When Harlan Ellison died in 2018, he left behind a project that he’d long promised to complete: The Last Dangerous Visions, an infamous third anthology that would have followed his Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions anthologies.
Now, it looks like it’ll be completed, nearly half a century after its first intended publication date. Ellison’s friend and now estate executor J. Michael Straczynski (the creator of Babylon 5 and co-creator of Sense8) has promised that he’ll complete the anthology.
The Last Dangerous Visions is something of a white whale for Ellison. In 1967, he rounded up a number of authors writing in the genre and produced Dangerous Visions, an acclaimed anthology that included 33 original stories from authors such as Lester del Rey, Frederik Pohl, Brian W. Aldiss, Philip K. Dick, Larry Niven, Carol Emshwiller, and others. The anthology was hailed for pushing the boundaries of science fiction amidst the New Wave movement, and earned considerable praise from reviewers.
In 1971, he followed up with an even larger, two-volume anthology, Again Dangerous Visions. In that anthology, he promised a third installment, The Last Dangerous Visions, which would include more than 100 stories and authors. Ultimately, he never ended up publishing it, pushing the release date back year after year, and jumping from publisher to publisher. The book became an infamous project as its contributors began to withdraw stories or die off, and when Ellison himself died, it appeared as though the book would forever remain unfinished.
Now, it seems as though that’s not the case. Straczynski, who took over as executor for Ellison’s estate earlier this year, announced on his Patreon page that he would complete the project.
The book won’t turn out as originally envisioned. Straczynski says that some of the previously announced stories won’t be included because they were withdrawn, and others won’t be included because they’ve become outdated. He’ll be adding to the anthology some new voices from “some of the most well-known and respected writers working today,” as well as a number of new authors who are just starting out in the field. The book will also include a final work from Ellison “that ties directly into the reason why The Last Dangerous Visions has taken so long to come to light.”
Notably, Straczynski says that there are several publishers who are interested in publishing the massive, three-volume anthology, although he’ll work on completing the entire project first before submitting it for publication, which he says will happen in March and April 2021.