Tag Archives: sci-fi

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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Filed under Editorials, Film/TV, Reviews

And Don’t Call Me Shirley…

Leslie Nielsen has left this mortal coil.

Nielsen, best known to many for his comedic performances in the Airplane and Naked Gun movies, found his comic voice in later life. In his early career he worked heavily in television and was primarily a dramatic actor, featured in films like Beau Geste, The Posiedon Adventure and Forbidden Planet  (the latter was only his second film and became a sci-fi classic. It made his outrageously offbeat character in the Airplane movies seem even more absurd than it was.

The Zucker Brothers, who mined comedy gold via Nielsen’s deadpan delivery in Airplane, also created the underappreciated series Police Squad. Lieutenant Frank Durbin got his start there, and after the series was cancelled, the character hit the big screen in the Naked Gun films. Soon he became the go-to guy for parody movies, and the congenial Canadian actor was happy to keep working. Although most of these later films paled in comparison to the earlier classic, he was usually good for a great scene or two.

Video: Leslie Nielsen highlights

Surely his place in film history is secure.

And don’t

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Filed under Comedy, Film/TV