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Harlan Ellison, visionary sci-fi author, dies at 84

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Jun 28, 2018, 4:35 PM EDT

Sci-fi pioneer Harlan Ellison has passed away. The prolific, award-winning author died today at the age of 84, according multiple media reports and a social media post from family friend Christine Valada. Ellison's peers, as well as his many, many fans, also are mourning his passing on social media with thoughtful insights into how his iconoclastic and original work has enriched their creative lives.

Ellison’s lengthy writing career spanned more than 60 years, from his early start in comics in the 1950s into more recent endeavors. The editor of two science fiction anthologies, Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions, Ellison was prolific in many media platforms including novellas, comics, short stories, screenplays, and prose.

Ellison is responsible for some of sci-fi’s best-loved short stories, including the post-apocalyptic "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" and the anti-authoritarian satire "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," which earned both Nebula and Hugo Awards. 

Ellison wrote script for one of the best-remembered of all epsiodes from the original Star Trek television series, the fan favorite "City on the Edge of Forever," and lent his talent to a lengthy string of additional television shows in the 1960s including The Flying Nun, Route 66, The Outer Limits, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. He also appeared on the nascent Sci-Fi Channel's Sci-Fi Buzz through the mid-1990s, discussing in his trademark curmudgeonly fashion the genre news of the day. 

A Saturn, Bradbury, and Prometheus winner, as well as a six-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, Ellison and his work have been widely recognized from both within the sci-fi genre as well as from the larger creative community. In addition to mainstream accolades like his 2009 Grammy nomination (for a spoken-word delivery of Through the Looking-Glass And What Alice Found There), Ellison has been honored by nearly every major sci-fi organization and writers' group.

An Ohio native, Ellison was born in Cleveland in 1934, moving early to New York before heading to Hollywood, where he remained a California resident throughout his award-winning career. The author of more than 1,700 works — many of them sci-fi short stories — Ellison was the winner of eight Hugo Awards, including a shared award for his screenplay of A Boy and his Dog. He is also the only author ever to have won three Nebula Awards for Best Short Story.