Science Fiction writer Harlan Ellison passed away earlier this week.
I’ve never met him personally. I know him more through the stories I read growing up. One of his books, a fat one of short stories was in my library. When I first got hooked on Star Trek as the fandom snowballed, I started picking up books from the science fiction section. Harlan’s, Robert Silverberg, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein (it was the children’s section, so I got his juveniles).
And there were stories about Harlan Ellison:
- The most famous is the disagreement with Gene Roddenberry over the Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever. He didn’t agree with the changes Gene made to the script…but it’s still one of the most memorable episodes of all time.
- And one of those disagreements showed up on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He did do a script for the show; it was under the pen name of Cordwainer Bird. As it goes, an executive suggested a change to the script, and Harlan pushed him. Executive fell back and was injured.
- The final one was a con that I was attending. Harlan Ellison was scheduled to attend the con. But he demanded 1st class seating on the flight–for both him and his wife. The con said they would do it for him, but they couldn’t afford to pay for his wife. He refused, so they cancelled his appearance.
You know people are going to die off, but it’s still hard seeing it. Writers, at least, can live on through their works.