No computers for writer Harlan Ellison. He uses this old Olympia, and keeps spare ribbons in the refrigerator.
I'm not here to tell you how wonderfully you're doing. All you have to do is look out around you at the good things you've done, and you'll know how good you are. When you do bad, here am I, smartass Ellison, to tell you what you've done bad.
That's pretty much the life credo of Harlan Ellison, a giant in the science fiction genre and many other genres, and the writer of something like 1,800 novels, short stories, screenplays, teleplays and essays. He was a published writer when he was 15, and wrote or co-wrote, among other works, the screenplay for "The Oscar," scripts for "Star Trek," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and "Route 66" and the story collection "A Boy and His Dog."
Ellison also wrote, many years ago, a number of stories in the juvenile delinquent genre, which have been reprinted by Kicks Books, and Saturday at 2 p.m. at La Luz de Jesus Gallery and Soap Plant, he's coming out of book-signing retirement to help celebrate Kicks' recovery from Hurricane Sandy, which wiped out its warehouse inventory.
We did the Off-Ramp interview at Ellison's home in the Valley, a sprawling, wonderful maze of a house — which he calls the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars — full of secret cabinets, secret rooms and 750,000 books. He talked about his JD fiction (for which he joined a street gang) and his impatience with Judge Judy and bloggers. He gave us a tour of his house. And Ellison addressed the Orson Scott Card controversy.
Card is vehemently anti-gay, saying, for instance, “That many individuals suffer from sex-role dysfunctions does not change the fact that only heterosexual mating can result in families where a father and a mother collaborate in rearing children that share a genetic contribution from both parents.” There's a call for a boycott of the new movie "Ender's Game," based on Card's work.
Ellison says some of Card's opinions are "wrong, ultimately destructive, anti-human and anti-peaceful." But Card's an old friend, and just this week, Ellison says he did voice-work on the spoken word version of "Ender's Game."
You'll find Ellison's complete comment in the additional audio on this page.
Saturday, July 13, 2-5 p.m.: Harlan Goes to Hollywood, with author Harlan Ellison, introduction by Patton Oswalt. La Luz de Jesus Gallery and Soap Plant, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027. The event starts at Sweeney Todd's Barbershop, 4639 Hollywood Blvd., where they'll get a surprise if they try to give Ellison a pompadour.