Author Topic: Harlan Ellison  (Read 1546 times)

zomgmouse

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Harlan Ellison
« on: June 11, 2019, 08:51:11 AM »
My main motivation for starting this thread is to see if anyone knows where I can source the stories "Eggsucker" and "Run, Spot, Run", as I want to be  completionist about the "A Boy and His Dog" series before reading the graphic novel. I read the original short story and it was very vivid and the film is next on my watchlist.

Does anyone have any favourites from him?

surreal

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 11:12:30 AM »
I have the Essential Ellison retrospective which is great, and I was collecting the White Wolf "Edgeworks" collections of his work which seemed to just stop abruptly due to rights or something.  To be honest out of those I really loved his essay collections more than the actual works of fiction, "The Harlan Ellison Hornbook", "Over The Edge" and "An Edge in My Voice"

"Strange Wine" and "Deathbird Stories" are the ones you should start with IMHO for short fiction.

Sin Agog

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 11:31:01 AM »
I love all his audiobooks read by himself.  He was a tricky, irascible, maybe even obsessive fucker when it came to some issues, but damn if he isn't one of the best...readers I've encountered.  He could be a big, booming American Brian Blessed, or eerily calm and far away, depending on what the situation called for.  I think there are a few volumes of short stories read by him that I'd recommend. 

Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 01:13:45 PM »
I love all his audiobooks read by himself.  He was a tricky, irascible, maybe even obsessive fucker when it came to some issues, but damn if he isn't one of the best...readers I've encountered.  He could be a big, booming American Brian Blessed, or eerily calm and far away, depending on what the situation called for.  I think there are a few volumes of short stories read by him that I'd recommend.

He does the voice acting of AM in the I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream video game and he is bloody excellent!

Catalogue Trousers

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 07:30:57 PM »
Although they deal with long-gone series, I'd also recommend his two Glass Teat volumes of television criticism and general analysis.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 10:58:30 PM »
Jeffrey Is Five.


Also: most of Angry Candy

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2019, 10:22:06 AM »
I haven't read much of his fiction since I was a kid, but I read an e-book of his account of "city on the edge of forever", & how he was tret by roddenberry & co when the story was shot as a 'star trek' episode. he seems to have spent the last few decades of his life seething & boiling in indignant rage against pretty much everyone he had dealings with. but I liked him.


zomgmouse

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2019, 11:14:55 AM »
I had to return a book of his I'd borrowed back to the library and decided to read a quick four-page short story called "White on White" and holy heck what the fuck

surreal

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2019, 02:19:27 PM »

Mark Steels Stockbroker

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2019, 05:08:59 PM »

Shaky

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2019, 12:37:43 AM »
I had to return a book of his I'd borrowed back to the library and decided to read a quick four-page short story called "White on White" and holy heck what the fuck

I've read bits and piece of his work and can't find anything online about this story. Any more details as it sounds quite interesting?

zomgmouse

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2019, 02:00:24 AM »
I've read bits and piece of his work and can't find anything online about this story. Any more details as it sounds quite interesting?

It was published in the The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World anthology. It's really so short that saying much about it might spoil it but I've managed to track it down in Google books: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=BccqAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Shaky

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2019, 03:22:14 AM »
It was published in the The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World anthology. It's really so short that saying much about it might spoil it but I've managed to track it down in Google books: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=BccqAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

Cool, cheers for that. I'm on a bit of a "twist in the tale" bender at the moment so will check it out.

Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2019, 07:47:33 PM »
He's a weird writer Ellison as, like with Lovecraft, looked at from a detached lens he's ludicrously over-wrought, less clever than he seems to think he is, and gruellingly unpleasant in aspects of his politics... and yes, his conviction and faith in his own writing manages to mostly keep things aloft. Reading Ellison cynically kills his art, but if you jump into his stuff, it can be really powerful and intellectually stimulating. I don't think any of his short story collections are perfect, but Beast That Shouted Love and Shatterday are both sterling.

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2019, 12:24:59 AM »
He's a weird writer Ellison as, like with Lovecraft, looked at from a detached lens he's ludicrously over-wrought, less clever than he seems to think he is, and gruellingly unpleasant in aspects of his politics... and yes, his conviction and faith in his own writing manages to mostly keep things aloft. Reading Ellison cynically kills his art, but if you jump into his stuff, it can be really powerful and intellectually stimulating. I don't think any of his short story collections are perfect, but Beast That Shouted Love and Shatterday are both sterling.

I can forgive him that, but (like dick & one or two others) I find the story titles clunky & awkward, which is at odds with some of the skilled writing within.

Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2019, 03:48:04 PM »
I can forgive him that, but (like dick & one or two others) I find the story titles clunky & awkward, which is at odds with some of the skilled writing within.

I kind of like the clumsy titles as they make me want to read the stories to make some sense of them!

Alberon

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2019, 12:37:01 PM »
I haven't read much of his fiction since I was a kid, but I read an e-book of his account of "city on the edge of forever", & how he was tret by roddenberry & co when the story was shot as a 'star trek' episode. he seems to have spent the last few decades of his life seething & boiling in indignant rage against pretty much everyone he had dealings with. but I liked him.



Just read this thread. A few years back I read a three volume series dealing with the original Trek series where the author went through all the memos and notes sent around at the time of production.

I’ll have to go look back at it, but I think a fair bit of Ellison’s script was changed due to it being totally at odds to how Starfleet officers were depicted in other episodes (one was a drug dealer IIRC). I’ll see if I can find the relevant chapter.

Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2019, 12:47:16 PM »
I keep meaning to get round to read Memos from Purgatory, Ellison's non-fiction account of his time in a street gang. I remember one of the initiation ceremonies sounding troubling. Ellison was a fucked-up cookie.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memos_from_Purgatory

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2019, 09:52:59 AM »
Just read this thread. A few years back I read a three volume series dealing with the original Trek series where the author went through all the memos and notes sent around at the time of production.

I’ll have to go look back at it, but I think a fair bit of Ellison’s script was changed due to it being totally at odds to how Starfleet officers were depicted in other episodes (one was a drug dealer IIRC). I’ll see if I can find the relevant chapter.

that's the e-book I meant, yes. I couldn't remember where I'd got it or where it lived, but eventually unearthed it in an ipad; there are several revisions of it, but the one I have is from not long before he died. yes, the original script had some drug-dealing as the catalyst for the events of the story, & roddenberry was extremely unhappy with this, which is a shame. it could have ushered in a much more adult second season, which is certainly what the show needed, but roddenberry was also trying to keep the network sweet, & they had no idea how to pitch the show. the same sort of fate met 'UFO' a few years later.

I have an e-pub of it, but I see amazon are selling it now.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/City-Edge-Forever-Original-Teleplay-ebook/dp/B00J90ET90

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever#Ellison-Roddenberry_feud

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2019, 09:58:46 AM »
this review of the ellison account is pretty spot-on, much as I would prefer to side with ellison:

>>Okay folks, so here we go. . .

1. I'm a Trekker. And I'm old enough that I was also a Trekkie, before we somehow were renamed. That means I embrace the dream, the vision, and the possibilities of us finding other life and of humanity becoming part of a greater community and improving our collective lot in life as in Roddenberry's vision. That also means I'll buy just about ANY publication or piece of crap that has to do with Star Trek, no matter how bad. I have autographed pictures, coffee mugs, bottle openers, belt buckles, models, action figures and even an Enterprise pizza cutter. I have all the Tek books, Leadership Lessons from Star Trek, and even caught a Mardi Gras doubloon directly from Shatner's hand when he was King of Bacchus in 1987 (with apologies to the little old lady I trampled to get it). What that means is that I get the good & the bad.

2. This book sucks. It's an important tome to add to one's collection, as it provides balance and counterpoint to the conventional story and legend around "City", but it's brutal to read. Unless you're a hard-core fan, you'll be miserable. Even then, the best you can hope for is a steady grinding pain for 176 pages.

3. It's great to finally read the various versions of Ellison's original story - to see it's evolution and to compare it to my own memories of the version of "City" which aired (and which I of course have on both VHS and DVD). Ellison's original story treatment is great. With more time and if the output goal was a sci-fi short story or novella it would have been a really great read. A generation later where we now have an entire industry of fan fiction and novels based on TOS, he'd have made a killing on the story. However, all of the criticisms about why his version was not "right" for the small screen and the series are dead on: issues of character and pace; visual concepts that work well in the imagination would have been difficult or disappointing to produce with 1960's budgets and effects limitations; pace of story development and focus needed adjustment for a one hour TV show, and more.

4. WOW is he a bitter little man. I say this a) because he just is; b) he spends the first 50+ pages of the book on such a nonsensical rant against the world that one must question his rationality; and c) look at the cover picture: Shatner is NOT a tall man, and he's damn near squatting down to be in frame with Ellison (who, according to the Google machine, is 5'2"). I'm going to make an armchair diagnosis that there is definitely a case of "little man syndrome".

5. Is his bitterness justified? Most likely so. The collective legend tells that regardless of how the story started, the subsequent handling of the story, script, and revisionist history from Roddenberry & Co. was consistently critical and denigrating towards Ellison and his original work. There also seems to be broad agreement that Roddenberry was pretty much a dick around all things Trek, so it's not unreasonable that Ellison has an axe to grind.

6. So - what's my point? I really don't know. If you're a huge fan, you'll likely value the alternative view of history, but it's a hard read.<<

Blinder Data

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2019, 11:35:04 AM »
Should read some of his stuff. The only things I know about him are that he did that funny video in which he moaned about people not paying writers and Frank Sinatra once had a go at him in a member's club because he was dressed like a scruffy bastard (cf. 'Frank Sinatra has a cold' by Gay Talese).

Chriddof

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Re: Harlan Ellison
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2019, 06:36:12 AM »
I wasn't able to read "White On White" through that Google Books link, but I did find the print book it's in at an Oxfam bookshop the other day. Having now read it, I think he may have ripped the idea for it off of a late 60s / early 70s Robert Crumb comic, or possibly it was the other way round.