine with their own light in the firmament of science fiction: a very young Larry Niven before Mundoanillo, For example. Furthermore, it gives us the opportunity to read more than interesting authors whose work is difficult to access today; I’m thinking of Roger Zelazny or Theodore Sturgeon.

Another plus is that each story, in addition to a lighthearted introduction by Harlan Ellison, has at the end a few paragraphs from each writer explaining his or her vision of what is narrated, or about how he or she sees the future (now past) of the story. written science fiction. I find this point frankly interesting, too many times it has happened to me that I am left confused when finishing a reading of the genre without knowing exactly what the writer intended to convey to us.

Each of the volumes also has a general prologue by Ellison, the first of them also has one by Asimov, who wanted to collaborate in this way instead of writing a story: it is also frankly funny how he calls Ellison an insolent dwarf and He responds by calling him a decrepit old man. Ah, science fiction and its good people…

In short, if you have a restless mind, I can only recommend this anthology; Of variable character, the volume of good stories is enough to make it worth reading, and as for the bad ones, they are too short to matter.

An already legendary book in the small world of science fiction.

Source: https://unlibroaldia.blogspot.com/2024/01/harlan-ellison-visiones-peligrosas-i-ii.html

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