T.G.I.F. – Happy Birthday, Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison is not warm and fuzzy.

And neither are his stories. Ellison caught my fancy when I was a young man with a vivid imagination and ample time to read (oh, for those days!); he’s a master of speculative fiction who most often tills the ground between Rod Serling and Issac Asimov. Ellison’s scope embraces short stories, screenplays, novels and scripts, and his ideas and concepts about humanity and social conscience have influenced a sea of followers, as well as his contemporaries.

I was fascinated by this man who joined a street gang in Brooklyn as research for a story, whose prescient takes on space travel and future societies were as pensive as his religious allegories and tales of authoritative madness. And while everyone was using a typewriter forty years ago, I’m intrigued that this self-described curmudgeon still steadfastly refuses to write his stories any other way but banging them out in his trusted Olympia, even in 2011. Not a big fan of social media, computers or the Internet, either…

“Why do people keep insisting that I join the 21st Century? I *LIVE* in the 21st Century! I just don’t want to be bothered by the shitheads on the internet!”

Must be working – he just won the 2011 Nebula Award – his fourth – for his short story “How Interesting: A Tiny Man“. But awards are nothing new for Ellison; he’s the world’s most honored living writer.

So this week’s TGIF wishes a Happy 77th Birthday to Harlan Ellison with Ten Terrific Tangents you must check out. Thanks for a lifetime of mind-blowing words, HarlanI even forgive you for The Oscar.

(01) – The Glass Teat: Television reviews in his unique style

(02) – Web Of The City: Gang days. Also see Memos From Purgatory

(03) – Angry Candy: From the late 90’s, one of his best collections.

(04) – Ellison Wonderland: The early anthology that made a huge mark.

(05) – Shatterday: Title story was an 80’s Twilight Zone episode

(06) – The Essential Ellison: A fifty-year retrospective of his work.

(07) – I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream: Even better than the title.

(08) – Harlan Ellison’s Watching: more biting criticism

(09) – Deathbird Stories: Dark, sinister, and amazing.

(10) – Dreams With Sharp Teeth: a wonderful documentary.

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