Deadline is reporting that none other than J. Michael Straczynski has optioned Harlan Ellison’s 1965 science fiction classic short story “Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktock Man”.

The story — a winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards is reported to be one of the most reprinted stories ever — is about a future society that has become overly-punctual, trading freedom for conformance. Keeping people in line and on time is the infamous Ticktockman, who gets more than he bargained for when ordinary man Everett C. Marm disguises himself as the chaotic Harlequin and goes around causing disruption and disorder.

Science fiction fans know J. Michael Straczynski as the creative talent behind Babylon 5. His other recent film work includes World War Z and Thor. He has also written several short stories and three horror novels (Demon Night, Othersyde, and Tribulations) as well as the non-fiction book The Complete Book of Scriptwriting. Deadline reports that Straczynski sees Ellison’s cautionary tale as “especially relevant in a post-Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street environment, or even Edward Snowden, in a story of a man who goes against the system and must pay the price for his actions”.

[via SFScope]

In case you need another reason to watch tonight’s episode of The Simpsons besides the tribute To Hayao Miyazaki, it features not one, but two (count ‘em) cameos of interest to genre fans. The first cameo is by comic book legend Stan Lee, who’s making his second Simpsons appearance. (The first one was 12 years ago!) The second cameo is none other than science fiction’s lovable curmudgeon, Harlan Ellison.

Here’s a sneak peek at their cameos as well as some behind-the-scenes interview footage.

The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 P.M. ET/PT on Fox.

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Harlan Ellison Interviews Robert Silverberg (1986 Audio Interview)

Robert Silverberg appeared on on Hour 25 on October 24, 1986 with host Harlan Ellison to discuss writing, awards, losing awards, whether awards matter, and death threats.

There is much name-dropping here. What an awesome peek into the past.

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In 1982, Studs Terkel and his co-host Calvin Trillin interviewed Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison and Gene Wolfe.

What, you need a better introduction? Okay…for starters there’s a discussion about the label of “science fiction”. Now watch!

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Back in 1994, Tom Snyder interviewed Harlan Ellison on CNBC. Ellison was promoting his book Mind Fields, a book featuring paintings by the Polish artist Jacek Yerka and accompanying short stories by Ellison.
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Twenty years after the death of Charles Beaumont in 1967, the sf/f radio program Hour 25 held a memorial episode for him. Here is the audio of Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Roger Anker, and Charles’ son Chris Beaumont talking about Charles Beaumont.

Great listening…

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Harlan Ellison (as Himself) and H.P. Lovecraft (Jeffrey Combs) on Scooby-Doo – Mystery Inc.
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Author/Screenwriter Harlan Ellison and Film Critic David Ansen discuss their thoughts on David Lynch’s Dune, the 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel. Taken from the “Impressions of Dune” documentary on the Dune DVD from Sanctuary Visual Entertainment.

[via SFFaudio]

For this Book Cover Smackdown, we’re turning our attention to Harlan Ellison’s classic collection I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.

Editions shown here:

Harlan Ellison on God

From the documentary Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth.

[via the always-awesome Cynical-C Blog]

SF Tidbits for 9/16/09

TIP: Follow SF Signal on Twitter and Facebook for additional tidbits not posted here!

[via SciFi Scanner via Poe TV]

REVIEW SUMMARY: Still a great story.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The rebellious Harlequin causes mischief in a society that is strictly punctual.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Engaging prose; interesting premise; a parable that’s effective 40 years after it was written.
CONS: If I think of any, I’ll let you know.
BOTTOM LINE: A classic short story that deserves its great reputation.

In 1965, Harlan Ellison sat down to write a story for submission to a writers’ workshop. The result after a mere 6 hours was “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman”, a story that went on to win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards and is reported to be one of the most reprinted stories ever. Underwood Press published a nice-looking, 48-page commemorative anniversary edition in 1997 – aptly late considering the story’s premise – to celebrate the story’s initial publication. This hardback edition comes with some nice looking illustrations by Rick Berry. You know what? Forty two years later, the original story holds up remarkably well.
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