R.I.P. – HARLAN ELLISON (1934-2018)

HARLAN ELLISON was a literary force of nature.  Heck, screw “literary”!  He was just a force of nature.  Period!  He had opinions about everything…and none of them were at all subtle.  In fact, if he were here at all right now (and gave a crap), he’d probably tell me that writing a one-word sentence “Period!” followed by an exclamation point to hammer home my previous sentence was just plain stupid and amateurish.  “But keep writing,” he’d probably tell me.  “It’s the only way you’ll stop being so terrible!”

Actually, Harlan once called me a “god.”  True story.  (I’ll tell you that one in a moment.)

Most Trekkers probably know Harlan Ellison as the person credited with writing the widely-considered best episode of TOS, “The City on the Edge of Forever.”  Harlan would have told you that he did NOT write that episode.  He wrote a script for that episode that Gene Roddenberry demolished with rewrites and turned to a giant, steaming turd.  Don’t believe me?  Read Harlan’s book on the subject.  He pulled no punches.  (Me?  I still like the way the episode turned out.  But don’t tell Harlan that.)

This souring experience with Gene turned into a decades-long war that makes anything we’ve got in the world of fan films seem like tiddlywinks!  Harlan never missed a chance to eviscerate Gene Roddenberry, and I recall my first time ever seeing Harlan live on stage (at I-CON in Stony Brook, NY in 1991) and hearing him discuss Gene, who was in failing health at the time.  Not being familiar yet with the feud, I learned about it VERY quickly.  To this day, I remember what Harlan said about Star Trek‘s creator:

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