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Ellison @ 70

There is a new piece on SF author Harlan Ellison.

Some points I found interesting:

  • Ellison’s home contains some 250,000 books by his own estimate and he tracks them using an old style card catalog system. Hmmm. I don’t quite have 250,000 books but now I have something to strive for. I doubt I’ll resort to using the Dewey Decimal system, though.
  • Ellison wrote an anti-Star Wars rant back in 1977 called “Luke Skywalker Is a Nerd and Darth Vader Sucks Runny Eggs”. The whole essay is not online (not surprising given the author’s feelings about technology) but…Go, Go Gadget Google!…I found this excerpt:
    “Badmouthing _Star Wars_ these days is considered a felony; on a level with spitting on the American flag, denigrating Motherhood, admitting you hate Apple Pie, or trying to dope Seattle Slew.

    “In the hysterical wake of all-stops-out media hype, uncritically slavish reviews, effulgent word-of-mouth praise and the chance of being trampled to death by ex-_Star Trek_ groupies, who’ve had their epiphany-conversion, as they queue up to see the film for the fifth or sixth time … anyone daring to suggest that _Star Wars_ is less monumental than the discovery of the fulcrum and lever, runs the risk of being disemboweled by terminal acne cases.”

    Heh. Fun stuff. The whole essay is available in the 1989 book Harlan Ellison’s Watching.

  • For a book store promotion, Ellison sat in a store and typed a short story a day for five days. They were posted on the store window as they were being typed. Three of the five stories later went on to win awards. It was a schtick he repeated often. And when challenged on preparing stories beforehand, Robin Williams presented him with the title “Computer vampire: the byte that bites.” Harlan’s reply: “You (blankety-blank)! You know I’m computer illiterate!” With the help of nearby computer geeks, he wrote the story.
  • Harlan says he gets along with his wife despite the fact that she reads Marvel comics and he reads DC comics.

The article is a hoot to read even if it’s a bit of a puff piece with no mention of the AOL legal battle. Harlan’s led an interesting life, to say the least.

[via Locus Online]

About John DeNardo (13014 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

1 Comment on Ellison @ 70

  1. Fred Kiesche // March 25, 2005 at 6:18 am //

    Good article. And they even managed to avoid the term “enfant terrible” in relation to Ellison.

    I just wish more of his stuff was in print. I don’t want to wait until we get a “Phil Dick” situation (death, have the literati “discover” the author, all books come back into print in trade paperback format) before I get more of his stuff.

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