J. Michael Straczynski has partially pulled back the curtain on the The Last Dangerous Visions contributors’ list, and responded to critics of its gender balance. He has also announced the agents who will be taking not just LDV but all three Dangerous Visions anthologies to publishers as a package. (The Twitter thread starts here.)
Big News: The Last Dangerous Visions is now going to publishers via the Janklow & Nesbit Agency (Emma Parry, NY, domestic; Nathaniel Alcaraz-Stapleton, London, foreign), with Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions included in the purchase price to create a unified edition.
Contributors to The Last Dangerous Visions include Edward Bryant, Stephen Robinette, Max Brooks, DM Rowles, Dan Simmons, Cecil Castelluci, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Dedman, Patton Oswalt, Jonathan Fast, Howard Fast, Robert Sheckley, Adrian Tchaikovsky and James S.A. Corey.
It is very much the living document Harlan had always intended for it to be, bringing together new and established voices to address the profoundly human issues that can only be addressed through speculative stories that take us over the horizon and back.
The wonder has been seeing firsthand the many ways in which the themes, concerns of all these stories are profoundly relevant and important across the span of their creation. The first two Dangerous Visions books changed the genre; I have hopes this will continue that tradition.
So to any publishers out there who would like to get in on this process, see the names appended at the top of this thread. (Janklow & Nesbit is one of the largest and most prestigious agencies in the world, and their belief in and support of this book has been most rewarding.)
The plan is the three books would be released individually as well as together and at standard book prices.
Some immediate responses focused criticism on the contributors list —
Straczynski replied, “The lion’s share of the writers in TLDV were and had to be the ones Harlan selected, from the 70s-90s, or it’s not his vision anymore, with a very few slots set aside for current writers who wanted to show support for the book.”
He also tweeted specifically about two stories by women that had been held back by the author or her estate, and his efforts to increase representation:
On Facebook, he phrased his response to a similar concern this way:
It should also be remembered that the book had to be in line with the stories Harlan bought from the 70s-90s, or it wouldn’t be his vision or his book anymore. I could play at the edges, but that’s all. And had the Willis and McIntyre stories not been withdrawn, along with a couple of others that fell away in the intervening years, the current version would have a much stronger female presence from those original stories.
Also, Stracyznski had a further exchange on Facebook with someone about a story that did not make the cut.
Harlan had over a hundred stories slated for TLDV, which would never ever be sold in a modern market, and likely could not have been done then either, which was part of the problem. Since I had no direct connection to any of the writers other than to be in awe of their work was to pare down to the best of the best, the stories that were the most relevant and timeless and powerful. No, as I think I conveyed to you previously, James [Sutherland’s] story did not make the cut, but his estate is free to sell it elsewhere, as with any and all of the other stories.
[Thanks to Chris Barkley for the story.]