Straczynski’s Dangerous Message

J. Michael Straczynski started posting these on Facebook on November 9 with the introduction: “Five discrete data packets to be broadcast, one every 24 hours.” Today he tweeted as a set the messages unveiled on FB so far. Til JMS finishes the transmission you can make up your own mind what the executor of the Ellison estate is trying to tell us:

Sorry, that’s all there is for now.

40 thoughts on “Straczynski’s Dangerous Message

  1. After all these years, are the visions still dangerous? Or has time dulled the hazard?

    “The Last Not So Dangerous Anymore Visions”?
    “The Last Mostly Harmless Visions”?
    “The Last Prudent Visions”?

    (Don’t get me wrong, I am looking to the anthology finally(!) getting published.)

  2. Surely the rights to the unpublished stories have long since reverted to the authors or their estates as is appropriate. It’s been nearly fifty years since those anthologies were published!

    Now reading: Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious

  3. Michael J. Walsh,
    Wikipedia is missing 5 further TLDV stories that have been published elsewhere:
    Langdon Jones, To Have and to Hold (Starship Sofa #146, July 2010-podcast)
    Jack Dann, The Carbon Dreamer (Shivers VIII, 2019)
    Steve Rasnic Tem, A Thin Silver Line (Unquiet Dreamer, 2019)
    Arthur Byron Cover, Various Kinds of Conceits (Unquiet Dreamer, 2019)
    Jerry Pournelle, Free Enterprise (as “The Last Shot”) The Best of Jerry Pournelle, 2019)

    You mentioned before that the Tom Reamy collection might be reissued and have his TLDV story “Potiphee, Petey and Me” included. Any news on that front?

  4. Remember, this was in the days of typewriters and, sometimes, carbon copies. Even if the rights revert, there isn’t much you can do without a copy of the manuscript.

  5. Jim Janney says Remember, this was in the days of typewriters and, sometimes, carbon copies. Even if the rights revert, there isn’t much you can do without a copy of the manuscript.

    Indeed. But writers generally would hold unto a copy of anything they write so they or their estate should have a copy even fifty years on. Especially as much of these stories have long since been published elsewhere.

    Now watching in the background: an episode of NCIS.

  6. Well, I guess it’s possible that he’s spent the last 18 months working on re-acquiring publication rights, but yeah, would the 50-year-old stories be anything but anticlimactic at this point?

  7. I wonder how many of Ellison’s introductions to the stories were completed. His commentary on the stories and the authors could be a selling point over and above the stories.

  8. If TLDV actually gets published, I’ll buy a copy–if only to read Ellison’s introductions and have the thing on the shelf next to DV and ADV.

  9. Andrew (not Werdna): I wonder how many of Ellison’s introductions to the stories were completed. His commentary on the stories and the authors could be a selling point over and above the stories.

    You’ve got your eye on the prize! I don’t know how many he finished, but I know that’s what he was supposedly working on when I drove three Australian artists to be given a tour of his house in the Eighties. A fellow named Gil Lamont had all the manuscripts for LDV spread out in Harlan’s workroom to do something with them. So who knows?

  10. So would the Ellison estate have the rights to use these in a third anthology? It doesn’t seem likely that this would be so. But I too would be interested in reading his intros to these stories, more interested than in actually reading the stories at this point.

  11. Cat Eldridge: “Indeed. But writers generally would hold unto a copy of anything they write so they or their estate should have a copy even fifty years on.”

    Sometimes hardcopy manuscripts or carbon copies. get misplaced or lost. It wasn’t until twenty years after H. Beam Piper’s death that a manuscript for the third Fuzzy novel was found. And I’m currently reading one of the comprehensive Silverberg collections from Subterranean Press; a number of Silberberg’s introductions note finding he didn’t have copies of some stories, and having to search to find someone with a copy of the original magazine publication.

  12. Bruce Arthur says Sometimes hardcopy manuscripts or carbon copies. get misplaced or lost. It wasn’t until twenty years after H. Beam Piper’s death that a manuscript for the third Fuzzy novel was found. And I’m currently reading one of the comprehensive Silverberg collections from Subterranean Press; a number of Silberberg’s introductions note finding he didn’t have copies of some stories, and having to search to find someone with a copy of the original magazine publication.

    However we’ve established that almost everything intended for this anthology was published later, so we know it exists. So it’s not a question of if exists, but where it exists. Very little of anything published in the last fifty years is not available somewhere.

  13. I mean the law of high art and the ideal of taking Ellison’s vision that bit further strongly imply that Straczynski keeps teasing this forever. The essence of this anthology is that it never gets published. That’s why it is a legend.

  14. steve davidson says succinctly For “reasons”, I suspect the materials are available

    Indeed. Another volume certainly would likely sell well. And the materials that exist just need now to be assembled into their final package which I suspect JMS has already done. I wonder you the publisher will be.

    Now listening to: the GraphicAudio adaptation of Simon R. Green’s Once In A Blue Moon

  15. Hartan Ellison’s The Kilimanjaro Corporation had to file a renewal registration by early November to keep the Dangerous Visions trademark. It did this on Nov. 2.

  16. However, Tim Kirk’s illustrations for all the stories were completed decades ago—but never published. I had understood that HE’s failure to actually have the anthology published, thus wasting Tim’s time and efforts, was a major factor in driving him out of the SF field at the time (though he is now back, on the fringes).

    Where are the originals of that artwork? And will they ever see the light of day/publication?

  17. Cat Eldridge:

    However we’ve established that almost everything intended for this anthology was published later, so we know it exists.

    I thought it was only about a third of the stories.

  18. Issue number 7 of The Alien Critic, dated January 1974, has a letter from Harlan Ellison listing the contents as they stood at the time. He claimed a total wordage of 445,250 plus 60,000 words of introduction and 50,000 of afterwords. So there may be some things still unpublished.

  19. Cat Eldridge: “Bruce Arthur says”

    “Bruce Arthur” is a sportswriter in Toronto. Bruce Arthurs (with the “extraneous s”, as Arthur Hlavaty once referred to it, iirc) is an old-time SF fan who does the occasional bit of fiction.

    (If I come across as a bit irate, it’s just because this particular error comes up so damned often. When one of my stories was included in the list of “Distinguished” mystery stories in the backmatter of BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2017, the “s” was left off my name, which took some of the shine off the accolade.) (It didn’t help that the story’s title “Beks and the Second Note” got turned into “Beks and the Second Notice” as well.)

  20. @Bruce Arthurs–

    “Bruce Arthur” is a sportswriter in Toronto. Bruce Arthurs (with the “extraneous s”, as Arthur Hlavaty once referred to it, iirc) is an old-time SF fan who does the occasional bit of fiction.

    Sometimes, people think I’m being snippy, when I carefully, clearly, slowly, spell both my first and my last name–neither of which is at all difficult.

    But if I don’t, usually both get misspelled. People looking me up in their databases can’t find me. And they’re surprised when I then just respond by spelling my name correctly.

    Which is to say, I feel your pain.

  21. An easy mnemonic: Bruce D. Arthurs is “The king in plural.” This was also the long-ago title of either a column or an apazine by Arthurs, back when I was a Phoenix fan.

  22. I remember when Susan Ellison passed away David Gerrold mentioned that he suggested to her that they finally publish LDV. Apparently she thought it was a good idea but wanted to do it later so this really isn’t much of a surprise. I assume it will have to be four or five volumes to publish everything. I always thought they should publish another volume called the LOST DANGEROUS VISIONS reprinting the stories that were published elsewhere. Not sure everyone would find the humour in that though.

  23. people think I’m being snippy, when I carefully, clearly, slowly, spell both my first and my last name
    — My high school diploma
    — My first commercial publication
    — The first union contract I negotiated
    — The gravestones back in Tennessee of TWO of my great-great-uncles who died fighting for the Union
    — The family cemetery where the boys are buried
    — The road named after my family, which runs by said cemetery

    ALL, YES ALL, credited to some damn “Lowery” instead of “Lowrey”

  24. My surname is shared with a well-known luxury car brand with the exact same spelling and yet, I have spent my whole life having to insist I get the e’s that are my due.

    And that all the vowels in my first name are in the right order and quantity (it is not Meridith, or Merideth, or Miredith, or for that matter any of the numerous M names people have tried to sub in – Miriam is popular, presumably because of number of syllables, even though they cannot possibly have missed the ‘d’ sound – I will accept Maredudd at a pinch but if we’re anglicising I really must insist on the right vowels and the correct M name, thank you).

    And that no-one uses the diminutive for my middle name when I’m using that in gaming circles because it was less stressful than trying to get gamers to reliably spell my first name correctly (it’s already a shortened version of a long name but people who like nicknames cannot be stopped and for some reason resist redirection to the shortening of my gamer handle, a nickname I actually like and will answer to).

    I don’t understand why it’s a thing but name issues are definitely a Thing and it’s exhausting.

    (On the plus side since Meredith Moments became a category of comment around here it’s hardly ever wrong now.)

  25. Lis, Meredith and Michael,
    The singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III devoted an entire song to this issue: “They Spelled My Name Wrong Again”

  26. Meredith: My surname is shared with a well-known luxury car brand with the exact same spelling and yet, I have spent my whole life having to insist I get the e’s that are my due.

    Meerceedees? 😉

  27. @JJ

    Given the e’s are almost always what people try and leave out for all three names I should start stealing them from other car brands in order to build up a hoard! F’rarri would be fine I’m sure. And T’sla. Like dragonriders from the Pern series! Practically an upgrade for them. They couldn’t possibly object.

    (My e’s mine.)

  28. Tim Kirk did a drawing of two dragons in bridal gown and tuxedo for our wedding invitations. My parents reluctantly agreed, but Ann’s absolutely refused and went out and printed up “normal” ones themselves. And misspelled my first name as “Jeffery” instead of “Jeffrey.” It’s been almost 50 years now and I’m still irritated.

    Our friends got the Tim Kirk invitation, and then we had the drawing printed again as thank-you notes, and everybody got one of those.

  29. Mine’s another simple name that’s frequently misspelled. First and last. I am not Ann Scheller.

  30. The story illustrations from all (3?) volumes could be a book unto itself.

    More suspicions for “reasons”:

    I do not know JMS (though I have written him a handful of times and most recently regarding the A.B. Chandler story that was/is to be included in LDV, which tellingly(?) was not responded to), but I did know Harlan and like to think that I have a pretty good handle on him (which has seemingly been confirmed by other people who knew Harlan), and that, along with publicly available examples of the interactions of these two, tells me that JMS would not be doing anything less than a “complete” product.

    What that exactly means will have to wait for the reveal (I have no special knowledge of that, just to be clear), but Harlan did not let people in without having made a deep assessment of their personality. Of those who he did let in, all share at least one common trait and that is that they are willing to break their hearts in order to do what is perceived as “right”.

    Whatever JMS produces, it will be “right” in both his and Harlan’s eyes. Whether we agree or not, well, you can all probably guess Harlan’s response to that as well.

  31. Meredith, Lis Carey, et al: I feel your pain. I’m not Cassie; I’m Cassy. NOBODY ever gets that right the first try, and very few people get it right the second, or third, or…

    When I was asked to join the board of a small non-profit theater a few years back, they presented me with my official email address for theater business…. “cassie@[theater-name].org.”

    I’d only known most of these people for fifteen years or more….

  32. My sister (or her publisher, I never knew which) once published one of my stories with an H added to Jon.

    On the bright side of this problem, Isaac Asimov turned an annoying lack of attention to this detail into a publicity shtick. In his early days people frequently misspelled his name so he took each and every opportunity to write them a letter correcting the spelling. Given his ability to write fast and furious, I imagine there must be thousands of those letters left in editorial files that survived the cybercaust and it would be fun to see how he did it, with what possible humor, and how he made his name stick in the minds of all those editors.

    Of course, it also helped that he was a great writer.

  33. Regarding names spelled incorrectly … from the Samuel R. Delany wiki….

    “Delany’s name is one of the most misspelled in science fiction, with over 60 different spellings in reviews. Bravard and Peplow (1984), pp. 69–75. His publisher Doubleday even misspelled his name on the title page of his book Driftglass,”

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