Harlan Ellison, Legendary Writer Of ‘Star Trek’ Classic “City On The Edge Of Forever,” Dead At 84

The prolific science fiction writer Harlan Ellison has passed away at age 84. The news was first reported by family friend Christine Valada on Twitter.

Over his decades-long career, Ellison wrote hundreds of novels, short stories, and screenplays. He was the recipient of multiple awards, including eight Hugos, one of which was for the screenplay to the classic Star Trek episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” (It also won the WGA award for Best Episodic Drama on Television.) Other notable works from Ellison include the novella A Boy and His Dog, which was later adapted into the film of the same name, and the short story Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman, both of which won Hugo and Nebula Awards.

His work on television included writing episodes of The Twilight ZoneThe Outer Limits, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  He was also a conceptual consultant on Babylon 5.

Photo of Ellison on Star Trek set, signed by Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner

An outspoken figure

Ellison was also known for being very outspoken, penning much literary, film and television criticism. The writer never shied away from controversy, especially when it came to protecting his own work. This included his work on Star Trek, resulting in a feud with creator Gene Roddenberry after changes were made to his script for “City on the Edge of Forever.” Things got so bad that Ellison asked to have his name replaced with a pseudonym, which Roddenberry refused. Ellison’s original teleplay was eventually published in book form, and adapted into a Star Trek comic by IDW in 2014.

Ellison’s original vision in comic form

He was also known to take his fights to court, including one with Star Trek. In 2009, he sued Paramount and CBS for what he claimed to be unpaid residuals for “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Two years earlier, Ellison had made some waves over concerns that J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek might be using elements of “City” as well, but he later told TrekMovie in 2007 that he was assured that wasn’t the case. He even offered to help out with the film’s sequel. And even though Ellison had his fights over Star Trek, he was also happy to attend many Star Trek conventions over the years, including ones this decade.

Harlan Ellison with his friend Walter Koenig at STLV 2014

In his own words

Harlan Ellison was a very colorful figure and one way to remember him in addition to reading or watching his works is to just watch him talk. Here is a clip from The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder that was shot in conjunction with a 1976 Star Trek convention in New York which Ellison was attending. He doesn’t hold back when it comes to his views on Trek and the world in general.

And here is a clip from 2007, when TrekMovie had a chance to speak with Ellison while he walked the picket line during the WGA strike.

Ellison remembered

A number of Ellison’s fellow authors and other luminaries are weighing in on Twitter over the news of his passing.

I guess I'm not going to get anything else done today. I keep wanting to pick up the phone to call Harlan and find out how pissed he is about dying.

Posted by David Gerrold on Thursday, June 28, 2018


For more on Ellison, check out obituaries at Tor.com, StarTrek.com and Variety.


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Best episode of Trek ever, RIP Harlan Ellison.

Here’s a great quote from him, regarding his involvement with TMP:
“Paramount had been trying to get a Star Trek film in work for some time. Roddenberry was determined that his name would be on the writing credits somehow. The trouble is, he can’t write for sour owl poop. His one idea, done six or seven times in the series and again in the feature film, is that the crew of the Enterprise goes into space, finds God, and God turns out to be insane, or a child, or both. I’d been called in twice, prior to 1975, to discuss the story. Other writers had also been milked. Paramount couldn’t make up their minds and had even kicked Gene (Roddenberry) off the project a few times, until he brought in lawyers. Then the palace guard changed again at Paramount and Diller and (Michael) Eisner came over from ABC and brought a cadre of their buddies. One of them was an ex-set designer named Mark Trabulus.

Roddenberry suggested me as the scenarist for the film with this Trabulus, the latest of the know-nothing duds Paramount had assigned to the troublesome project. I had a talk with Gene about a storyline. He told me they kept wanting bigger and bigger stories, but no matter what was suggested, it wasn’t big enough. I devised a storyline and Gene liked it, and set up a meeting with Trabulus for December 11, 1975. That meeting was canceled, but we finally got together on December 15th. It was just Gene and Trabulus and me in Gene’s office on the Paramount lot.

I told them the story. It involved going to the end of the known universe to slip back through time to the Pleistocene period when Man first emerged. I postulated a parallel development of reptile life that might have developed into the dominant species on Earth had mammals not prevailed. I postulated an alien intelligence from a far galaxy where the snakes had become the dominant life form, and a snake-creature who had come to Earth in the Star Trek future, had seen its ancestors wiped out, and who had gone back into the far past of Earth to set up distortions in the time-flow so the reptiles could beat the humans. The Enterprise goes back to set time right, finds the snake alien, and the human crew is confronted with the moral dilemma of whether it had the right to wipe out an entire life form just to insure its own territorial imperative in our present and future. The story, in short, spanned all of time and all of space, with a moral and ethical problem.

Trabulus listened to all this and sat silently for a few minutes. Then he said, ‘You know, I was reading this book by this guy named Von Daniken and he proved that the Mayan calendar was exactly like ours, so it must have come from aliens. Could you put in some Mayans?’

I looked at Gene; Gene looked at me; he said nothing. I looked at Trabulus and said, ‘There weren’t any Mayans at the dawn of time.’ And he said, ‘Well, who’s to know the difference?’ And I said, ‘I’m to know the difference. It’s a dumb suggestion.’ So Trabulus got very uptight and said he liked Mayans a lot and why didn’t I do it if I wanted to write this picture. So I said, ‘I’m a writer. I don’t know what the fuck you are!’ And I got up and walked out. And that was the end of my association with the Star Trek movie.

If Roddenberry couldn’t write “for sour owl poop,” how did he ever manage to win a Writer’s Guild award for Best Original Teleplay, the very same award Ellison would often hold up as a token of unimpeachable artistic integrity since the scripts are submitted without names attached and are judged solely on their merits? Just one more example of Harlan’s lack of consistency in such matters–which, to his credit, he would be the first to admit.

Ellison was a bit of a prick, but Roddenberry does not compare. Gene had his moments, but he was not a gifted story teller. And let’s be honest – was a bit of a prick himself.

Good point. Roddenberry founded and organized an entire franchise but was not a great writer even though he thought he was; Ellison was a great writer but did not have the long-term vision and organization skills to create a franchise even though he thought he could do better than many in Hollywood in this regard — and they could both be total a-holes (I met them both in person, BTW).

Two Alpha Male SF Nerds who believed their own status as legends — something had to give! :-)

My world just got smaller and less interesting. HE was brilliant, occasionally terrible, a moral gadfly who could be enlightening and infuriating. He was Trek’s greatest critic and, at the very least, one of its greatest benefactors.

His work will outlast him by a good long while, at least. Peace.

Well, at least TPTB should be able to pick up the rights for the Guardian of Forever from his estate for peanuts now. This way they can fix Kirk dying on Veridian III.

It’s a minor tragedy whenever fans sound like lawyers.

Agreed. Harry Ballz sounds small-minded. Beneath him.

Agreed. That comment was totally uncalled for.

think something similar happened with Bond recently (getting rights to Spectre/blofeld) and the Superman II donner cut/Superman Returns (use of brando)

No, they can’t, and hopefully, they won’t. Kirk should not be immortal just to suit a small group of fans who are willing to let the franchise progress.

Dont forget the classic I have no mouth and I Must Scream which got made into a game back un 1995

That story was one of the most nightmarish things I’ve ever read. And I LOVED it. I actually didn’t know there was a game until a couple of years ago and of course I downloaded it. An excellent game, as I soon found out and the fact that Ellison himself did the voice of AM was the icing on the cake.

I acted in an amateur zero-budget film adaptation of it in the late 70s, and while the visuals were pretty lame (we did the thing as a VR piece, with everybody actually just wired into a nightmare reality, I wish I had a copy. I think I played Gorrister, the guy with all the exposition, and I did this zonked out delivery when he gets round to how AM started to stand for Aggressive Menace.

I tried to do an amateur REPENT HARLEQUIN myself in the late 80s, but never got past building the future city models. Probably just as well, would not have wanted to screw it up.

Love this story!

An amazing story and, as Spider Robinson once put it, one of the ugliest things ever written in the English language.

I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM is the stuff of nightmares. Read that in my teens. Am now close to 50 years old. I STILL get the heebie-jeebies when I think of that story. *shuddering in fear*

RIP. Great talent.

I guess he’ll be telling God a thing or two, so maybe things’ll finally get better around here. RIP.

What a delightful thought, thank you. It made me smile.



He was one of a kind and didn’t pussyfoot around. Wish there were more writers like him in Hollywood today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

One of the last great sci-fi writers of old. And the only one of his kind for sure. May he rest in peace.

So I was going to say a few words about how I really Feel about how Mr. Ellison actually treated others in interviews that I have seen but I believe now is not the time. I am truly sorry for his families loss though.

Trek Movie staff, you know I love you guys. But, seriously, Ellison would have loathed being referred to as a “sci-fi author,” legendary or not. First, because he hated the term “sci-fi” (he often referred to it as a “ghastly neologism”); second, because he didn’t really think of himself as a science fiction writer (he preferred being known as a fantasist); and, finally, because he felt the word “author” refers to those who write books, whereas a writer is someone who can’t help putting down several thousand words on any given subject, because that’s who they are, and what they do. And a writer is what Harlan Ellison was, first and foremost.

Please change it, out of the respect we all owe the man on this sad day.

SECONDED! ‘Sci-Fi’ has no business even being in the same paragraph as his name.

This man was a great fantasist and a phenomenal essayist and more importanly, a guy who put himself on the line for stuff that mattered and for people so many times that … damn, it has all just piled up lately, hasn’t it? I can’t even think straight.

Well, that is what he will go down as — you don’t get to pick your public fame sometimes, unfortunately:

“Harlan Ellison, Provocative Sci-Fi Writer of ‘Star Trek,’ ‘A Boy and His Dog,’ Dies at 84” — Variety

“Harlan Ellison, Science Fiction Master, Dies at Age 84” — The New York Times

“Harlan Ellison dies at 84; acclaimed science fiction writer was known for combative style” — LA Times

“Harlan Ellison, Grand Master of Science Fiction & Fantasy, 1934-2018” — Tor.com

“Sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison dies at 84” — Endgadget

BTW, what he actually preferred was the term, “speculative fiction writer,” and he did not want to be associated one iota with the term “fantasy.”

Harlan often called himself a “fantasist.”

And yet “fantasist” was what he called himself in interviews circa 1979/1980.

He insulted me twice in person, once in 1979 and once in 1986. He also insulted me in print in 1982 (a story introduction in the Shatterday compilation). I guess I made an impression. Despite his acid tongue I have looked up to him since my teens.

According to your flickr link, you would be have 15 years old in 1979, and 18 in 1982??? So he was picking on teenage photographers/stereo hobbyists???

Well shucks. I guess he’ll just have to settle for being remembered at all. That’s more then most of us will get.

Great talent… fascinanting person… RIP…
Why is the Enterprise insignia erased from W. Shatner shirt on the picture used to illustrate this article?

Harlan Ellison was one of the best writers Star Trek has ever had with the best Star Trek episode City On The Edge of Forever. He will be missed by Star Trek fans worldwide.

Harlan was famously and fiercely agnostic and would have been appalled by wishes for him to Rest In Peace in the afterlife. (He also would have been secretly delighted by David Mack’s crack about God owing him residuals.)

It has been an exceptionally crappy week, and this news is the fecal capper. Thank FSM for David Gerrold’s comment; it simultaneously brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.

So even though I know you would scoff at the sentiment, RIP Harlan. We are all a little smaller for your absence.

I’m not sure one can be “fiercely agnostic.” It’s a sort of philosophical shrug.

This headline is just about as insulting to Harlan Ellison as humanly possible. Harlan:
1 – hated the term “sci-fi” deeply, insisting on “science fiction”;’
2 – hated being labeled a writer of “science fiction,” describing himself as a fantasist who wrote speculative fiction; and
3 – decried the label “author” as something writers only put on passports when traveling to Europe or to sound self-important.

“Legendary fantasist Harlan Ellison…” or “Legendary speculative-fiction writer Harlan Ellison…” would be fitting, but the current headline is an insult to the man.

“1 – hated the term “sci-fi” deeply, insisting on “science fiction”;’”

correction: “speculative fiction” was the term he insisted on, as he did not like the term, “science fiction” either.

You did not correct me; I said nothing incorret. I literally stated that he used “speculative fiction” for himself, so all you did was restate what I had already said while claiming it was a correction. Nope.

Harlan hated the use of “sci-fi” instead of science fiction. He pointed out that what *he* wrote was speculative fiction, not science fiction.

Next time, read more carefully before claiming to correct someone. Harlan did not suffer fools, and in his honor, neither do I.

Incorrect. He also disliked the full-length term, “science fiction.” I should know becuase I personally attended a talk of his many years ago where here he went on a negative rant about the term. He wanted the term “speculative fiction” to be used in place of BOTH “sci-fi” and “science fiction.”

It was never my attention to “get personal” with you on this. This is a time of remembrance, and I will therefore apologize as I see now that my original post here was overly perfunctory, and I unintentionally caused you some embarrassment.

Wrong, and don’t try the “I should know” bullcrap. I don’t give a crap if you think you’re “getting personal,” nor have you embarrassed me in the slightest. Lots of us saw Harlan live, or met him, or talked with him, so your little anecdote is cute, nothing more.

In another thread, you claimed he distanced himself from the term “fantasy.” Wrong. Here’s an interview where he (1) distances himself from “science fiction” without mentioning “speculative fiction” at all. Instead, he says “Really what I write is fantasy, contemporary fantasy…I take contemporary events and kind of look at them through the lens of fantasy…”


So there’s a claim you got 100% wrong.

Here’s an interview where he discusses the “science fiction” label. At 1:30, he is asked about the term. He says he “loathes” it, but then he explains. “‘Cause I don’t write science fiction. Isaac [Asimov] writes science fiction. Issac can be justly called a science-fiction writer. … I write a kind of surreal fantasy…”

He goes on to sneer at the “science fiction” label, but he is talking about how the label had been bastardized away from the kind of stuff Asimov wrote to ANYTHING the publishers couldn’t figure out. He points out that others, such as Isaac, DO write science fiction, just not *Harlan*.

Oh, and Harlan points out again that he wrote fantasy, yet again proving you WRONG about THAT claim.


Harlan hated the term “sci-fi” always, hated “science fiction” when applied to himself or to other non-science-fiction writing, and called himself a fantasy writer repeatedly.

Now, walk away. You have not corrected me, nor embarrassed me. Why would I be embarrassed about being right?

Again, sorry for bruising your ego.

I’ve met the man and heard him speak in person on this topic, so I don’t need to rely on some selective quotes (and youtube videos), which there are tons of the internet over a 50-year period, and some of it contradictory.

You didn’t bruise anyone’s ego, kiddo. Stop pretending you’re important. I gave proof. You spouted “I’ve met the man.” Well, SO HAVE I and so have plenty of others. Your little anecdote means NOTHING compared to actual evidence in his own voice on video.

You are, of course, free to continue polluting this space with your nonsense, but why? You aren’t bruising egos or embarrassing anyone (except yourself, but you don’t have the strength of personality to admit it).

The only ego bruised here is yours, the one that keeps trying to correct someone INCORRECTLY. Show some dignity. Have some intellectual honesty.

Or better yet, just stop replying to me and go troll someone who is impressed by your silly little displays of childish machismo. As far as I can tell, nobody on here is impressed by you. Poor kid.

Ah, yes, the “let’s call him a kid routine” trolling best practice. Are we on AOL with the year being 1992? ;-)

You have convinced me that this is pointless to continue — that is the one thing we agree on.

Again, sorry to have embarrassed you and to have caused your emotional outburst.


Okay, I’ll replace the semi-polite “kiddo” with the more accurate” dumbass.” Feel better?

Stop pretending anyone is affected by your trolling. We’re not. I didn’t have an emotional outburst.

I handed an idiot his dumb ass because you don’t have the intellectual capacity or integrity to ADMIT YOU ARE WRONG. You are the only one embarrassed here or you would admit you are WRONG.

So sad to see a troll like you being allowed to pollute this site with your ongoing horsecrap.

Now, please, keep drooling into your keyboard. Or act like an adult and ADMIT YOU ARE WRONG. Why can’t you do that? I, and others, have shown you to be wrong, but you keep insisting.

Harlan hated fools like you. But I find this amusing, watching your pathetic attempts at trolling at your weird little “sorry I embarrassed you” stupidity.

An intellectually mature and developed person would have admitted to being PROVEN wrong and moved off. You didn’t. You doubled down with your stupidity and insults.

Meanwhile, I type so fast that I’ve spent less than 5 minutes total in dealing with you. I’ve been typing this message quickly and piling lots and lots of short paragraphs into it to keep you reading for as long as possible.

Keeping trolls like you distracted is a hobby of mine. It keeps you from spouting your idiocy at people who might actually care.

I’ve been batting you around like a dead fly. By all means, keep it up! This is amusing, and a nice diversion while my coffee is brewing.

Sigh…I thought we were moving on from this?

There is really no need for any more of these defensive, emotional and silly personal attack treatises from you. I embarrassed you, I apologized for it, you should accept my apology, and we both move and and be civil to each other. It’s not that complicated.

This is getting very tiring. If you have anything further to say on this, can you please try to be more succinct? Thanks!

I’ll play your game and ask WHY you think I was embarrassed and HOW you embarrassed me. I have not expressed embarrassment, nor did you correct me about anything, so I simply cannot fathom how you think you embarrassed me.

Please, explain to the dumb guy–what makes you think I was embarrassed since I expressed no such thing? And how do think you caused embarrassment since you were wrong in your attempt to correct me?

I’ll await your equally polite response to my polite questions, with no further comments until you clarify these odd claims of yours. Thanks!

Easy answer — a continuous stream of very defensive, petulant, juvenile personal attack responses from you — clearly illustrating that I bruised your ego.

Only a person whose ego is bruised would respond with such silly, personal attack drivel. (Well, I guess a hardened troll might also respond that way, so if you want to plead that excuse, I’ll listen?)

You are boring me by dragging this on an on. So I am offering one final apology attempt here — again, regarding my original post, it was never my attention to “get personal” with you on this and to unintentionally cause you some embarrassment, so I apologize!

You can now have the last word, as I really don’t have anything more to add here. Hopefully we can move on civilly, but it not, give it your best “Look at me, I’m such Bad-Ass” effort with lots of personal insults, condescension, back-handed complements, and lame sarcasm please…”please sir, may I have another? ;-)

You were wrong, utterly and completely. Period. End of story.

Rest Well Harlan.
Thank You.

Harlan Ellison will surely be missed and remember by fans and ironically non fans too.
Because no single episode in Star Trek has been known more then this outside of the franchised as being the most exceptional and captivating story told.
A thinking man’s trek in the mind and emotion.
No booms, no flash, no same old war against the bad guy.
Storytelling at its rawest form, something lacking in the spin-off series and something unattainable in STD (except maybe a vaccination to cure it)

Harlan has gone through the guardian – unto heaven.
I would love to see his expression.

If you liked Harlan, you wouldn’t insult him with something as silly as what you just wrote, especially that “heaven” bit.

There is nothing wrong with TrekMadeMeWonder’s innocently positive tribute. You don’t get to dictate to people how they want to celebrate the man’s life. Sheesh!


I didn’t dictate anything. Learn what words mean before using them. Better yet, just stop pestering me. You grew tedious with your attempts to “correct” me, so just don’t bother posting to me.

“I didn’t dictate anything.”

Really? You boldly proclaimed to TrekMadeMeWonder:

“If you liked Harlan, you wouldn’t insult him with something as silly as what you just wrote, especially that “heaven” bit”

1. lay down authoritatively; prescribe.

Sure sounds like you were dictating to him, and in a unnecessarily scolding manner at that.

You can play your silly “I am an angry man who is getting in your face” aggressive trolling-like routine all you want, but that post to TrekMadeMeWonder, who was simply providing and innocent and nice tribute to Ellison, your were in fact dictating to him in a very condescending manner how he should have commented on Ellison’s passing — as if you are arbitrator of what people are allowed to say regarding this great man’s passing. Shame on you!

Mean what you say. Say what you mean.

And please stop trying to bully people who are just posting positive remembrances and well wishes on this great man.

I have no authority over TrekMadeMeWonder, thus rendering your definition-based rant meaningless, much like everything else you post.

Nobody bullied anybody. Stop being silly. I expressed an opinion. Others express them, often far more harshly than I did. Get over it.

You are a ridiculous little troll. You are not impressing anyone, least of all me.

As these examples from some of your past posts illustrate, your continual practice of “shouting people down” in an aggressive and personal attack manner is textbook internet bullying:

“Why did you feel the need to vomit up that irrelevant rant?”

“Your ignorance is so overwhelming, it is impossible to begin educating you. Your comment is a string of irrational thoughts with no basis in evidence or reality.”

“And yes, you CAN shut up–just stop typing, stop pressing send–but you CHOOSE not to. It’s very easy to do. It’s what I’ll do regarding you from now on.”

“What an insanely stupid comment. Try making sense next time instead of just stringing together words”

“If you liked Harlan, you wouldn’t insult him with something as silly as what you just wrote”

“You are a ridiculous little troll. You are not impressing anyone, least of all me.”

Sure, of course you are not a bully. (sarcasm)

Nope, not a bully. Like others, I have no tolerance for fools and idiots such as you. You are a troll who posts nothing of value but you think you’re making a huge impact. Nope. You’re like a mosquito–slightly annoying, easy to squash.

I see a common trend with you. You do not understand the words or concepts you use. “Bully” for example. You just bark out words.

Try again, slugger. Come back at me when you’ve learned how to read with some comprehension and communicate with words that you actually understand.

Also, I find it highly amusing that you went searching through my comments. I *love* getting under a troll’s skin. The more you focus on pestering me, the less time you have to harass others who might have thinner skins.

You are a joke. Keep it up, though. I need a good laugh!

You responded exactly as I predicted and did not take accountability for your behavior, and instead went into your contrived/cacluated “bad-ass” facade mode that you use on so many here, personally attacking me with more juvenile insults and sophomoric sarcasm. It amazes me that you have had any success using this on others here, because it’s just so obvious what a load of fake, contrived nonsense your bad-ass trolling persona is here.

And it took you like four consecutive paragraphs to insult me in what could have be accomplished in one summary paragraph…quantity over substance.


Re: how he should have commented on Ellison’s passing

If PaulB was dictating anything it certainly wasn’t that. Clearly, his words were more concerned with how TrekMadeMeWonder should “like” Harlan.

“how TrekMadeMeWonder should “like” Harlan”

This sure sounds like dictating to me: “lay down authoritatively; prescribe.” When you proscribe to someone — HOW TO DO THIS CORRECTLY BECAUSE YOU GOT IT WRONG, that is “dictating.” It’s pretty clear.

It’s immaterial if he also added and “if-then” component about “liking Ellison” — it’s still dictating because he’s condescendingly suggesting that a rejection of this would mean that TrekMadeMeWonder is not respectful of this great man’s passing (he actually claimed TrekMadeMeWonder would be insulting Ellison) — that’s a personal insult, and an attempt to “bully” the reader into accepting his POV.

People who are just posting nice stuff on Ellison should be allowed to do so here without being picked on by this mean-spirited dude who always seems to have some silly, supposedly angry, self-serving rant, every time someone dares to point out he is overdoing his fakey “bad-ass” act.

Really? Who freaking cares. Seriously.

I was just trying to say that he had a way of looking at things that were unique, albeit opinionated, but logical AND original. To me that is what I will miss about the man. Just expressing that I would still love to see his genuine reaction to the hereafter. I know it’s not possible. But I would. That’s all. Peace.


Heaven? I bet his expression looks more like “uh-oh…”.

R.i.P. Cordwainer Bird. They truly don’t make them like you anymore.

RIP Harlan. We met once, and I loved your take no prisoner’s take on Hollywood.

RIP to a legend. He was truly one of the last of the greatest science fiction writers of our generation. In fact, some people think I maybe over-hyping the guy, but I’d put him in the same category as Asimov, Bradbury, Clark and Heinlein.

I’d maybe go as far (but it’s still a big stretch for me) as Asimov and Bradbury with you, but no way in my book was he up there with Clarke, Heinlein and Dick. To me, he is more in that second tier with Herbert, Pohl, Bear, Niven/Pournelle, Anderson, Le Guin, Silverberg, etc. etc.

And right or wrong, his legacy is hurt by not having that one great sf novel that for other sf greats we can readily point to.

Of course there was STAR TREK: City on the Edge of Forever, but also NEW TWILIGHT ZONE: Paladin of the Lost Hour; the autobiographical ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR: Memo from Purgatory starring James Caan as H.E. along with his friend Mr. Koenig; and last but certainly not least, OUTER LIMITS: Demon With a Glass Hand (for my money the best hour of SF television ever produced). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of his TV work.

Thank you, Anthony, for a good article on a wildly interesting life.

Very surprised that Harlan’s passing did not get included on Thursday’s network TV newscasts from ABC, CBS, or NBC. (But the New York-centric networks did give us numerous minutes a couple of weeks ago about the death of a fashion designer that pretty no one in the rest of America had ever previously heard of.) I’d say Harlan had probably been our current greatest living writer of science fiction stories.

Maybe you and most of flyover country never heard of this designer, but many people have never head of Harlan Ellison, either. So that’s even steven.

RIP Harlan Ellison.

Sad to hear about one of science fiction’s most influential writers passing away.

He wrote one of the greatest episodes of Star Trek, and he had his name attached to many of the greatest franchises of all time, including “The Terminator.”

Although technically that was only because he made the claim that the film plagiarized “Soldier” story from “The Outer Limits,” but still…he’s credited…

Anyway sad to hear this has happened, he was a good writer. Although I have to say “A Boy and His Dog” was a little too messed up for me…but anyway…

Soldier and Demon with the Glass Hand are among the best eps of the original Outer Limits.

I always found “The City On The Edge Of Forever” highly overrated. Is it a good Star Trek episode, yes BUT is it the best episode ever as voted on not to me. RIP Harlan…

Yeah, it was alright, but there were plenty of episodes that rivaled it. “The Changeling” and “Return to Tomorrow” immediately jump to mind.

I always felt that THE MOTION PICTURE was a rip-off of “The Changeling.”

Most definitely. First season of TNG shamelessly ripped off TOS. At some point the Great Bird settled on retreads of old work. Either from a tired of imagination or an attempt to “improve” on the earlier version, I don’t know.

From that quote by HE above, Gene had the same idea done six or seven different ways. It honestly really shows.

Eye opening. Amazing what I’ve come to know about GR since the internet showed up. I teared up a little when he died; now I think I’d just grimace.

I saw Harlan in person (in the 80’s?) at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He gave a presentation on the history of robots. But it was no dry, boring, scholarly recitation. It was done ‘Harlan style’. I have never laughed so hard in my life!

And, like the author above, I highly recommend ‘Dreams With Sharp Teeth’ to any fan of Harlan’s. It’s an outstanding documentary!

Great writer. His treasury has stories he penned as a teenager and they’re scary good.

I enjoyed watching his rants during his bit on the old “ Sci-fi Buzz” show back in the 90s. He was an inspiration to not take anyone’s BS and protect your creations. He will be missed.

I’m really bummed. Ellison was my favorite author and the only fiction writer who ever brought me to tears. He was my writing hero. I liked him. Didn’t know him. But I liked him. He offended some people but most of them deserved it. He wrote stories that lit up the pages in a book. He was loud-mouthed, uncouth and so politically incorrect. And I loved him for it.
So long, Harlan. That was a good story.

You know what would REALLY chafe Harlan’s shorts? The money that all these booksellers are making right now selling his back catalog. I went to Amazon this morning intending to order his 50-year retrospective and the used paperbacks averaged $20-30. I got distracted and didn’t get around to ordering until this evening… now they’re averaging $80-120. The hardcovers are over $300!

Harlan was always famously demanding “Pay me! Pay me!” If David Gerrold’s call ever goes through, maybe he’d better not mention the skyrocketing book prices. Harlan would be infuriated he wasn’t getting a piece of the action!

Scott Gammans,

With Disney’s “we need to provide for the orphans and widows” copyright extensions, I’d be surprised to discover Harlan had let a little thing like death put an end to his estate’s legal machine.

I remember when Harlan threatened to sue if Trek o9 was too close to his work, and I assured JJ that my idea that Spock came back in time to bridge canon with new trek was entirely my own, JJ, to his credit, believed me, and we were not sued. Thank you, JJ.

And thank you for both Nimoy and bridged canon.

And thank you, HE, for keeping us all had honest.

The passing of a legend. Greatest stories put to pen and to screen.

We’ll never know the like again.

A truly unique talent is no longer with us.

The world is a sorrier place without him.

All clichés. All true.

I have no more tears, but I must cry.

Next time there’s a thunderstorm, we’ll know Mr Ellison is picking an argument with God. ;)

Sleep well.

The most fitting tribute would be to get the nu-Trek crew to film a new adaptation of City on the Edge of Forever based directly on Mr Ellison’s screenplay. There’s even a comic book that’s done the hard work on the production design for it.

Ellison was a legend in his own mind. What a nasty mean man he was.

Classy post, scum.



You should only speak good of the dead. He’s dead…

“He’s dead, Jim.”