Harlan Ellison Talks Strike – Dispels ‘Guardian’ Rumors | TrekMovie.com
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Harlan Ellison Talks Strike – Dispels ‘Guardian’ Rumors December 10, 2007

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Conventions/Events/Attractions,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

The Star Trek day at Paramount was packed. Stars and writers from every Trek series and from the feature films were there to show their support for the WGA strike. You can’t find a stronger supporter for writers rights than Harlan Ellison. The never disappointing writer of the Original Series episode “City on the Edge of Forever” was in fine form discussing the strike. While he was at it, he also took a shot at the latest rumors on the web about the new Star Trek movie using elements of “City.” (see below)

Ellison Video – WARNING: colorful metaphors ahead

No Guardian in Star Trek
So there you have it folks…rumors that the The Guardian of Forever are not true, it is not in the film. TrekMovie.com has also independently verified this.

TrekMovie.com will have more clips from the WGA Star Trek day tomorrow.

Some good pictures from the event are up at TheLAist

Comments

1. Edith Keeler - December 10, 2007

Its nice that Harlan wrote something people remember – like 40 years ago. He’s a one hit wonder and I wish he’d just shut up and fade away. No one cares Harlan.

2. Trekfansince70 - December 10, 2007

Oh Harlan…cranky as ever lol

3. YUBinit - December 10, 2007

I love this guy. :)

4. Petey - December 10, 2007

*LOL* Harlan’s a riot. Keep it there, writers!

5. Harry Ballz - December 10, 2007

Look, Anthony, this isn’t “flaming”, but Ellison is an overrated writer and I’m looking forward to when he’s no longer around to irritate anyone.

Arrogance can be forgiven or, at least, understood if it comes from a supreme talent, but not an angry wannabee like Harlan Ellison….this guy is a boil on the ass of life and the sooner he’s gone, all the better for humanity!!!

6. Noleuser - December 10, 2007

I agree with his principles on the strike, but I think he’s arrogant and annoying.

7. The Vulcanista - December 10, 2007

Edith! I’m surprised at you! That’s your daddy you’re talking about!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

8. OtterVomit - December 10, 2007

Harlan Ellison a one-hit wonder? Try taking a look beyond Star Trek! I guess David Gerrold is a one hit wonder too?

9. trektacular - December 10, 2007

Ellison may be talented, but all his fame is really due to Star Trek, kind of sad for him, seeing as how he hates it, and annoying for us for the same reason.

10. harry ballz jr. - December 10, 2007

I hope tv is covered from wall to wall with nothing but reality shows. That way the writers have no jobs to go back to and then have to deal with life in the real world. Amen.

11. Charles Trotter - December 10, 2007

That “one-hit wonder” actually has several hits to his name. A man who won eleven Hugos (well, ten and a half :P), four WGA awards, four Nebula Awards, six Bram Stoker awards (including a Life Achievement award), 18 Locus Poll awards and a Bradbury Award — is hardly a “one-hit wonder.”

12. James Heaney - December 10, 2007

Gah! Spoilers about fake rumors in the title!

Harlan is…. a real piece of work. Love him, even though I would never allow him near my children for fear that he might eat them.

13. Iowagirl - December 10, 2007

People are still jejoicing in that one-hit wonder. “City on the Edge of Forever” is a truly remarkable and wondrous episode.

14. Charles Trotter - December 10, 2007

Allow me to correct my previous post #11… he was *nominated* for all those awards mentioned, and won most of them.

15. toddk - December 10, 2007

The use of the guardian in the animated series was acceptable and cool because it was a cool story, and because it was a clear extention beyond the original series ..and at the time in 1973..it was believed by most that there would be no new star trek to follow. and it could have turned out that way if it wasnt for star wars..yes I said star wars.. I think all writers are overpaid and are a bunch of whining babies. Write the scripts or find work doing something else!

16. Anthony Pascale - December 10, 2007

RE: 12
I dont consider something a spoiler anymore once it is debunked. I have confirmed that the guardian is not in the movie…therefore that rumor is not a spoiler. I guess ‘guardian not in movie’ is somewhat of a spoiler for those who are assuming it is…for them…sorry

17. josh morgan - December 10, 2007

I personally think they should all shut the heck up and stop with these nonsense strikes. Seriously what the HECK is the point of all this? And you people are SUPPORTING these whingers!?!?!?!?!?!

18. Anthony Pascale - December 10, 2007

RE: harlan
personally…I find him highly entertaining.

19. Harry - December 11, 2007

Re. Edith

“Its nice that Harlan wrote something people remember – like 40 years ago. He’s a one hit wonder and I wish he’d just shut up and fade away. No one cares Harlan.” quote

And what have you done that will be watched and be remembered by millions of people Edith? Jack.

20. Admiral_Bumblebee - December 11, 2007

That was so great! I love Harlan Ellison, he is so funny and honest. What a joy watching and hearing him.

21. TJ Trek - December 11, 2007

Yah, I think Harlan Ellison would know. if his creation (The gaurdian ) was in the movie. If he wasn’t dirctly told by paramount, or asked for input, he would have been contct by some third party that found out. for sure. So if he debunks the rumor then it’s sure to be the real deal. So, no Gaurdian. I have said before in my post that I am sick and trired of all this time travel. However, the Gaurdian of forever would have been a return to a fresh time travel idea. I hope this doesn’t mean a less interesting form of a time travel movie. There should be an ad campaign out there to star trek prodeucers diurectors and writers JUST SAY “NO” TO TIME TRAVEL.

22. Iowagirl - December 11, 2007

#11, 14

Charles, thank you for the information.

23. David (Enterprise should have wings AND flames on the hull) - December 11, 2007

he’s… gotten…. old….

God Bless him for his stories… and the fact he won the Terminator case. The appropriate comments might be ‘ Damn you Michael Bay!!!’, but since Bay didn’t rip him off, I find myself somewhat lost. Michale Bay was my favorite target. JJ isj ust not target material. Neither are the writers. (Yet.)

The Enterprise; lacking wings or flames, will be your undoing Orci.

So say me all.

OK, the insane stuff aside.

WTF?! bold, because html is not a mystery to me. The costume reported to be on Kirks B-hind? Are we red-shirting the new, re-written, re-timelined Kirk already? Is this an evil mind-frak? Or just some internal joke within the production we will be exposed to at some undisclosed date?

Just curious…

24. James Heaney - December 11, 2007

#16: I’m mainly just pulling your leg, Anthony. Although I hadn’t heard time travel was a part of the plot. (And, due to my Spoiler Earmuffs, I’m still able to hope that it isn’t!)

I recently saw a great piece by Harlan about copyright over on YouTube… I should see if I can find that and repost it here.

#15 and #17: First, are you the same person? Your semi-coherent English is roughly Internet-standard, but seems unusually similar nonetheless–particularly in a forum as literate as this one usually is. Second, yes, I am supporting these bunch of whingers, because I think the stories writers write are better when they’re paid like the professionals they are. A Hollywood writer who has worked his whole life and invested a great deal of time, effort, money, and education into his goal in order to reach a certain set of qualifications and then proceeding to turn out work that results in significant societal benefit, deserves, like any other member of the professional class (teachers, doctors, lawyers) to be paid more than a gas station attendant.

The way I see it, the writers know better than I do how much money they actually make and how burdened they are, and the length of the strike is a function of how serious their greviances are. If the vote to strike had been, say, 55%, I’d be much less inclined to support them. But the vote was over 90% in favor. If a President won that kind of popular support in a general election, he’d be able to repeal the 22nd Amendment and be President-For-Life, so strong would his mandate be. 90% is an absurdly high number that tells me that the writers have serious greviances that they universally agree on.

So, to turn the question around on you: are you seriously supporting those corporate greedmongers? They -have- enough money to pay the strikers what they’re asking a hundred times over. If studio heads are going to screw the people who produce their product, then they should find work doing something else.

25. James Heaney - December 11, 2007

…in a million years, I never thought I’d say the words “corporate greedmongers.” *sigh*

26. DEMODE - December 11, 2007

The Guardian could be in the movie. I wouldn’t be at all suprised if he was “lying” to keep it a secret. That is… if has a writing credit on the thing, and doesn’t want to spill the beans until the movie comes out. If I see his name in the openning credits, I’ll know it’s in it for sure! Haha…. :)

27. Picard for President - December 11, 2007

“Every idiot with a soap box”

“Kill the Internet”

Oy vey.

28. Cheve - December 11, 2007

#17. most writers have money to eat because they are also bartenders or simmilar. You honestly think that the person that creates a story doesn’t have the right to earn a part of the profit if it is sold on the internet?

They only want to have a part of the profit when their creations are sold. There is a very little quantity of writers who earn enough money to live.
Don’t live in the mistake that anyone in hollywood sleeps in piles of money. Most of the people who does is the people who is denying the writers their part.

29. Cheve - December 11, 2007

“Don’t live in the mistake that anyone in hollywood sleeps in piles of money” I meant “everyone” sorry. I’m spanish. English is not my native languaje.

30. Aragorn189 - December 11, 2007

First of all Mr. Harlan needs to realize tha Paramount’s ownership of the Star Trek franchisedoes give them the right to reuse t Guardia if they want to. I also think that he should be reimbursed in some kind, but he doesn’t need to cry about lik some over grown baby.

Second, isn’t it ironic that both Shatner and Harlan areoth complaining about elements of the upcoming film that is being kept a total secret from the rest of the public? I think that this is a ploy by Abrams to produce more hype for the film or to try to throw us off the trail by having these two rant and rave even though their elements (Shatner as an older Kirk and Harlans Guardian), are possibly in the film.

31. trektacular - December 11, 2007

Harlan seems softer here, I wonder if Abrams paid him a bucket load to stfu? If not it seems a nice change.

32. J.D. Lee - December 11, 2007

so… it not true?? I actually LIKE The Gardian of Forever rumors…

aww, man :*(

sad day for me.

33. Dyson Sphere - December 11, 2007

JJ is a master at keeping the hype up through controlled release of information – keep this in mind when you hear anything about the movie.

I am a Guardian fan but if it’s not in, I’d be interested how they pull the plot line off.

34. Mark Lynch - December 11, 2007

My understanding is that the writers are after a share of DVD sales of films/shows they have written.

It seems like common sense that people should be remunerated when their work is sold in any form of medium, be it analogue or electronic.

After all, without the writer there would be no product to create in the first place.
Too much greed in the world. Give these people a fair deal.

And in case you are wondering, I am not a writer, nor do I know any writers. I just think that everyone should be paid a fair days pay for a fair days work.

While I do not always agree with what Harlan says, he is never dull….

35. Iowagirl - December 11, 2007

#1

If it hadn’t been for Ellison, the name field atop your post would be blank.

36. Sean - December 11, 2007

Video doesn’t load for me… anyone know where else I can watch it? Email me at njdss4@yahoo.com

37. Vincent - December 11, 2007

Ellison’s the man. If anyone was a one hit wonder it was Gene Roddenberry.

38. Captain Future - December 11, 2007

By Christmas it’s going to be clear what this rumor was really about. If you’ve been reading Soul of Star Trek, you already know.

39. konar - December 11, 2007

Re — spreading lies to fuel publicity — only works when the “public” gives a flying frack. We ain’t the public…

Off topic, bit didn’t one of the fan productions do a webisode featuring the Guardian? I wonder what if any arrangement they came to with Mr. Ellison? It doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing he’d sit still for.

40. Darkthunder - December 11, 2007

#39

You are correct. An episode of Star Trek New Voyages featured the Guardian of Forever. I think it was one of their first episodes.

41. Stanky McFibberich - December 11, 2007

I mostly am not interested in Mr. Ellison, but I wholeheartedly agree with his criticism of the internet being a place where anyone can put up anything and get stupid rumors flying.

42. Admiraldeem - December 11, 2007

Writers are seldom given credit for their importance to a production – movie, TV, stage, you name it. The old adage is so true–if it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.

While drones like Tom Cruise suck in undeserved millions, the writers don’t begin, usually, to receive the recompense deserved. I’m all for them in this strike.

But I do wish Harlan would shut up and use his intelligence for something besides continually spouting off like a vulgar smokestack on a coal firing power plant.

43. Snake - December 11, 2007

DAMN – I was really looking foward to seeing the Guardian – esp since it hasnt been used since COTEOF (and the animated series)…

Surely if it were true about the guardian being in the film JJ wouldnt be ‘stealing’ from Harlan (like Ellison says in that video)..anymore than Harve Bennet and the various writers of Star Trek II ‘stole’ from Carey Wilber & Gene L Coon (writers of Space Seed) or even anymore than JJ will be ‘stealing’ from Rodenberry..

Maybe the GOF would have been in but the writers thought it wouldnt be worth the nightmare of lawsuits etc from Harlan

Actually if he’s so protective – how come Paramount was able to do that animated ep with the Guardian…or the novels that have been done?

44. Snake - December 11, 2007

oh and btw i’m all for the strike – without the writers WTF would hollywood be? The writers are the first port of call for any project.

45. shake - December 11, 2007

SOLIDARITY! no matter how long it takes.

This viewer is with you! its your labor that I tune in for – not the corporation…

[and fellow viewers - if you want to help *DON'T* download pirate copies either!!!]

46. star trackie - December 11, 2007

How cool and it would have been to see the Guardian again. KInda sucks that it’s not in there actually. That means, instead of the alien portal, which is both other worldly and eerily cool, we will probably see Spock simply slingshot around the sun…again.. Joy.

47. J.D. Lee - December 11, 2007

anthony,
Did you check out the feb 2008 edition of Sci-fi magazine?
…Quinto is on the cover and on top are small images of pine,quinto,urban and saldana with: “meet the STAR TREK’s new crew ”

Table of contents:

Star Trek
“To save Star Trek, director J.J. Abrams decided he had to kill the old version and start over with a new crew. Meet the faces that are reinventing one of the world’s most famous franchises.”

Here the cover ….hope it works:

http://s2.supload.com/free/cover-20071211062705.jpeg/view/

48. FlyingTigress - December 11, 2007

Colorful metaphors — indeed.

49. harry ballz jr. - December 11, 2007

Yes, I support the writers getting a big raise. Especially those writers that came up with the Cavemen show from the Gecko commercial. That was just a classic. Those writers rank up there with Shakespeare and Ginsberg. They should be getting big bucks for their Cavemen contribution. Hallelujah for Cavemen! Whatever shall I do without new Cavemen episodes? Sigh.

50. Andy Patterson - December 11, 2007

Funny guy. Cranky, but a funny guy.

51. CanuckLou - December 11, 2007

Anyone that thinks Harlan is a one hit wonder really needs to expand their horizons.

I’m kind of sad that the GOF rumour is not true. It would have been cool to see a big screen version of it.

BTW today is Nimoy’s first day on set, right? Can we expect a blog entry?

52. Diabolik - December 11, 2007

I would be very happy if there were no time-travel at all, just using Spock (and hopefully Kirk) as a framing device, and we just get to see them when they were young as a flashback.

But that said, we will probably see the Gaurdian and Shatner Kirk in it come next December. Ellison might have been pacified, and now he’s playing their game of keeping the plot more secret.

53. Chris M - December 11, 2007

“The City On The Edge Of Forever” is my favourite episode of not only Star Trek:TOS but of anu of the Star Trek series!

It’s just a shame it was written by someone like Harlan Ellison.

54. TheVamp - December 11, 2007

I don’t care what anyone says, Ellison is awesome.

Sure, the man has some faults, but at least he’s never sold out and always fights for what he believes is right.

55. Adam - December 11, 2007

That video was funny. I’m not sure if I support the strike or not (I wish they could settle it without striking). I do think they should have in their contracts some way of being compensated for material used on company web pages.

I’m glad to hear that the GOF is not in the script. I’m hoping the story doesn’t involve time travel.

56. Harry Ballz - December 11, 2007

harry ballz jr.????

Gee, I guess one of my “little fellows” got through!! :)

57. Randall - December 11, 2007

Ellison is not a “one hit wonder,” but I agree completely with #5 “Harry” that Ellison is heavily overrated as a writer… I often wonder how many people who defend his talent have actually tried to wade through more than a few of his stories.

I have. When I was a teenager (late 70s) I went through a phase where I tried to read everything Ellison had ever written. I’d been enchanted by the man’s public persona (I have a family member who knew him, back in the early 70s, though I never met Ellison myself) and the reputation surrounding him—the pain in the ass who stands up for his work, the little guy who gives it to the big guys, etc. etc. and I thought I read quality in some of his work.

For a while, in my inexperienced youth, I was held enthralled and thought he was great.

Then I delved deeper and deeper into his work… and became less thrilled—and finally bored. Eventually I stopped reading sci-fi altogether–I grew out of it—and then, some years later, out of nostalgia, (wait ’til YOU hit 40) I dug out all the old Ellison books, and tried to read him again to see what reaction I’d have.

Mind you that in the intervening years, I’d finished college, become a writer myself, etc. etc.

Sure enough, I quickly saw what I’d intuitively realized back when I was about 20 years old—that Harlan Ellison could be an occasionally engaging writer when he A) toned his personal “voice” in his work WAY down… but that B) he was *rarely* capable of managing this. Sometimes this worked in his non-fiction—some of his columns and commentaries (The Glass Teat, The Other Glass Teat, etc.) still had a little bite to them, and could even be a bit fun to read. He was a minor sort of wit, but sometimes an entertaining one.

His fiction though—I think people are fooled by his fiction. They see the originality and the inventiveness (there’s no doubt that back in the day he was a great “ideas” man… he came up with clever scenarios and twists, and so on… but when you examine them closely, you realize that, while clever, his ideas are… *merely* clever. Many times they go nowhere, or they fall apart–often upon striking the hard rocks of his pretentious prose. And some of that prose is *horribly* pretentious. But he avoided exposure of this, I believe, by the “hipness” and “toughness” of his diction and style… so the reader can get easily fooled into thinking he’s reading something lyrical or engaging—when actually, with a shake of the head, the impression passes and you’re left with a feeling of distaste.

Overrated and way too much the self-promotor… the feeling I finally got for Harlan Ellison is that he’s a guy who deep down *knows* he’s not as good as he thinks he is, or as good as he’s fooled some people into believing—but he’s by no means brave enough or wise enough to EVER admit it to himself, let alone to others. The fantasy he’s concocted for himself—and others–is that he’s the feisty talent who deserves respect and, dammit—if you don’t give it to him, he’ll take it. But it’s still nothing more than a fantasy.

58. JeFF - December 11, 2007

Yeah, this guy is a total wretch… I think he very nicely represents the losers in the world, the people that lurk in the shadows of those that are popular, beautiful, great. He’s like the ugly miserable ass in high school that had so few friends, and the friends he had were as dark, self-pitying, and brooding as him.

What a shame too, because the man is most probably capable of penning such beauty… so he has it within, but all he exudes is ugly ugly ugly.

59. Decker's Stubble - December 11, 2007

I’m with the writers on this. Look at the late night shows. All these supposedly ‘funnymen’ like Letterman, Leno and Jon Stewart are dead in the water without writers. They’re famous because of writers. Otherwise, they would all be back doing lame stand-up.

60. Olympus1979 - December 11, 2007

Anthony: Is Guardian in the movie?
Orci: Yeah, but tell them it isnt
Anthony: No problem.

61. Admiral Kent - December 11, 2007

Harlin’s starting to look like my Grandmother. Ewwww.

62. Dennis Bailey - December 11, 2007

People who are calling Ellison a “one-hit wonder” and trying to diminish his contributions to fiction and the entertainment industry are, quite simply, ignorant.

“Overrated?” That would be difficult, considering his accomplishments, but frankly one could discard half of what he’s done and he’d still be more worthy of admiration than just about anyone who’s written sf in the last half century.

All people do when they rant about Ellison’s personality is to throw their own resentments, insecurities and shortcomings into stark relief.

63. Danpaine - December 11, 2007

Re, #11 and #14….thank you for pointing out what a bunch of “literary scholars” reside on this board.

Trek is great, folks, but Ellison is one of sci-fi’s literary pioneers. Let’s try to look at the bigger picture.

64. Paul B. - December 11, 2007

I’m very glad the GOF isn’t in the film, but I still fear they’ll do crappy time travel. Oh well… It’s great to see Harlan still kicking and screaming. Those of you who made sniveling comments about him clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. He’s a man of integrity, intensity, vast creativity, and he does not suffers fools…at all (to paraphrase Stephen King).

All of your “one-hit wonder” comments just show how ignorant some of you are. Ellison is one of many SF writers for whom Star Trek was just a blip in their career; Gerrold is different because his career started with Trek. Ellison was already an award-winning author and editor before Trek came along. Love him or hate him, Ellison has an enormous body of work spanning over 50 years, and he’s still writing, and he’s won countless awards. (Remember, he won an award for his ORIGINAL “City of the Edge” teleplay, not the Roddenberry rewrite.)

Harlan’s a million-hit wonder.

65. CanuckLou - December 11, 2007

I’m frankly amazed that anyone believes that with the inclusion of the original Spock that there won’t be some time travel element in the movie.

It has been stated that the Spock character is central to the story and Nimoy has stated his role is one of significance and not just a cameo.
That is just too much on set time to do some bookend scenes.

TIme travel of some sort is a given. The sooner those that oppose its use accept that, the sooner they can move past that sticking point and enjoy the story.

66. ZoomZoom - December 11, 2007

what a colourful fellow!
He certainly shoots from the lip!

67. Harlon Brando - December 11, 2007

Harlon is a very small man – with a very big temper!

68. j - December 11, 2007

“Hey Mark!”

69. Pragmaticus - December 11, 2007

It’s a shame that the Guardian won’t be in the film. It would have been better for it.

70. CmdrR - December 11, 2007

Harlan is a llama fluffer! How’s that for a colorful metaphor? (Double dumb-ass!)

I’m actually very happy if they DON’T use the Guardian in XI. The movie can tip its hat, but if it’s just rehash then how is it better than the last few years’ worth of Trek?

For the record, I love Harlan. He’s gone from being Sci-Fi’s “angry young man” to Sci-Fi’s “angry, crotchety, pissed-off old coot with really big glasses and a mouth like your granny after her third hi-ball.”

Anthony, can we someday get an interview on Harlan that lists some of his many many other one-hits?

71. bmar - December 11, 2007

Harlan is Harlan, love him or hate him. Did he write some great stuff, yes. Is he as great as his ego? No.

Whether or not he’s a great writer, story teller or whatever – at this point is irrelevant. He’s more famous for BEING Harlan Ellison (all attitude and baggage included) than for actually doing anything.

There are those that can’t stand him, and those that idolize him. Personally, I like him. He’s equal parts inspiration and insanity. Not a great fan of his work, except ST – but of course, the version of COTEOF that we all know and love is in many ways very different from the original script he wrote (go read his book).

Moving on to the writers strike – forget for a moment, what they do for a living and how much they are paid (and believe me, writiers are NOT paid all that well, compared to others in the same industry) – it has nothing to do with all of that. The strike is NOT about getting MORE money – it’s about being paid for your work fairly, when someone else is profiting from it.

Imagine this. You make shoes for a living. They are one-of a kind designs that you hand craft and work for a good deal of time on. You sell them to a shoe-store for a negotiated price based on what the store expects them to sell for. The shoe store only makes so much profit, because they only sell out of one store, so your proceeds as the manufacturer are based only on a price based on what is affordable for the seller, and how much they expect to distribute your product. It’s a mutual understanding – I expect to make this much profit from your product, therefore, this is as much as I can pay you for your product.

Then imagine that a few years later, someone invents a brand new way to sell shoes – to a much larger selection of potential buyers, and imagine that it DOESN’T involve opening up a bunch of new stores – so the seller doesn’t have a bunch of new overhead to go with his surge in sales. . . AND they can make an infinte amount of copies of your shoes, at next to no cost. The shoes you designed, created and crafted by hand. The seller is now making considerably more profit on the same items, with a minimally larger overhead (the costs of partcipating in this new way to sell shoes).

Now remember, the price that was negotiated between you, the shoe maker, and the shoe seller was BASED on the expected revenue of the shoes sold. It was a good-faith agreement.

Wouldn’t you expect to be compensated fairly for this new profit made on your product?

THAT’S what the writer’s strike is about. It’s not about “greedy Hollywood” – it’s about being paid fairly when someone is making a very large profit off of your work. Remember, when the contract was negotiated several years ago, the idea of digital distribution and download was barely in it’s infancy.

So give the writers a break and stop bashing them.

72. bill hiro - December 11, 2007

“Anthony: Is Guardian in the movie?
Orci: Yeah, but tell them it isnt
Anthony: No problem.”

That’s about how it looks from here. lol

73. Shatner_Fan_2000 - December 11, 2007

#56 “Gee, I guess one of my ‘little fellows’ got through!!”

Harry, it must’ve been that episode where we came back from commercial and saw you pulling your boots back on.

I’m also disappointed that we’re without a “Guardian”. Seeing that would be WAY cooler than seeing Spock slingshot around the Sun again.

74. Gary - December 11, 2007

I found Harlan to be particularly restrained in this clip. He usually curses alot more….

75. table10 - December 11, 2007

I think the Guardian not being in the movie is a good thing.

I am a big Star Trek fan, but I look at it from the perspective that the only way for the franchise to survive and keep going, they have to expand it and tweak it to better appeal to a mass audience.

And I don’t think the Guardian would have gone over well with the general public. It was a great story in TOS, but I think they can come up with something significantly more awesome with a 140 million dollar budget. It would have looked hokey and out of place.

76. ensign joe - December 11, 2007

Ellison’s work is actually pretty intriguing. I imagine many writers, especially sci-fi writers (Ellisons not all sci-fi yo) can get frustrated with the injustices of the world. I mean, many times its from this pool where sci-fi ideas are conceived. Now I’m not an expert here, but maybe its not that they aren’t getting paid enough, but that other powers are clearly getting a bigger share of something someone else has created. In other words, if the non-writers were not making so much bologna I doubt there were be so much fuss. I just used bologna in a sentence, again. In my mind I picture Ellison as a sort of Vonnegut sans wit – add sardonicism. Is my punctuation correct? Here’s something fun: read Deathbird Stories.

77. Admiral_Bumblebee - December 11, 2007

#75 I agree with you. As cool a plot device the Guardian may be, it would take to much time to explain it to the average movie-goer.
If they do not want to take time explaining a possible return of old Kirk, then I would be really angry if they took the time to explain the Guardian!

78. J C - December 11, 2007

Nice picture of Harlan.

79. D - December 11, 2007

You know, inclusion of Nimoy as old Spock doesn’t mean time travel, it just means we’ll see old Spock. The whole movie could turn out to be a flashback sequence as Spock lays dying somewhere. Just because Bana’s character name is Nero, doesn’t mean he’ll be a Romulan.

So far everything on the film is pure speculation on virtually no facts. Spock would be shuddering over his viewer.

80. Jackson Roykirk - December 11, 2007

You gotta love the wild things Harlan says, such as…

“Skakespeare…what a toadie”

81. Tom - December 11, 2007

# 77 — Wait a minute….. Is it quicker to establish a whole new method of time travel? Please note that the slingshot around the sun was used in Star Trek IV, with ZERO backstory regard that technology. All it would require to explain the Guardian of Forever is 1 or 2 sentences. But to establish a new method would require quite a deal more.

82. Aragorn189 - December 11, 2007

Good point #79. It is possible that this whole film will e a giant flashback, like Titanic, having the old version of the character having a recollection of his first encounter with a pivotal character in his life. This might be th idea behind Star Trek XI. Either way, they just need to release more details or we’ll just have to be patient and find out on Christmas ’08.

83. Dennis Bailey - December 11, 2007

#74:”I found Harlan to be particularly restrained in this clip. He usually curses alot more….”

True. He wasn’t angry, obviously. He was having a good time out there. God bless ‘im.

84. Vfx2k4 - December 11, 2007

Genius and madness- very close aren’t they…

85. Jackson Roykirk - December 11, 2007

The same internet that Ellison lambasted regarding the original GOF rumor was the one he used to spread his angry response to the whole world. He could have just as easily written a private letter to Paramount/Abrams pointing out his concerns.

If he thinks the internet should be done away with, then he shouldn’t use it to advance his causes.

86. paustin - December 11, 2007

wow he needs to get out in the sun…..just as cranky as ever!!
Harlan Ellison is starting to resemble this guy:

http://www.theforce.net/kids/coruscant/probe_droid/palpatine.jpg

87. table10 - December 11, 2007

I agree with #81 too

As much as Guardian is too “sci-fi” for the general public, you are right, coming up with a whole new time travel method would also require way too much explanation, and as a result take people out of the movie.

Because of that, I like the idea from # 79 and # 82, about just doing a strict flashback.

The only problem I see with the flashback is the end of the movie. Since this is an attempt to jumpstart the franchise again, the goal is to have sequels starring the same crew in the same time period. So for it to make sense, you cannot end the movie with present day Nimoy, because the only way for the sequels to be about TOS would be to have Nimoy doing flashbacks every movie. So for continuity sake, you need to end this movie with Pine and crew, so that in the sequel, you can let them open and close the movie, without Nimoy.

88. focuspuller - December 11, 2007

Harlan, Charles Derning called, he wants his body back.

89. GaryS - December 11, 2007

a time portal on Romulus,
or a form of telepathic communication between the two Spocks.

those are just two ways to get both Spocks together.

90. neal - December 11, 2007

I have read a bunch of Harlan’s short stories over the years. What makes him a great writer is his one-two punch of tossing of so many weird, cool ideas, but then also presenting them with such gorgeous, pitch-perfect prose. When I was in college and first learning to write decent prose, trying to “write like Harlan” was a great exercise. (I am a scientist and publish nothing but dry, dense journal articles…).

91. Harlon Brando - December 11, 2007

if it is Time travel wonder what it’ll be?

time travel around the sun? (Tomorrow is Yesterday, Assignment Earth? Star Trek IV)

Temporal vortex (First Contact)?

The Guardians older brother?

OldSpock gets in his Deloren and travels 88 mph?

How did TNG get back in Times Arrow?

92. The Vulcanista - December 11, 2007

#81

The slingshot effect does have a backstory in TOS. It was used in “Tomorrow is Yesterday.” That’s why Spock was able to perform the calculations from memory in STIV.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

93. doubleofive - December 11, 2007

According to Memory Alpha, the crew went back in Time’s Arrow because of a temporal displacement field made by aliens doing experiments on ancient Earth people.

I doubt Spock would do that.

94. Tom Galloway - December 11, 2007

Um, Harlan Ellison is the greatest Sci-Fi writer in the history of the world, and anyone who disagrees is clearly mentally deranged. He has a right to sue anyone he wishes, and anyone deriving their stories from “City on the Edge of Forever” or “Soldier” deserves to have all their profits handed over to Harlan. I love this great creator, and I will defend him to the death if necessary!

Tyg

—-
“Harlan Ellison is God. Deal with it.” – Tom Galloway, 1986

95. I AM THX-1138 - December 11, 2007

Walter Koenig looked absolutely thrilled to have Harlan’s affections.
THAT was the best part of the clip.

96. Scott - December 11, 2007

Wow he swears like crazy! His alright I think deep down though.
He’s still a rebel, even if he comes of as a caddy jerk & SCI FI elitist.
He wrote some good Twilight Zones from the 80′s.
Not to mention a great Batman comic.
Plus that Masters Of Science Fiction show of his was good. Dark, but ok.
One can understand his point that books have much better
stories then movies or television.
And I’m sure it sucks to have something that you wrote to
be cut & hacked on to point that its lost its way.
So I understand his anger with Hollywood.

However Hollywood is the problem.
Entertainment needs to be decentralized.
Why not make tv shows in movies in all 50 states?
Are people in the mid-west not creative anuff?
Why is LA the only place the magic can go down?
Screw Hollywood!

97. I AM THX-1138 - December 11, 2007

Awesome scoop. Harlan Ellison’s pen-name is Tom Galloway.

98. Nelson - December 11, 2007

Ellison’s other truely classic TV screen credit and one of the best episodes of The Outer Limits is Demon with a Glass Hand co-starring Robert Culp and a young T’Pring, Arlene Martel. And yes, Soldier was really great too and may or may not have influenced Terminator.

The guy is colorful and a one of a kind.

99. J C - December 11, 2007

Harlan seems like the kind of guy who likes the sauce.

100. Tom - December 11, 2007

Personally, I never understood why the Guardian was never used again. (Ignoring the animated series and novels.) It is not only from one of the best episodes — as a device is it shrouded in mystery and antiquity. It offsets the the antiseptic sci-fi elements of Trek rather nicely. Really cool stuff.

I can’t imagine that theyre going to spend time to sell a new method of time travel (and somehow I dont think that Spock sling-shots around the sun)… and then there’s the whole matter of making it believable. Oddly, the non-technical handling of the Guardian makes it believable despite the total lack of science.

Also, it seems thematically consistant that this movie should return to an element from its roots….. since the movie itself is a return to fundamentals.

101. Allister Gourlay - December 11, 2007

what a kranky bugger he is today…love it!
he doesnt give a shit.

102. Kev-1 - December 11, 2007

Ellison a one-hit wonder? Why bother.

103. Crusade2267 - December 11, 2007

Ellison only wrote one trek episode, though he did write much more outsideof trek. I suppose by that logic, Asimov is a no-hit wonder, since he only consulted for trek, and never wrote for it,

104. J C - December 11, 2007

100 Tom.Harlan?Is that you? (he,he)

105. Andy Patterson - December 11, 2007

. I was kind of looking forward to seeing the Guardian again. Especially way high and deep on the big screen.

106. CW - December 11, 2007

If the Guardian is too TOS specific for today’s general audience, then so too is Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise.

*********

So, strike supporters say that supporting the striking writers is the same as supporting Trek. So, they approve of this guy dictating that Paramount can’t re-use something from its own property?

Suppose the guy who came up with the klingons demanded that Paramount can’t use them any more. Where would Trek be then?

Give them residuals. Fine. But boot trolls like Elison back under the bridge where they belong.

107. RedStatesRule - December 11, 2007

Maybe we always catch him on a bad day, but he’s such an impolite fellow.

108. Tom - December 11, 2007

104,

Hell, no. I love the Guardian and City on the Edge of Forever…. but Harlan is a raging, narcissistic a$$#ole.

(Not that I’m not)
: P

109. Randall - December 11, 2007

#94 Tom:

I’ll gladly take you on. Re-read my post above (#57) and take whatever umbrage with it you choose to take.

I don’t care about your opinion (everyone has the right to one, I suppose) that he’s the “greatest sci-fi writer in the history of the world” (absurd as that statement is) …but I CAN assure you that I’m anything *but* mentally deranged.

110. Ali - December 11, 2007

Harlan hasn’t done much in what, the past 15 years. He’s a little shorter now too.

111. table10 - December 11, 2007

#100
The more I think about it the more I am sure they cannot use time travel as the plot device for the movie. I just remembered they have the parents of Kirk and Spock in this too. Which means, in order for time travel to be a factor, they have to do it more than once, which might end up being once too many, it would get old quick.

I remember a popular problem people had with Mission Impossible 2 was the constant face masks. Everyone had masks, it was used too often to solve holes in the plot. It looked like lazy writing.

It would be too much time travel, no matter how good the method is, people wouldn’t believe that every problem that occured could be solved by going back in time, it would lose any potential suspense the movie had.

Romulans go back to kill Kirk as a cadet? Spock goes back to save Kirk as a cadet. Romulans decide to go back further and kill Kirk and Spock as infants? Spock goes back to save Kirk and Spock as infants…. Nimoy would have hated that script.

Whereas a flashback, it makes more sense to jump from one point in the past to another, without sacrificing the viewer being taken out of the experience.

112. Andy Patterson - December 11, 2007

Maybe Harlan will take time off the strike line to write us something, with the opportunity of proving several points on these boards right now.

113. Iowagirl - December 11, 2007

#47
“To save Star Trek, director J.J. Abrams decided he had to kill the old version and start over with a new crew…”

It’s poppycock, but it’s ornate, isn’t it? It’s a pity that the guy who wrote that cannot hear my roaring laughter over the vocal sound of his mental dead silence.

#77
Agreed.

Maybe we could have a little bit more of „show, don‘t tell“. Too much explaining may jar with the film and instead of just showing us and making us marvel at what we see, they may end up not including strands they consider too difficult to explain but which may have added to the film‘s relevance within the ST universe.

Kirk post Nexus would not necessarily require a complex explanation, nor would the GoF.

114. Paul B. - December 11, 2007

Someone already might have said this, but I have to point out that explaining the GOF for a general audience is VERY SIMPLE:

“They’re using the Guardian of Forever, an ancient time machine that we still don’t fully understand.” Voila! Backstory complete–that’s all you need.

115. Roddenberry was a peacenik - December 11, 2007

I’d just like to point out that it’s no secret that Harlan was a famous contributor to those horrible ‘fanzines published on a mimeograph’ that he now says the internet is unfortunately so reflective of. Roger Ebert met him through those fanzines and wrote about it just recently with fondness. Ellison was actually one of the shapers of fandom that later became the internet fan culture he seems so disdainful of. Sad, I think he should be proud that he’s a pioneer in not just science fiction, but science fiction culture as well.

Oh well, I still love Harlan anyway!

116. Kevin - December 11, 2007

Koenig looked so uncomfortable, haha

117. OneBuckFilms - December 11, 2007

17 – People are supporting these “whingers” out of principle.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when I get shafted financially.

118. CW - December 11, 2007

“To save Star Trek, director J.J. Abrams decided he had to kill the old version and start over with a new crew. Meet the faces that are reinventing one of the world’s most famous franchises.”

Ironic, isn’t it, that the same writers that killed Star Trek are now on strike demanding more compensation?

119. Lord Garth Formerly of Izar - December 11, 2007

Looking more and more like Karl Lagerfeld especially in the shades!!!

Brilliant SCi-Fi writer!!!!!! Helped on B5 as well. We need more brilliant minds like his instead of the WB/CW formulaic MTV short attention span dumb teen driven hollywood creators who have seemingly saturated the hollywood market today. and more importantly we need more people who look like Karl Lagerfeld!!!!

120. Shatner_Fan_2000 - December 11, 2007

#113 and 114 … Agreed. TWOK is the best of the features, and the whole Khan backstory was explained in just a few lines. Same could be done for the Guardian.

And yet, even though I am disappointed we won’t be seeing the Big G, it’s also exciting, because now I’m thinking all of the plot rumors we’ve heard may have been bogus – which means I’m back closer to spoiler free! Whee! :)

121. Captain Robert April - December 11, 2007

>

News flash, sparky, Paramount doesn’t have those sweeping rights, because Ellison didn’t sign over those rights. They want to reuse the Guardian, or Edith Keeler, etc., then they need to secure Harlan’s permission and cut him a nice juicy check.

Same reasoning went into morphing Nic Locarno into Tom Paris and T’Pau into T’Pol. In those cases, it was for the better anyway, and as it will be in this case; the writers will actually have to think of something original instead of pulling something off the shelf.

122. K. M. Kirby - December 11, 2007

In a logical universe, the Guardian would be thoroughly analyzed by the Federation; its workings meticulously studied, its mechanisms extrapolated and put to good use on new devices and technology. Such an advanced portal–albeit in a slightly more rudimentary form–may even have been employed to attempt transporter locks into the temporal anomaly known as the Nexus…if anybody actually gives a $@%#

123. Ron - December 11, 2007

#94: Not sure if you’re joking or not, “Tom Galloway,” but either way, pass whatever you’re smoking cause I want some of that. Ellison deserves credit for writing a few good stories in his day, but put him next to the likes of Bradbury, Heinlein, Wells, Asimov, or Clarke, and your “greatest sci-fi writer in the history of the world” claim looks a little ridiculous.

124. Scott - December 11, 2007

This latest Guardian news just gives me hope that ALL the plot rumors we’ve heard are equally baseless.

I’m solidly in the “no time travel” camp.

Scott B. out.

125. Joe Mama - December 11, 2007

Harlan is a turd that I just put on sea duty when I flushed. ByeHarlan!

126. Michael Hall - December 11, 2007

“. . .but put him next to the likes of Bradbury, Heinlein, Wells, Asimov, or Clarke, and your “greatest sci-fi writer in the history of the world” claim looks a little ridiculous.”

Actually, at his best Ellison is a far better prose stylist than any of those– with the possible exception of Ray Bradbury. And like Bradbury, he is not, nor has he ever been, a science fiction (let alone “sci-fi”) writer. Rather, he’s a fantasist who occasionally has written what might be called speculative fiction.

“Harlan seems like the kind of guy who likes the sauce. “

Actually, he’s a notorious teetotaler, and anti-drug to boot.

As for using the Guarding in the current movie, honesty demands I note the possibility the Ellison wouldn’t really have much of a case, given that his original conception of the time machine was very different from what finally aired. Of course, I was never convinced his lawsuit against James Cameron over “Soldier” was really justified either, but that didn’t stop Ellison from winning, so what do I know.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Harlan Ellison and his work through the years, including a memorable run-in with him on one occasion. But it would unquestionably be a duller, poorer world without him.

127. Harry Ballz - December 11, 2007

So, Harlan is a turd
As a writer he comes in third
He doesn’t like to share
And all he does is glare
If not for talent, we’d call him nerd!

128. Harry Ballz - December 11, 2007

Hey, I just watched the Ellison clip again and that short bit at the end with Walter Koenig is funny as hell! In the natural sunlight (being outside), without make-up, Walter looks about 90 and, thankfully, elected to wear a cap on his head as that 2 dollar toupee he sports would probably scare small children on the street! Yikes!!!

129. Wayne Spitzer - December 11, 2007

Hear, hear, Dennis and post #62. Nailed it right on the head. Some of the ignorance and flat-out projection in this thread is enough to make a guy want to launch into his own Ellisonesque jeremiad. Instead I think I’ll just re-watch A BOY AND HIS DOG (my fave). And yes, yes, how astute of some to notice–Ellison’s getting old! But Fan-boy’s get old, too (H.E. himself started out as one). They get old and watch their mothers die; they lose everything they ever thought hip, fresh and of their own (to new, probably stupider, hands, the next gen of swells to cry ‘First!’ while following paths well-trod…by roughly a hundred billion human souls), and then they die. You know (I’ll try to put this in language even the extreme cases can understand)…like Kirk? So show a little respect. If not for Ellison, or the thread, then our common humanity.

130. Lanzman - December 11, 2007

Man, there’s a lot of folks here who don’t know much about Harlan Ellison and his amazing body of work over the decades. Sad.

131. Edith Keeler - December 11, 2007

How can Harlan be “on strike”? You have to actually be “working” in order to be “on strike” – otherwise you’re just “unemployed” – like Harlan.

132. Harry Ballz - December 11, 2007

There are a lot of people who are unemployed, but call it something else…..in the private sector they’re called “consultants”….. :)

133. COMPASSIONATE GOD - December 11, 2007

So much venom in this thread.

Harlan is hardly a “one hit wonder,” and anyone looking forward to the day he’s no longer around–meaning DEAD…..whoo boy.

Furthermore, i’m more than happy TOS v2.0 is NOT sinking its fangs into the “City” story; “Yesteryear” was enough of an interesting sequel.

134. Michael Hall - December 11, 2007

“Harlan is hardly a “one hit wonder,” and anyone looking forward to the day he’s no longer around–meaning DEAD…..whoo boy.”

Really. Classy, that. His considerable talent and authorship of some of the best teleplays ever aired by Star Trek and The Outer Limits aside, Ellison was largely responsible, before becoming disenchanted with Gene Roddenberry and his work on the show, for the write-in campaign that helped secure Trek a second season. He’s had plenty critical to say–both fair and otherwise–about the franchise and its fans in the decades since (and looking at some of the things posted here I can hardly blame him), but without his efforts Trek may have died after a single season and minimal syndication. I wonder if Harlan has sometimes reflected on the irony of that.

135. Kirk's Girdle - December 11, 2007

What’s most bizarre is Harlan Straight-up calling J.J, gifted and brilliant. He’s usually very stingy with praise.

136. MiniKirk - December 11, 2007

Most of you seem fairly evenly split about Harlan Ellison, and I would just like to point out, to those of you who might not realize this, but Mr. Ellison, is NOT a one-hit wonder. Nor is he an untalented hack. Ellison had hits, on tv with Outer Limits, Star Trek, and a few others, but he HATED writing for television, and in fact has published three (that I’ve seen thus far) books of critique of tv, and everything it stands for. He called it the Glass Teat for a reason.
Hell even the “new” Twilight Zone (in the 80′s) had to bust their balls to get him to write them a story, since he abhores working on tv, and then dicked him over. Look, the point I need to make here, is that while all YOU might know is that piece of Roddenbery-fueled, Ghost Re-Written, Wanna be Utopian Bull Shit script, which by the way was NOTHING like Ellison’s original, that doesn’t mean that that was his only hit. “Demon With a Glass Hand” anyone (my all time fave original Limits ep)?

137. M33 - December 11, 2007

I think many have forgotten to mention that he helped to write/create “Babylon 5″, a show far superior to any Star Trek show (and yes, this is coming from a die-hard trek fan). Many other writers from the original Star Trek helped to write that series as well.

138. Oregon Trek Geek - December 11, 2007

I am disappointed that the GOF won’t be in ST 11. That would have been way cool. And like him or not, agree with him or not, I have to admire Ellison’s not ever mincing words. He says it as he sees it with no sugar-coating. It is refreshing. I don’t know of any pres. candidate from either party who is as frank, except maybe Ron Paul.

139. Wayne Spitzer - December 11, 2007

“You’ve let it ride too long, troops. You’ve frittered and fiddled and enshrined the hypocrites and slaughtered the dreamers, and now you can only get five gallons in your gas tank.”
–Harlan Ellison, APPROACHING OBLIVION (1974)

Elsewhere he writes about “…the deification of stupidity….” and the “…reaping [of] the whirlwind.”

We’re “reaping the whirlwind,” all-right. And speaking of stupidity, how’s your tank, H.B.?

140. Michael Hall - December 11, 2007

“Hell even the “new” Twilight Zone (in the 80’s) had to bust their balls to get him to write them a story, since he abhores working on tv, and then dicked him over. Look, the point I need to make here, is that while all YOU might know is that piece of Roddenbery-fueled, Ghost Re-Written, Wanna be Utopian Bull Shit script, which by the way was NOTHING like Ellison’s original, that doesn’t mean that that was his only hit. “Demon With a Glass Hand” anyone (my all time fave original Limits ep)?”

Nope, not so. Ellison in fact was an enthusiastic participant in the ’80s “Zone” revival, and was a mainstay on the production until CBS screwed him over on his teleplay for “Nackles,” a cynical take on Christmas featuring Ed Asner as a drunken, racist lout of a department store Santa. When the network demanded changes, Ellison walked out on what was to have been his directorial debut, and that was the end of his involvement in a project he had fervently believed in and promoted. As it was, Ellison’s stories “Shatterday” and “Paladin of the Lost Hour” were produced during TZ’s run on CBS, and IIRC Harlan was reasonably pleased with both of them.

As for endless controversy regarding Ellison’s original script for the “The City on the Edge of Forever,” the issue has been done to death elsewhere and far be it for me to think I actually have something new to say on the subject. Suffice to say that I think the aired version deserved its Hugo win, just as Ellison’s original was deserving of its WGA award.

141. Chris Clow - December 11, 2007

He’s a cheeky bastard, ain’t he? :-D I like him. He’s got the brains and the balls to back up what he says.

Even if his actions are sometimes questionable. :-\

142. Kirk's Girdle - December 11, 2007

Harlan did NOT help to write or create Babylon 5. He was brought in as a conceptual consultant with no actual job duties save to keep jms on his toes and to comment on ANYTHING he saw fit.

143. Kirk's Girdle - December 11, 2007

He also played a computer voice and a Psi Cop.

144. Doug - December 11, 2007

I need not defend Harlan’s talent. His work speaks for itself. In my opinion, the man, cranky as he can get, is a true giant. He used to bristle when called a writer of science fiction (preferring the title ‘speculative fiction’).

His body of work is immense. Aside from his scripts for ‘Trek, The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’ and ‘The Man from U.N.CL.E.,’ is print fiction is also compelling… go read his short story “Jefty is Five!” I defy anyone not to be moved to tears by that story.

What concerns me, perhaps more than anything, is the way some fans on the internet have little problem calling people names, wishing them dead, etc. It is really pretty easy to be anonymous on here and say the most outrageous and hurtful of things. Writing on the net doesn’t give people the right to act like a/an ____ (I invite the reader to fill in the blank).

Calling Roddenberry, Ellison, Gerrold, et al, one hit wonders belittles only us… I would venture that few of us posting our thoughts in here have made a living as a writer. That alone speaks to the talent of the men and women who gave us ‘Trek’ and countless other pieces of literary works and demands our respect (those who can write, do– those who cannot, read– or worse, criticize).

I personally enjoy seeing Harlan speaking his mind, even when he does it tactlessly…

145. NZorak - December 11, 2007

I love Harlan Ellison. I always have respected him for the fact that he’s brave enough to speak his mind, and I love his writing. Let’s not forget that he was a creative consultant on Babylon 5 as well, thus combining the talents of two of my favorite speculative fiction writers. Truly a remarkable man. I love to listen to him just as much as I love reading his material.

146. Doug - December 11, 2007

I need not defend Harlan’s talent. His work speaks for itself. In my opinion, the man, cranky as he can get, is a true giant. He used to bristle when called a writer of science fiction (preferring the title ‘speculative fiction’).

His body of work is immense. Aside from his scripts for ‘Trek, The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’ and ‘The Man from U.N.CL.E.,’ his print fiction is also compelling… go read his short story “Jefty is Five!” I defy anyone not to be moved to tears by that story.

What concerns me, perhaps more than anything, is the way some fans on the internet have little problem calling people names, wishing them dead, etc. It is really pretty easy to be anonymous on here and say the most outrageous and hurtful of things. Writing on the net doesn’t give people the right to act like a/an ____ (I invite the reader to fill in the blank).

Calling Roddenberry, Ellison, Gerrold, et al, one hit wonders belittles only us… I would venture that few of us posting our thoughts in here have made a living as a writer. That alone speaks to the talent of the men and women who gave us ‘Trek’ and countless other pieces of literary works and demands our respect (those who can write, do– those who cannot, read– or worse, criticize).

I personally enjoy seeing Harlan speaking his mind, even when he does it tactlessly…

147. EdDR - December 11, 2007

Dear Edith#1 If you didn’t care, why would you abscond with using the name of one of his characters from his story? Hmmm? Just say You don’t care and don’t speak for the rest of us. OK?

148. Boschy - December 11, 2007

Judge the art, not the artist, whom no one here knows well enough.

149. Mrs. Harry Ballz - December 11, 2007

I’m not worried about these writers at all dahling. I’m sure they’ll all be able to find real jobs working at Taget or Sears once they wake up to the real world. Now I must watch Tyra Banks and America’s Next Top Model. I can just watch that 24/7. Buh-bye.

150. Mrs. Harry Ballz - December 11, 2007

P.S. Harry and and harry jr I love you!

151. Shatner_Fan_2000 - December 11, 2007

# 128 … “that short bit at the end with Walter Koenig is funny as hell! In the natural sunlight (being outside), without make-up, Walter looks about 90 and, thankfully, elected to wear a cap on his head as that 2 dollar toupee he sports would probably scare small children on the street! Yikes!!!”

Harry, go easy on the guy! I think he was still wearing the “Deadly Years” makeup from that fan film he was in. :)

p.s. Harry Ballz Jr, and now Mrs. Harry Ballz? Suddenly this place is overflowing with Ballz…

152. Harry Ballz - December 11, 2007

All these Ballz……….I don’t know whether to be complimented or insulted………….hmmm, maybe both!! :)

153. Penitent Pete - December 11, 2007

I’ve had the misfortune of meeting Harlan, and I can tell you firsthand that he has one of the worse cases of short-man syndrome I’ve ever seen. His severe inferiority complex propels him to levels of obnoxiousness heretofore unseen in the civilized world. His opinion of his own writing is far too high considering the quality of his work.

154. trektacular - December 12, 2007

I’d rather be short than tall, seems like you can get away with a lot more.

155. Cygnus-X1 - December 12, 2007

Is there anyone here who would rather have heard a polite, carefully-worded speech designed to please all and offend none, instead of Harlan Ellison’s shoot-from-the-hip, tell-us-what-you-REALLY-think, trash-talking?

156. Cervantes - December 12, 2007

The ‘Guardian of Forever’ rumour has been one of the few things that has got me excited about this ‘time-travelling’ plot so far…

I hope it IS used.

157. Ron - December 12, 2007

#126: He’s not a science fiction writer, he’s a “fantasist who occasionally has written what might be called speculative fiction”? You’d need an electron microscope to split hairs any finer than that. And sorry, but I just don’t see him occupying the same space as the other writers I mentioned previously, his abilities as a “prose stylist” notwithstanding.

158. Randall - December 12, 2007

#126, #146, etc.: Read what I wrote up in posting #57.

There’s really very little point in arguing about who is the greatest sci-fi writer… some people have the critical thinking skills to judge such things, of course, but someone else will always cry “that’s just your opinion!” and the matter ends. This is the way it always is with literature, and that includes genre fiction like sci fi. In the same way, also, what really defines quality (usually) is survivability. In other words, the good stuff survives. The bad stuff is eventually forgotten. Of course, this isn’t always so–some crap manages to linger on longer than one would expect (or hope)… but great fiction rarely gets forgotten. It lives on.

The question is whether the work of *any* of these guys will live on into the future. To begin with, sci-fi works rarely make the jump to “genuine classic” status—some of the work of HG Wells and Jules Verne clearly made this grade—but one is stymied to name many others. On the other hand, one might argue that sci-fi isn’t that old a genre; yes, it’s roots go back as long as most other contemporary genres—the Mystery, the Western, etc.—but when people speak of the “heyday” of sci-fi, they’re usually referring to a period that begins arguably in the 1940s. Maybe a tad earlier, but not by much. And certainly many of the “greats” of sci-fi that people generally acknowledge didn’t do the bulk of their best work until at *least* the 40s, and on into the 50s. Then there was another group of writers in the 60s. So we can certainly say it’s way too early to judge whose work will survive, and difficult to judge even if works we today think of as “classics” will still be considered classics 50 years from now.

But you can make some good, educated guesses. Based partly on how a writer’s work has “spread” to go beyond the limits of the genre, in a sense… and based in part on the style of writing, and whether it is more or less “timeless” and clean… or dated and turgid, say. Looking at from those vantage points, we can make a fair guess that Bradbury will be remembered for a good while–his style is nothing great, but it’s clean and simple–if occasionally juvenile–and surely “Dandelion Wine” and some of the stories from “The Martian Chronicles” and his filmic associations (Moby Dick, etc.) Asimov might last, on account of The Foundation series and a few other things… Clarke as well, for a few of his works… and generally these guys (and a couple others) will be remembered for their historical importance.

But Ellison? The problem with Ellison is, he’s got nothing substantial under his belt. He’s written very few novel-length works or actual novels (“Web of the City” and “Spider Kiss” leap to mind, but neither of these are anything great, and certainly aren’t considered amongst his best work, even by fans) and the *general* audience out there only knows him A) as a character, and B) for a few TV scripts. “A Boy and His Dog”? Maybe… there’s been talk of a remake of that film, by the way, which might boost that work… but in the end it looks more and more like Ellison will be remembered as a “figure” rather than being remembered for his work—which is uneven, stylistically often a mess, and what I can only call “adolescent middlebrow.” It simply isn’t the kind of stuff that survives. Not in my opinion—and I admit–that’s my opinion.

No, “Jeffty is Five” doesn’t move me to tears… I find it frankly *unmoving* and didactic—like most of Ellison’s writing. I found nothing great in “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” (except maybe the title) or “Repent Harlequin…” or “The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World” (if that’s not a pretentious title, I don’t know what is) even if, for a short time in my life—when I was young—I thought Ellison was great. I later came to realize that if he *did* have any greatness in him, it came down to his occasionally remarkable inventiveness—but that there it stopped.

Time will tell who is right here—but I’d be willing to bet that 50 years down the road, nobody will be reading any of Ellison’s stuff, except perhaps as artifacts of a failed style.

159. OtterVomit - December 12, 2007

Helping to invent Scientology is something I would call pretty substantial…and funny!

160. Edith Keeler - December 12, 2007

Harlan started the City On The Edge/ST movie rumor so that people would start talking to him again.

Oh well. Too bad it is not true. Shatner and I are the same age – and one more romp sure would have been fun …

161. Lendorien - December 12, 2007

#58 – I don’t know. Azimov is pretty memorable. Nightfall for one.

To chime in, I think Ellison is a whiner and a blowhard. It’s alright to be protective of your work, but this guy does it with all the grace of a freight train.

162. Michael Hall - December 12, 2007

“Time will tell who is right here—but I’d be willing to bet that 50 years down the road, nobody will be reading any of Ellison’s stuff, except perhaps as artifacts of a failed style. “

Well, who’s to say? For those of us who love the written word first and foremost, we all have our lists of writers who manage to “move us to tears” (which “Jeffty is Five” didn’t do in my case, although “Paladin of the Lost Hour” very nearly did), as well as those whose styles we regard as affected, or failed. And, perhaps most cherished of all, the list of those we smugly think are waay overrated–in my case, put me down for Norman Mailer and Tom “Bonfire of the Vanities” Wolfe. But since few of us will be around to take you up on your bet, in the end such a declarative judgement really doesn’t amount to very much.

It would indeed be a great irony if, fifty years from now, Ellison was primarily remembered for authoring a script he feels mostly got butchered, for a TV series he denigrates whenever possible. But personally I find that prospect doubtful, as I think his best short stories and essays will stand the test of time as classics, even if (like most literary classics) they aren’t widely read.

163. Randall - December 12, 2007

#162 Michael:

“But since few of us will be around to take you up on your bet, in the end such a declarative judgement really doesn’t amount to very much.”

Ah, but you see—my judgement of Ellison’s work is not based merely on some unsubstantiated belief that he won’t be read 50 years from now. Re-read my last post. If Bradbury, Clarke, Asimov, etc. form a certain pattern that leads us to believe that some of their work will still be read in the future—which seems to be the case (for instance, some of that material is now up to 60 years old, some of it older, and hasn’t faded as yet) then Ellison, it’s clear, doesn’t fit that pattern. He has no widely-admired novels under his belt, to begin with. Moreover—grab the average halfway-decently-read individual in the street. (I’m talking about someone who does generally read, who has some basic knowledge of literature). There’s a great likelihood that they’ll know who Ray Bradbury is, and there’s a good chance they’ve read “Farenheit 451″ and maybe “Dandelion Wine.” They *might* also know Arthur C. Clarke for “2001″ and “Childhood’s End”…. maybe. They might even know the name Isaac Asimov, if they know some sci fi.

But they don’t know the name Harlan Ellison. And on the small chance they *do*… I can almost guarantee you they haven’t read any of his work. And in the distant likelihood that they have—you can be damn sure that there’s a 90% chance they didn’t like it enough to continue reading him.

See, sometimes sci-fi readers/fans have absolutely no clue of how marginal they are. Some sci-fi writers are aware of this and strike out for a larger, broader base of readers—or simply reach a broader base by touching the right nerve, by hitting a more universal note. Bradbury’s an example of that. Ellison has obviously known this most of his career—in fact with him it’s been painfully obvious that he craves wider attention, greater acceptance—though I’m sure he’d deny it vehemently. But he has never really broken out to gain that wider acceptance. It’s surely not his imagination that fails him—he’s inventive and clever. But he’s also pedantic and pompous and painfully middlebrow. His prose style unfortunately reflects this, and it simply isn’t the kind of writing that wins people over.

Sure, yes, such writers sometimes gain rabid fans. But most such fans, if pressed hard, would admit (even if only to themselves) that what attracts them to Ellison *primarily* is his persona, his carefully-woven public face. He is a character, and characters are fun to watch and follow. And in turn, some people can delude themselves that their favorite character’s writing has some great value.

If you read…. oh… say, Joyce’s “Dubliners”—or let’s not even shoot that high… let’s say William Styron, or Raymond Carver… anyone of that rank… and then turn to, say… Bradbury… maybe “Farenheit” or “The Martian Chronicles”… the feeling you get is, “oh, here’s a minor talent doing his best. He doesn’t knock the ball out of the park, but he makes a good, decent base hit.” But if you read Styron or J.D. Salinger or Carver, etc. and then turn to something of Ellison’s—anything—the feeling you get is simply one of embarrassment. “Here is a minor talent that hits… a clunker. At best.”

Of course, I don’t expect you or other Ellison worshippers to agree with this. But try it. Or find people who haven’t read Ellison, (NOT sci-fi readers) and ask them to read something of his. And see if it’s something they’d ever read again, or if they’d be interested in seeking out more of his work. The chances are very good that they won’t like him and/or won’t want to read anything more of his.

164. Michael Hall - December 12, 2007

“He’s not a science fiction writer, he’s a “fantasist who occasionally has written what might be called speculative fiction”? You’d need an electron microscope to split hairs any finer than that. And sorry, but I just don’t see him occupying the same space as the other writers I mentioned previously, his abilities as a “prose stylist” notwithstanding.
. “

Well, let’s see if I can make this easier for you (since I don’t currently have an electron microscope handy). An author who has routinely written novels, short stories, screenplays, and essays on a wide variety of subjects, and whose genre works would for the most part more properly be classed as fantasy than science fiction, shouldn’t be referred to as a “science fiction writer”–certainly, not in the same sense that Asimov, Clarke, et al, who have devoted almost their entire literary output to the genre, can be called science fiction writers. As for the inclusion of Ellison’s name in such august company–well, I know for a fact that Asimov and Clarke wouldn’t have any problem with it, so why should I??

165. Harry Ballz - December 12, 2007

Okay, boys, cool off and hit the showers! :)

166. Randall - December 12, 2007

#164 Michael:
Nope, I have to agree with Ron (#157) on this one… it’s hair splitting. To begin with, from a view *outside* the genres, Fantasy and Sci Fi are always categorized together… “Fantasy/Sci Fi.” Now, you can create your little subdivisions within genres—”hard” sci-fi (Larry Niven) vs. what Ellison, for example, has done…. but try to explain what “speculative fiction” is to someone who doesn’t read the genre, and they won’t follow you. And for good reason.

It shouldn’t require a paragraph’s length explanation to get across what a genre is; but that’s what you need to explain the difference between “speculative fiction” and sci fi–and longer to explain WHY we need a difference. And the fact is the difference is entirely arbitrary and artificial—made up by writers like Ellison (didn’t he in fact come up with the term? I could be wrong though) and supported by readers—both of whom know that “sci fi” is a marginalized genre… worse, thought of by many people as the stomping ground of geeks and nerds. Resenting this, they tried to make up a new genre to gain respect. Silly, and more evidence supporting the view I gave of Ellison above.

167. Michael Hall - December 12, 2007

Randall–

You’re obviously an intelligent reader, but looking at your postings I have to say I find amusing your sincere belief that there are actually objective criteria by which to approach the issue of the overall quality of an author’s life work, let alone its potential longevity.

To say that Ellison hasn’t published any widely admired novels rather begs the issue, since he’s not a novelist. That he has written an array of short stories which have garnered him unprecedented acclaim–admittedly, within the confines of genre fiction (including mysteries)–is beyond dispute, and I find it a little disingenuous for you to leave that inconvenient fact out of your assesment simply because you don’t agree with it. After all, while it’s true that the views of genre readers are marginal, compared with the total population the views of any sort of dedicated reader–the sort who cares about good writing, regardless of genre, and will happily spend an afternoon with The New York Review of Books–are almost equally so. Most people just don’t care about this stuff, to their great loss. If they’ve heard of a novel like Fahreheit 451 it’s probably more due to its political/historical impact (a la Uncle Tom’s Cabin or 1984) forcing them to read it in school, than any claim to literary quality. (In that particular case, in a strictly literary sense I actually prefer the ending of Truffaut’s film version.) And unfortunately, great works will inevitably fall by the wayside as the calendar moves on. But that’s nothing unique to the SF genre, or Harlan Ellison.

Whom, by the way, I do not “worship,” since I detest cults of personality in all forms. (I was at an SF convention a number of years back when Ellison was on a panel and made his typical observation that revenge was a healthy, useful exercise–and I angrily tossed Sarajevo back in his face. So much for idol worship.) If I admire an author–or any artist–it’s for their work, not their colorful reputations or even their political opinions. And while I agree with your assesment of Bill Styron (don’t know how many times I’ve read The Confessions of Nat Turner, but it’s a fair number), it’s only fair to point out that very few writers working in any genre produce prose of that caliber. Much of the output of most writers is ultimately disposable, Ellison’s included. But I truly believe that on their best days authors like Le Guin, Bradbury and (yes) Harlan Ellison have produced lasting work that’s comparable in quality, whether it ends up being as well-remembered or not.

168. Mrs. Harry Ballz - December 12, 2007

160 one more romp sure would have been fun …

My husband says that to me all the time. How do you think harry jr was born? My husband is so insatiable dahling. Oh well. Time to watch Dr. Phil. Buh bye.

169. Michael Hall - December 12, 2007

As a matter of definitions, I agree that the distinction between “SF” and “speculative fiction” is a subtle (and probably minor) one. . . but the question was whether Ellison should belong on a list of science fiction writers at all, to which I stated no for the reasons listed above. And no, I don’t agree that the difference between SF and fantasy is a minor preoccupation of “geeks,”–it’s actually quite substantive and real, whatever the opinion of the lumpen literati who inexplicably derive pleasure in turning up their noses at genre literature. Their loss, as well.

170. TheGreatBird - December 12, 2007

#160: ” Harlan started the City On The Edge/ST movie rumor so that people would start talking to him again.”

True or not, that’s pretty damned funny! :)

171. TheGreatBird - December 12, 2007

PS: I think I’ll read Harlan’s great DOOMSMAN again tonight, just for sh*ts and giggles! ;)

172. Randall - December 12, 2007

#167 & 169 Michael:

“I have to say I find amusing your sincere belief that there are actually objective criteria by which to approach the issue of the overall quality of an author’s life work, let alone its potential longevity.”

Now now, Michael… who’s being disingenous here? I never said anything about *objective* criteria. I admit that all that I’ve said thus far is opinion. I’m *guessing* Ellison’s work won’t last, and I’m fairly sure my guess is correct… also, I happen to believe that the bulk of Ellison’s work doesn’t *deserve* to last, but that’s beside the point.

Criticism is rarely factual or objective, of course. But I merely say, let’s test the matter. As I suggested—find people, have them read Ellison, and then poll their opinion. This still would really mean little, but it might be telling even so.

“To say that Ellison hasn’t published any widely admired novels rather begs the issue, since he’s not a novelist.”

He *has* published some novels. But of course, I agree–in the sense you no doubt mean, Ellison is not a novelist. But that’s another issue, and another factor which helps to keep Ellison from breaking out to broader acceptance–he is not a novelist.

Now there’s nothing wrong with the short story as a form, and nothing wrong with writers who make it their primary (or even sole) means of expression. (In fact, there’s an essay–the author of which escapes me at the moment–which makes the good case that the short story is largely an American form—though Europeans of course have practiced it with great skill, it’s nevertheless–so says the essayist–mainly an American invention). However, it’s somewhat tougher to gain that broad acceptance on the basis of only short stories. Poe managed it of course (though in fact in his day he was more popular for his poetry) and Hemingway would have been better off sticking to it (his novels are far inferior to his stories). It can be done—but it’s not as clear a path.

Your defense of Ellison which cites the “unprecedented acclaim” afforded him unfortunately makes my point for me; that acclaim has been given to Ellison almost exclusively *by those within the genre.* He *has* been recognized by the Writers Guild, yes–very much so–but again, for his *screen* work. The *great bulk* of his other awards and critical recognition have come from within the sci fi community.

*Outside* the community Ellison does NOT garner the recognition that, for instance, Bradbury does. Not in terms of awards *or* critical praise.

So no, no “inconvenient facts” here. Just more evidence that I’m on to something, I’m afraid.

“…while it’s true that the views of genre readers are marginal, compared with the total population…”

No no no, Michael… let’s not confuse the issue here. We are talking only about “dedicated readers.”

“the sort who cares about good writing..”

And I maintain that the greater number of such people will *not* find Ellison readable, if you asked them to read him. Because his writing is *not* good.

Let’s remember, Michael, that this is the same man (Ellison) who was responsible for the screenplay to “The Oscar”—-one of the most execrable pieces of screenwriting in Hollywood history. Ellison grew out of that godawful phase of his development—but not as much as he or others obviously think.

You too seem to be an intelligent reader, and it staggers me, given that, that we’re even having this debate.

“Most people just don’t care about this stuff, to their great loss. If they’ve heard of a novel like Fahreheit 451 it’s probably more due to its political/historical impact (a la Uncle Tom’s Cabin or 1984) forcing them to read it in school, than any claim to literary quality.”

I agree, but frankly don’t see your point. Yes, the masses don’t seek out literature. They’re usually happy with fluff. But this fact isn’t relevant to the argument at hand.

“in a strictly literary sense I actually prefer the ending of Truffaut’s film version.”

I do too, by the way. Truffaut was also a higher level of artist than Bradbury, which helps to explain it.

“great works will inevitably fall by the wayside as the calendar moves on.”

With this I really don’t agree. Sometimes perhaps, but usually great works survive and bad works do not.

I used the word “worship” loosely, by the way. I stand corrected in that instance.

173. Harry Ballz - December 12, 2007

#168 Mrs. Harry Ballz “My husband is so insatiable”

Hmmmm, you obviously know me QUITE well, don’t you…..you little minx! :)

174. Michael Hall - December 12, 2007

“Now now, Michael… who’s being disingenous here? I never said anything about *objective* criteria.

You implied, it seemed to me, that you could objectively ‘prove’ your case that Ellison’s work would be forgotten at some point in the future, completely apart from your own self-proclaimed disdain for it. I’m sorry, but I just don’t find that position (and the arguments you use to justify it) very convincing.

“As I suggested—find people, have them read Ellison, and then poll their opinion. This still would really mean little, but it might be telling even so.”

You’re right–it would mean very little, if you’re talking about the general population, which (as we both acknowledge) doesn’t read much for pleasure. As for the general reading audience–well, to be fair, you would have to provide them with a non genre-specific example of Ellison’s work–I’m thinking of “Neither You Jenny Nor Mine” or “The Resurgence of Miss Ankle-Strap Wedgie,” or one of the other substantial works from his collection Love Ain’t Nothing but Sex Misspelled. I tend to think he’d fare well under those circumstances, but as with your own speculations this is admittedly strictly my own opinion.

For fairness’ sake, an SF or fantasy story must be judged by those who have a taste for such things, and in that case, the audience (as well as his fellow genre writers) have spoken. Repeatedly.

“Let’s remember, Michael, that this is the same man (Ellison) who was responsible for the screenplay to “The Oscar”—-one of the most execrable pieces of screenwriting in Hollywood history. Ellison grew out of that godawful phase of his development—but not as much as he or others obviously think. “

“The Oscar” was indeed an awful screenplay/film, as Ellison has been the first to admit. But it was a misguided, one-time effort, and not a signpost on the road of his development as an artist as you imply. Written in 1965, it came after his excellent teleplays for “The Outer Limits,” was concurrent with his notable work on Trek, and predates much of the best work of his career. (Including some work which never got produced, including his script for “I, Robot,” which is far from perfect but would have been vastly preferable to the film adapation we eventually got.)

All that “The Oscar” proves is that anyone screw up royally. (Or, as William Goldman once famously said about the movie biz, “No one knows anything.”)

“You too seem to be an intelligent reader, and it staggers me, given that, that we’re even having this debate. “

Why? Because my opinion on the value of Ellison’s body of work differs from your own self-evidently correct one?

“I do too, by the way. Truffaut was also a higher level of artist than Bradbury, which helps to explain it. “

Actually, what I like about the ending of the film version of “Fahrenheit” is that it actually reflects Bradbury’s own persona and philosophy–his literary “voice,” if you will–better than the harder-edged ending of Bradbury’s own novel. This is an interesting phenomenon which occasionally happens with film adaptations–see also Kurbrick’s “2001″ (the film reflects Clarke’s mysticism better than his own novelization of the script), or Brian De Palma’s version of Stephen King’s “Carrie,” which has a sense of humor more typical of King than King’s own book does.

I don’t agree, btw, that Truffaut was a greater artist than Bradbury, a problematic comparison to make across two very different media in any case. Not every film he made was “Jules et Jim,” just as every book Bradbury has written hasn’t been a “Martian Chronicles” or “Dandelion Wine.”

“Sometimes perhaps, but usually great works survive and bad works do not. “

In the greater sense, perhaps. But I’d be willing to bet that the number of readers any novel over a century old enjoys, outside of school assignments, is vanishingly small even when compared to the relatively minor percentage of the population which reads for pleasure at all.

175. trektacular - December 12, 2007

I agree with Randall, Ellison being a personality has completely trumped his literary efforts.

176. Vincent - December 12, 2007

Booshwah. Ain’t a personality in existence that could trump “A Boy and His Dog”. And that’s just one.

177. Mr Snuffleupacus - December 12, 2007

Check out this picture I found of HARLAN!!! :

http://www.citypaper.net/blogs/clog/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/staypuft1.jpg

178. Mrs. Harry Ballz - December 12, 2007

#173 Harry Ballz ” …..you little minx!”.

Flattery will get you everywhere. Even with a room full of people watching my love. Who needs these untalented writers when we have our unlimited imagination? I’ll talk to you soon I have to watch Dr. Phil dahling. Buh-bye. Kisses.

179. Harry Ballz - December 12, 2007

“a room full of people watching”

Kinda reminds me of my old college days……….,but I digress….so, tell me darling…….what’s going on in your “unlimited imagination” right now?? :)

180. Harry Ballz - December 12, 2007

The last time I saw a face like Harlan
Is the day I hauled in that marlin
At least the fish wasn’t bitter
Or spoiled and needing a sitter
This dick thinks he’s better than Darwin!

181. Michael Hall - December 12, 2007

#177,

Cute–but I think you forgot to mention that he’s also a big Poopy-pants.

182. Harry Ballz - December 12, 2007

Ah, I see…..Mr. Hall…..once we get in to the “shank” of the evening, the responses become more unintelligible……….yeah…….I get it……. :)

183. Shatner_Fan_2000 - December 13, 2007

I’m creeped out by the lovey dovey talk between Harry and Mrs. Ballz. It’s like accidentally catching your parents doing it!

184. Randall - December 13, 2007

Michael:

“You implied, it seemed to me, that you could objectively ‘prove’ your case that Ellison’s work would be forgotten at some point in the future…”

Well this is just silly; I implied no such thing. I was merely making a case for it. “Proof” never entered into it.

“You’re right–it would mean very little, if you’re talking about the general population, which (as we both acknowledge) doesn’t read much for pleasure.”

No, again, Michael, for the umpteenth time–I am talking about the READING audience, not the general population.

“As for the general reading audience–well, to be fair, you would have to provide them with a non genre-specific example of Ellison’s work…”

This is rubbish, and frankly, a shallow attempt at trying (I assure it would be unsuccessful) to stack the deck in Ellison’s favor.

The fact of the matter is A) Ellison is primarily a sci-fi writer (sorry, I’ll never buy your or his argument about the “speculative fiction” nonsense—I didn’t buy it when he started spewing that in the early 70s, and I don’t buy it now) and time will judge the body of his work as a whole—so to get an accurate view of how people may view his work in the future, you would have people read some *average* selection of his—something that reflects what he’s known for. B) You make the tired old argument that sci-fi MUST be judged by “those who have a taste for such things.” Again, this is rubbish. Good writing is good writing and bad writing is bad writing—PERIOD. THAT is what we’d be trying to judge here–NOT whether Ellison is good “for a science ficition writer.”

It’s funny, Michael. I know lots of people who don’t generally read sci fi, who have read Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Bradbury, and even Asimov and a few others.

No, the fact is that good storytelling and good writing cuts across boundaries of taste. Not always, no… of course some people just plain don’t like certain genres—BUT AGAIN—most dedicated readers, I find, are not of that mindset—they will give good writing a chance regardless of the genre.

Your argument here is transparent and smacks of desperation. If Ellison’s going to survive, it’ll be on the basis of whether a GENERAL reading audience (of READERS) finds his work good and readable–or *not.* No qualifications, no equivocating.

As for your defense of Ellison regarding my point about The Oscar—I’m sorry, but here you fall utterly flat. A work THAT bad IS a signpost, Michael—I don’t know how anyone could argue otherwise without being outright dishonest. Now recall–I’m not saying Ellison has stayed at that *low* a level—but I maintain he hasn’t risen as far above it as you or he thinks.

And let’s touch upon the vaunted scripts for “The Outer Limits” here, since you brought them up.

I do, in fact, love “Demon with a Glass Hand” and have my own copy of it… but I love it for the IDEA of the story (which as always with Ellison, is inventive and original) and the cheesy, nightmarish thrill of it—in large part due to Byron Haskin’s direction—NOT for Ellison’s *dialogue,* which is occasionally atrocious. I can quote you chapter and verse if need be.

“All that “The Oscar” proves is that anyone screw up royally.”

No, Michael. A minor failure would prove such a thing. “The Oscar” is acknowledged universally as one of THE worst scripts in film history. That proves a great deal more.

And by the way:

“I’d be willing to bet that the number of readers any novel over a century old enjoys, outside of school assignments, is vanishingly small even when compared to the relatively minor percentage of the population which reads for pleasure at all.”

Again, you keep missing the point. The point is not that fewer people today read—or that older works–even great ones—often find a narrower audience as time passes; indeed all this is true. But this isn’t relevant to the point I was making. It is almost always a *relatively* small group of intellectuals who keep great works alive—and they continually pass these works on, as much as it is in their power to do so, to succeeding generations of less-knowledgeable readers—through instruction or by recommendation. Great works also continue to reach people *outside* of the university circuit as well. They gain a reputation, and become generally known.

Some “good bad” books also manage to last, because they entertain, touch some iconic need in people, etc. etc.

185. Harry Ballz - December 13, 2007

#183 “I’m creeped out by the lovey dovey talk between Harry and Mrs. Ballz”

That’s nothing compared to how I’m going to feel when I discover that Mrs. Ballz is, in reality, some 19 year old guy from Michigan!! :)

186. Shatner_Fan_2000 - December 13, 2007

Well, Harry, as long as you make that discovery BEFORE you satisfy your insatiable appetite, everything should work out ok.

187. Harry Ballz - December 13, 2007

Yeah, but it still means I might have called some pimple-faced kid a minx!!

(sound of retching…..) :)

188. Mr. Snuffleupacus - December 13, 2007

#181, Why yes, yes he is a poopy-pants! :-)

Oh, and for what it’s worth…sorry I was rude to you the other day in another thread. I was over the top and it was uncalled for. Please accept my apologies.

189. Cosmo Kid - December 14, 2007

“The Web”

Man oh man, I thought for a moment that David Gerrold was on the Transmitter/Mic. Great Stuffing’s for the old turkeys!!!!

Peace and Reese’s,
Cosmo

190. Cosmo Kid - December 15, 2007

A side note at the end of these scribbles,
Twilight Zone 80′s is much unappreciated.
What a show!
Cosmo K.

191. Andy Patterson - December 15, 2007

190

I enjoyed it. There was an episode with Robert Kline as a man who wakes up to find that everyone is starting more and more to be speaking a different language than him. It was an episode that made me start thinking differently of Kline. Good ep.

192. Cosmo Kid - December 21, 2007

191..

That was a great episode!

Cosmo

193. sharon fisher - December 23, 2007

Harlan hasn’t written much because he has chronic fatigue syndrome.

As far as people calling him a one-hit wonder and being glad when he’s dead, you are beneath contempt.

194. Sena Ferdico - April 21, 2011

Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

195. Mike Branin - April 21, 2011

Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

196. Britta Maile - July 18, 2011

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