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Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Old 06-28-18, 03:48 PM
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Harlan Ellison Is Gone

This is a tough one. Harlan Ellison died today. I was lucky enough to meet him in Colorado a couple decades ago. A feisty, brilliant dude. RIP.

Here's some info, as of today.

Harlan Ellison, one of the most influential sci-fi writers of the twentieth century, passed away today in his sleep. He was 84 years old. Christine Valada, the widow of the late Len Wein and a friend of Harlan and his wife Susan, officially announced the author’s passing on Twitter.

“Susan Ellison has asked me to announce the passing of writer Harlan Ellison, in his sleep, earlier today,” Valada wrote. “For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.”—HE, 1934-2018. Arrangements for a celebration of his life are pending.



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Old 06-28-18, 04:43 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

I just heard the news. Absolutely stunned right now.
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Old 06-28-18, 04:58 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Sad. Read everything I could find by him when I was a bit younger. Also saw him at a con about 30 years ago, he was everything you'd hope for in Harlan Ellison (funny, opinionated, insulting, etc).
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Old 06-28-18, 04:59 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Sad news. I recently read Web of the City (one of his earlier pulp novels) and have A Boy and His Dog in my to-read pile.

Interesting he was married 5 times and has no kids.
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Old 06-28-18, 05:19 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

My favorite of his clips:



It's why I got out of Hollywood.
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Old 06-28-18, 11:05 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

One of the last of the legends who did so much to shape my brain as a teenager/young dude. Vonnegut, Updike, Roth, etc. He had a voice like thunder screaming across the sky. He’s gone now, but he’ll never be gone.
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Old 06-28-18, 11:06 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Originally Posted by Geofferson View Post
Sad news. I recently read Web of the City (one of his earlier pulp novels) and have A Boy and His Dog in my to-read pile.

Interesting he was married 5 times and has no kids.
He goes into that decision a bit in some of his autobio writings (which for me, are often even better than his great fiction).
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Old 06-28-18, 11:40 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

I was just thinking about Harlan the other day.

I can't say this was unexpected; he had been uncharacteristically silent since he had a stroke a couple of years back, and I had a feeling he probably wasn't doing well.

His personality has always fascinated me. He could be generous and petty, eloquent and crude, kind and vicious. He collected loyal friends and blood enemies in seemingly equal number.

Never had the honor of meeting the man, and truthfully, I'm not sure I would have wanted to. He seemed like the kind of person who could take one look at you, immediately size you up, and tear you a new asshole in fifteen words or less.
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Old 06-29-18, 01:36 AM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

I love Harlan. He was just so intense and intelligent - he was one of a kind.

Yeah, he could be a loudmouth jerk, but he was also entertaining as hell and he was right more often than he was wrong - and he was incredibly talented as a writer.

My dad once submitted a short story to a science fiction magazine that Harlan was editing back in the late 60's. It was rejected, of course. I've read it, it was a really good story - and very well written. But it had a couple big action sequences and read more like a thoughtful science fiction movie than a more intellectual written work. That's probably why he rejected it. My dad should have kept submitting it to all the sci fi magazines at the time (someone would have published it), but he didn't. Instead, he worked on co-writing a story with Vernor Vinge (his best friend - who is still his best friend today) and that one got published in Analog (Vernor was pretty much unknown at the time). That was another great story. But whenever Harlan Ellison comes up my dad says, "You know, he rejected a short story of mine back in the late 60's."
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Old 06-29-18, 09:53 AM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Devastated. He was my favorite living writer, at least up until yesterday. I discovered a paperback copy of "Stalking The Nightmare" when my family was renting a beach townhouse and I was 13, and it was raining, and there was nothing to do. The book was lying there on a bookshelf. I picked it up and poured through it. And was hooked for life.

I never met the man. I wish I had. His words have inspired, entertained, often enraged, but always intrigued me.

RIP
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Old 06-29-18, 10:31 AM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
Devastated. He was my favorite living writer, at least up until yesterday. I discovered a paperback copy of "Stalking The Nightmare" when my family was renting a beach townhouse and I was 13, and it was raining, and there was nothing to do. The book was lying there on a bookshelf. I picked it up and poured through it. And was hooked for life.

I never met the man. I wish I had. His words have inspired, entertained, often enraged, but always intrigued me.

RIP
Yeah, he will be missed. He has been missed as he hasn't been a public figure for a few years (I guess he had a stroke a few years ago).

Agree or disagree with whatever point he was making he was still compelling and entertaining and thought provoking. He was one of a kind. He is irreplaceable.
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Old 06-29-18, 10:58 AM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Every soul shall taste death, RIP!! he was really good writer.
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Old 06-29-18, 11:10 AM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

This one hurts.

He was hugely influential to me when I discovered his writing as an early teen. I was a big sic-fi reader, but had no idea what writing could be, what could be expressed with the written word, until I started reading Harlan Ellison's work. Was my favorite author for a long time. But he wasn't just my favorite author, he opened my eyes to what literature could be.

Rest in peace, you marvelous bastard.
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Old 06-29-18, 12:34 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

What are some good starting books of his for someone who hasnt read anything by him?
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Old 06-29-18, 01:26 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

I have No Mouth and I Must Scream
The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World
Deathbird Stories

His best work is, IMO, short stories, and all of those are collections of his stories. Also, Dangerous Visions is an anthology he edited, with great stuff, and his intros are a great intro to his non-fiction work.
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Old 06-29-18, 02:13 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Do they still publish The Essential Ellison? I've gifted that book a bunch of times. Great overview covering 35 years of his work.
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Old 06-29-18, 02:55 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Truly a unique and essential creative voice of the 20th Century.
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Old 06-29-18, 04:53 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
Do they still publish The Essential Ellison? I've gifted that book a bunch of times. Great overview covering 35 years of his work.
No. It's been out of print for years.

A while back Morpeus International issued a new edition of The Essential Ellison with additional stories and retitled "A Fifty Year Retrospective," but it's also been unavailable for a long time.
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Old 06-29-18, 05:07 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Originally Posted by DaveNinja View Post
What are some good starting books of his for someone who hasnt read anything by him?
The Top of the Volcano is a collection of his award-winning stories and functions as a handy greatest hits collection with stories like "Jeffty is Five," "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Tick Tock Man," and "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream."

Deathbird Stories is probably his most famous collection of stories.

Both would be good places to start.

If you want to continue, you look into other books like Paingod and Other
Delusions, Strange Wine,
and Shatterday.

His non-fiction, essays, and movie reviews are entertaining as hell, too... Harlan Ellison's Watching, Harlan Ellison Hornbook, and An Edge in My Voice.

You can read one of his essays on his own site here: http://harlanellison.com/iwrite/mostimp.htm

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Old 06-29-18, 10:01 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Originally Posted by DaveNinja View Post
What are some good starting books of his for someone who hasnt read anything by him?
I haven't read a ton of stuff by him but Shatterday is one of my favorite short story collections of all time.
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Old 06-30-18, 09:41 AM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
I was just thinking about Harlan the other day.

I can't say this was unexpected; he had been uncharacteristically silent since he had a stroke a couple of years back, and I had a feeling he probably wasn't doing well.

His personality has always fascinated me. He could be generous and petty, eloquent and crude, kind and vicious. He collected loyal friends and blood enemies in seemingly equal number.

Never had the honor of meeting the man, and truthfully, I'm not sure I would have wanted to. He seemed like the kind of person who could take one look at you, immediately size you up, and tear you a new asshole in fifteen words or less.
Very sad news, he was one of a kind.

I actually wanted to meet him someday, do my usual stuttering praise of someone whose work I admire, and get those 15 words of probable biting criticism. They would have proudly served as my sig here.
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Old 06-30-18, 01:49 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Damn Though not unexpected, given his age, recent inactivity, and hard lifestyle. I'd say he had a great run, getting as much out of life as he could.

One of my all-time favorites. Though I read a couple of short stories by him earlier, Ellison really got on my radar when I bought a paperback of Deathbird Stories while in college (late 80s or early 90s). The collection blew me away with their raw visceral power that I started trying to track down everything he had written. Which wasn't easy, since despite being such an acclaimed writer his stuff was maddeningly difficult to find. Every new (to me) book of his I'd find through used book dealers were a treasure.

Deathbird remains my favorite original collection of his (though it being my introduction to Ellison may make me a bit biased). Essential Ellison was fantastic, and I gave it as gifts to people who I knew were readers and had never read Ellison. For an easy way now for new readers to get a taste of Ellison, I think the easier way is The Top of the Volcano collection (while the physical copy is expensive, it can be had for the Kindle for $9.99 right now).
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Old 06-30-18, 03:01 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Originally Posted by Ginwen View Post
Sad. Read everything I could find by him when I was a bit younger. Also saw him at a con about 30 years ago, he was everything you'd hope for in Harlan Ellison (funny, opinionated, insulting, etc).
That's where i saw him too. He was scheduled to speak for about 15 minutes and ranted on for 45 about Roddenberry and how great his script was vs. what they filmed for COTEOF. As the minutes went on he got louder and madder and he apologizes for profanity during the first few minutes but by the end it was almost all he had left. I was really young and wonder why in the world some guy who was credited for writing the best ST episode would be so mad about it. But that was Harlan..
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Old 06-30-18, 04:53 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

A good read, from Neil Gaiman: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2018/0...n-ellison.html
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Old 06-30-18, 05:33 PM
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Re: Harlan Ellison Is Gone

Oh no. What a ferocious talent and amazing critical thinker ...
RIP
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