May 26, 2009

harlan ellison

i've been trying to blog about harlan ellison all morning. his wikipedia entry alone took me an hour to get through. read it here if you like.

the documentary "dreams with sharp teeth" aired on sundance last night. we caught the beginning and i can't wait to finish it. the guy is the biggest curmudgeon on the planet. he makes harvey pekar look peppy & upbeat. he fights with everyone, thinks quite highly of himself, and like HST i doubt i'd really want to hang out with the guy.

but he's so funny and smart and generally right about people. his fiction is brilliant, but i think his non-fiction work is what shines. especially when he writes about growing up in painesville, OH in the early 40's, being one of the only jewish families, getting picked on & beaten up. he's still pissed about it!

he also doesn't own a computer (pretty interesting for a guy who mainly writes sci-fi, although he'd kick my ass for calling him a sci-fi writer.)

"I am anti-entropy. My work is foursquare for chaos. I spend my life personally, and my work professionally, keeping the soup boiling. Gadfly is what they call you when you are no longer dangerous; I much prefer troublemaker, malcontent, desperado. I see myself as a combination of Zorro and Jiminy Cricket. My stories go out from here and raise hell. From time to time some denigrator or critic with umbrage will say of my work, "He only wrote that to shock." I smile and nod. Precisely."

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