The Man with Nine Lives is the other half of the Ace Double Book I mentioned last week. When I was a youth, I followed two young SF writers in particular. Robert Silverberg was one. Harlan Ellison was the other. Silverberg was selling everywhere, from the low-paying digests to the top ones. Ellison was mostly stuck in the lower- to middle-paying ones, but for some reason, maybe because he was just starting out, his work had a lot of appeal to me. I shudder to admit this, but I once listed The Man with Nine Lives as one of my favorite SF novels. Rereading it now, I can see that it's a pretty bad book.
Ellison isn't a novelist. He's best at shorter lengths, and that's what he's stuck to for most of his career. This book isn't actually a novel. It's a sort of a fixup of a previously published novelette and short story with a couple of more related stories and a framework tossed in. A man named Cal Emory is seeking revenge against a powerful guy, Paul Lederman, and to get it he has to undergo the "nine lives" of the title. Lots of adventures ensue.
The good news is that Ellison is Ellison, so nothing is exactly standard. As in "Run for the Stars," which I discussed last week, the protagonist is a coward. He doesn't undergo the changes that the previous one does, but he does learn and change. So the ending might not be the one you expect.
The Man with Nine Lives is a minor book by a major writer. Not anything to go out of the way to find, but an interesting historical document and fun in its own way. Certainly not one of my favorite SF novels now, though.