Fans Mourn Sci-Fi Legend Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison (left) signs at Dangerous Visions Bookstore in Sherman Oaks on May 15, 1982. (Photo by Pip R. Lagenta/Flickr Creative Commons)

Legendary science fiction author Harlan Ellison died earlier today. He wrote, a lot, in a variety of mediums, and was a cantankerous but beloved figure.

The news was announced by a family friend on Twitter, who was married to Ellison's late friend/comic book writer Len Wein.

Ellison was born in Cleveland but lived here in Los Angeles. He wrote more than 1,700 stories, essays, articles, and columns, along with dozens of TV and movie scripts.

"The only thing worth writing about is people," Ellison said. "People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight."

He wrote the episode of Star Trek hailed by many as its greatest, "The City of the Edge of Forever," as well as contributing to everything from The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone to Babylon 5.

Ellison was outspoken, even writing a series of columns for L.A. Weekly in the 1980s called "An Edge In My Voice" — you can read one online about an anti-nuclear weapons protester who was killed by authorities. (You can also read several of Ellison's other essays and short stories here.)

He tried drawing attention to writing by writing and finishing stories in the windows of bookstores, including right here in L.A., according to his official biography.

Ellison had a bit of the gonzo journalism streak in him — he went undercover with a kid gang in Brooklyn's Red Hook section while writing a novel dealing with juvenile delinquency, and he toured with bands including the Rolling Stones before writing a novel about it called Spider Kiss.

Numerous writers and fans shared their memories of Ellison online.

Talk to us about Ellison in the comments or on Twitter at @LAist.


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