Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison (1986)
Born Harlan Jay Ellison
May 27, 1934 (1934-05-27) (age 77)
Cleveland, Ohio[1]
Pen name Cordwainer Bird
Nalrah Nosille
Sley Harson[2]
Paul Merchant
Occupation Author, screenwriter
Nationality United States
Genres Speculative fiction, Science fiction, Fantasy, Crime, Mystery, Horror, film and television criticism, essayist
Literary movement New Wave
Notable work(s) Dangerous Visions (Editor)
A Boy and His Dog
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman


Harlan Jay Ellison (born May 27, 1934) is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction.

His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media. He was editor and anthologist for two ground-breaking science fiction anthologies, Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions. Ellison has won numerous awards – more awards for imaginative literature than any other living author – including multiple Hugos, Nebulas and Edgars.


Early life and career

Ellison was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 27, 1934. His Jewish-American family subsequently moved to Painesville, Ohio, but returned to Cleveland in 1949, following his father's death. As a child, he had a brief career performing in minstrel shows. He frequently ran away from home, taking an array of odd jobs—including, by age eighteen, "tuna fisherman off the coast of Galveston, itinerant crop-picker down in New Orleans, hired gun for a wealthy neurotic, nitroglycerine truck driver in North Carolina, short order cook, cab driver, lithographer, book salesman, floorwalker in a department store, door-to-door brush salesman, and as a youngster, an actor in several productions at the Cleveland Play House".[3]

Ellison attended Ohio State University for 18 months (1951–53) before being expelled. He has said that the expulsion was a result of his hitting a professor who had denigrated his writing ability, and that over the next forty-odd years he had sent that professor a copy of every story he published.[4]

Ellison moved to New York City in 1955 to pursue a writing career, primarily in science fiction. Over the next two years, he published more than 100 short stories and articles. He married Charlotte Stein in 1956 but they divorced four years later. He said of the marriage, "four years of hell as sustained as the whine of a generator." [5]

In 1957, Ellison decided to write about youth gangs. To research the issue, he joined a street gang in the Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York area, under the name "Cheech Beldone". His subsequent writings on the subject include the novel, Web of the City/Rumble, and the collection, The Deadly Streets, and also compose part of his memoir, Memos from Purgatory.

Ellison was drafted into the United States Army, serving from 1957 to 1959. In 1960, he returned to New York, living at 95 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. Moving to Chicago, Ellison wrote for William Hamling's Rogue magazine. As a book editor at Hamling's Regency Books, Hamling published novels and anthologies by such writers as B. Traven, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Bloch and Philip José Farmer, Clarence Cooper Jr and Ellison.

In the late 1950s, Ellison wrote a number of erotic stories, such as "God Bless the Ugly Virgin" and "Tramp", which were later reprinted in Los Angeles-based girlie magazines. That was his first use of the pseudonym Cordwainer Bird. He used the name in July and August 1957, in two journals, each of which had accepted two of his stories. In each journal, one story was published under the name Harlan Ellison, and the other under Cordwainer Bird. Later, as discussed in the Controversy section below, he used the pseudonym when he disagreed with the use or editing of his work.

In 1960, Ellison married Billie Joyce Sanders, his second wife, but they divorced in 1963.[citation needed]

Hollywood and beyond

Ellison speaking at a SF conference

Ellison moved to California in 1962, and subsequently began to sell his writing to Hollywood. He wrote the screenplay for The Oscar, starring Stephen Boyd and Elke Sommer. Ellison also sold scripts to many television shows: The Flying Nun, Burke's Law, Route 66, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Cimarron Strip and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

During the late 1960s, Ellison wrote a column about television for the Los Angeles Free Press. Titled "The Glass Teat", the column addressed political and social issues and their portrayal on television at the time. The columns were gathered into two collections, The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat.

He was a participant in the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, led by Martin Luther King, Jr.[6]

Also in 1966, he married his third wife, Lory Patrick. The marriage lasted only seven weeks.[citation needed]

In 1966, in an article that Esquire magazine would later name as the best magazine piece ever written, the journalist Gay Talese wrote about the goings-on around the enigmatic Frank Sinatra. The article, entitled "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold", briefly describes a clash between the young Harlan Ellison and Frank Sinatra, when the crooner took exception to Ellison's boots during a billiards game. Talese is quoted as saying of the incident, "Sinatra probably forgot about it at once, but Ellison will remember it all his life."

Ellison continued to publish short fiction and nonfiction pieces in various publications, including some of his best known stories. "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" (1965) is a celebration of civil disobedience against repressive authority. "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1967) is an allegory of Hell, where five humans are tormented by an all-knowing computer throughout eternity. The story was the basis of a 1995 computer game, with Ellison participating in the game's design and providing the voice of the god-computer AM. "A Boy and His Dog" examines the nature of friendship and love in a violent, post-apocalyptic world. It was made into the 1975 film of the same name, starring Don Johnson.

He also edited the influential science fiction anthology Dangerous Visions (1967), which collected stories commissioned by Ellison, accompanied by his commentary-laden biographical sketches of the authors. He challenged the authors to write stories at the edge of the genre. Many of the stories went beyond the traditional boundaries of science fiction pioneered by respected old school editors such as John W. Campbell, Jr. As an editor, Ellison was influenced and inspired by experimentation in the popular literature of the time, such as the beats. A sequel, Again Dangerous Visions, was published in 1972. A third volume, The Last Dangerous Visions, has been repeatedly postponed (see Controversy).

In 1976, Ellison married his fourth wife, Lori Horowitz. He was 41 and she was 19. He said of the marriage, "I was desperately in love with her, but it was a stupid marriage on my part." They were divorced after eight months.[7]

Ellison served as creative consultant to the science fiction TV series The Twilight Zone (1980s version) and Babylon 5. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), he has voice-over credits for shows including The Pirates of Dark Water, Mother Goose and Grimm, Space Cases, Phantom 2040, and Babylon 5, as well as making an onscreen appearance in the Babylon 5 episode "The Face of the Enemy".

Ellison has commented on a great many movies and television programs (see The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat for television criticism and commentary; see Harlan Ellison's Watching for movie criticism and commentary), both negatively and positively.

He does all his writing on a manual Olympia typewriter, and has a substantial distaste for personal computers and most of the Internet.

On September 7, 1986, Ellison married Susan Toth (his fifth and current wife), whom he had met in Scotland the year before.[citation needed]

For two years, beginning in 1986, Ellison took over as host of the Friday-night radio program, Hour 25 on Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM, Los Angeles, after the death of Mike Hodel, the show's founder and original host. Ellison had been a frequent and favorite guest on the long-running program. In one episode, he brought in his typewriter and proceeded to write a new short story live on the air (he titled the story "Hitler Painted Roses"). Hour 25 also served as the inspiration for his story, "The Hour That Stretches".

Ellison's 1992 short story "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore" was selected for inclusion in the 1993 edition of The Best American Short Stories.

Ellison was hired as a writer for Walt Disney Studios, but was fired on his first day after being overheard by Roy O. Disney in the studio commissary joking about making a pornographic animated film featuring Disney characters. He recounted this incident in his book Stalking the Nightmare, as part 3 of an essay titled "The 3 Most Important Things in Life". At a talk at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Ellison stated he was walking the halls of Disney and was bored, until he found a screwdriver, at which time he walked throughout the facility tightening every screw he saw until he was confronted in the basement. His termination came later that day.

Ellison has provided vocal narration to numerous audiobooks, both of his own writing and others. Ellison has helped narrate books by authors such as Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Williamson and Terry Pratchett.

Ellison lives in Los Angeles, California with Susan, his fifth wife. In 1994, he suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized for quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery.

He had his own name trademarked in 2005, registered by The Kilimanjaro Corporation, which Ellison owns, and under which all his work is copyrighted.

Ellison recently voiced himself as a character on the show Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, in the H. P. Lovecraft-inspired episode "The Shrieking Madness".


Ellison has on occasion used the pseudonym Cordwainer Bird to alert members of the public to situations in which he feels his creative contribution to a project has been mangled beyond repair by others, typically Hollywood producers or studios (see also Alan Smithee). The first such work to which he signed the name was "The Price of Doom," an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (though it was misspelled as Cord Wainer Bird in the credits). An episode of Burke's Law ("Who Killed Alex Debbs?") credited to Ellison contains a character given this name.

The "Cordwainer Bird" moniker is a tribute to fellow SF writer Paul M. A. Linebarger, better known by his pen name, Cordwainer Smith. The origin of the word "cordwainer" is shoemaker (from working with cordovan leather for shoes). The term used by Linebarger was meant to imply the industriousness of the pulp author. Ellison has said, in interviews and in his writing, that his version of the pseudonym was meant to mean "a shoemaker for birds". Since he has used the pseudonym mainly for works he wants to distance himself from, it may be understood to mean that "this work is for the birds" or that it is of as much use as shoes to a bird. Stephen King once said he thought that it meant that Ellison was giving people who mangled his work a literary version of "the bird" (given credence by Ellison himself in his own essay titled "Somehow, I Don't Think We're in Kansas, Toto", describing his experience with the Starlost television series).

The Bird moniker has since become a character in one of Ellison's own stories, not without some prompting. In his book Strange Wine, Ellison explains the origins of the Bird and goes on to state that Philip Jose Farmer wrote Cordwainer into the Wold Newton family the latter writer had developed. The thought of such a whimsical object lesson being related to such lights as Doc Savage, the Shadow, Tarzan, and all the other pulp heroes prompted Ellison to play with the concept, resulting in The New York Review of Bird, in which an annoyed Bird uncovers the darker secrets of the New York Literary Establishment before beginning a pulpish slaughter of same.

Other pseudonyms Ellison has used during his career include Jay Charby, Sley Harson, Ellis Hart, John Magnus, Paul Merchant, Pat Roeder and Jay Solo.[8]



Ellison has a reputation for being abrasive and argumentative.[9] He has generally agreed with this assessment, and a dust jacket from one of Ellison's books described him as "possibly the most contentious person on Earth". Ellison has filed numerous grievance filings and lawsuit attempts that have been characterized as both justifiable and frivolous. His friend Isaac Asimov noted "Harlan uses his gifts for colorful and variegated invective on those who irritate him — intrusive fans, obdurate editors, callous publishers, offensive strangers." Another friend, writer Robert Bloch, spoke at a roast for Ellison, saying that other people take infinite pains; "Harlan gives them."

He appeared on Politically Incorrect,[10] and had a regular spot on the Sci-Fi Buzz program on the fledgling Sci Fi Channel. Ellison's segments were broadcast from 1994 to 1997. Some transcripts are available. Ellison was also a frequent visitor on Tom Snyder's The Tomorrow Show in the late 1970s and The Late Late Show in the 1990s.[citation needed]

Aggiecon I

In 1969, Ellison was Guest of Honor at Texas A&M University's first science fiction convention, Aggiecon, where he reportedly[11] referred to the Corps of Cadets as "...America's next generation of Nazis...", inspired in part by the continuing Vietnam War. Although the university was no longer solely a military school (as of 1965), the studentry was predominantly made up of cadet members. Between Ellison's anti-military remarks and a food-fight that broke out in the ballroom of the hotel where the gathering was held (although according to Ellison in 2000, the food-fight actually started in a Denny's because the staff disappeared and they could not get their check), the school's administration almost refused to approve the science fiction convention the next year, and no guest of honor was invited for the next two Aggiecons. However, Ellison was subsequently invited back as Guest of Honor for Aggiecon V (1974) and Aggiecon XXXI (2000).

The Starlost

The screenplay for his projected television series The Starlost was also given a Writers Guild Award, though the actual series, produced in 1973-74, was so altered by the producers that Ellison had his name removed from the credits and replaced with the pseudonym "Cordwainer Bird" (see above).

Star Trek

Ellison has repeatedly criticized how Star Trek creator and producer Gene Roddenberry (and others) rewrote his original script for the episode "The City on the Edge of Forever". Ellison's original work included a subplot involving drug dealing aboard the Enterprise and other elements that Roddenberry rejected. Despite his objections, he kept his legal name on the result instead of using his "Cordwainer Bird" nom-de-plume. Ellison's original script was eventually reprinted in the 1976 collection Six Science Fiction Plays, edited by Roger Elwood. In 1995, White Wolf Publishing released Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever, a book that included the original script, several story treatments, and a long introductory essay by Ellison explaining his position on what he called a "fatally inept treatment". Both versions won prestigious awards.

On March 13, 2009, Ellison sued CBS Paramount Television, seeking payment of 25% of net receipts from merchandising, publishing, and other income from the episode since 1967; the suit also names the Writers Guild of America for allegedly failing to act on Ellison's behalf. On October 23, 2009, Variety magazine reported that a settlement had been reached.[12]

The Last Dangerous Visions

The Last Dangerous Visions (TLDV), the third volume of Ellison's anthology series, has become science fiction's most famous unpublished book. It was originally announced for publication in 1973, but has not seen print to date. Nearly 150 writers (many now dead) submitted works for the volume. In 1993 Ellison threatened to sue New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) for publishing "Himself in Anachron", a short story written by Cordwainer Smith and sold to Ellison for the book by his widow,[13] but later reached an amicable settlement.[14]

British science fiction author Christopher Priest critiqued Ellison's editorial practices in an article entitled "The Book on the Edge of Forever",[15] later expanded into a book. Priest documented a half-dozen unfulfilled promises by Ellison to publish TLDV within a year of the statement. Priest claims he submitted a story at Ellison's request which Ellison retained for several months until Priest withdrew the story and demanded that Ellison return the manuscript. Ellison has a record of fulfilling obligations in other instances (though sometimes, as with Harlan Ellison's Hornbook for Mirage Press, several decades after the contract was signed), including to writers whose stories he solicited.

I, Robot

I, Robot – the Illustrated Screenplay

Shortly after the release of Star Wars (1977), Ben Roberts contacted Ellison to develop a script based on Isaac Asimov's I, Robot short story collection for Warner Brothers. In a meeting with studio head Robert Shapiro, Ellison concluded that Shapiro was commenting on the script without having read it, and accused him of having the "intellectual capacity of an artichoke". Shortly afterwards, Ellison was dropped from the project. Without Ellison, the film came to a dead end, because subsequent scripts were unsatisfactory to potential directors. After a change in studio heads, Warner allowed Ellison's script to be serialized in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and in book form.[16] The 2004 film I, Robot, starring Will Smith, has no connection to Ellison's script.

Allegations of assault on Charles Platt

In the 1980s, Ellison allegedly publicly assaulted author and critic Charles Platt at the Nebula Awards banquet.[17] Platt did not pursue legal action against Ellison, and the two men later signed a "non-aggression pact", promising never to discuss the incident again nor to have any contact with one another. Platt claims that Ellison has often publicly boasted about the incident.[18]

Lawsuit against Fantagraphics

On September 20, 2006, Ellison sued Fantagraphics, a comic book publisher, claiming they had defamed him in their book Comics As Art (We told you so).[19]

The book recounts the history of Fantagraphics and discussed a lawsuit that resulted from a 1980 Ellison interview with Fantagraphics' industry news magazine, The Comics Journal. In this interview Ellison referred to comic book writer Michael Fleisher, calling him "bugfuck" and "derange-o". Fleisher lost his libel suit against Ellison and Fantagraphics on December 9, 1986.[20]

Ellison, after reading unpublished drafts of the book on Fantagraphics's website, believed that he had been defamed by several anecdotes related to this incident. He sued in the Superior Court for the State of California, in Santa Monica. Fantagraphics attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed. In their motion to dismiss, Fantagraphics argued that the statements were both their personal opinions and generally believed to be true anecdotes.

On February 12, 2007, the presiding judge ruled against Fantagraphics' anti-SLAPP motion for dismissal.[21] On June 29, 2007, Ellison claimed that the litigation had been resolved[22] pending Fantagraphics' removal of all references to the case from their website.[23] No money or apologies changed hands in the settlement as posted on August 17, 2007.[24]

With Connie Willis at Hugo Awards 2006

On August 26, 2006, during the 64th World Science Fiction Convention, Ellison grabbed award-winning novelist Connie Willis' breast while on stage at the Hugo Awards ceremony.[25] Ellen Datlow described this as "a schtick of Harlan acting like a baby".[26] Patrick Nielsen Hayden described this as "pathetic and nasty and sad and most of us didn't want to watch it".[27]

Ellison responded three days later, writing, "I was unaware of any problem proceeding from my intendedly-childlike grabbing of Connie Willis's left breast, as she was exhorting me to behave." He also posted that "I'm glad, at last, to have transcended your expectations. I stand naked and defenseless before your absolutely correct chiding." On August 31 he posted: "Would you be slightly less self-righteous and chiding if I told you there was NO grab…there was NO grope…there was NO fondle...there was the slightest touch. A shtick, a gag between friends, absolutely NO sexual content. How about it, Mark: after playing straight man to Connie's very frequently demeaning public jackanapery toward me—including treating me with considerable disrespect at the Grand Master Awards Weekend, where she put a chair down in front of her lectern as Master of Ceremonies, and made me sit there like a naughty child throughout her long 'roast' of my life and career—for more than 25 years, without once complaining, whaddaya think, Mark, am I even a leetle bit entitled to think that Connie likes to play, and geez ain't it sad that as long as SHE sets the rules for play, and I'm the village idiot, she's cool … but gawd forbid I change the rules and play MY way for a change …", and complained that Willis had not called him to discuss the matter.[28]

Copyright suits

Ellison claimed that James Cameron's film The Terminator drew from material from Ellison's "Soldier"[29] and "Demon with a Glass Hand"[30] episodes of The Outer Limits. Hemdale, the production company and the distributor Orion Pictures, settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, "acknowledging" the work of Ellison at the end of the film.[31] Cameron objected to this acknowledgement, which was forced on him by the distributor, and has since labeled Ellison's claim a "nuisance suit", referring to Ellison as a "parasite who can kiss my ass."[32]

On April 24, 2000 Ellison sued Stephen Robertson for posting four stories to the newsgroup "alt.binaries.e-book" without authorization. The other defendants were AOL and RemarQ, internet service providers whose only involvement was running servers hosting the newsgroup. Ellison claimed that they had failed to stop the alleged copyright infringement in accordance with the "Notice and Takedown Procedure" outlined in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Robertson and RemarQ first settled with Ellison, and then AOL likewise settled with Ellison in June 2004, under conditions that were not made public. Since those settlements Ellison has initiated legal action and/or takedown notices against more than 240 people who have distributed his writings on the Internet, saying, "If you put your hand in my pocket, you’ll drag back six inches of bloody stump".[33]

A currently developing lawsuit involves the film In Time, which Ellison is contending plagiarizes his short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman".[34]


Novels and novellas

  • Web of the City (1958) (originally published as Rumble)
  • The Man With Nine Lives (1960) (as this novel has never been reprinted there is no edition in existence bearing the author's preferred title The Sound of a Scythe)
  • Spider Kiss (1961) (originally published as Rockabilly)
  • Doomsman (1967)
  • "A Boy and His Dog" (1969) (made into a film)
  • The Starlost#1: Phoenix Without Ashes (1975) (adaptation by Edward Bryant of Ellison's TV pilot script)
  • All the Lies That are My Life (1980) (later included in the author's 1980 collection Shatterday)
  • Run for the Stars (1991) (a 1957 novella here republished in a preferred text edition as part of a Tor Double)
  • Mefisto in Onyx (1993) (later included in the author's 1997 collection Slippage)

Short story collections

Retrospectives and omnibus collections

  • Alone Against Tomorrow: a 10-Year Survey (1971) (published in the UK in two volumes as All the Sounds of Fear (1973) and The Time of the Eye (1974))
  • The Fantasies of Harlan Ellison (1979) (contains "Paingod and Other Delusions" (1965) and "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1967))
  • The Essential Ellison: a 35-Year Retrospective (1987) (edited by Terry Dowling with Richard Delap and Gil Lamont)
  • Dreams With Sharp Teeth (1991) (contains "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1967), Deathbird Stories (1975) and Shatterday (1980))
  • Edgeworks. 1 (1996) (contains "Over the Edge" (1970) and "An Edge in My Voice" (1985))
  • Edgeworks. 2 (1996) (contains "Spider Kiss" (1961) and "Stalking the Nightmare" (1982))
  • Edgeworks. 3 (1997) (contains "The Harlan Ellison Hornbook" (1990) and "Harlan Ellison's Movie" (1990))
  • Edgeworks. 4 (1997) (contains Love Ain't Nothing But Sex Misspelled (1968) and The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World (1969))
  • The Essential Ellison: a 50-Year Retrospective Revised & Expanded (2001) (edited by Terry Dowling with Richard Delap and Gil Lamont)
  • The Glass Teat Omnibus: The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat (2011) (Published by Charnel House, handmade books published in a very limited edition, in June, with an Audio recording, dated Feb. 2011, of Ellison reading "Welcome to the Gulag", a special introduction written just for this new, updated, publication of the essays and criticism on television).

Note: the White Wolf Edgeworks Series was originally scheduled to consist of 31 titles reprinted over the course of 20 omnibus volumes. Although an ISBN was created for Edgeworks. 5 (1998), which was to contain both Glass Teat books, this title never appeared. The series is noted for its numerous typographical errors.[1]


Published screenplays and teleplays

  • Phoenix Without Ashes (original, unaired and unaltered, Writers Guild of America Award-winning teleplay) published in Faster Than Light (1975, Haper & Row), alongside original stories by George R.R. Martin and Ben Bova, and reprints by Isaac Asimov.
  • I, Robot (1994) (based on stories by Isaac Asimov, illustrated by Mark Zug)
  • The City on the Edge of Forever (1996) (Star Trek episode, original screenplay, with commentary. For an in-depth review of this book see [2]. This script was also published in Six Science Fiction Plays (1976) edited by Roger Elwood)
  • Harlan Ellison's Movie (1990) (unproduced feature-length screenplay serialised in Ellison's weekly newspaper column The Harlan Ellison Hornbook and collected in the omnibus volume Edgeworks. 3 (1996))
  • Flintlock (1987) (unproduced pilot teleplay for a proposed 1972 TV series based on James Coburn's character in Our Man Flint, published in both editions of the retrospective volume The Essential Ellison (1987, 2001))
  • The Whimper of Whipped Dogs (1975) (teleplay produced in the TV series The Young Lawyers, serialised in Ellison's weekly newspaper column The Glass Teat and collected in The Other Glass Teat (1975); unrelated to Ellison's later 1973 short story, "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs")
  • The Whimper of Whipped Dogs (unfinished screenplay based on Ellison's 1974 short story of the same title as, but completely unrelated to, the Young Lawyers teleplay referenced above; three treatments of the opening sequence were published in the June 1988 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and later appeared in Harlan Ellison's Watching (1989))
  • Soldier, produced for The Outer Limits in 1964; published alongside the short story on which it was based in his 1967 collection From the Land of Fear.
  • Crazy as a Soup Sandwich, produced for The Twilight Zone in 1989; published in his 1997 collection Slippage.

See also The Starlost#1: Phoenix without Ashes (1975), the novelization by Edward Bryant of the teleplay for the pilot episode of The Starlost, which includes a lengthy afterword by Ellison describing what happened during production of the series.

Anthologies edited

Selected short stories

Recent uncollected stories

Since the publication of the author's last collection of previously uncollected stories, Slippage (1997), Ellison has published the following works of fiction:

  • Objects of Desire in the Mirror are Closer Than They Appear (1999) (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction October/November issue)
  • The Toad Prince or, Sex Queen of the Martian Pleasure-Domes (1999) (Amazing Stories issue 600)
  • From A to Z, In the Sarsaparilla Alphabet (2001) (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction February issue)
  • Incognita, Inc. (2001) (Hemispheres, the Inflight Magazine of United Airlines January issue)
  • Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts (2002) (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction January issue)
  • Goodbye to All That (2002) (McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales anthology edited by Michael Chabon)
  • Loose Cannon, or Rubber Duckies from Space (2004) (Amazing Stories issue 603)
  • Prologue to the Endeavor: Luck be a Lady Tonight (2006) (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction September issue)
  • How Interesting: A Tiny Man (2010) (Realms of Fantasy February issue)
  • Objects... was later included in the 2001 revised and expanded edition of The Essential Ellison.
  • From A to Z... was later included in Deathbird Stories: Expanded Edition released in 2011 by Subterranean Press.[35]
  • The Toad Prince,... is a novelette which, according to the author's afterword, was originally written in the early 1990s.
  • Incognita, Inc. was reprinted the same year, in Realms of Fantasy (August 2001). It was also reprinted in 2001 in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling and most recently in 2007 in Summer Chills edited by Stephen Jones.
  • Never Send to Know... is a heavily revised, expanded and retitled version of an Ellison story originally published in 1956. It was also included in the 2001 reprint collection Troublemakers.
  • Goodbye to All That was originally written in the mid-90s for the Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor comic series, but was not included at the time due to the series ceasing publication. It was finally incorporated into the series in March 2007 as part of Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor: Volume Two.
  • Loose Cannon is a 200 word piece of flash fiction accompanied by an 800 word introduction by Neil Gaiman as part of the magazine's series of 1,000 words inspired by a painting.
  • Luck be a Lady Tonight is an article in which Ellison sets down the challenge of adapting an idea of his into a short story; an idea which Ellison himself was unable over the years to turn into a work of fiction. Three writers were ultimately commissioned by the magazine's editor and their stories appeared in the same issue alongside Ellison's essay of proposal.[36]
  • How Interesting: A Tiny Man was reprinted in 2010 in Unrepentant: A Celebration of the Writings of Harlan Ellison edited by Robert T. Garcia.

Graphic story adaptations

Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor #5 the cover inspired the story "The Museum On Cyclops Avenue"

Several stories have been adapted and collected into comic book stories for Dark Horse Comics. They can be found in two volumes. Each issue of the comic included a new original story based on the cover.

  • New stories (partial list)
    • "The Museum on Cyclops Avenue"
    • "Chatting with Anubis"
  • Phoenix Without Ashes was published by IDW as a comic book.[37]

Computer games

Audio recordings (selection)

  • On The Road With Ellison Volume 1 – released 1983, reissued 2001 on Deep Shag Records
  • The Voice From the Edge, Vol.1: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream – released 1999 on Fantastic Audio and Audible.com 2011
  • The Voice From the Edge, Vol.2: Midnight In the Sunken Cathedral – released 2001 on Fantastic Audio, and Audible.com 2011
  • On The Road With Ellison Volume 2 – released 2004 on Deep Shag Records
  • On The Road With Ellison Volume 3 – released 2007 on Deep Shag Records
  • The Voice From the Edge, Vol. 3: Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes – released 2009 on Blackstone Audio and Audible.com 2011
  • On The Road With Ellison Volume 4 – released 2010 on Deep Shag Records
  • On The Road With Ellison Volume 5 – released 2011 on Deep Shag Records
  • The Voice From the Edge, Vol. 4: The Deathbird & Other Stories – Audible.com 2011
  • The Voice From the Edge, Vol. 5: Shatterday & Other Stories – Audible.com 2011


On the May 30, 2008 broadcast of the PRI radio program Studio 360, Ellison announced that he had signed with a "major publisher" to produce his memoirs. The tentative title is Working Without A Net. In the television show Babylon 5, for which Ellison worked as a creative consultant, in the year 2258 the fictional character Susan Ivanova is once seen reading, and laughing to, a book titled Working Without A Net, written by Harlan Ellison (TKO).

Contemporary Publications

Currently the print-on-demand publisher Edgeworks Abbey/E-Reads publishes 32 titles of Ellison's, which are available through Barnes & Noble's online store, as well as the online stores of the publisher and also Amazon.

"I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream" was included in American Fantastic Tales, volume II (from the 1940s to now), edited by Peter Straub and published by the prestigious Library of America in 2009. The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century edited by Tony Hillerman and Otto Penzler (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) included Ellison's "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs." In October 2010, a special collection was issued by MadCon, a convention in Wisconsin at which Ellison was the guest of honor. The hardcover book is entitled, Unrepentant: a celebration of the writings of Harlan Ellison (Garcia Publishing Services, 2010). In addition to including "How Interesting: A Tiny Man", Ellison's newest short story (previously published in "Realms of Fantasy" magazine), it also included "'Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktock Man", "Some Frightening Films of the Forties" (a never before reprinted essay), an illustrated bibliography of Ellison's fiction books by Tim Richmond, an article by Robert T. and Frank Garcia on Ellisons television work, an appreciation/essay by Dark Horse Comics publisher Michael Richardson, an article about Deep Shag's audio recordings of Ellison speaking engagements by Michael Reed, a 6-page B&W gallery of covers by Leo and Diane Dillon, a two-page Neil Gaiman-drawn cartoon and an official biography. In March 2011, Subterranean Press released an expanded edition of Deathbird Stories featuring new introductory material, new afterwords and three additional stories (the never-before-collected "From A to Z, in the Sarsaparilla Alphabet", together with "Scartaris, June 28th", and "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore").

Dreams with Sharp Teeth (Film)

On Thursday, April 19, 2007, Dreams with Sharp Teeth, a film by the producers of Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man, received its first public screening at the Writers Guild Theatre in Los Angeles.[38] This documentary, a profile of Ellison and his work, was released on DVD by New Video Group on May 26, 2009.


Ellison has won[39] the Hugo Award eight and a half times; the Nebula Award four times, along with a Grandmaster Nebula Award (basically a lifetime achievement award); the Bram Stoker Award, presented by the Horror Writers Association, five times (including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996); the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America twice; the World Fantasy Award twice (the second time for Lifetime achievement); and the Georges Méliès fantasy film award twice.

As of 2011, Ellison is the only author to have won the Nebula Award three times for the short story. A fourth Nebula was awarded in the novella category.

He was awarded the Silver Pen for Journalism by International PEN, the international writers' union. In 1990, Ellison was honored by International PEN for continuing commitment to artistic freedom and the battle against censorship. In 1998, he was awarded the "Defender of Liberty" award by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

In March 1998, the National Women's Committee of Brandeis University honored him with their 1998 Words, Wit, Wisdom award. In 1990, Ellison was honored by International PEN for continuing commitment to artistic freedom and the battle against censorship.

Ellison was named 2002's winner of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal's "Distinguished Skeptic Award", in recognition of his contributions to science and critical thinking. Ellison was presented with the award at the Skeptics Convention in Burbank, California, June 22, 2002.[40]

In December 2009, Ellison was nominated for a Grammy award in the category Best Spoken Word Album For Children for his reading of Through the Looking-Glass And What Alice Found There for Blackstone Audio, Inc. This was his second Grammy nomination, the first coming in the late 1970s, for a self-produced reading (released via the Harlan Ellison Record Collection) of "Jeffty is Five."[citation needed]

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films (USA)

  • Golden Scroll (Best Writing – Career 1976)

Audio Publishers Association

  • The Titanic Disaster Hearings: The Official Transcript of the 1912 Senatorial Investigation (Best "Multi-Voiced Presentation", 1999)
  • City of Darkness (Best Solo Narration, 1999)

Best American Short Stories

  • The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore (included in the 1993 anthology)

Bradbury award

The Bradbury Award was given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2000 to Harlan Ellison and Yuri Rasovsky for the radio series 2000X.

Bram Stoker Award

  • The Essential Ellison (best collection, 1987)
  • Harlan Ellison's Watching (best non-fiction, 1989 — tie)
  • Mefisto in Onyx (best novella, 1993 — tie)
  • Chatting With Anubis (best short story, 1995)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 1995
  • I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (best other media — audio, 1999)

Edgar Allan Poe Award

  • The Whimper of Whipped Dogs (best short story, 1974)
  • Soft Monkey (best short story, 1988)

Hugo Award

Locus Poll Award

  • The Region Between (best short fiction, 1970)
  • Basilisk (best short fiction, 1972)
  • Again, Dangerous Visions (best anthology, 1972)
  • The Deathbird (best short fiction, 1974)
  • Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W (best novelette, 1975)
  • Croatoan (best short story, 1976)
  • Jeffty Is Five (best short story, 1978) (best short story of all time, 1999 online poll)
  • Count the Clock That Tells the Time (best short story, 1979)
  • Djinn, No Chaser (best novellette, 1983)
  • Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed (best related non-fiction, 1985)
  • Medea – Harlan's World|Medea: Harlan's World (best anthology, 1986)
  • Paladin of the Lost Hour (best novelette, 1986)
  • With Virgil Oddum at the East Pole (best short story, 1986)
  • Angry Candy (best collection, 1989)
  • The Function of Dream Sleep (best novellette, 1989)
  • Eidolons (best short story, 1989)
  • Mefisto in Onyx (best novella, 1994)
  • Slippage (best collection, 1998)

Nebula Award

  • "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman (best short story, 1965)
  • A Boy and His Dog (best novella, 1969)
  • Jeffty Is Five (best short story, 1977)
  • Grand Master Award (at Tempe, Arizona, May 6, 2006)
  • How Interesting: A Tiny Man (best short story, tied with Kij Johnson/"Ponies" 2011)

Writers Guild of America

Writers Guild of Canada

World Fantasy Award

  • Angry Candy (Best Collection, 1988)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 1993

Additional reading

Parodies and pastiches of Ellison

Ellison is such a distinctive personality that many other science-fiction authors have inserted thinly-disguised parodies of him into their works, some good-natured, others hostile.

One of the more benevolent is the main character in a mystery novel Murder at the A.B.A. by Isaac Asimov. The novel's main character and narrator is an author named "Darius Just", a thinly-disguised parody of Ellison, who serves as an amateur sleuth to solve the murder of a fellow author at the convention. Asimov intended the name "Darius Just" as a pun on "Dry As Dust". Ellison objected to the depiction: Darius Just is 5 feet (1.5 m) tall, whereas Ellison is 4 inches (10 cm) taller. Just reappears in the Black Widowers mystery short story "The Woman in the Bar", which is unrelated to the novel, and after Asimov's death in the pastiche "The Last Story" by Charles Ardai.

Robert Silverberg's 1955 novel, Revolt on Alpha C, a retelling of the American Revolution set on a distant planet, features a character named "Harl Ellison," who is the first cadet (of a group that has been sent to restore order) to switch sides and join the revolutionaries.[citation needed]

Ben Bova's comic-SF novel The Starcrossed was inspired by Ellison's and Bova's experience on the Canada-produced miniseries The Starlost. In Bova's novel, a new television show is produced to encourage people to buy newly-invented 3D televisions. The Ellison character is a famous writer named Ron Gabriel. Although Bova is a friend of Ellison's, and his portrayal of Gabriel is admiring and sympathetic, the novel is broad comedy, and should not be read as a true roman a clef. Ellison gave a non-fiction account of his Starlost experience in a lengthy essay titled "Somehow, I Don't Think We're in Kansas, Toto".

Mike Friedrich and artist Dick Dillin paid a bizarre homage in the May 1971 issue of the comic book Justice League of America. In a hallucinatory story called "The Most Dangerous Dreams of All," the literary efforts of a flashy, insecure writer named Harlequin Ellis somehow become reality.

In the Ron Goulart novel Galaxy Jane, a birdman character by the name of Harlan Grzyb (author of I Have No Perch But I Must Sing and editor of Dangerous Birdcages) rages about the terrible things others have done to his script for the film Galaxy Jane.

In The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller featured Ellison by name as a television talking head. His only dialog elliptically anticipates a world where "[we'll] be eating our own babies for breakfast." Ellison and Miller are friends, the latter drawing the cover and writing the introduction for the stand-alone publication of Mefisto in Onyx.

In a somewhat less sympathetic vein, Ellison serves as a partial basis for a composite character in Sharyn McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun. The novel is a satirical look at science fiction and fantasy fandom and conventions.

David Gerrold, in his 1980 Star Trek novel The Galactic Whirlpool, makes mention of "Ellison's Star," a particularly unpredictable and "angry" White Dwarf star.

Yet another Ellison-character appears throughout a 1971 novel by Gerrold and Larry Niven, The Flying Sorcerers. The pantheon of gods in this story are all named after various SF writers. Ellison becomes Elcin, "The small, but mighty god of thunder" who will "Rain lightning down upon the heads" of those who "deny the power of the gods".

In an episode of the animated television show Freakazoid! entitled "And Fanboy is His Name," Freakazoid offers Fanboy "his very own Harlan Ellison" (as a slow, slightly dischordant version of For He's A Jolly Good Fellow plays on the soundtrack) in an attempt to convince Fanboy to stop following him.

In the 1970s, artist and cartoonist Gordon Carleton wrote and drew a scripted slide show called "City on the Edge of Whatever," which was a spoof of "The City on the Edge of Forever". Occasionally performed at Star Trek conventions, it featured an irate writer named "Arlan Hellison" who screamed at his producers, "Art defilers! Script assassins!"[41]

Mystery Science Theater 3000 poked fun at Ellison in the episode "Mitchell", identifying a short irritable–looking man being booked into a police station as the writer and expressing some satisfaction at that notion. (Tom Servo: "They've arrested Harlan Ellison!" Joel Robinson: "Good.")

In "Halvah," Clifford Meth describes an interaction between an Ellison-like character named Cord (for Cordwainer Bird) and a throng of annoying fans. Ellison and Meth are friends, and Ellison provided an afterword to Meth's book god's 15 minutes.

Ellison's own self-parody

At Stephen King's request, Ellison provided a description of himself and his writing in Danse Macabre. "My work is foursquare for chaos. I spend my life personally, and my work professionally, keeping the soup boiling. Gadfly is what they call you when you are no longer dangerous; I much prefer troublemaker, malcontent, desperado. I see myself as a combination of Zorro and Jiminy Cricket. My stories go out from here and raise hell. From time to time some denigrater or critic with umbrage will say of my work, `He only wrote that to shock.' I smile and nod. Precisely."[42]


  1. ^ Weil, Ellen; Wolfe, Gary K. (2002). Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-81420-892-2. 
  2. ^ Harlan Ellison
  3. ^ Ellison, Harlan (July 23, 2002). Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream": A Study Guide from Gale's "Short Stories for Students". The Gale Group. pp. 27. http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-mouthmustscream/bio.html. 
  4. ^ Levy, Michael (November 2002). "Books in Review, "Of Stories and the Man."". Science Fiction Studies 29 (Part 3). http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/birs/bir88.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  5. ^ Gentleman Junkie 14
  6. ^ Salm, Arthur (2005-03-20). "Dangerous visions". San Diego Union-Tribune. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20050320-9999-1a20harlan.html. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  7. ^ McMurran, Kristen (December 2, 1985). "Harlan Ellison". People Magazine. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20092332,00.html. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  8. ^ http://www.philsp.com/homeville/fmi/s968.htm#A30232
  9. ^ Theodore Sturgeon, in his Introduction to "i have no mouth and i must scream", Pyramid Paperback, April, 1967, final paragraph, in which he describes H.E. as: "...a man on the move, and he is moving fast. He is, on these pages and everywhere else he goes, colorful, intrusive, ABRASIVE... and one hell of a writer".
  10. ^ "TV.com". November 20, 2001. http://www.tv.com/politically-incorrect/harlan-ellison-charlotte-ross-mike-farrell-dana-rohrabacher/episode/1189036/summary.html?tag=ep_guide;summary. Retrieved May 18, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Science Fiction/San Francisco". September 30, 2006. p. 5. http://efanzines.com/SFSF/SFSF30.pdf. Retrieved August 16, 2008. 
  12. ^ "ELLISON SUES STAR TREK" (Press release). 2009-03-13. http://harlanellison.com/heboard/visitors/startrekpressrelease.html. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  13. ^ "ConFrancisco Continued". Ansible 76. November 1993. ISSN 0265-9816. http://news.ansible.co.uk/a76.html#worldcon. 
  14. ^ "Infinitely Improbable". Ansible 77. December 1993. ISSN 0265-9816. http://news.ansible.co.uk/a77.html#he. 
  15. ^ Priest, Christopher (1994). The book on the edge of forever : an enquiry into the non-appearance of Harlan Ellison's The last dangerous visions. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books. ISBN 1560971592. OCLC 34231805. http://books.google.com/?id=XlAFAAAACAAJ. 
  16. ^ From Harlan Ellison's introduction to I Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay, ISBN 0-446-67062-6
  17. ^ Cusack, Richard. "BUGFUCK!" (TXT). http://harlanellison.com/foe/bugfuck.txt. Retrieved 2006-07-30. 
  18. ^ "The Ellison Appreciation Society". Ansible 77. December 1993. ISSN 0265-9816. http://news.ansible.co.uk/a77.html#platt. 
  19. ^ Spurgeon, Tom, and Jacob Covey. Comics As Art: We Told You So. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics, 2006. ISBN 978-1-56097-738-4
  20. ^ "The Insanity Offense". http://news.ansible.co.uk/c_platt.html. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  21. ^ "Harlan Ellison sues Fantagraphics". http://www.tcj.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=413&Itemid=70. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  22. ^ "IT IS FINISHED". http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/06/29/it-is-finished/. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  23. ^ "Feud shoe waiting to drop". http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/07/18/feud-shoe-waiting-to-drop/. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  24. ^ "You Boys Play Nice Now". http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/08/16/you-boys-play-nice-now/. Retrieved 2007-08-20. 
  25. ^ Sanderson, Larry. "Hugo Awards – Harlan and Connie – 2006". http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4653991510586546104. Retrieved 2006-09-03. 
  26. ^ Unca Harlan's Art Deco Pavilion: Archives
  27. ^ Patrick Nielsen Hayden – LAcon IV
  28. ^ Ellison, Harlan. "Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion". http://harlanellison.com/heboard/archive/unca20060901.htm. Retrieved 2006-09-20. 
  29. ^ SCIFI.COM | The Outer Limits
  30. ^ SCIFI.COM | The Outer Limits
  31. ^ Marx, Andy (July 7, 1991). "IT'S MINE All Very Well and Good, but Don't Hassle the T-1000". Los Angeles Times. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/61349412.html?dids=61349412:61349412&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Jul+07%2C+1991&author=Andy+Marx&pub=Los+Angeles+Times+%28pre-1997+Fulltext%29&desc=IT%27S+MINE+All+Very+Well+and+Good%2C+but+Don%27t+Hassle+the+T-1000&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  32. ^ The Futurist: The Life and Times of James Cameron (Kindle location 885)
  33. ^ Rich, Motoko (May 12, 2009). "Print Books Are Target of Pirates on the Web". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/technology/internet/12digital.html?src=sch. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  34. ^ http://www.schwimmerlegal.com/2011/09/harlan-ellison-sues-re-in-time-repent-harlequin.html
  35. ^ Internet Speculative Fiction Database http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?349096
  36. ^ Harlan Ellison
  37. ^ http://weeklycomicbookreview.com/2010/08/23/harlan-ellisons-phoenix-without-ashes-1-review/
  38. ^ Dreams with Sharp Teeth | Documentary Films .NET
  39. ^ "Harlan Ellison". http://www.tv.com/harlan-ellison/person/30560/trivia.html. 
  40. ^ "Ellison named Distinguished Skeptic" Comics Buyer's Guide #1478; March 15, 2002
  41. ^ Carleton, Gordon (1978). "City on the Edge of Whatever" Coloring Book. T'Kuhtian Press. 
  42. ^ Stephen King: Danse Macabre Chapter 9 "Horror Fiction."


  • Leigh Blackmore, Ellison/Dowling/Dann: A Bibliographic Checklist. (Sydney:R'lyeh Texts, 1996).
  • Swigart, Leslie Kay. Harlan Ellison: A Bibliographical Checklist 2nd ed. Libra Aurore, 1981.

Documentary film

  • Erik Nelson (writer and director). Dreams with Sharp Teeth (made 2002-2007, released 2008). A documentary film about Ellison's life and work.

External links

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Succeeded by
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