June 28, 2018 at 5:17 pm #23234
From Deadline Hollywood:
Harlan Ellison Dead: Legendary ‘Star Trek’, ‘A Boy And His Dog’ Sci-Fi Writer was 84
Harlan Ellison, one of the world’s foremost science fiction writers, has died at 84. His death was announced by family friend Christine Valada via twitter. Though Ellison was a longtime resident of Los Angeles, the location of death was not disclosed.
Tweeted Valada, the widow of Wolverine creator Len Wein: “Susan Ellison has asked me to announce the passing of writer Harlan Ellison, in his sleep, earlier today. “For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I matter.’ – HE, 1934-2018. Arrangements for a celebration are pending.”
“You can not operate in this room unless you believe that you are Superman, and whatever happens, you’re capable of solving the problem.” – Gene KranzJune 28, 2018 at 6:34 pm #23235
Honestly, I didn’t realize he was 84. I thought he was older – I remember seeing pictures of him a few years back and he looked ghostly pale and sickly. He looked older than 84.
I wonder if there’s a bunch of people who will start adapting a lot of his work now that he’s gone and won’t kick up a fuss anymore. Either that or people ripping off his stories and tweaking them a bit, not worrying about getting sued by Harlan.July 17, 2018 at 1:05 pm #23309
Steve: It depends on who is in charge of his estate (probably his wife Susan) and how litigious they are.
I was a big fan of Harlan’s in my college years and I took his stories about the evil people ripping him off at face value. At that age (late teen/s early twenties) it’s easy to believe that evil corporations are the root of all evil and are out to get any one with an ounce of creativity. I also heard and took at face value his issues with Roddenberry and “City on the Edge of Forever”, the issues with Starlost, the Future Cop/Brillo thing and other stories. From Harlan I realized that Hollywood and the publishing world are a bunch of thieves out to get anyone they can.
Then I read stories about Harlan from other writers, I heard about the script writing process of “City on the Edge of Forever” from others and realized this guy is not easy to get along with. He’d annoy the hell out me, that’s for sure. I also heard about the prank he pulled on Shatner at a Star Trek convention (removed his toupee in front of an audience and decided that, even if Shatner deserved it, it was not cool. When I heard about the Terminator lawsuit, I was becoming skeptical and, although Cameron hung himself by flippant remarks about ripping off Outer Limits, Harlan had a pretty weak case and that’s why they settled instead of going to court. In fact, Harlan agreed to settle a bunch of lawsuits he initiated which is a disturbing pattern that makes one think that he’s not always working in good faith when he files a lawsuit and may be doing it just to annoy others or make money.
What tore it for me was “The Last Dangerous Visions” book that never got published. By never publishing the stories he collected, Harlan may have done far worse damage than the evil editors he complained about in his past. At that point I realized that, in the world of writing, it is all about him. I’ve heard stories that he was a good humanitarian and has willingly given to others. So he was a good person, just not in the world of writing.
I’ve read his stuff. It’s really really good. Been a while since I’ve read his works and I need to read them again. He was an expert on short story writing. I only wished he had written a novel or two. Not his thing, I guess.
No doubt the above would have made a very awkward eulogy at his funeral. It would have been my second most awkward funeral if I delivered the above as an eulogy.* But that’s the nature of the beast, I think. Harlan was better known for his personality than his works and I think that’s the way he liked it. I attended a lecture of his and he related a story of his young adulthood where a bully knocked him down and told him to stay down. Harlan refused and kept coming up for more. Arguments, spats, threats and lawsuits are nothing compared to the fights of his youth and he loved to get in a scrape with whomever would disagree with him.
*The most awkward funeral belongs to my brothers wife. She did not get along with her neighbors and a couple of them came forward during the funeral to deliver eulogies and, although they tried to put a positive spin on their interactions with her, it did not succeed. One of the neighbors talked about when he wanted to install a car port on his driveway. Claire, my brother’s wife, protested and had the city deny the request. The neighbor made repeated attempts for the car port but she stopped him every time. The neighbor tried to put a positive spin on it by stating that Claire was one with strongly held beliefs and stuck to her guns. The attempt failed with that grimace on his face as he spoke. He did not like that woman and he really shouldn’t have stepped forward that day.
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