In Memoriam – Harlan Ellison

Grand Master Harlan Ellison (b.1934) died on June 28, 2018.

Ellison began his professional career in 1956 with the publication of the short story “Glowworm” in Infinity Science Fiction. Prior to that time, he was active in science fiction fandom. During the mid 1950s, Ellison  lived in New York and produced a prodigious amount of short fiction using a variety of pseudonyms, the most famous of which was Cordwainer Bird.

Ellison left New York to take an editorial job in Chicago in 1959, where he helped create Regency Books. Three years later, he settled in Los Angeles, where he made his home for the rest of his life. Although Ellison wrote a handful of novels, he was best known for his short fiction, which he collected and re-collected in books, omnibus volumes, and retrospective collections. He also had a long-running film review column in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which was eventually collected in Harlan Ellison Watching.

Some of Ellison’s most notable stories were “’Repent, Harlequin,!’ Said the Ticktockman,” “Jeffty is Five,” “A Boy and His Dog,” “Brillo,” “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” and “Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54′ N, Longitude 77° 00′ 13″ W.”

Ellison’s screenwriting career included work creating The Starlost (as Cordwainer Bird), The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and, most famously the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever,” for which he earned a Writers Guild Award and a Hugo Award.

His Nebula Award winning novella, “A Boy and His Dog” was turned into a film of the same title, starring Don Johnson, and was also nominated for a Nebula Award. Several other stories by Ellison formed the basis for television episodes.

Ellison helped discover and mentor many authors through his work as an editor. He is noted for editing the anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions.

Ellison won four  Nebula Awards and was named a SFWA Grand Master in 2005. He won seven Hugo Awards, five Bram Stoker Awards, and a World Fantasy Award among others.  He received a Special Award from the World Science Fiction Society (Worldcon) on three separate occasions.

He was named a Grandmaster by World Horror Con and received Life Achievement Awards from the International Horror Guild, the Eaton Award, Bram Stoker Award, the Forry Award, and the World Fantasy Awards. In 2011, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

President Cat Rambo remembers Ellison:

Harlan Ellison was one of the strong personalities of our field and always backed up that with talent as well as work ethic. Both his editing and his writing have shaped our field forever.

4 Responses

  1. Neil Citrin

    As a writer Harlan was always an inspiration to me, less as a stylist than for the respect for all writers (the good ones, at least) that he demanded.

  2. Jeff Wright

    He had quite a book collection, right up there with Forry. I hope it is preserved intact.

  3. derek gregg

    Oct. 15, 2018

    My name is Derek Gregg and I was wondering if you folks could direct me to HE’s estate–I have a
    minor request to make and a sporting preposition.

    Basically I’d like to get the OK to use a quip of HE’s (Fannish Loon, his “bon mot” against the
    Trekkie fan who legally changed his name to James T. Kirk (in the past dozen years, there was one
    other, in Scotland) as the part basis for a planned small website “Hall of Fame” that salutes
    “Fannish Loon”–type salutes (like the one my oldest sister manned to pull off, having a city street
    in Cathedral City, CA after game show host Monty Hall. As a swap, we would build up another,
    different Joint Micro-Venture (JMV) for spinoff to the estate, under the same terms as our other
    JMVs (the spinoffs are to be bequest-equivalents, a salute to a patroness/landlady who attempted
    to will support for our original venture (but her instructions were verbal, so the estate ultimately
    shrugged off the obligation which ultimately contributed to the crash/burn of said original, smaller
    venture). The 148 or so JMVs will start off with unique wind-up flapping wing flyers, the one for
    HRLN would be a “Fannish Loon”. Derek Gregg