Harlan Ellison, 1934-2018

‘The consistency with which Ellison wrote smart,
complex stories in his own unique voice stands out
as proof that he belongs in the mainstream literary
canon as much as Poe, Camus, Baldwin, or Austen’

Most of the early obits about award-winning writer, teacher, activist, and legendary cultural gadfly Harlan Ellison center on a long biographical checklist. His beloved father died when he was young; he was bullied daily at grammar school in Painesville, Ohio; he became a serial adolescent runaway; he took on diverse working-class jobs to survive; he served two unhappy years in the Army, then was expelled from Ohio State University for insubordination; was fired from Disney on his first day there as a writer after making playfully profane jokes about the animated characters trademarked by the Mouse House. None of these details speak to what Harlan would have called “the work”; and I would say, as Ellison sometimes did, only his work matters. Continue reading “Harlan Ellison, 1934-2018”