In 1967 Harlan Ellison’s DANGEROUS VISIONS was published, and it rocked my then-fourteen-year-old sensibility. It was an anthology of original stories Ellison solicited from more than thirty authors, telling them Anything Goes, and asking for stories that pushed the envelope of free thought, even–or perhaps especially?–if the themes or prose were considered unpublishable.
Many of the stories were wildly imaginative. Philip K. Dick’s “Faith of Our Fathers” brilliantly played with the nature of reality, and later he would become more famous for that in movies such as TOTAL RECALL and BLADE RUNNER. Fritz Lieber’s “Gonna Roll the Bones” celebrated the Tall Tale genre with a parable about divinity in a gambler’s hardscrabble existence. Many of the stories were dystopian, including Poul Anderson’s “Eutopia”–maybe. But in his Afterword, Anderson says maybe not. And there was Theodore Sturgeon, who also wrote the “Shore Leave” episode of the original Star Trek series, with his brilliantly-titled “If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Want One To Marry Your Sister?”
The reason I’m going on and on about this is because of Ellison’s dedication of the book, to the husband-and-wife team of illustrators whose wonderful woodcuts gave a breathtaking, movie-trailer-like preview to each story. Here is Ellison’s dedication in its entirety:
“This book is dedicated with love, respect and admiration to
LEO & DIANE DILLON
who painstakingly, out of friendship, showed the Editor
that black is black, white is white, and that goodness
can come from either; but never from gray.
And to their son, LIONEL III, now known as Lee, with a
silent prayer that his world will not resemble our world.”
I was thinking of the Dillons, and of Ellison’s dedication, when I did this page.
I am no Leo&Diane Dillon. I envy their exquisite draughtsmanship, and their finely-tuned craftsmanship, and I urge you to seek out their work, as fresh today as fifty years ago.