Harlan Ellison's Watching...

Harlan Ellison

Ah, I was looking at a Sci-Fi Buzz a few weeks back when one of my commentaries did not appear, and people on the Internet would call in, I guess to the Dominion, the Sci-Fi Channel on line thing. Somebody said" Who made Harlan Ellison the conscience of Science Fiction? Who appointed him?" And Mike Jerrick tried to be polite about it. But I got the answer for you. You did, Pin Head. You know, if you stood up and you did your job I wouldn't have to be sitting here. I'm no different from you. You're filled with opinions and so am I. I, it just happens, I got to the money first, that's all. I'm sitting here because they asked me to sit here, But if you were the conscience of Science Fiction I wouldn't have and gripe about stuff. I could sit here and talk about good stuff. You see there's a, there's a very strange relationship between fans and, and professionals, and uh, on the one hand you'll do something good, like send money to the Jo Clayton Fund. Now, for those of you who don't what I'm talking about, Jo Clayton, the Science Fiction writer, is in a hospital in Portland, Oregon and she's got Multiple Myeloma, which is a terrible, terrible cancer which punches holes in the bones. And I made an appeal for money. Here's a little thing for the Jo Clayton Fund:

Jo Clayton Fund
Make checks payable to:
Oregon SF Emergency mail to:
Oregon SF Emergency
P.O. Box 5703
Portland, OR 97228

And I just got a fax the other day that told me over $3,000 has been collected so far, uh it's probably more than that by the time you see this. But Science fiction fans did that.

On the other hand, Science Fiction fans think that they should be treated as if they actually put a writer where a writer is. I did an online at the Science Fiction convention for the Dominion and afterit was all over, somebody who I had called a pin head, because he had asked me a stupid question and you know, with more affection than with anything else, complained that I had called him a pin head, said, "I wish you could have been nicer", and nicer ain't my job. Nicer is the kind of job for people who give a damn, and I certainly don't. I like my audience. I like them when they keep their place. I don't like it when, as one of the people on here said, "You ought to be nicer to the people who put him where he is". Let me explain something to you. The writer does that. When you buy a book, that's what you're entitled to - the book. If you get in a signing line and the writer gives you a signature, or if there's an awards ceremony, or if there's a convention and they're kind to you, that's largess, it is lagniappe as we say in New Orleans. That's what you're entitled to, is the book. And so, do not think that readers put a writer where the writer ends up being. The writer does it by endless, endless days and nights working at a typewriter or PC or standing there with a lectern with a quill. And that's why we have this wonderful love/hate relationship, you and I. And I'm here almost every week to keep you aware of what you think your place is in the universe and if you think I'm, you know, above my station it's only because I'm really basically a wonderful human being, and I'm glad you understand that.

From Sci-Fi Buzz, episode 169

Publishing Rights to 'Harlan Ellison's Watching' copyright 1997 the Killimanjaro Corporation.