cover image The Harlan Ellison Hornbook

The Harlan Ellison Hornbook

Harlan Ellison. Mysterious Press, $22.45 (417pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-239-6

In his 45th book, Ellison, best known for science fiction and mystery, offers a collection of columns, most of which appeared in 1972 and 1973 in Los Angeles counterculture newspapers, principally the Free Press ; there are also a few essays from subsequent years. The earlier pieces often are mediocre: Ellison, viewing himself as a ``tough bastard,'' writes from an irritating macho pose, reaching for similes like ``I went down like a bantamweight in an auto chassis crusher.'' With an autodidact's arrogance, he presumes himself a pioneer in discovering that Christmas can be an obnoxious holiday, TV programs are awful, most college students are ignorant, etc. Except for two selections on a 1973 visit to San Quentin, the writing is undistinguished. Some illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)