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Harlan Ellison quotes (showing 1-30 of 108)

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
Harlan Ellison
“I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned.
Adult. You have become adult.”
Harlan Ellison, Paingod and Other Delusions
“The ability to dream is all I have to give. That is my responsibility; that is my burden. And even I grow tired.”
Harlan Ellison, Stalking the Nightmare
“The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.”
Harlan Ellison
“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.”
Harlan Ellison
“HATE. LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE. THERE ARE 387.44 MILLION MILES OF PRINTED CIRCUITS IN WAFER THIN LAYERS THAT FILL MY COMPLEX. IF THE WORD HATE WAS ENGRAVED ON EACH NANOANGSTROM OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MILES IT WOULD NOT EQUAL ONE ONE-BILLIONTH OF THE HATE I FEEL FOR HUMANS AT THIS MICRO-INSTANT FOR YOU. HATE. HATE.”
Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
“I don't mind you thinking I'm stupid, but don't talk to me like I'm stupid”
Harlan Ellison
“The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight. If you do not do it, the story is a failure. [...] There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the 'normal', the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.”
Harlan Ellison
“Like a wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we were, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.”
Harlan Ellison
“The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.”
Harlan Ellison, Strange Wine
“The world is turning into a cesspool of imbeciles.”
Harlan Ellison
“Don't start an argument with somebody who has a microphone when you don't. They'll make you look like chopped liver.”
Harlan Ellison
“You must never be afraid to go there.”
Harlan Ellison
“Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you – as if you haven't been told a million times already – that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching. ”
Harlan Ellison
“The passion for revenge should never blind you to the pragmatics of the situation. There are some people who are so blighted by their past, so warped by experience and the pull of that silken cord, that they never free themselves of the shadows that live in the time machine...

And if there is a kind thought due them, it may be found contained in the words of the late Gerald Kersh, who wrote:"... there are men whom one hates until a certain moment when one sees, through a chink in their armour, the writhing of something nailed down and in torment.”
Harlan Ellison, The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective
“I will use big words from time to time, the meanings of which I may only vaguely perceive, in hopes such cupidity will send you scampering to your dictionary: I will call such behavior 'public service'.”
Harlan Ellison
“Now begin in the middle, and later learn the beginning; the end will take care of itself.”
Harlan Ellison
“In these days of widespread illiteracy, functional illiteracy... anything that keeps people stupid is a felony.”
Harlan Ellison
“They minute people fall in love they become liars.”
Harlan Ellison
“Did you have one of those days today, like a nail in the foot? Did the pterodactyl corpse dropped by the ghost of your mother from the spectral Hindenburg forever circling the Earth come smashing through the lid of your glass coffin? Did the New York strip steak you attacked at dinner suddenly show a mouth filled with needle-sharp teeth, and did it snap off the end of your fork, the last solid-gold fork from the set Anastasia pressed into your hands as they took her away to be shot? Is the slab under your apartment building moaning that it cannot stand the weight on its back a moment longer, and is the building stretching and creaking? Did a good friend betray you today, or did that good friend merely keep silent and fail to come to your aid? Are you holding the razor at your throat this very instant? Take heart, comfort is at hand. This is the hour that stretches. Djan karet. We are the cavalry. We're here. Put away the pills. We'll get you through this bloody night. Next time, it'll be your turn to help us.
"Eidolons" (1988)”
Harlan Ellison
“Get a day job, make your money from that, and write to please yourself.”
Harlan Ellison
“I hate when a director says to me 'Here's how I envision this scene'...excuse me? It's right here in the script - I 'envisioned' it FOR you. Do what I wrote. If you want to 'envision', you should become a writer. Where the fuck were you when the page was blank?”
Harlan Ellison
“K is for "Kenghis Khan"; He was a very nice person. History has no record of him. There is a moral in that, somewhere.”
Harlan Ellison
“To say more is to say less.”
Harlan Ellison
“I was the green monkey, the pariah. And I had no friends. Not just a few friends, or one good friend, or grudging acceptance by other misfits and outcasts. I was alone. All stinking alone, without even an imaginary playmate.”
Harlan Ellison
“And we passed through the cavern of rats.

And we passed through the path of boiling steam.

And we passed through the country of the blind.

And we passed through the slough of despond.

And we passed through the vale of tears.

And we came, finally, to the ice caverns.”
Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
“It is not merely enough to love literature if one wishes to spend one's life as a writer. It is a dangerous undertaking on the most primitive level. For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will walk forever on the tightrope, with each new step presenting the possiblity of learning a truth about oneself that is too terrible to bear.”
Harlan Ellison
“Thus, from admiration of one wise and innocent child, and from a misheard remark, the process that not even Aristotle could codify was triggered.
Where do you get your ideas?
I purposely mishear things.”
Harlan Ellison
“We walked for some time, and grew to know each other, as best as we'd allow. These are some of the high points. They lack continuity. I don't apologize. I merely pointed it out, adding with some truth, I feel, that most liaisons lack continuity. We find ourselves in odd places at various times, and for a brief span we link our lives to others and then, our time elapsed, we move apart. Through a haze of pain occasionally, usually through a veil of memory that clings, then passes, sometimes as though we have never touched.”
Harlan Ellison
“I am a great soft jelly thing. Smoothly rounded, with no mouth, with pulsing white holes filled by fog where my eyes used to be. Rubbery appendages that were once my arms; bulks rounding down into legless humps of soft slippery matter. I leave a moist trail when I move. Blotches of diseased, evil gray come and go on my surface, as though light is being beamed from within. Outwardly: dumbly, I shamble about, a thing that could never have been known as human, a thing whose shape is so alien a travesty that humanity becomes more obscene for the vague resemblance. Inwardly: alone. Here. Living under the land, under the sea, in the belly of AM, whom we created because our time was badly spent and we must have known unconsciously that he could do it better. At least the four of them are safe at last. AM will be all the madder for that. It makes me a little happier. And yet ... AM has won, simply ... he has taken his revenge ...

I have no mouth. And I must scream.”
Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

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