RIP, Harlan Ellison

The writer Harlan Ellison is gone:

“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.”

I would say he almost single-handedly turned the world of Sci-Fi on it’s head and saved it from its tropes and clichés, and put the human condition at the center of his stories.

Ellison was many things, many of them flawed, but he knew himself and his craft better than most people alive. He will be missed.

 

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6 Responses to RIP, Harlan Ellison

  1. The Pain God has left the building. Rest in Peace, Cordwainer Bird.

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  2. E.A. Blair says:

    I met (and was soundly insulted* by) Mr. Ellison quite a few times over the last forty years. I can truly say that he never had a kind word to say about anyone, and nobody ever expected him to. In fact, being insulted by Ellison was something of a badge of honor among SF fandom. His was a peculiar mind, and he attributed his arrogance to a difficult childhood. Unlike others who had a similarly unpleasant upbringing, he channeled his difficulties into a uniquely creative career. I will not mourn him but I will miss him. Here is my favorite Ellison quote:

    “Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that’s horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it’s nothing. It’s just bibble-babble. It’s like a fart in a wind tunnel, folks.”

    — Harlan Ellison

    *It was rare for anyone to meet him without being insulted.

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    • tengrain says:

      Yup, but he was a monster talent.

      My Hollywood friends would alternately boo and cheer him depending on who he was suing which week.

      But the thing was: he kept working. No one could produce stories like his, and so even after he brought them to court, the studios would hire him again.

      Rinse. Repeat.

      Rgds,

      TG

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  3. MDavis says:

    God DAMmit.

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  4. Condi says:

    My favorite story about Ellison concerned a young aspiring writer who asked him for a tip; Ellison calmly replied that if the kid would smooth in a little hair conditioner onto his beard, he’d benefit from a much smoother shave.

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