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September 24th, 2010

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03:10 pm - More sadness:
Harlan Ellison is dying!

(6 comments | Speak, or forever hold your peace)


[User Picture]
Date:September 25th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)


I've been expecting this news ever since he had his bypass surgery.

And now that the news has finally come... it is utterly impossible for me to go to MadCon this weekend. I mean that: Utterly impossible.

No words can properly express how sad and frustrated I am right now.
[User Picture]
Date:September 25th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC)

Re: ...

I'm sorry to be the bearer of ill tidings, but I was shocked, and had to share this news.

[User Picture]
Date:September 26th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)

I don't kill the messenger.

None of this is your fault. Like I said: I knew this was coming. Hell, I knew Harlan's health was failing, and was expecting to see a news article any day saying that he had died in his sleep. So the fact that he has the energy to attend "one last convention" is something of a good thing.

I have had the pleasure of seeing the man in person at conventions and other functions. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to go to MadCon and shake his hand one last time and say "Thank you... for *EVERYTHING*" -- but as I said, it is utterly impossible for me to get away this weekend. I made promises that I really must keep... and the world won't stop turning if I don't get to shake Harlan's hand.
[User Picture]
Date:September 26th, 2010 06:24 am (UTC)

Re: I don't kill the messenger.

I've seen him at conventions, also, typically feted at Babylon 5 panels, along with JMS. We stood only a foot away, once, at UCLA, when they had a one day SF conclave of sorts, and he was kind enough to attend. He was acerbic, and an interesting speaker. I'm glad I got to see him before whatever is happening happens...

[User Picture]
Date:September 25th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
That's too bad; but give the man props for trying to go out with as much dignity and sangfroid as possible (two qualities by no means continually present when he was in the bloom of health).

I've always preferred his essays to his fiction, possibly because he's one of those writers whose personality tends to overwhelm whatever he writes, and most of his fiction, to me, rings of a polite fiction along the lines of "I did not have sex with that woman": in his essays, at least the flimsiest of lies are dispensed with (perhaps in favor for the more robust lies..?).

I've often wished that he wrote more New York Review of Books-style essays, given what a voracious reader he was and how aggressively he argued his POV; that said, like every other critic, for every judgment that you whole-heartedly agree with (his glowing assessment of William Lindsay Gresham's Nightmare Alley), there's at least one head-scratcher (his deeming Gerald Kersh to be one of his all-time favorite writers and his praise of Zalman King, back in his TV acting days, as an up-and-coming superstar: really?).

I've also wished that he could have a duel, on the printed page, with various other strongly opinionated critics: Pauline Kael and Gore Vidal, to name two.
[User Picture]
Date:September 26th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
Damn, that would have been something to see.

I remember when I was in college at UCLA. His film, A Boy and his Dog had been released, and the school paper ran a critical article about the film. I didn't bother to read it at the time, but it was apparently fairly childish. Ellison wrote back a prodigious diatribe that I DID read, and it was brilliant. I wish I still had it in hand, but it had to have been published in the Daily Bruin within two or three weeks of the movie's release...spectacular turn of phrase!

More sadness: - This ain't no party, this ain't no disco... — LiveJournal

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