Award winning science fiction writer Harlan Ellison died June 28 in his Los Angeles home at the age of 84. A cause of death was not immediately known; but his wife revealed that he had had a stroke and heart issues in recent years.
Ellison did not consider himself a science fiction writer, but simply a fiction writer.
His list of awards could rival his list of writing credits and include eight and a half Hugo Awards, three Nebula awards, six Bram Stoker awards – including a Lifetime Achievement Award, two Edgar Allan Poe awards, two Georges Méliès awards, two Audie Awards for his audio recordings, and a Silver Pen for Journalism award from the international writer’s union.
A prolific writer, Ellison created hundreds of short stories, articles, books, screenplays, and television scripts. Ellison is known to “Star Trek” fans for one of the most popular episodes in the series – “The City on the Edge of Forever”.
Known for the “City on the Edge of Forever” episode, Ellison’s work and Ellison himself were a part of numerous television and film productions including a conceptual consultant “Babylon 5” episodes and films, a creative consultant on “The Twilight Zone”, a story editor on four episodes of “The Sixth Sense”, appearing in documentaries, and on talk shows.
His writing credits include “A Boy and His Dog”, “Masters of Science Fiction”, “The Outer Limits”, “Tales from the Darkside”, “The Starlost”, “Logan’s Run”, “The Flying Nun”, “Cimarron Strip”, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “The Oscar”, “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour”, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, “Burke’s Law”, and “Route 66”.
Ellison also has some acting credits to his name including voicing himself in an episode of “The Simpsons”, “Babyon 5” including the voice of Zooty, “Masters of Science Fiction”, “PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal”, and “The Pirates of Dark Water”.
He was born Harlan Jay Ellison on may 27, 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio to Jewish parents. His Jewish heritage caused him numerous issues in school where he was bullied and fueled Ellison’s anger. While attending Ohio State University, he took on an English professor who said that Ellison had no writing talent. Ellison later sent copies of his published works to the professor.
Prior to becoming a writer, Ellison’s jobs included a runner, a truck driver, a short order cook, and on a tuna boat.
He is survived by his fifth wife Susan.
feature photo credit: By Pip R. Lagenta – cropped from, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37624874