Let's muster up all the good wishes we can for one of science fiction's most towering figures.
Word came over the weekend that the great Harlan Ellison suffered a stroke last week and is recovering at the moment in the hospital. His wife Susan wrote at his website, "A couple of days ago Harlan had a stroke. He’s in the hospital. His right side is paralyzed. He’s comfortable -- as possible. We will keep you up-to-date with his progress."
A close friend of Ellison's, screenwriter Josh Olson, later wrote that the legendarily garrulous scribe was "talking a mile a minute, and throwing out more obscure references per minute than anyone can possibly keep up with.” If that is indeed the case, then we're hopeful that the stroke wasn't a debilitating one and that Ellison will be back on his feet and at his (manual) typewriter soon.
Famously confrontational, endlessly creative and fiercely humanist, the 80-year-old Ellison is a personality with which every fan of science-fiction should be familiar. His career stretches across seven decades and every written medium -- short stories (some 1,700 of them), novels, screenplays, TV scripts, comics and nonfiction -- and his most famous tales are landmarks in the field: "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," "The Deathbird," "Jeffty is Five," "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," "From A to Z in the Chocolate Alphabet" and the classic novella A Boy and His Dog are practically required reading for any fan. So is his anthology Dangerous Visions, long considered a seminal collection of speculative fiction.
He also wrote the original Star Trek episode still regarded as the series' finest -- "City on the Edge of Forever" -- and the 1964 Outer Limits segment not just hailed as the best of that show but one of the greatest hours of televised sci-fi ever: "Demon With a Glass Hand." It's no surprise that the upcoming Outer Limits feature film will reportedly be based on that episode.
Ellison has a shelf full of awards for his work, but most importantly, he's always been one of fantastic literature's most unique and outspoken voices. He's also been a champion for writers -- long defending our right to, you know, get paid for what we do like everyone else -- and a ferocious fighter for copyright ownership.
He doesn't rub everyone the right way -- nor should he -- but the world would be a far emptier place without him. Get well soon, Harlan!
(via Giant Freakin' Robot)