15 May 2012



Kicks Books NYC prepares for fireworks with its publication of the controversial collection PULLING A TRAIN, the explosive first volume of twisted early street fiction from noted scribe HARLAN ELLISON. 

Known worldwide for his landmark speculative fiction, Cleveland-born ELLISON initially rumbled onto the newsstands hell-bent for leather-- jackets, that is, and zipguns, and shivs, and brass knuckles, and all the accoutrements necessary for basic teen gang violence circa 1957. 

Inspired as a teenager in seeing a familiar placement of consonants in the byline of author Hal Ellson's novel DUKE, young Ellison began pecking out his own gritty tales about street kids, the forgotten flotsam of society. 

With a taste for printers ink, he would soon be selling stories with a vengeance to crime digests like Guilty, Trapped, Terror, and Web Detective Stories,  and men's magazines including Rogue, Caper, and Knave. Sometimes he used his given name, but most often, he traveled incognito onto the newsstands, passing as Ellis Hart, Derry Tiger, Cordwainer Bird, Lee Archer, and many more.  

A paperback collection of his street-wise crime tales saw proper issue in 1959 as THE DEADLY STREETS, as did his groundbreaking first novel RUMBLE, written from first person experience when Ellison (using his nom de guerre, Cheech Beldone) passed initiations into a pack of under-age Red Hook pagans on the Brooklyn waterfront. 

Also in 1959, a brown-paper wrapper collection of his men's magazine stories turned up unannounced (and under the counter) as the paperback SEX GANG,  the title of its novella-length lead story. The set of eleven stories was credited to "Paul Merchant", and went unclaimed by Ellison for decades.

Over the years, all of Ellison's books have enjoyed reissue, over and over again, and numerous collections of his short fiction have continued to see print. His adult-audience material, however, has remained unavailable-- until now.

For the uninitiated, we recommend consumption in very small doses. A damp towel and bed rest may be necessary. 

For the lively set, prepare to blast into orbit with blade-wielding ferocity as Ellison takes you into a cobblestone wilderness fraught with hate and violence, a street level cosmos where shadowy creatures are hard, and blunt, and malicious, and where hope hangs a shingle that reads, "GET LOST".

In the realm of 1950's juvenile delinquent fiction, it was Ellison who dragged the unnamed genre from the gentle hands of the social workers into a filthy basement, where he worked it over, with great satisfaction, into an alternate universe of hate and pain. Ellison is the king of JD fiction. Of this, there can be no debate.


PULLING A TRAIN by Harlan Ellison (KB4) Kicks Books, NYC. 176 pages. Publication date: May 27, 2012 $14.95 ISBN 978-09659777-5-3