J. Michael Straczynski dropped the fifth of his attention-grabbing “data packets” this afternoon with the biggest payload of all:
The Last Dangerous Visions, was announced in 1973 and scheduled to appear in 1974, but of course it didn’t. Even now the volume which will bear that name will be quite different from what it would have been like fifty years ago, as Straczynski explains in an open Patreon post.
- The Last Dangerous Visions will not republish the stories originally accepted for the anthology that have in the intervening years been withdrawn and published elsewhere.
- Some of the remaining stories that “have been overtaken by real-world events, rendering them less relevant or timely” will be omitted. (The rights to those stories will be returned to the authors.)
- Of the remaining stories JMS says “many more are as innovative, fresh and, in some ways, even more relevant now than when they were first written. These are rich, compelling stories by some of the best known science fiction and fantasy writers to work in the genre that deserve to be seen by the world.”
- Tim Kirk’s artwork commissioned for the original volume will also be included.
- Additional stories are being contributed by “some of the most well-known and respected writers working today… Their names will be announced the deeper we go into this process, with more still being added at this time.”
- Also, The Last Dangerous Visions “will present stories by a diverse range of young, new writers from around the world who are telling stories that look beyond today’s horizon to what’s on the other side.”
- Plus, one last slot will be opened up for submissions from unknown and unpublished writers, giving “one new voice, one last chance to make it into The Last Dangerous Visions.”
- The final stories will be organized by topic, interweaving original, heavy-hitter and new writers into a narrative flow.
Adding to the suspense, Straczynski says, “There is one last, significant work by Harlan that has never been published, that has been seen by only a handful of people. A work that ties directly into the reason why The Last Dangerous Visions has taken so long to come to light. That piece will be included in this volume to close off the last of Harlan’s major unpublished works.”
Once all the stories are in place, the book will be taken to market around March/April 2021. Several major publishers have already expressed significant interest in picking up the book upon completion.
The Harlan and Susan Ellison Memorial Library. Straczynski also reports that the Ellison home will become The Harlan and Susan Ellison Memorial Library, “a place where lovers of art, architecture and comics can come in small groups for tours, and academics can study decades of correspondence between Harlan and some of the most famous writers in and out of the SF genre, along with his original manuscripts and drafts. We are also working toward having the house declared a Cultural Landmark, possibly in association with a local university.”
Royalties from The Last Dangerous Visions will go into the Trust that supports the Library.
Patreon. A lot of expenses for the LDV story rights, legal work on the trust, etc., are being fronted by JMS, “tens of thousands of dollars” (see his post for specifics). He invites fans of Harlan’s work or SF in general who would like to help defray some of those costs in return for the exclusive opportunity to see The Last Dangerous Visions come together in real-time to subscribe to his Patreon.
There is a tier here that will only remain online for five months, through April, when the book is slated to be completed.
Patrons will be the first to know the names of the authors contributing to TLDV, first to see partial manuscripts and story excerpts before the book is published, and will be given peeks at Tim Kirk’s amazing art. Beat by beat, they (and other Patrons operating at that level or above) will be a part of the process of finishing one of the most discussed and eagerly anticipated books in the history of modern science fiction.
It starts right here, right now, today.