Who is Harlan Ellison?



Harlan Ellison does not surf the net. You won't find him out here in cyberspace, staring goggle-eyed at one of the many pages which were apparently designed by a team of color-blind dyslexics; or spending ten minutes downloading an MPEG movie that fills an eighth of his display for three seconds; or running a WebCrawler search on "Ernest Hemingway" which yields two Muriel Hemingway sites and a promo page for the movie Ernest Goes to Camp 2.

Harlan Ellison does not surf the net. He doesn't frequent Usenet. You won't find an fan group with his name, and you won't see him crucifying someone in alt.flame or trolling in alt.hi.are.you.cute. He doesn't e-mail his story revisions to editors or modem a copy of a collaboration to a friend. There is not an hellison@anywhere.

Harlan Ellison does not surf the net. He is an author who has won every significant award the Science Fiction genre has to offer (most of them in multiple), but he does not even write on a computer. Harlan types everything of his you'll ever read two-fingered into a manual typewriter - no power, no memory, no backspace. He is proud of this. He considers the foot-pounds of energy he invests in each piece part of his direct and visceral connection to his readers.

Harlan Ellison does not surf the net. He's out there in real life, baby, and in a way few people ever equal. He chews up each day like a candy wax coke bottle filled with syrup, and when he's done with it you can still pick out his teethmarks in what little is left. He's charged through life like a runaway train for six decades, and left a vapor trail which should be an inspiration for all the Walter Mittys and Miniver Cheevys of the world.

Harlan is also was one of the finest men I've had the pleasure of knowing, and I knew that about him long before I ever met him.
(Sorry for not telling you that he doesn't surf the net again. I figured by now you got the point.)

I'm not going to try to describe why I have such a high opinion of Harlan the man and Harlan's body of work. I'm not going to tell you the impact his writing has had on me, or why I consider my exposure to his work one of the essential elements of my life, or all the lessons I've learned from him merely by turning pages.

Find out why for yourself, if you haven't already.

This page is not an homage or a tribute or a shrine for me. It is a necessity. Having looked for Ellison information out there on the net, and having found precious little of it, I realized SOMEONE needed to do it, and I figured it might as well be someone who has no ulterior motive and who respects the man rather than worships him. Over the years the site has grown nearly beyond my ability to manage it and has become the official Harlan Ellison website, but I started off with a pretty basic idea.

The first purpose I set out with was to give those who know Harlan's work some pretty pictures to look at, some access to resources they normally would find only with time and/or difficulty, and a place to add their own comments and visions. The second purpose was to give those who have never read his work and are interested or even random web-surfers an introduction and a recommendation. To that end, let me add my personal testimonial:

Harlan Ellison is, in my opinion and that of many others, one of the finest writers of the last fifty years. He has written over 1700 stories, novels, essays, and or columns, and I'll invite you to look over what of that I have online at http://harlanellison.com/iwrite and http://harlanellison.com/elliword.htm. It is my opinion that anyone who can make it through the works on the former page without being moved to laughter, reflection, or tears simply does not possess the capacity to be moved.

I'm not going to try to convince you of this. I'm not going to make up your mind for you. I'm only going to ask that you look at this website and the work it contains, and that you consider giving Harlan a chance when you are done.

I won't gain anything from your taking that chance, and I won't gain anything by your visit to this web page aside from a certain sense of satisfaction. I've been offered many opportunities to profit from this site and turned them all down. I am never going to hit you up for a donation, or try to sell you anything, or send you solicitory e-mail. I have a single page on the site with Amazon ordering information, due purely to popular demand (I'm not going to be one of those webmasters that liberally sprinkles Amazon links throughout his site), and the couple of bucks a month the Amazon link brings in go to getting more stuff online. In short, this ain't no scam.

Let me also assure you that I am not one of those L. Ron Hubbard-style fanaticoids who will tell you reading Harlan Ellison will result in cosmic awareness, an end to ingrown toenails, or the ability to quit smoking with no stress or weight-gain. I don't consider myself a "fan" of Ellison, and I'm not going to make a newsletter or sell buttons and bumper stickers. I do this merely because reading the man's work has given me one hell of a lot of enjoyment and enlightenment over the years (in fact, make that TWO hells), and since I can't cure the common cold or discover a way to make plankton eat pollution the least I can do is try to turn a few others onto that same experience.

Give Harlan a chance. You won't regret it.

Rick Wyatt
August 1995 (revised July 1998)

HarlanEllison.com is under new management. Thank you to Rick Wyatt for his many years of dutiful stewardship of this site.