Reviews of Phoenix Without Ashes (1975)
Review by clong (2005-12-10)
Fans of Ellison will no doubt have run across his essay "Somehow I Don't Think We're in Kansas, Toto," his recounting of how slimy, incompetent tv executives did everything in their power to screw him and ruin his concept for the series Starlost. This was a battle from which Ellison ultimately emerged vindicated when his original teleplay was honored as best of the year (after the mangled script the network had ultimately ended up shooting produced a show that quickly sank into obscurity).
Phoenix from the Ashes is Ed Bryant’s novelization of the pilot script for Starlost. It is easy to see how this would have made for compelling television, but it comes off somewhat one dimensional as a novel, with barely developed characters who move from set scene to set scene. Still, it is successful in building tension and achieving an emotional climax. Like you would expect in a pilot, there are many threads left hanging at the end.
I would certainly recommend this quick read to Ellison fans.