Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Harlan Jay Ellison is considered one of the most interesting and important writers to come out of the science-fiction genre. He has accumulated accolades both in and out of that genre, including multiple awards from both the Writers Guild of America for Best Dramatic Screenplay and from the Mystery Writers of America. Much of Ellison’s reputation and career has been built upon works that are only tangentially fantastic.
Ellison grew up in Painesville, Ohio, the only child of the sole Jewish family in the city. This, possibly combined with his father’s career change after being convicted of dealing in moonshine liquor, left Ellison feeling ostracized and alone. He claims to have run away from home several times and has cited science fiction as having saved him “from a life of crime.”
Among Ellison’s early works the 1960 story “Final Shtick” seems closest to autobiography. Here a Jewish comedian named Marty Field (né Morrie Feldman), returning to his hometown to accept an award, reflects on the hypocrisy of the people who now bask in his celebrity (in his youth Ellison edited the Ohio State humor magazine briefly and worked as a stand-up comic).
With the 1970 story “One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty” the mature Ellison encapsulates the essence of his early life. The story’s early sense of polemic is rapidly transformed into a heartfelt examination of the man he had become and the boy he had been. The final...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
Harlan Jay Ellison’s fiction often seems like an extension of the author’s vibrant and dominating personality. His stories are frequently dressed up with long titles, quotations, and other paraphernalia, as if they did not stand by themselves but as the basis for platform performances. Ellison has been a much-sought-after participant at fan conventions and academic groups, where he characteristically strews insults and abuse upon audiences, who howl for more. His friends and associates nevertheless find him charming, witty, and generous.
Despite his enormous energy and productivity, Ellison developed slowly as a writer. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 27, 1934, he attended Ohio State University and was soon asked to leave, one reason being his insults to a creative writing instructor who told him that he could not write. In Cleveland, he edited a science-fiction “fanzine,” showing a hero worship of writers that is still reflected in his work. In New York, he joined a street gang to get authentic material and poured out stories to establish himself, publishing his first, “Glowworm,” in 1956. After two years in the army, he supported himself for a time as an editor. His first novel, The Man with Nine Lives, appeared in 1959. In 1962, he moved to the Los Angeles area, where he continued to live.
In the 1960’s, Ellison became a successful television writer, contributing scripts to Route Sixty-Six, The Alfred...
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Harlan Ellison is a prolific editor and writer of novels, short stories, essays, and screenplays. His fiction includes crime stories, mysteries, mainstream fiction, and science fiction. Although he is most strongly identified with science fiction, he balks at being categorized. Ellison maintains that his influences—Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Henry David Thoreau, and Edgar Allan Poe—also defy neat categorization.
Ellison was born on May 27, 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Louis Laverne (a dentist and jeweler) and Serita. As a child, Ellison performed at a local children’s playhouse, but his creative interests soon turned to writing. At the age of thirteen, he saw his first story published in the Cleveland News. Three years later, he formed the Cleveland Science Fiction Society.
Ellison left Ohio State University in 1954 after only a year and pursued a career as a professional writer in New York. Within two years, he had sold 150 short stories to various magazines. The science fiction readership was most responsive to his writing, and critics soon aligned Ellison with the New Wave of science fiction writers, whose writing is characterized by previously taboo subjects and fictional experimentation. He was drafted to serve in the United States Army from 1957 to 1959, but then resumed writing and editing. According to Ellison, his reputation was secured when the esteemed critic Dorothy Parker wrote a favorable review of one of his...
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Biography (Short Stories for Students)
From his early days, Harlan Ellison has been an individualist and social gadfly. Born in Cleveland on May 27, 1934, he published his first short story in 1947 in the Cleveland News. By the age of 17, he demonstrated his interest in science fiction by founding the Cleveland Science Fiction Society.
Ellison was not one to suffer the restrictions of academia. Although he attended Ohio State University for two years, he was asked to leave by University administrators. Subsequently, he went to New York where he continued his writing career. While in New York, he joined a gang in order to research his novel, Rumble. Ellison’s next job was with the United States Army, serving from 1957 through 1959. In the years after his military service, Ellison started both a magazine, Rogue, and a publishing firm, Regency Books. Throughout this period, Ellison wrote many short stories and essays.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1962, Ellison began writing for television in addition to successfully publishing both novels and short stories. His list of credits for television include episodes of such popular shows as The Outer Limits, Burke’s Law, and Route 66. His best-known television screenplay, however, was his script for Star Trek in 1967, ‘‘The City on the Edge of Forever.’’ For this episode, he won a Hugo Award in 1967, and a Writer’s Guild of America Award in 1968.
In 1965, Ellison wrote...
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IntroductionHarlan Ellison is almost as famous for his lawsuits as he is for his writing. He has filed many legal claims, some valid and quite a few frivolous, and this has earned him the reputation of being a difficult writer to work with. He readily agrees with that assessment, referring to himself as “possibly the most contentious person on Earth.” Ellison dislikes being pigeonholed into one particular genre and refers to his work as “speculative fiction,” though most critics consider it to be an outstanding body of science fiction. Ellison has written books, plays, short stories, essays, and criticism throughout his career. He has also written extensively for television, including work on The Outer Limits and Star Trek.
- Ellison was expelled from Ohio State University after hitting a professor who had criticized his writing.
- Ellison writes under the name of Cordwainer Bird when he believes that his creative contributions to a project have been undermined. Many feel that this is Ellison’s way of giving the people who ruined his vision “the bird.”
- Ellison marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in the famous 1965 march led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Ellison publicly criticized the movie Back to the Future in a 1985 interview but later changed his mind after liking the sequels.
- Not only a successful writer, Ellison has also been a creative consultant for The New Twilight Zone and Babylon 5.
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Harlan Ellison Criticism (Vol. 1)
Harlan Ellison Criticism (Vol. 13)
Harlan Ellison Criticism (Vol. 139)
Angry Candy Review - Harlan Ellison - Salem on Literature
Shatterday Review - Harlan Ellison - Salem on Literature
The author was born Harlan Jay Ellison on May 27, 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio. In grade school when his father died, Harlan endured a childhood in poverty, raised by his widowed mother. Young Harlan spent a restless boyhood on the road working at odd jobs. When he became old enough to earn a living, Ellison supported his mother. Ellison has written warmly of his Jewish parents, particularly his mother, and has quoted her Yiddish expressions, which have had a colorful influence upon his writing all his life.
As a young man, Ellison went to Ohio State University from 1953 to 1954, before moving to New York City to work as a writer. To gain background for his first major novel, dealing with juvenile delinquency, he took an assumed name and ran with a youth gang in Brooklyn's dangerous Red Hook sections for ten weeks. In 1957, he was drafted into the United States Army, training at Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and serving two years at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Camp Brekenridge, Indiana. Since leaving the military, he has been a writer in many genres.
Ellison's writing career has spanned nearly fifty years. His works have been translated into twenty-six languages and have sold millions of copies. He has drawn attention to the art of writing by performing the remarkable feat of writing stories in the windows of bookstores (in Paris, London, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and elsewhere), stories that have gone on to...
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Harlan Jay Ellison, who has also been published under the name Paul Merchant, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 27, 1934. His parents, Louis Ellison (a dentist and later a jewelry salesman) and Serita Rosenthal, had two children, Beverly and Harlan.
Ellison briefly attended Ohio State University in Columbus between 1951–1953. He left college and moved to New York City, where he spent ten weeks living on the streets of Brooklyn, an experience that would later be described in his book Memos from Purgatory (1961). He was then drafted into the U.S. Army in 1957, and wrote another book based on his military experiences called Web of the City (1975). After serving in the army, Ellison worked as an editor at Rogue magazine and then founded Regency Books Press in 1960.
Ellison has written seventy-three books (at last count) and numerous short stories, essays, articles, newspaper columns, teleplays, and screenplays. He has also created a computer game, ‘‘I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream’’— the same title of one of his better-known science fiction stories—and is currently involved in writing stories for the monthly comic book ‘‘Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor.’’
His credits in television include serving as creative consultant on the revival of the CBS series The Twilight Zone (1985). He has also written scripts for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962), Star Trek (1967), and The Outer...
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Harlan Ellison was born on May 27, 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Louis Laverne and Serita Rosenthal Ellison. As a youngster, he appeared in several productions at the Cleveland Playhouse. He demonstrated an early attraction to science fiction, publishing his first short story in 1947 in the Cleveland News. Three years later, he founded the Cleveland Science Fiction Society.
Ellison attended Ohio State University for two years. He left Ohio State for New York City to pursue his writing career. While in New York, he joined a gang under a pseudonym, and used the information he gathered there as the basis of a novel, Rumble. He then worked at several jobs before joining the United States Army in 1957. After serving two years, he left the army and began his own publication, a magazine called Rogue. Soon after, he founded his own publishing firm, Regency Books. During the late 1950s, Ellison produced a prodigious number of stories under his own name and under a variety of pseudonyms. Much of the material he produced during this period concerned urban life.
In 1962 Ellison moved to Los Angeles, California. He continued to write prolifically and found success publishing his stories and novels. In addition, he began writing for television. Some of the series for which he wrote include The Untouchables, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Outer Limits, Route 66, and Burke’s Law. In 1967 he wrote a script for...
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