cover image Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-Up Generation

Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-Up Generation

Harlan Ellison. Subterranean (, $45 (280p) ISBN 978-1-59606-539-0

In his informative introduction to this collection of 22 stories originally published in 1961, Ellison states this is the book that “was most pivotal in changing my life.” Writing these provocative tales led to an awareness of his concern with social problems, minorities, and injustice—and his involvement with civil rights, antiwar protests, and feminism. “Daniel White for the Greater Good,” which so impressed Dorothy Parker in an Esquire review, remains a chilling look at the cauldron of racial relations in the South in the 1950s. The title story finds a doctor desperate and willing to do anything for a fix. “May We Also Speak: Four Statements from the Hung-Up Generation,” a series of brief vignettes, showcases encounters that transform the lives of various characters. When a pusher denies a jazz player a much-needed fix, the other players find a fitting punishment for the pusher in “At the Mountains of Blindness.” These are vibrant, moving stories from an increasingly confident young writer embarking on a remarkably productive career. (May)