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Harlan Ellison
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General SF&F Chat > R.I.P. Harlan Ellison

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 28, 2018 04:40PM) (new)

Harlan Ellison Harlan Ellison, Grand Master of Science Fiction & Fantasy, 1934-2018

Harlan Ellison, an icon the the "new wave" scifi writers of the 60s & 70s, has passed away. He edited (and contributed to) the Dangerous Visions collections that were a touchtone of the movement. His own collections included "Paingod", "I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream", "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" and the Deathbird Stories. He wrote the novel and later screenplay for A Boy and His Dog, had a contentious relationship with the TV series StarLost which he created, and penned the screenplay for Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever (in addition to scripts, both SciFi and not, for TV shows including The Outer limits.) He also frequently used the name Cordwainer Bird when he didn't like what a studio had done to his script. I think it's fair to describe him as "temperamental" as well as prolific.

Harlan Ellison dies, legendary 'A Boy and His Dog' SciFi Writer was 84

message 2: by Donald (new)

Donald | 157 comments :(

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2283 comments I think temperamental is putting it mildly. He could be a brilliant writer. I've read some of the stories he cranked out on a typewriter in a book store window after getting an opening line from a passerby. Amazing! His Outer Limits episodes were among the best & the "Dangerous Visions" books were fantastic. "A Boy & His Dog" was great both in writing & as a classic SF flick.

Still, he seemed to be a really angry man. His lawsuits are legendary & his narration ranges from whispers to shouts which overwhelm the equalizers. I have to keep my finger on the volume button for him.

The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay was interesting because it traces the various versions of the script from Ellison's original through all the rewrites.
Ellison hated it, yet I agreed with most of the changes. He continually put it down, yet sued for an outrageous percentage of the merchandising profits. I listened to the recent Skyboat Media publication which had a lot of the people reading their own words including Ellison. His 2 hour rant was the only part I couldn't get through. I gave it a 3 star review here:

message 4: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments He astonished me by phoning me once, out of the blue. (I may have met him once or twice in a crowd.) He said, "You write like an angel." I was inarticulate, and foolishly did not immediately demand permission to quote him on the back of book covers for the rest of my life.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Jim wrote: "I think temperamental is putting it mildly. ..."

The NY Times' obituary went with "pugnacious" and "bellicose".

Jim wrote: "Still, he seemed to be a really angry man...."

"I go to bed angry and I get up angrier every morning," - H.E.

I thought it interesting that the mainstream obits lead with A Boy and His Dog (I suppose because it was also a movie, and nobody reads :), while the fannish sites go with the Star Trek episode (Because, fannish.). Personally, I'd go with Dangerous Visions.

message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2283 comments I'm more with you, G33z3r, although I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream was the first collection I read by him. It was unlike anything else I'd read up to that time & I was very careful not to mention it to my mother.

message 7: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments Jim wrote: "I'm more with you, G33z3r, although I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream was the first collection I read by him. It was unlike anything else I'd read up to that time & I was very careful..."

The only things I've read by him are I Must Scream and Repent, Harlequin.

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2283 comments In another group, Ed found a couple of good obituaries for him.
LA Times:

John Scalzi's:

message 9: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 1142 comments Thanks for passing on the sad news.

Sometimes geniuses are more temperamental, like Picasso. Seems to come out more so in men, perhaps because pugnacious women don't get accepted by society.

I read several shorts, saw some of the filmed scripts. I didn't like the boy and his dog, because of the end. Actually the whole film was depressing. Quite a lot of Ellison is depressing when you think of it. Maybe this is because unlike Asimov or Clarke, who wanted to share a great new piece of engineering or chemistry and have fun with it, Ellison wrote an eighties zeitgeist set in the future. He had some great ideas, highly original.

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