Thursday, June 28, 2018

Harlan Ellison (1934 - 2018)

A friend emailed me the news this afternoon: Harlan Ellison died. I was not shocked -- he was 84 -- but immediately saddened. He was a real talent and someone who I had admired greatly.

A personal story: I once had the pleasure of interviewing Mr Ellison via telephone as part of research I was doing for a planned article. "Hi Simon, it's Harlan Ellison calling." Yep, that's Harlan Ellison's voice, all right.

The man who had a reputation for being 'difficult' at times, especially when being asked to talk about something that he'd made clear in the past he did not want to talk about anymore, was forthcoming and helpful. A professional and a gentleman.

I will collect my thoughts and post something within the next couple of days regarding a writer of inordinate talent, Harlan Ellison.


rednoir said...

I'm sad and shocked. Read all his books growing up.

Simon St. Laurent said...

I dove in when I was in my mid-twenties. "Angry Candy" and "Stalking the Nightmare" had me transfixed with each short story. And the breadth of stories.

Jon said...

I'm glad you mentioned his more literary work like Angry Candy, since the general media attention has been given more to pop culture like Boy and His Dog and CotEoF. (An American commentator mentioned the Starlost and how it ought to be reworked with contemporary TV production values and a deeper storyline, which I found amusing).

Simon St. Laurent said...

As great as (Star Trek's) "The City on the Edge of Forever" is, it is too easily used as the go-to title when talking of Harlan Ellison's work. (The Outer Limits' "Demon With a Glass Hand" is equally great.)

As for The Starlost: The production crew used blue-screen "Chroma-key" to realize much of the expansive backgrounds; the idea would be exactly the same today, but with digital matting and CGI. "Deeper storyline" = "unnecessary grim"(= I ignore the series automatically).