Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison

Ellison in 1986
Born Harlan Jay Ellison
(1934-05-27) May 27, 1934
Cleveland, Ohio, United States[1]
Pen name Cordwainer Bird, Nalrah Nosille, and 8 others[2][3]
Occupation Author, screenwriter, essayist
Period 1955–present[3]
Genre Speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy, crime fiction, mystery, horror, film and television criticism
Literary movement New Wave
Notable works Dangerous Visions (editor), A Boy and His Dog, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman
Spouse Charlotte B. Stein (1956–60; divorced)
Billie Joyce Sanders (1960–63; divorced)
Loretta (Basham) Patrick (1966; divorced)
Lori Horowitz (1976 – c. 1977; divorced)
Susan Toth (m. 1986)
Harlan Ellison

Harlan Jay Ellison (born May 27, 1934) is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.

His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, comic book scripts, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media. He was editor and anthologist for two science fiction anthologies, Dangerous Visions (1967) and Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). Ellison has won numerous awards including multiple Hugos, Nebulas and Edgars.

Early life and career

Ellison's 1957 novelette "The Savage Swarm", cover-featured in Amazing Stories, has never been included in an authorized collection or anthology
A few months later, another Ellison novelette, "The Steel Napoleon", also took the cover of Amazing. It also remains uncollected.
Another uncollected Ellison novelette, "Satan Is My Ally", was the cover story on the May 1957 issue of Fantastic Science Fiction
Ellison wrote "The Wife Factory" for Fantastic under the house name "Clyde Mitchell". The novelette has never been republished.
Ellison's "Suicide World", the cover story for the October 1958 Fantastic, also remains uncollected
Ellison's "The Abnormals", the cover story for the April 1959 Fantastic, appears in Ellison collections as "The Discarded"

Ellison was born to a Jewish family[4] in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 27, 1934, the son of Serita (née Rosenthal) and Louis Laverne Ellison, a dentist and jeweler.[5][6] His family subsequently moved to Painesville, Ohio, but returned to Cleveland in 1949, following his father's death. Ellison frequently ran away from home, taking an array of odd jobs—including, by age 18, "tuna fisherman off the coast of Galveston, itinerant crop-picker down in New Orleans, hired gun for a wealthy neurotic, nitroglycerine truck driver in North Carolina, short-order cook, cab driver, lithographer, book salesman, floorwalker in a department store, door-to-door brush salesman, and as a youngster, an actor in several productions at the Cleveland Play House".[7]

Ellison attended Ohio State University for 18 months (1951–53) before being expelled. He has said the expulsion was for hitting a professor who had denigrated his writing ability, and over the next twenty or so years he sent that professor a copy of every story he published.[8]

Ellison published two stories in the Cleveland News during 1949,[3] and he sold a story to EC Comics early in the 1950s. Ellison moved to New York City in 1955 to pursue a writing career, primarily in science fiction. Over the next two years, he published more than 100 short stories and articles. He married Charlotte Stein in 1956, but they divorced four years later. He said of the marriage, "four years of hell as sustained as the whine of a generator."[9]

Hollywood and beyond

Ellison speaking at a SF conference

Ellison moved to California in 1962, and subsequently began to sell his writing to Hollywood. He wrote the screenplay for The Oscar, starring Stephen Boyd and Elke Sommer. Ellison also sold scripts to many television shows: The Flying Nun, Burke's Law, Route 66, The Outer Limits,[10] Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Cimarron Strip, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Ellison's screenplay for the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" has been considered the best of the 79 episodes in the series.

He participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King, Jr.[11]

Also in 1966, in an article Esquire magazine would later name as the best magazine piece ever written, the journalist Gay Talese wrote about the goings-on around the enigmatic Frank Sinatra. The article, entitled "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold", briefly describes a clash between the young Harlan Ellison and Frank Sinatra, when the crooner took exception to Ellison's boots during a billiards game. Talese wrote of the incident, "Sinatra probably forgot about it at once, but Ellison will remember it all his life."[12]

Ellison was hired as a writer for Walt Disney Studios but was fired on his first day after Roy O. Disney overheard him in the studio commissary joking about making a pornographic animated film featuring Disney characters. Ellison recounted this incident in his book Stalking the Nightmare, as part 3 of an essay titled "The 3 Most Important Things in Life".[13][14]

Ellison continued to publish short fiction and nonfiction pieces in various publications, including some of his best known stories. "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" (1965) is a celebration of civil disobedience against repressive authority. "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1967) is an allegory of Hell, where five humans are tormented by an all-knowing computer throughout eternity; the story was the basis of a 1995 computer game; Ellison participated in the game's design and provided the voice of the god-computer AM. Another story, "A Boy and His Dog", examines the nature of friendship and love in a violent, post-apocalyptic world and was made into the 1975 film of the same name, starring Don Johnson.

Ellison served as creative consultant to the science fiction TV series The Twilight Zone (1980s version) and Babylon 5. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), he has voiceover credits for shows including The Pirates of Dark Water, Mother Goose and Grimm, Space Cases, Phantom 2040, and Babylon 5, as well as made an onscreen appearance in the Babylon 5 episode "The Face of the Enemy".

Ellison's 1992 short story "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore" was selected for inclusion in the 1993 edition of The Best American Short Stories.[15]

In 2014 Ellison made a guest appearance on the album Finding Love in Hell by the stoner metal band Leaving Babylon, reading his piece "The Silence" (originally published in Mind Fields) as an introduction to the song "Dead to Me."[16]

Ellison and others have maintained his official website (harlanellison.com) for several years, however Ellison himself has not posted there since 2015.


Ellison has on occasion used the pseudonym Cordwainer Bird to alert members of the public to situations in which he feels his creative contribution to a project has been mangled beyond repair by others, typically Hollywood producers or studios (see also Alan Smithee). The first such work to which he signed the name was "The Price of Doom", an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (though it was misspelled as Cord Wainer Bird in the credits). An episode of Burke's Law ("Who Killed Alex Debbs?") credited to Ellison contains a character given this name, played by Sammy Davis, Jr.

The "Cordwainer Bird" moniker is a tribute to fellow SF writer Paul M. A. Linebarger, better known by his pen name, Cordwainer Smith. The origin of the word "cordwainer" is shoemaker (from working with cordovan leather for shoes). The term used by Linebarger was meant to imply the industriousness of the pulp author. Ellison has said, in interviews and in his writing, that his version of the pseudonym was meant to mean "a shoemaker for birds". Since he has used the pseudonym mainly for works he wants to distance himself from, it may be understood to mean that "this work is for the birds" or that it is of as much use as shoes to a bird. Stephen King once said he thought that it meant that Ellison was giving people who mangled his work a literary version of "the bird" (given credence by Ellison himself in his own essay titled "Somehow, I Don't Think We're in Kansas, Toto", describing his experience with the Starlost television series).

The Bird moniker has since become a character in one of Ellison's own stories, not without some prompting. In his book Strange Wine, Ellison explains the origins of the Bird and goes on to state that Philip Jose Farmer wrote Cordwainer into the Wold Newton family the latter writer had developed. The thought of such a whimsical object lesson being related to such lights as Doc Savage, the Shadow, Tarzan, and all the other pulp heroes prompted Ellison to play with the concept, resulting in The New York Review of Bird, in which an annoyed Bird uncovers the darker secrets of the New York Literary Establishment before beginning a pulpish slaughter of same.

Other pseudonyms Ellison has used during his career include Jay Charby, Sley Harson, Ellis Hart, John Magnus, Paul Merchant, Pat Roeder, Ivar Jorgenson, Derry Tiger, and Jay Solo.[17]

Controversies and disputes


Ellison has a reputation for being abrasive and argumentative.[18] He has generally agreed with this assessment, and a dust jacket from one of Ellison's books described him as "possibly the most contentious person on Earth". Ellison has filed numerous grievances and attempted lawsuits; as part of a dispute about fulfillment of a contract, he once sent 213 bricks to a publisher postage due, followed by a dead gopher via fourth-class mail.[19]

Star Trek

Ellison has repeatedly criticized how Star Trek creator and producer Gene Roddenberry (and others) rewrote his original script for the 1967 episode "The City on the Edge of Forever". Despite his objections, Ellison kept his own name on the shooting script instead of using "Cordwainer Bird" to indicate displeasure (above).

Ellison's original script was first published in the 1976 anthology Six Science Fiction Plays, edited by Roger Elwood.[20] Ellison also novelized the story at that time, for the Star Trek Fotonovel series: The City on the Edge of Forever (Bantam Books, 1977, 0-553-11345-3).[21] In 1995, Borderlands Press published The City on the Edge of Forever (ISBN 1-880325-02-0), with nearly 300 pages, comprising an essay by Ellison, four versions of the teleplay, and eight "Afterwords" contributed by other parties. He greatly expanded the introduction for the paperback edition: Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever, White Wolf Publishing, 1996; ISBN 1-56504-964-0.[22][23] It explains what he called a "fatally inept treatment".

Both versions of the script won awards: Ellison's original script won the 1968 Writers Guild Award for best episodic drama in television,[24] while the shooting script won the 1968 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.[25]

On March 13, 2009, Ellison sued CBS Paramount Television, seeking payment of 25% of net receipts from merchandising, publishing, and other income from the episode since 1967; the suit also names the Writers Guild of America for allegedly failing to act on Ellison's behalf. On October 23, 2009, Variety magazine reported that a settlement had been reached.[26]

Aggiecon I

In 1969, Ellison was Guest of Honor at Texas A&M University's first science fiction convention, Aggiecon, where he reportedly[27] referred to the university's Corps of Cadets as "... America's next generation of Nazis ...", inspired in part by the continuing Vietnam War. Although the university was no longer solely a military school (from 1965), the student body was predominantly made up of cadet members. Between Ellison's anti-military remarks and a food fight that broke out in the ballroom of the hotel where the gathering was held (although according to Ellison in 2000, the food fight actually started in a Denny's because the staff disappeared and they could not get their check), the school's administration almost refused to approve the science fiction convention the next year, and no guest of honor was invited for the next two Aggiecons. However, Ellison was subsequently invited back as Guest of Honor for Aggiecon V (1974) and Aggiecon XXXI (2000).

The Last Dangerous Visions

The Last Dangerous Visions (TLDV), the third volume of Ellison's anthology series, was originally announced for publication in 1973 but remains unpublished.[28] Nearly 150 writers (many now dead) submitted works for the volume. In 1993, Ellison threatened to sue New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) for publishing "Himself in Anachron", a short story written by Cordwainer Smith and sold to Ellison for the book by his widow,[29] but later reached an amicable settlement.[30]

British science fiction author Christopher Priest criticized Ellison's editorial practices in an article entitled "The Book on the Edge of Forever",[28] later expanded into a book. Priest documented a half-dozen unfulfilled promises by Ellison to publish TLDV within a year of the statement. Priest claims he submitted a story at Ellison's request, which Ellison retained for several months until Priest withdrew the story and demanded that Ellison return the manuscript. Ellison was incensed by "Book on the Edge of Forever" and has, personally or by proxy, threatened Priest on numerous occasions since its publication.[31]

I, Robot

Shortly after the release of Star Wars (1977), Ben Roberts contacted Ellison to develop a script based on Isaac Asimov's I, Robot short story collection for Warner Brothers. In a meeting with studio head Robert Shapiro, Ellison concluded that Shapiro was commenting on the script without having read it and accused him of having the "intellectual capacity of an artichoke". Shortly afterwards, Ellison was dropped from the project. Without Ellison, the film came to a dead end, because subsequent scripts were unsatisfactory to potential directors. After a change in studio heads, Warner allowed Ellison's script to be serialized in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and published in book form.[32] The 2004 film I, Robot, starring Will Smith, has no connection to Ellison's script.

Allegations of assault on Charles Platt

In the 1980s, Ellison allegedly publicly assaulted author and critic Charles Platt at the Nebula Awards banquet.[33] Platt did not pursue legal action against Ellison, and the two men later signed a "non-aggression pact", promising never to discuss the incident again nor to have any contact with one another. Platt claims that Ellison has often publicly boasted about the incident.[34]

Lawsuit against Fantagraphics

On September 20, 2006, Ellison sued comic book and magazine publisher Fantagraphics, stating they had defamed him in their book Comics As Art (We Told You So).[35] The book recounts the history of Fantagraphics and discussed a lawsuit that resulted from a 1980 Ellison interview with Fantagraphics' industry news magazine, The Comics Journal. In this interview Ellison referred to comic book writer Michael Fleisher, calling him "bugfuck" and "derange-o". Fleisher lost his libel suit against Ellison and Fantagraphics on December 9, 1986.[36]

Ellison, after reading unpublished drafts of the book on Fantagraphics's website, believed that he had been defamed by several anecdotes related to this incident. He sued in the Superior court for the State of California, in Santa Monica. Fantagraphics attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed. In their motion to dismiss, Fantagraphics argued that the statements were both their personal opinions and generally believed to be true anecdotes. On February 12, 2007, the presiding judge ruled against Fantagraphics' anti-SLAPP motion for dismissal.[37] On June 29, 2007, Ellison claimed that the litigation had been resolved[38] pending Fantagraphics' removal of all references to the case from their website.[39] No money or apologies changed hands in the settlement as posted on August 17, 2007.[40]

In a lawsuit against ABC and Paramount Pictures, Ellison and Ben Bova claimed that a TV series, Future Cop was based on their short story, "Brillo", winning a $337,000 judgement.[41]

Ellison alleged that James Cameron's film The Terminator drew from material from an episode of the original Outer Limits which Ellison had scripted, "Soldier" (1964). Hemdale, the production company and the distributor Orion Pictures, settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, and added a credit to the film which acknowledged Ellison's work.[42] Cameron objected to this acknowledgement, and has since labeled Ellison's claim a "nuisance suit".[10] Ellison has publicly referred to The Terminator as "a good film."[43] Some accounts of the settlement state that another Outer Limits episode written by Ellison, "Demon with a Glass Hand" (also 1964), was also claimed to have been plagiarized by the film, but Ellison has explicitly stated that The Terminator "was a ripoff" of "Soldier" rather than "Demon with a Glass Hand".

On April 24, 2000, Ellison sued Stephen Robertson for posting four stories to the newsgroup "alt.binaries.e-book" without authorization. The other defendants were AOL and RemarQ, internet service providers who owned servers hosting the newsgroup. Ellison alleged they had failed to halt copyright infringement in accordance with the "Notice and Takedown Procedure" outlined in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Robertson and RemarQ first settled with Ellison, and then AOL likewise settled with Ellison in June 2004, under conditions that were not made public. Since those settlements Ellison has initiated legal action or takedown notices against more than 240 people who have allegedly distributed his writings on the Internet, saying, "If you put your hand in my pocket, you'll drag back six inches of bloody stump".[44]

A lawsuit involving the film In Time (2011), which Ellison contended plagiarizes his short story ""Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman" (first published in 1965) was withdrawn after Ellison viewed the film.[45] As part of the agreement to dismiss his lawsuit, Ellison agreed that each party would bear its own attorneys' fees.[46]


Novels and novellas

Short-story collections

Retrospectives and omnibus collections

Note: the White Wolf Edgeworks Series was originally scheduled to consist of 31 titles reprinted over the course of 20 omnibus volumes. Although an ISBN was created for Edgeworks. 5 (1998), which was to contain both Glass Teat books, this title never appeared. The series is notorious for its numerous typographical errors.[53]


Published screenplays and teleplays

See also The Starlost#1: Phoenix without Ashes (1975), the novelization by Edward Bryant of the teleplay for the pilot episode of The Starlost, which includes a lengthy afterword by Ellison describing what happened during production of the series.

Anthologies edited

Selected short stories

Recent uncollected stories

Since the publication of the author's last collection of previously uncollected stories, Slippage (1997), Ellison has published the following works of fiction:


Graphic story adaptations

Several stories have been adapted and collected into comic book stories for Dark Horse Comics. They can be found in two volumes. Each issue of the comic included a new original story based on the cover.

Video games

Audio recordings (selection)


On the May 30, 2008 broadcast of the PRI radio program Studio 360, Ellison announced that he had signed with a "major publisher" to produce his memoirs. The tentative title is Working Without a Net. That title first appears in the television show Babylon 5, for which Ellison was a creative consultant. In an episode titled "TKO", the fictional character Susan Ivanova is once seen in year 2258 reading, and laughing to, a book titled Working Without A Net, by Harlan Ellison.[58]

Current publications

The print-on-demand publishers Edgeworks Abbey and Open Road publish works by Ellison.

I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream was included in American Fantastic Tales, volume II (from the 1940s to now), edited by Peter Straub and published by the Library of America in 2009. The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century edited by Tony Hillerman and Otto Penzler (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) included Ellison's "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs."

In October 2010, a special hardcover collection Unrepentant: A Celebration of the Writings of Harlan Ellison (Garcia Publishing Services, 2010) was issued by MadCon, a convention in Wisconsin at which Ellison was the guest of honor. In addition to including "How Interesting: A Tiny Man" (previously published in "Realms of Fantasy" magazine,) it also included "'Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman", "Some Frightening Films of the Forties" (a never before reprinted essay,) an illustrated bibliography of Ellison's fiction books by Tim Richmond, an article by Robert T. and Frank Garcia on Ellisons television work, an appreciation/essay by Dark Horse Comics publisher Michael Richardson, an article about Deep Shag's audio recordings of Ellison speaking engagements by Michael Reed, a 6-page B&W gallery of covers by Leo and Diane Dillon, a two-page Neil Gaiman-drawn cartoon and an official biography.

In March 2011, Subterranean Press released an expanded edition of Deathbird Stories featuring new introductory material, new afterwords and three additional stories (the never-before-collected "From A to Z, in the Sarsaparilla Alphabet", together with "Scartaris, June 28th", and "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore").

In November 2011, Edgeworks Abbey (Ellison's personal publishing arm) and Spectrum Fantastic, published a pocket-sized gift book entitled Bugf#ck: The Useless Wit & Wisdom of Harlan Ellison. It contains quotes on writing, sex, politics, love and war, as well as pertinent excerpts from his short stories, and a handful of personal photographs of the author. In December 2011, Edgeworks Abbey began publishing original collections and retrospectives in two different series: the Brain Movies series (which contain teleplays from Ellison's award-winning career as a screenwriter) and the Harlan 101 series (which contain reprints, and original, unpublished stories and essays, and serve as an introduction to Ellison's writings). December 1, 2011 saw the simultaneous publication of four books: Brain Movies: Volume One, Brain Movies: Volume Two, Harlan 101: Encountering Ellison, and The Sound of a Scythe and Three Brilliant Novellas.

In May 2012, Kicks Books published Pulling a Train, the first of two reprints of early writings by Ellison, originally published in pulp magazines and in paperbacks for the crime fiction market. Simultaneously, the publisher of "Deep Shag" Records released "On the Road With Ellison, Volume Six".

In October 2012, Kicks Books published Getting in the Wind, the second half of a reissue of stories originally published as Sex Gang, under Ellison's Paul Merchant pseudonym in the 1950s.

In November 2012, Edgeworks Abbey published None of the Above, an unproduced screenplay adaptation (written for director Costa-Gavras) of Norman Spinrad's novel, Bug Jack Barron, and Rough Beasts, seventeen, never-before-collected pulp stories from the 1950s.

In April 2013, Hardcase Crime – publishers of original and reprint paperback crime fiction – published a reprint of Web of the City.

In May 2013, Edgeworks Abbey published Brain Movies: Volume Three and Brain Movies: Volume Four, two further collections of Ellison's teleplays, including two unproduced pilots.

And on July 16, 2013, DC Comics will publish, in hardcover, Harlan Ellison's 7 Against Chaos, illustrated by Paul Chadwick.

In November 2013, Edgeworks Abbey and HarlanEllisonbooks.com published, Brain Movies: Volume Five, including a treatment for an unproduced episode of Batman, an unproduced, original teleplay, "The Dark Forces", and several others. And Honorable Whoredom at a Penny A Word is another collection – similar to Getting in the Wind, etc. – which collects Ellison's older, earlier fiction, written when he was learning his craft. This book collects stories written for men's magazines, "confessional" and other digests of the pulp era, such as "The Golden Virgin", "Scum Town" and "They Killed My Kid!".

Edgeworks Abbey released four volumes in 2014: 8 in 80 by Ellison edited by Susan Ellison, Again, Honorable Whoredom at a Penny a Word, Brain Movies: Volume Six, and Harlan Ellison's Endlessly Watching.

In 2014, Subterranean Press published The Top of the Volcano: The Award-Winning Stories of Harlan Ellison, collecting twenty-three of Ellison's Nebula, Hugo, Bram Stoker, Edgar, Best American Short Story and Locus-Award winning short fiction.

In December 2015, Subterranean Press published Can & Can'tankerous, containing previously uncollected short stories by Harlan Ellison.[59]

Dreams with Sharp Teeth (film)

On Thursday, April 19, 2007, Dreams with Sharp Teeth received its first public screening at the Writers Guild Theatre in Los Angeles. The documentary about Ellison and his work was written and directed by Erik Nelson with archival footage of Ellison.[60] It was released on DVD by New Video Group on May 26, 2009.[61]


Ellison has won eight Hugo Awards, a shared award for the screenplay of A Boy and his Dog that he counts as "half an Hugo"[62] and two special awards from annual World SF Conventions; four Nebula Awards of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA); five Bram Stoker Awards of the Horror Writers Association (HWA); two Edgar Awards of the Mystery Writers of America; two World Fantasy Award from annual conventions; and two Georges Méliès fantasy film awards.[63][64][65]

Stephen King in his 1981 book about the horror genre, Danse Macabre, reviewed Ellison's collection Strange Wine and considered it one of the best horror books published between 1950 and 1980.

Ellison won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1993.[63] HWA gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996[66] and the World Horror Convention named him Grand Master in 2000.[63] He was awarded the Gallun Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science Fiction from I-CON in 1997. SFWA named him its 23rd Grand Master of fantasy and science fiction in 2006[67] and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted him in 2011.[68] That year he also received the fourth J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction, presented by the UCR Libraries at the 2011 Eaton SF Conference, "Global Science Fiction".[69]

As of 2013, Ellison is the only three-time winner of the Nebula Award for Best Short Story. He won his other Nebula in the novella category.[63]

He was awarded the Silver Pen for Journalism by International PEN, the international writers' union. In 1990, Ellison was honored by International PEN for continuing commitment to artistic freedom and the battle against censorship. In 1998, he was awarded the "Defender of Liberty" award by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

In March 1998, the National Women's Committee of Brandeis University honored him with their 1998 Words, Wit, Wisdom award. In 1990, Ellison was honored by International PEN for continuing commitment to artistic freedom and the battle against censorship.

Ellison was named 2002's winner of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal's "Distinguished Skeptic Award", in recognition of his contributions to science and critical thinking. Ellison was presented with the award at the Skeptics Convention in Burbank, California, June 22, 2002.[70]

In December 2009, Ellison was nominated for a Grammy award in the category Best Spoken Word Album For Children for his reading of Through the Looking-Glass And What Alice Found There for Blackstone Audio, Inc.[71]

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films (USA)
American Mystery Award
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine Reader's Poll
Audio Publishers Association
Best American Short Stories
The Bradbury Award
Bram Stoker Award[63]
British Fantasy Award
British Science Fiction Award
Deathrealm Award
Edgar Allan Poe Award
Georges Melies Fantasy Film Award
Hugo Award[63]
International Horror Guild Award
Jupiter Award (Instructors of Science Fiction in Higher Education)
Locus Poll Award[63]
Nebula Award[63]
Prometheus Award
Saturn Award
Writers Guild of America
Writers Guild of Canada
World Fantasy Award[63]
J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction[63][69]

Parodies and pastiches of Ellison

In the 1970s, artist and cartoonist Gordon Carleton wrote and drew a scripted slide show called "City on the Edge of Whatever", which was a spoof of "The City on the Edge of Forever". Occasionally performed at Star Trek conventions, it features an irate writer named "Arlan Hellison" who screamed at his producers, "Art defilers! Script assassins!"[72]

In the 1971 novel by Larry Niven and David Gerrold, The Flying Sorcerers, the names and characteristics of the local gods are playful derivatives of those of many science fiction authors and editors. The Ellison reference is "Elcin", the tiny god of thunder and lightning—alluding to Ellison's short stature and stormy personality.

Ben Bova's 1975 novel The Starcrossed, a roman à clef about Bova and Ellison's experience on The Starlost TV series,[73] features a character "Ron Gabriel" who is a pastiche of Ellison. Bova's novel is dedicated to Ellison's pseudonym "Cordwainer Bird", who was credited as series creator on The Starlost per Ellison's demand. In the novel, "Ron Gabriel" requires the fictional series producers to credit him under the pseudonym "Victor Lawrence Talbot Frankenstein".[74]

Robert Silverberg named a character in his first novel, Revolt on Alpha C, for Ellison, who was a neighbor of Silverberg in New York at the time he was writing the book. This was confirmed in a special edition on the occasion of Silverberg's 35th year in the business.[75]

Harlan Ellison is featured as a recurring character in the 2010 television show Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, where he is portrayed as a professor of literature at the fictional Miskatonic University and colleague of H.P Hatecraft. His writings in speculative fiction give him a unique understanding of alternate timelines and place him in the role of an advisor to the protagonists. The character is voice-acted by Harlan Ellison himself and is reminiscent of Mr. Ellison's real-life personality.[76]

Ellison's self-description

At Stephen King's request, Ellison provided a description of himself and his writing in Danse Macabre. "My work is foursquare for chaos. I spend my life personally, and my work professionally, keeping the soup boiling. Gadfly is what they call you when you are no longer dangerous; I much prefer troublemaker, malcontent, desperado. I see myself as a combination of Zorro and Jiminy Cricket. My stories go out from here and raise hell. From time to time some denigrater or critic with umbrage will say of my work, 'He only wrote that to shock.' I smile and nod. Precisely."[77]

Personal life

In 1966, Ellison married his third wife, Lory Patrick. The marriage lasted only seven weeks.[78]

In 1976, he married his fourth wife, Lori Horowitz. He was 41 and she was 19. He said of the marriage, "I was desperately in love with her, but it was a stupid marriage on my part." They were divorced after eight months.[79]

Ellison lives in Los Angeles with Susan, his fifth wife, whom he married in 1986. In 1994, he suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized for quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery.[80] Since 2010 ("the worst, the lowest point in my life"), he also suffers from, and is under treatment for, clinical depression.[81]

On about October 10, 2014, Ellison suffered a stroke.[82][83] Although his speech and cognition are unimpaired, he suffered paralysis on his right side, for which he was expected to spend several weeks in physical therapy before being released from the hospital.[84][85]


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  18. Theodore Sturgeon, in his Introduction to "i have no mouth and i must scream", Pyramid Paperback, April 1967, final paragraph, in which he describes H.E. as: "... a man on the move, and he is moving fast. He is, on these pages and everywhere else he goes, colorful, intrusive, ABRASIVE ... and one hell of a writer."
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  27. "Science Fiction/San Francisco" (PDF). September 30, 2006. p. 5. Retrieved 2008-08-16.
  28. 1 2 Priest, Christopher (1994). The book on the edge of forever: an enquiry into the non-appearance of Harlan Ellison's The last dangerous visions. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books. ISBN 1-56097-159-2. OCLC 34231805.
  29. "ConFrancisco Continued". Ansible. 76. November 1993. ISSN 0265-9816.
  30. "Infinitely Improbable". Ansible. 77. December 1993. ISSN 0265-9816.
  31. "Christopher Priest interview (1995)". Ansible.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
  32. From Harlan Ellison's introduction to I Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay, ISBN 0-446-67062-6
  33. Cusack, Richard. "BUGFUCK!" (TXT). Retrieved July 30, 2006.
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  38. "IT IS FINISHED". Retrieved 2007-08-01.
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  46. "Harlan Ellison Drops Lawsuit Claiming 'In Time' Ripped Off His Story (Exclusive)". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
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  64. 1 2 3 "Ellison, Harlan". The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index of Dramatic Nominees. Locus Publications. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
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  66. "Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement". Horror Writers Association (HWA). Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  67. "Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Retrieved 2013-04-02.
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  83. Melrose, Kevin (October 14, 2014). "Harlan Ellison recovering in hospital following stroke". Robot 6. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
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Further reading

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Preceded by
Dennis O'Neil
Daredevil writer
(with Arthur Byron Cover)
Succeeded by
Dennis O'Neil
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