Monday, April 6, 2015
Blogging A to Z - E
Author: Ellison, Harlan
The moment I decided on the theme for this challenge, I knew who my E author would be. I bought my first collection of Ellison short stories in the mid-1970's, and a love affair began. While best known for his speculative fiction and short stories, including award-winners "Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman", "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs", and "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream", he has also written over 1,700 works including novellas, screenplays and teleplays, criticism, essays, at least one novel and, of course, short stories. Mere words cannot express how much I enjoy his work. There have been countless times where I've picked up one of his books, planning on reading one or two stories before bed, and lifting my eyes from the book three hours later. I've seen him in person a few times, where he was doing readings of his essays and short stories. Once at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon (Mecca for book lovers), I waited in line to have a book signed and when I met the man I'd admired for almost 40 years, I said a few words to him.
When my time is up and I'm off to my urn, I will consider it one of my crowning achievements that I made Harlan Ellison laugh.
Book: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
A short, unassuming book comprised of a series of letters between family members (I learned a new word when I read this book: epistolary). In a nutshell, this is the story of Ella Minnow Pea, who lives on an island off the coast of South Carolina. This island was also the home of the man who invented the sentence "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" and there is a statue honoring him. When letters start falling off the statue's plaque, the town rulers decide that means they are no longer to use those letters, and anyone found to do so (either written or spoken) must be punished. Enough infractions, and the punishment is death. What seems to be a lighthearted, humorous story quickly turns dark (at least it did for me). Not something I would normally read, but it was recommended to me and I, in turn, recommend it to you.