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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Iconic and Controversial Cleveland Sci-Fi Author Harlan Ellison Has Died at 84

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 4:17 PM

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Harlan Ellison is considered perhaps one of the most fascinating authors of science-fiction and fantasy both in work, and as an individual. The Cleveland-born writer penned a wildly impressive career spanning over six decades and accumulated a variety of awards for his work.

As a teenager, he rode the rails with hobos, joined Martin Luther King Jr. in the Selma March, had his live saved by Steve McQueen and took martial arts lessons from Bruce Lee.

He's seriously the coolest Clevelander you've never heard of.

A snapshot of his life's work included five Nebula awards, eight and a half Hugo awards, two World Fantasy awards, 18 Locus awards, four Writers Guild of America honors, two Edgar Allan Poe awards, two George Melies Fantasy Film awards and an impressive six Bram Stoker awards.

His works include 'Repent Harlequin’, Said the Ticktockman, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, A Boy and His Dog, (what is largely considered to be the peak of depressing sci-fi stories), and the script for the highly controversial Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever.”

Ellison, in typical Cleveland fashion, also was a man that didn't take shit from anyone, ever.

The previously mentioned Star Trek episode is controversial due to the aggressive fallout between Ellison and the show's creator Gene Roddenberry that later led to Ellison suing (and settling with) CBS Television studios over what he said was about "The 35-year-long disrespect and the money!"

Ellison was radically progressive and rebelled against the restrictive tastes of sci-fi magazine editors, eventually revolutionizing the field with an anthology called Dangerous Visions, with the sole goal of completely obliterating any standards or taboos set by previous publications. His life even inspired the book A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison.

In 2009, Ellison turned down a Cleveland Arts Prize lifetime achievement award, calling it "a fraud and a sham," and claiming he didn't want to be associated with it. In reality, Ellison was pissed that they weren't willing to foot the bill for he and his wife's travel and lodging expenses from his California home back to his native Cleveland. Even a lifetime achievement award was enough of a reason for Ellison to stir the pot.

Rest in peace, you radical, divisive, aggressive and brilliant bad-ass.

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