Harlan Ellison - Jewish Writer

Prolific writer and troublemaker

Born: May 27, 1934 - Cleveland, Ohio
Died: June 27, 2018 --Undisclosed Location

[Article Originally Published 2009-01-01 ]

Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison grew up in Painesville, Ohio as the only Jewish kid in his elementary school. Because he was also the smallest child in his class, he was bullied frequently. As a youth Ellison left home and became a drifter. He was soon selling science fiction stories to magazines and briefly attended the Ohio State University. In 1957 he was drafted into the army where he served until 1959.

After Ellison left the army he continued as a writer, and an extremely prolific one he was, producing television scripts, short pieces, fiction and non-fiction .

He also lived a life of high adventure: In the 1950s, researching his first novel Web of the City, he hung out with a Brooklyn street gang; he marched to Selma with Martin Luther King Jr.; reported on race riots in Chicago accompanied by James Baldwin; got fired from Walt Disney Studios by none other than Roy Disney for suggesting the company make a pornographic film; traveled with the Rolling Stones; "once stood off the son of a Mafia kingpin with a Remington XP-100, while wearing nothing but a bath towel." 1

Ellison wrote screenplays for the original Outer Limits and Star Trek television series and the 1980s remake of the Twilight Zone as well as Babylon 5. He has worked as an actor on television, a voiceover artist and a consultant in a variety of mediums. He was also a frequent guest on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect.

According to his own biography he, "probably is the most contentious person now walking the Earth." He has also been described as insistent, intense and profane. He has an untold number of enemies whom he has done battle with both in print and online.

He has written over a dozen screenplays, several television scripts, graphic novels, a newspaper column and over 1700 short stories. He has won major awards for fiction and journalism and has been nominated for both an Emmy and Grammy.

Ellison was the subject of a recent documentary called Dreams with Sharp Teeth, which also features actor Robin Williams and late television personality Tom Snyder.


What follows is a listing of most of his major written works and awards:

Books of Short Stories
Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-Up Generation
Deathbird stories
The Beast Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World
Approaching Oblivion
Love Ain't Nothing but Sex Misspelled (fiction and nonfiction)
Strange Wine
Stalking the Nightmare
Angry Candy

Spider Kiss
Rumble (also titled Web of the City)

Published Screenplays and Teleplays

I, Robot (with Isaac Asimov) (unrelated to the 2004 movie starring Will Smith)
City on the Edge of Forever (Star Trek episode, original screenplay, with commentary)
See also Phoenix without Ashes, the novelization by Edward Bryant of the screenplay for the pilot episode of The Starlost, which includes a lengthy afterword by Ellison describing what happened in the production of that series.

Memos from Purgatory
The Glass Teat (essays on television, 1968-1970)
The Other Glass Teat (essays on television, 1970-1972)
Harlan Ellison's Watching

Anthologies Edited
Dangerous Visions 1967 (ISBN 0425061760)
Dangerous Visions 2
Dangerous Visions 3 (ISBN 0722132999)
Again Dangerous Visions 1972 (ISBN 0425061825)
Medea: Harlan's World (1985; ISBN 0932096360): an experiment in collaborative science-fictional world-building, featuring contributions by Hal Clement, Frank Herbert, Ursula K. LeGuin and others

Selected Short Stories
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World
A Boy and his Dog (made into a film)
The Diagnosis of Dr. D'arqueAngel
From A to Z, in the Chocolate Alphabet
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Jeffty Is Five
The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World
"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman
Shattered Like a Glass Goblin
Soldier: filmed as an Outer Limits episode. The film The Terminator had sufficient story element similarities that Ellison filed a lawsuit against James Cameron. Later prints of the film acknowledge the debt to Ellison.
The Whimper of Whipped Dogs

Awards Won
Bradbury award
The Bradbury Award in 2000 went to Harlan Ellison and Yuri Rasovsky.

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)
Life achievement award, 1995
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (best other media - audio, 1999)

Hugo Award
"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman (best short fiction, 1966)
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (best short story, 1968)
City on the Edge of Forever (best dramatic presentation, 1968)
Dangerous Visions (special award, 1968)
The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World (best short story, 1969)
Again, Dangerous Visions (special award for excellence in anthologizing, 1972)
The Deathbird (best novelette, 1974)
Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38? 54' N, Longitude 77? 00' 13" W (best novelette, 1975)
Jeffty is Five (best short story, 1978)
Paladin of the Lost Hour (best novellette, 1986)

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)
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 (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) 2

Interesting Facts
  • Harlan Ellison was once the answer to a clue on Jeopardy.
  • A list of five things Ellison claims he will never do: An ad for McDonald's; Step foot in Germany; Eat lima beans; Harm a child; Voluntarily read a book by Judith Kranz.
Further Reading
Some of these sites were used as source material for this entry and may be of interest to those looking to learn more about this person/topic.
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