The incredibly talented, prolific and outspoken writer Harlan Ellison has passed away at the age of 84.
The news was broken by Christine Valada, who tweeted:
Susan Ellison has asked me to announce the passing of writer Harlan Ellison, in his sleep, earlier today. “For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.”—HE, 1934-2018. Arrangements for a celebration of his life are pending.
— Christine Valada, J.D. (@mcvalada) June 28, 2018
Ellison’s work spanned fiction, film and television, and he was as renowned as much for his searing talent as his pugnacious attitude. He wrote the classic Star Trek episode ‘The City On The Edge Of Forever’, although he was bitterly disappointed that the anti-war message was largely removed from the final product. He also penned the classic post-apocalyptic novella A Boy And His Dog, which would be turned into an excellent film starring Don Johnson.
He wrote for The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone, served as a creative consultant on Babylon 5, and edited the renowned sci-fi anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions. His short fiction may be his most influential and acclaimed, particularly the stories “Repent, Harlequin!” Said The Tick-Tock Man and I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream, the latter of which was adapted into a computer game in 1995 by Ellison himself.
Ellison was famously litigious, and successfully sued Orion Pictures for a story credit on James Cameron’s The Terminator when he claimed it was based on his ‘Soldier’ episode of The Outer Limits. He also brought cases against the TV series Future Cop, the film In Time, and in 2000 he fought against the free distribution of his writing online.
Stephen King tweeted:
Harlan Ellison: There was no one quite like him in American letters, and never will be. Angry, funny, eloquent, hugely talented. If there’s an afterlife, Harlan is already kicking ass and taking down names.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 28, 2018
and Warren Ellis acknowledged his fierce nature:
I once asked Harlan Ellison how many books and stories he hadn’t had time to write because he just had to fuck around and pick a giant fight over every little thing.
He said, “Sure, but you can’t let the bastards get away with it.”
— Wᴀʀʀᴇɴ Eʟʟɪs (@warrenellis) June 28, 2018