Harlan Ellison

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Batgirl III
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Harlan Ellison

Post by Batgirl III » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:40 pm

It’s generally accepted that the three greatest names in science fiction’s pre-history are H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Rice Burroughs; Its also usually taken as a given that the three greatest names of sci-fi’s Golden Age are Bradbury, Asimov, and Clarke... But, in my lifetime, I think the pantheon of the greatest was joined by three more men: Robert A. Heinlein, Larry Niven, and Harlan Ellison.

The man’s list of work is staggering. Every obituary is going to mention his Star Trek script for ‘The City on the Edge of Forever,’ but he actually disliked the final product (which is still one of Trek’s best!). I can’t even begin to summarize the guy’s contributions to the SF literatary canon.

The man was infamous for being both a taciturn asshole and an intensely loyal friend.

“Harlan is a giant among men in courage, pugnacity, loquacity, wit, charm, intelligence — indeed in everything but height.” — Isaac Asimov in the introduction to Dangerous Visions (1967)

“My work is foursquare for chaos. I spend my life personally, and my work professionally, keeping the soup boiling. Gadfly is what they call you when you are no longer dangerous; I much prefer troublemaker, malcontent, desperado. I see myself as a combination of Zorro and Jiminy Cricket. My stories go out from here and raise hell. From time to time some denigrater or critic with umbrage will say of my work, 'He only wrote that to shock.' I smile and nod. Precisely.” —Harlan Ellison, describing himself, as quoted by Stephen King Danse Macabre (1981)
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MacynSnow
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Re: Harlan Ellison

Post by MacynSnow » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:20 am

One of the Finest SF Writer's of all time in my book.I Personally own the Written version of his Star Trek episode "City On The Edge Of Tomorrow",and believe me it's alot Darker than the Episode itself,but just as Brilliantly Fantastic. I've always refered to Harlan and Mark Twain as "my Honest Crumdugeons"....

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Batgirl III
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Re: Harlan Ellison

Post by Batgirl III » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:56 am

J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5 and one of Ellison's closest friends, wrote an episode where the C-Plot had security chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) arguing with an especially unhelpful Computer A.I. (it makes sense in context). Straczynski needed someone who could out-snark and out-grump Jerry Doyle (which is no mean feat). Straczynski wanted someone who (paraphrasing) "could make every word he says sound grumpy and obnoxious." So he decided Harlan Ellison would be a perfect fit!

Straczynski claims it wasn't until a few days later when he realized this wasn't actually a compliment.
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Woodclaw
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Re: Harlan Ellison

Post by Woodclaw » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:42 pm

Batgirl III wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:40 pm
“Harlan is a giant among men in courage, pugnacity, loquacity, wit, charm, intelligence — indeed in everything but height.” — Isaac Asimov in the introduction to Dangerous Visions (1967)
I believe that the height jokes started in one of the early sci-fi conventions. At the time Asimov was one of new writers on the rise and Ellison just a very enthisiast fan, who had submitted a few stories already and one of the promoter of the event. According to the story, when they met in the backstage, Ellison gave a good long look to Asimov and said something along the lines of: "You are... you really are ... nothing so special."
During the convention Asimov had his little revenge. After giving his speech, he thanked all the promoters and "in particular Harlan Ellison, who has done so much to spread the word about us sci-fi novelists". When the crowd started the applause, he actually called Ellison to stand up.
"You're right. Sorry. Holy shit," I breathed, "heckhounds.”

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Ares
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Re: Harlan Ellison

Post by Ares » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:07 pm

I actually found Asimov's take on the event:

http://hermiene.net/essays-trans/asimov ... lison.html

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HalloweenJack
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Re: Harlan Ellison

Post by HalloweenJack » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:34 pm

I'll be honest, I used to love Ellison's little editorials on Sci-Fi Buzz back in the day

Shock
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Re: Harlan Ellison

Post by Shock » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:47 am

I saw him on a panel at a con once and someone had the nerve to thank him for inspiring them to become a writer. This set him off on a diatribe about how he isn't responsible for anything anyone does as a result of reading something he wrote. It was quite cringy at the time but very entertaining in hindsight.

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Re: Harlan Ellison

Post by Woodclaw » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:54 pm

Shock wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:47 am
I saw him on a panel at a con once and someone had the nerve to thank him for inspiring them to become a writer. This set him off on a diatribe about how he isn't responsible for anything anyone does as a result of reading something he wrote. It was quite cringy at the time but very entertaining in hindsight.
Yeah, that's pretty much classic Harlan Ellison.
"You're right. Sorry. Holy shit," I breathed, "heckhounds.”

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