Stuff and Nonsense: Again, Dangerous Visionss: 46 Original Stories


Again, Dangerous Visionss: 46 Original Stories

I must say that, given a choice, Again, Dangerous Visions is not how I would have chosen to read Joanna Russ's "When It Changed" and James Tiptree, Jr's "The Milk of Paradise." My library system's only copy has not aged well and, in general, neither has the collection itself. The stories themselves are still fairly okay, but their individual introductions/afterwards as well as Ellison's introduction to the volume "An Assault on New Dreamers" feel both extremely dated and unnecessary. In some cases, as in Saxton's "Elouise and the Doctors of the Planet Pergamon," they actively detracted from the story.

In the end, of the forty-six stories in Again, Dangerous Visions, I only read five. They're all pretty grim, discomforting stories and I could only read one per sitting. Even then, each one left me feeling like my brain needed a good scrubbing. Or the world needed to be set on fire.

"The Word for World is Forest" by Ursula Le Guin
This is the Hugo award-winning novella that eventually spun into a full-length novel of the same name. I've read the novel and found the novella at once both familar and strange.

"The Funeral" by Kate Wilhelm
A very Margaret Atwood-esque story set in an America in which women are objects with no rights or merits except those awarded to the roles -- mother, teacher, sex slave -- they are trained for in prison-like schools.

"When It Changed" by Joanna Russ
Thirty generations ago, the males of Whileaway where all killed by plague. The females adapted, learning to create (female) offspring, and eventually established a perfectly functional civilization. Then men -- thoroughly average men, I tell you -- arrive from space and everything changes.

"Elouise and the Doctors of the Planet Pergamon" by Josephine Saxton
On Pergamon equality has been achieved by making everyone equally ill. Except a few hardy outliers, who are imprisoned and studied before they are sacrificed for the greater good.

"The Milk of Paradise" by James Tiptree, Jr.
A man, orphaned and raised among aliens "fairer than all the children of men," finds no joy amongst humans when he is returned to them. It's an interesting take on perception and what we're willing to believe (or can be made to believe?) to survive.

Again, Dangerous Visions: 46 Original Stories Edited by Harlan Ellison (Doubleday & Company, 1972)

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