Passing the Torch: Harlan Ellison is now On the Far Side

On a day that science fiction master Harlan Ellison passed to the far side, it struck me as appropriate to look back at Mr Ellison’s marvelous career, and forward, to some speculative fiction writers of the future . . . On the Far Side.

Harlan Ellison, 1934-2018

The number one thing that always struck me about Ellison’s work was his titles. Here are a few examples:

  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
  • Crazy as a Soup Sandwich
  • From A to Z, in the Chocolate Alphabet
  • “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman
  • The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World

How I wish I could dream up titles like these!

On the Far Side

The Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal chapter of RWA runs an annual contest called On the Far Side. A number of years ago, after being traditionally published in both Contemporary Romance and Science Fiction, I wanted to blend my two interests and write Science Fiction Romance. I entered my first SFR effort, a near-future romance with the pseudo-Ellisonesque title of Alien Contest for Idiots.

I’m proud to say that the book was an On the Far Side finalist and is now book one in my 5-book Alien Contact for Idiots series. The contest is special to me, so here are this year’s finalists:

Dark Paranormal
  • The Contract, by Eliza Fyre
  • Kingmakers by Margi Guilfoyle
  • In Blood and Ice* by Susan Person
Light Paranormal
  • The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth
  • Images by Patricia Dane
  • Warrior of Eden by Fenley Grant
Science Fiction/Futuristic
  • The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth
  • Touch 3.3 by Valen A. Cox
  • Kilroy Was Here by Janet Raye Stevens
  • The Dark Queen’s Daughter by Alexia Chantel
  • Valista by Lynn Harris
  • One If By Magic by Ann Campbell Reed
Urban Fantasy
  • Donovan Darling by Luna Joya
  • Dead Sure by K.A. Lannon
  • One Body, Two Deep by Toni J. Stephens
  • Star Knight Errant by Shelley Blakeley
  • Severed Ties by T.J. Kyle
  • The Kes Effect by Lori Ono
Young Adult
  • The Golden Horn by Megan Bates
  • Weapon of Fire and Ash by B.M. Matsen
  • Saving Magic by Roh Morgan
New Adult
  • Field and Thorne by Amanda Marin
  • Saving Magic by Roh Morgan
  • A Bargain of Fear and Desire by Megan Van Dyke

Congratulations to all the finalists!



  1. May he rest in peace. I hadn’t heard about this, Ed.

    And I’m not surprised Alien Contact for Idiots was a finalist. It’s such a creative book!

    1. It seems unbelievable now, but there truly was a time when a devoted reader (me) could read virtually every newly published book in the science fiction genre. That included Ellison. I can’t say he was a particular favorite, yet his death touches me nonetheless. There’s almost no one left of the generation of writers I grew up reading. That — and my recent birthday– makes me feel old.

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