This weekend I was looking through some old magazines when I saw an obit. Writer Harlan Ellison had died in his sleep at age 84 earlier this year. I was surprised I had not run across this before.
Although I'm not a big science fiction fan, I took a class on science fiction when I was going to grad school at the University of Oregon. It was there I discovered Ellison. After that, I read many of his books.
Ellison was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1934. In a career spanning on 40 years, he has awards for the 75 books he wrote or edited. He wrote more than 1,700 stories, essays, articles, newspaper columns, teleplays and motion pictures.
He has won science fiction's Hugo award eight times, the Nebula three times as well as others, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.
He was awarded the Living Legend Award from the International Horror Critics in 1996. He wrote teleplay episodes for "Twilight Zone" and "Star Trek."
He traveled with rock groups and wrote "Spider Kiss." It was hailed by music critics as "the finest novel about the world of rock in the past quarter-century."
The biography on Ellison in Current Biography magazine is four pages long. It has to be that long to include all his awards and all his works. His work covers numerous genres. In November 2001, his first young adult collection was released, "Troublemakers: Stories by Harlan Ellison."
One of Ellison's most popular works has been the two-volume science fiction on anthologies "Dangerous Visions" and "Dangerous Visions Again." It has become a cult favorite.
Ellison was often a controversial character. He once reportedly mailed 213 bricks to a publisher who didn't pay him. Another time he started to sell short stories to Disney but was fired the next day when he was overheard joking about making a porn film with Disney characters.
Throughout his life, he wrote about civil rights and participated in anti-war demonstrations.
Ellison became an important television critic. The books, "The Glass Teat," and "The Other Glass Teat," have sold millions and are currently being taught in media classes in more than 200 American universities.
Among his most recognized works are some of the following: "I Have No Mouth, but I Must Scream," "Dangerous Visions," "Dreams with Sharp Teeth," "An Edge in My Voice," and "Mother Goose and Grimm."
Fans of Harlan Ellison will miss him, but he left plenty to read.
Sheila Lisman retired in 2003 after teaching English at Sherman Junior High for three years, Hutchinson High School for 35 years and one year in Auckland, New Zealand, on exchange. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.