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Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-Up Generation

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Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-Up Generation is an early collection of short stories by Harlan Ellison, originally published in paperback in 1961. Most of the stories were written while Ellison was a draftee in the United States army between 1957 and 1959. These were sold to Rogue Magazine, a pulp fiction magazine of the era. Other stories in the collection had appeared previously in publications ranging from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine to a Chicago weekly newspaper. Gentleman Junkie... is different from many of Ellison's subsequent short story collections in that none of the stories are in the speculative fiction genre. The stories provide social commentary on racial discrimination, bigotry, and other forms of injustice prevalent in United States during the 1950s. In particular, 'Daniel White for the Greater Good' and 'The Night of Delicate Terrors' depict the plight of African Americans prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Other stories also deal with oppression and injustice. 'Free With This Box' is based on an occurrence in Ellison's childhood and describes abuse of power by police. Dorothy Parker famously gave it a good review, saying Ellison was "a good, honest, clean writer, putting down what he has seen and known, and no sensationalism about it." Ellison has since stated that the positive review from such a prominent literary figure changed his life and gave him a sense of validation as an author.
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original title: Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-Up Generation
date of publication: 1961
genre: short story

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