A group for the discussion of the written word. Though we'd like to see folks active in the industry, you need not be published or working in the industry to join in and ideally there will be help and motivation for those wanting to write. All that is required is a love of the written word and an interest in how it's done.

Become Member!
4 2

I just thought i would post that i am rather shaken by the recent death of harlan ellison. i read several obituaries and most of them mentioned his litigious and combative nature but also admired his writing. only one obituary said that his personality interfered with the quality of his writing. i disagree with that; they are two separate things. has anyone else read the obits and seen such an assertion, and do you agree with what you read?


genessa 8 Sep 8
You must be a member of this group before commenting. Join Group

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


My favourite "grumpy" Harlan story was when he was invited to participate in a writers meeting to help develop the plot for the very first Star Trek Movie in the late seventies.
Roddenberry kept rejecting ideas and demanding "Think Bigger, I want this to be really Big!"
After an hour or so of this, and Roddenberry pooh poohing ideas from DC Fontana and EC "DOC" Smith and others of that ilk Ellison stood up and with huge dramatic flare declared
"The Enterprise is testing out a new type of engine, one that transcends warp drive, one that breaks one barrier after another, takes the ship past light speed, beyond tachyonic, past even the speed of thought and mind until finally at the very center of the universe the Enterprise breaks through the final reality barrier, enters the world of spirit and finds itself staring in to the very face of God Himself!"
Slamming his palms down on the desk Harlan and Gene locked eyes.
Then Gene said, "No Harlan, you don't get it, I want something BIG!"

Harlan turned to leave but Roddenberry screamed after him
"Who the hell do you think you are?"
To which Ellison apparently replied "I think I am a writer, I don't know what the fuck you are!"

In light of Star Trek 5 it might be noted that Bill Shattner was also at the meeting.

lol that sounds like harlan!



Of course a writer's personality comes out in their writing, that is what makes it unique.
Ellison was a powerful incisive writer, some times abrasive, but always original, which is what made him unpopular with other writers.
When questioned about why he was so litigious his answer was that if people tried to pick his pocket they ought to be prepared to find a mouse trap in there.
It is one thing to claim influence but some do take it to far, the famous example being "Soldier" Ellison's story (and outer limits episode) of a warrior from the future being thrown back in time to stop his enemy from altering history, falling in love fathering the cause of the war, was so obviously the part basis for "the Terminator" (the other part being D F Jones' Colossus, the story of a sentient computer design to defend America deciding that humans were to dangerous to themselves to be allowed freedom).
It would have been easy enough for Cameron to admit this and thank Ellison and Jones, but did not in such circumstances Ellison was right to sue.

Harlan Ellison will be missed, but his works undeniably have been along with those of Philip K Dicks the basis of a Sci-Fi literary revolution and for that we should all be grateful.

indeed! harlan may have been a hothead of sorts but people with lit matches in their hands have no call to complain of it!



Sad that he is gone, but none of us last forever.

we sure don't. i just miss knowing he's in the world.



I have not seen such an assertion nor would I believe it if I did. I just read his short story "Z is for Zombie". I suspect his personality gave him the insight to craft the pithy, incisive narratives we love to read. So boo, hiss to jealous mediocre writers of crap obits.

pixiedust Level 8 Sep 8, 2018

i was pissed off at that writer too. ellison was brilliant, any way you cut it. by the way, i once made him blush. i was quite pleased with myself for that!


@genessa oh??? do tell ... you can't just leave us hanging like that.

@pixiedust oh, he was giving a lecture at usc, a million years ago, and i was a little late for it. the auditorium was quite large, so while it was by no means full, there were still a lot of people in the audience -- but for some reason they were mostly sitting in the back half of the hall, except for a handful in the front right quarter. so as not to disturb anyone coming in, i went to the front left. ellison directed his words to the places with the most people, of course. after a while, though, he suddenly turned to me and said "and how are YOU today, sir?" i happen to be a woman. i don't even think i had short hair at the time. i immediately looked down at my bosom, then back up at ellison, and called out "they're not THAT small!" he blushed, turned away and never looked my way again!

after the lecture i presented a poster of his face for him to sign. he signed under the nose, his name forming a mustache. he didn't say anything to me; he just gave me the strangest look!


@genessa Best celebrity story ever! ROTFL!

@pixiedust aww 'blush thanks!


@genessa My daughter loved it, too. She said, "Well that probably woke up all the guys in the audience!"

Write Comment