Harlan Ellison Schools Your Host

Amazing what you find when you Google yourself.

For over thirty-five years I’ve told the story about how Harlan Ellison took me to task in print for mistaking one of his short stories in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as an autobiographical reminiscence about a writer friend from the early days of sci-fi fandom. This story concludes with this writer friend passing away and earmarking some of his estate to Ellison to create a retreat for struggling writers in the process of launching their careers. Or something like that. Anyway, I wrote Ellison to inquire how to apply and he rebuked me in the January 1981 installment of a column he was writing for Future Life. To say I was surprised to see my name pop up is an understatement. The rebuke is understandable and far less acerbic than might be expected from Ellison. It also made for a cool although trivial story, but I have never been able to find my copy of that article again to show people, leaving some to ask, “Are you sure you really saw that?”

Turns out this problem was rectified for me with the 2009 publication of An Edge in My Voice, a collection of Ellison’s essays from 1980 to 1982. Ellison isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I would argue he was one of the most entertaining authors of essays and introductions as well as one of the most vociferous champions of the comics medium from the middle to late 20th Century.  I heartily recommend this collection, and, if you do peruse it, you’ll find this snippet:

See.  I told you. 😉

I’m tempted to do a little creative editing to transform some of Ellison’s words into a blurb for my next book: “Sincere and talented and wonderful!” But I won’t. Ellison, who, in a now famous 1979 Comics Journal interview, confessed that he saw himself as a cross between Jiminy Cricket and Zorro, may be gone, but I’ve a feeling his gargoyles are still lurking out there somewhere.

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