Harlan Ellison (Author/Screenwriter)

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
RIP Harlan Ellison.

Proof that there is no God.

Donald Trump is still with us and one of the greatest spirits on the planet has been taken from us today! This is one I've been dreading recently, but having seen the gradual decline in his health over the past few years, it was painfully inevitable. Still a shock though, as I thought (hoped) this guy was Superman.

One of the greatest writers ever to sit in front of a typewriter. Norman Mailer and Steven King both called him the world's greatest living writer and an incredible list of literary awards more than back up that claim. Outside of his literary works Ellison was well known as a media personality in the USA and particularly in France where he was practically a deity. In the UK, outside of the SF community, Ellison is primarily known for having written what are widely regarded as the best episodes of 'Star Trek', 'The Outer Limits', 'The Man From UNCLE', 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour' and virtually any other TV show he wrote for.

Despite his critical and commercial success on television, he had a love/hate relationship with the medium (mostly hate), eventually abandoning it as a lost cause in the 1970s, only to be tempted back in the 1980s as creative consultant and screenwriter for the revival of 'The Twilight Zone' and then for 'Babylon 5'. The producers for each of those shows have described his contributions as "incalculable'.

In the mid 1980s he also successfully sued James Cameron, who ripped off some of Ellison's work for 'The Terminator' and then was stupid enough to boast about it to a journalist. This is why on the fade-out of the final scene in that film, you will see the words "Acknowledgement to the works of Harlan Ellison', which was a key part of Ellison's legal settlement and much more important to him than any financial settlement as he has always been renowned as a ferocious champion of authors' rights.

But it is for his incredible body of literature that he will be remembered, primarily short-stories which was the medium he preferred to work in. The man was one of the most influential people in my life; one of the greatest minds I have ever encountered, possessing a personal integrity I never thought human beings were capable of, and the person single-handedly responsible for my discovery and love of good literature.

So tonight, it's 'A Boy And His Dog' on the Blu Ray player and a couple of his short stories at bedtime and a glass of the good stuff (which he as a teetotaler never touched) raised to Unca Harlan!

Deepest sympathy to his wife and my dear friend Susan. Wish I could be there to give you a big hug Susie! XXX

HARLAN_Spock.jpg
 
Last edited:

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the great man, I would highly recommend the DVD documentary 'Dreams With Sharp Teeth' as a terrific introduction. The scenes where he is interviewed by his close friend Robin Williams are priceless with Ellison being one of the few people on the planet capable of out-talking Williams, as well as reducing the comedian to tears of laughter on occasion.

Williams was one of Harlan's many celebrity fans/friends. Steven Spielberg got the idea for the design of the mothership in 'CE3K', while slightly tipsy and doing handstands on the balcony of Ellison's house and seeing the lights of the San Fernando Valley, upside down. Director Werner Herzog was also a friend and a huge fan of Ellison's writing, which he has cited as being inspirational to him.

Harlan in firey full-flow, from 'Dreams With Sharp Teeth.' (contains naughty language - quelle surprise! :) )


Ellison with another friend and admirer, Neil Gaiman ('American Gods', 'Sandman', Black Orchid', 'Doctor Who', etc.) with Harlan being less than complimentary (but bang on the money) about director John Frankenheimer.


On second thoughts it will be 'Dreams With Sharp Teeth' rather than 'A Boy And His Dog' for tonight's viewing! :)
 

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
The DC comic adaptation of Ellison's un-produced 'Batman' '66 Two Face script, rejected by the show's producers because of the villain's disfigurement.

DC Ellison.jpg
 

Garrett

Moderator
Talking of his problems with Terminator being ripped of from his ideas Demon With A Glass Hand is classed as the finest of the Outer Limits series and his Soldier opens very much like the opening of Terminator.
He did like to write time travel stories his story for Star Trek The City on the Edge Of Forever sited of the best Star Trek stories and won multiple awards.
I watched loads of his interviews on Youtube.
I was lucky to spot this when it first went on sale.
Demon.jpg



R.I.P. Harlan and thanks for the input to sci-fi and its direction.
 

tuttonp

Distinguished Member
A great eulogy, thank you
 

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
Talking of his problems with Terminator being ripped of from his ideas Demon With A Glass Hand is classed as the finest of the Outer Limits series and his Soldier opens very much like the opening of Terminator.
He did like to write time travel stories his story for Star Trek The City on the Edge Of Forever sited of the best Star Trek stories and won multiple awards.
I watched loads of his interviews on Youtube.
I was lucky to spot this when it first went on sale.
View attachment 1034031


R.I.P. Harlan and thanks for the input to sci-fi and its direction.
'Demon With A Glass Hand' is my Favourite Outer Limits story. Ellison wrote many short stories, going back as far as the 1950s, set against the backdrop of the Earth/Kyben war (the Kyben are the alien race in 'Demon With A Glass Hand').

Several of the stories were adapted to comic book form. Ellison was a huge comics fan and wrote stories for 'Batman', 'Justice League', 'Daredevil', 'X-Men', 'The Hulk' and 'The Avengers' among others, all of them written well after he had gained fame as an author.

Some people were quite sniffy about him "lowering himself" to write for comic books, but Harlan, in characteristic style, told them to go **** themselves! :)

He was always very interested in having his stories adapted visually and collaborated with many artists over the years on various projects. This is one of my favourite books.

Ellison Cover.jpg


Long out of print but well worth seeking out secondhand. It has some of his most famous stories adapted by famous artists, including one of his most famous, 'Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman' in 3D, complete with 3D specs included with the book.
 

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
Sloppy journalism 101.

Well, he isn't even cold and the bullsh*t has started!

Just found this poorly-researched bollocks in Variety's obituary for Harlan.

"The prolific but cantankerous author famously penned the “Star Trek” episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” in which Kirk and Spock must go back in time to Depression-era America to put Earth history back on its rightful course, a goal that for Kirk means sacrificing the woman he loves (played by Joan Collins). The final script was rewritten by “Star Trek” staffers to avoid the anti-war lesson Ellison had intended to impart about the ongoing Vietnam War, leaving Ellison unhappy."

Total nonsense!

The story was re-worked to remove a character named Beckwith, and a subplot about him pushing drugs on the Enterprise, as well as to cast Kirk in a more heroic and decisive light, and to soften Spock's much colder, less sympathetic portrayal in the original script, where he was ready to kill Joan Collins' character.

I have Ellison's original script for the episode in my library. There is sweet FA about any Vietnam/anti-war "lesson". And even if there was, 'Star Trek', as we know, never shied away from anti-war/Vietnam metaphors.

Gawd knows where she got it from, but now this total garbage about a Vietnam element in the story will doubtless be regurgitated by similarly lazy journalists and become received wisdom/urban myth.
 
Last edited:

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
Harlan with DeForest Kelly, James Doohan and Walter Koenig with a discussion about Harlan's then involvement with the first 'Star Trek' film.

 
Last edited:

Garrett

Moderator
I remember buying this issue of The Avengers and had to buy the Hulk which I didn't normally buy for the tie in, They were wrote by Harlan.
avengers #88.jpg
Incredible_Hulk_Vol_1_140.jpg
 

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
Richard Dreyfuss was another old friend of Harlan's and he said that he based his character in 'The Goodbye Girl' on Harlan.

Goodbye Girl.jpg
 

Garrett

Moderator
I have both of those issues together, collected in this small paperback book sized format, so it sits nicely on the bookshelf among my Ellison books.

View attachment 1034205
I take it with all the post on Harlan you wasn't a fan.:rolleyes:

Sadly I don't have them issues in original form but I do in a similar colleted like this.
Vol 9.jpg
 

KiLLiNG-TiME

Distinguished Member
A sad sad day nothing i can say will be as excellent as the deserving & eloquent praise above, besides to say farewell Mr Ellison you changed our world for the better my thoughts to the family.
 
Last edited:

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
A very sad postscript to the above.

I've just had some shocking news from David Gerrold.

Susan Ellison, widow of Harlan Ellison, died yesterday morning, US West Coast time.

This is a personal sadness for me, as Susan was a friend of mine from our days in a Manchester science fiction group, before she met Harlan when he was Guest o f Honour at Albacon 1985 in Glasgow and she was literally whisked off to America by him.

Despite a more than a 25 year age difference, this was Harlan's only successful marriage. The one that they literally said wouldn't last, lasted for 33 very happy years. Sue (she was Sue to us but always Susan to Harlan) once told me Harlan was shocked to find out that he was older than her father!

She was only 60 and was in perfectly good health when a mutual friend spoke to her recently, so this came as a huge shock to myself and all of her friends on this side of the pond when David broke the news to me last night.

The news is just breaking in fan circles in the US, but as yet no details as to the cause of death. David said he will let me know as soon as he finds out.

Still a little bit dazed and somewhat shocked by this. With Harlan, one could see the steady decline in his health and the news of his passing was not unexpected, but this was a totally unexpected bolt out of the blue. So sad.

RIP Sue.
xxx

HarlanandSusan05.jpg
 
Last edited:

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
Just came across this photo of Sue and myself, from longer ago than I care to remember, when we were both young and spotty. Well I was spotty, she was bloody gorgeous! :)
Sue and Me1.jpg
 

Garrett

Moderator
@Mr Lime spotted this tale based on a short story by Harlan on the Horror channel tomorrow at 8.30 but not got a good score.
 

Mr Lime

Distinguished Member
This today from J Michael Straczynski, long term friend of the Ellisons and with whom Harlan worked on 'Babylon 5':

"Ever since the passing of Susan Ellison there has been endless speculation about what will happen to Harlan's estate and his legacy. Every day, the voicemails, texts and emails pile up at my front door, passing on the latest rumor, growing to fever pitch.

“Didja hear? The house is gonna be sold!”

“Didja hear? The house is gonna be torn down!”

“Didja hear? All of Harlan’s stories and IP have been sold to Paramount for next to nothing to pay off debts!”

“Didja hear? The State of California has appointed an executor who’s gonna auction it all off!”
“Didja hear? Didja hear?”

When I told whoever was bearing the latest wild story that it WAS just a wild story, and nothing more, they would grow irate, claiming in each instance to have gotten the news directly from someone who knows the executor of the estate. A solid , for-sure, no-kidding-around source who was in a MUCH better position than me to know what was REALLY going on.

“How do YOU know what the deal is, huh? My guy talked to the executor just yesterday, who told him this straight-up. How do YOU know better than HE does?”

How do I know better? How do I know these are just rumors?

Because I am the Executor of the Harlan and Susan Ellison Trust.

I’ve kept a low profile since accepting this position in order to focus on of the million-and-one details that have to be addressed. I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever been appointed an executor, but it is a massive undertaking. To be an executor is to inherit nothing but be responsible for everything, and to implement the last wishes of those who entrusted you with the totality of their life’s work.

Consequently, ever since Susan’s passing, 80% of my day, every day, has gone into establishing the Trust, dealing with tax issues, creditors, court documents, lawyers, accountants, affidavits, death certificates, corporate minutes…in simpler cases, the process only takes a few months, and usually ends by parceling out bequests or auctioning off the estate.

But that is not the case here, because there is the legacy of Harlan’s work that must be preserved and enhanced. Looking after all this, and seeing to Harlan and Susan's wishes, is something I will likely be doing for the rest of my life.

Everything that Harlan ever owned, did or wrote will be fiercely protected. Steps are being taken to certify Ellison Wonderland as a cultural landmark, ensuring that it will remain just as it is long after I have gone to dust.

To revive interest in his prose, literary representation has been shifted to Janklow & Nesbit, one of the largest and most prestigious literary agencies in the world. Film and TV rights will be handled through A3, previously known as the Abrams Agency, also a leading and influential agency. I will be working hand in glove with them to get Harlan’s work back into print in a big way.

There is more to say on future plans – much more – but all of that will come in time.
For over thirty years, Harlan Ellison was my dearest friend on the planet. Those of you who know me, know how important he, and Susan, and his work, were to me. As a beginning writer, long before we ever met, I looked to him for inspiration and the courage to keep going. Once we became friends, I had a very simple philosophy: whatever he needed done, I would make sure it happened. I would’ve stepped in front of a bus for him, and he knew it, just as he knew that out of the thousands of people he’d met in his life, he could trust me to make sure that his and Susan's last wishes were attended to, and that his legacy would be protected.

That’s all for the moment, but as they say in TV Land, stay tuned…for there is more to come."
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Best Hi-Fi products of 2020, Plus Best of the Month for TV Shows & Movies

Latest News

Best TVs of 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Best Projectors of 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
What's new on Sky and NOW TV UK for December 2020
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
PS5 vs. Xbox Series X: Which Next-Gen Console is Best?
  • By Rik Henderson
  • Published
Top Bottom