Пришло известие о кончине этого, вероятно, самого ершистого из американских фантастов среднего поколения.
Помещу в память о нем тут написанный мной биографический очерк для серии Critical Insights: Harlan Ellison. Pasadena, Salem Press, 2011.
Мистер Эллисон этот очерк принял без купюр.
AUTHOR Harlan Ellison
FULL NAME Harlan Jay Ellison
BORN May 27, 1934; Cleveland, Ohio
Harlan Ellison’s Watching, 2006
Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed, 1984
The Glass Teat: Essays of Opinion on the Subject of Television, 1970
From Alabamy, with Hate, 1965
All the Lies That Are My Life, 1980
Web of the City, 1957
The Essential Ellison: 50 Years Retrospective, 2002; rev. 2005
The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore, 1992
Spider Kiss, 1991
[Angry Candy, 1988]
Deathbird Stories: A Pantheon of Modern Gods, 1975
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, 1967
‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman, 1965
Ellison Wonderland, 1962
The Deadly Streets, 1958
Brain Movies, pb 2010
The Discarded, adapted together with Josh Olson from Ellison story of 1957 for Masters of Science Fiction TV miniseries, airdate 2007
City on the Edge of Forever, The Original Star Trek episode, airdate 1967
Demon with a Glass Hand, teleplay from Outer Limits series, airdate 1964
Original anthologies [edited]
Again Dangerous Visions: 46 Original Stories, 1972
Dangerous Visions: 33 Original Stories, 1967
Born in 1934 in Cleveland into the Jewish-American family of dentist Louis Laverne Ellison and his wife Serita (maiden name Rosenthal), Harlan has always been grateful for parental support while he grew up with his sister Beverly in an aggressively anti-Semitic town of Painesville, OH. Eventually, though, he ran from home several times, when pressure and bullying of his schoolmates grew too much, as he recollects in the biographical documentary film Dreams with Sharp Teeth (2007)1. The smallest in his class, he was beaten up almost every day, but only turned tougher and more determined to become a writer. After his father died in 1949, the family moved back to Cleveland.
In his teens Ellison worked a number of odd jobs, which he thought of as a true writer’s education on the road: a lumberjack on the Ontario, tuna fisherman near Galveston, crop-picker in New Orleans, nitroglycerine truck driver in North Carolina, short-order cook, cab driver, lithographer, book and door-to-door brush salesman. Having appeared as a child in minstrel shows, Ellison has never stopped paying tribute to the performing arts – first as an actor in several productions at the Cleveland Play House, then as a screenplay writer for TV and cinema, inimitable reader of both his own stories those by other writers (including 26 one-hour installments of the series “2000x” in Hollywood Theatre for the Ear, which aired in 2000-2001 and won the Ray Bradbury Award for Drama series), and as an occasional performer in films based on his stories.
Regarding further formal education, Ellison never graduated from Ohio State University which he entered in 1951. He was expelled after 18 months when he punched his English professor in the nose for expressing contemptuous remarks about science fiction in general and Ellison's ability to write in particular. For decades afterward, whenever Ellison published a new story he sent this professor a copy. Ever expanding knowledge of the writer comes from constant self-education rather than formal schooling. An avid reader who had a library card before he was ten years old, he became closely involved with the Cleveland Science Fiction Society, acting in 1952-1954 as editor of its fanzine Dimensions. Fandom served as a source of kindred souls.
In 1955 Ellison moved to New York to become a science fiction writer. Over the next two years, he published more than 100 short stories and articles, starting with the story "Glowworm" in early 1956. In New York he married for the first time, but his marriage with Charlotte Stein lasted just a year (1956-1957, divorced 1959).
Besides being an act of “self-performed exorcism,” writing has always been so much more for Ellison. From his youth onward it has been an act of preservation of humanity, of always reaching out – whether composing letters for the semi-literate soldiers of his regiment when he got drafted and served from 1957 to 1959, or writing his first book Web of the City about youth street gangs. He had even briefly joined one of Brooklyn gangs for the inside story and, while the other soldiers slept after exhausting marches, he typed the novel in the barracks latrine. The anguish Ellison feels for misspent human potential is clearly expressed in the 1977 story "Jeffty is Five," about a TV salesman who meets a strange five-year-old boy in whose presence all that was good about the fifties continued to manifest itself: science fiction, radio shows, innocent camaraderie, etc. Ellison refuses to be labeled a “sci-fi” author because the derogatory term diminishes the scope of artistic possibilities inherent in science fiction. Once during a 1980 interview in a New York TV studio, Ellison abruptly left when, despite his prior warning, the inteviewer called him that.
Having returned to New York after the army in 1960, Ellison soon moved to Chicago where he worked for William Hamling’s men’s magazine Rogue and as a book editor for Hamling's “Regency Books.” In 1961, Ellison married Billie Joyce Sanders, his second wife, but this marriage also ended in divorce in 1962.
With the move to Los Angeles in 1962 his most productive writing period began.
Ellison has garnered a mountain of prizes throughout his creative life by weaving a “love-hate relationship with human race.” He came to the field of science fiction with the intention to explode it from within, to make people aware of its inner potential. And his original anthology Dangerous Visions (1967) became such a breakthrough. Among the broken "taboos" were the themes of violence, religion and sex, and the authors included Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, Damon Knight, Philip K. Dick, Brian Aldiss, and J. G. Ballard. This anthology and its sequel put him in the limelight, though by then he was already quite well-known.
The social activism of the 1960s was a perfect environment for Ellison’s talent. Remembering those years (approximately1961-1975) in the more complacent 80s, Ellison noted that it became fashionable for people fearful of change to ignore the nobility of the times and exaggerate the follies: “People were weighing and evaluating . . . they were taking all the parts of the society that we had lived with for over two hundred years and. . . sort of jostling them and shaking them up, seeing which ones would fall through the cultural sieve and which ones had enough weight and substance to stay.” The societal change most important to him concerned the civil rights movement of Blacks, Native peoples and feminists. Ellison took particular pride in having marched with over fifty thousand people, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. Many of what people consider Ellison’s “eccentricities” spring from his belief that all battles are worth fighting. The Guest of Honor at the 1978 WorldCon in Phoenix, Arizona, Harlan refused to spend any money in a state that hadn't ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, and he slept in an RV rather than in the convention hotel.
Despite many violent, bleak, and desperate scenes in his works, Ellison remains a humanist, akin to the most prominent American satirist of the 20th century, Kurt Vonnegut. Ellison's opinion on the improbability of God’s existence mirrors that of another satirist – Mark Twain. Ellison never wavered from his atheist position. Experience of early childhood precluded fanaticism: at five years of age he was thrown out of Sunday school for heresy, and subsequently on the front lawn of his house a cross was burned. If the universe doesn’t care that we exist, as the author repeatedly stated, it is therefore up to humankind to create life worthy of our abilities, built with the help of a ‘toolbox’ containing “ethics, courage, kindness, friendship, ratiocination – the ability to think, to work problems out logically, dreams, imagination, things that make us to want to go to the stars, things that make us to want ourselves to become better.” The ultimate sign of humanity for Ellison is a person's responsibility for his actions.
Ellison's love-hate relationship with the human race encompasses the medium people have increasingly become enthralled with – television. During the late 1960s, Ellison wrote a column about TV for the Los Angeles Free Press titled The Glass Teat (subsequently published in two volumes). His foray into the world of feature films was close to a disaster, and having written in 1965 a screenplay for The Oscar, he never returned to writing for the big screen, though some movies have been done on the basis of his stories, such as A Boy and His Dog in 1975. But Ellison’s TV writing career was constantly growing. He sold scripts to many television shows, such as Burke's Law, Route 66, The Outer Limits, Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Later Ellison was a creative consultant of the critically acclaimed SF shows The Twilight Zone (1980s version) and Babylon 5 (1993-1998).
Two marriages – the third with Lory Patrick in 1965, and the fourth with Lori Horowitz in 1976 – lasted less than a year each. On September 7, 1986, Ellison married Susan Toth, whom he had met in Scotland the year before. This fifth marriage proved to be stable.
As part of the campaign to fight illiteracy and to demonstrate that a writer need not be distanced from his readers, Ellison has let people witness his creative process over forty times. In 1981 he wrote a story while sitting in the window of a bookstore on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and in 1986 created the story "Hitler Painted Roses" live on the Friday-night radio program, Hour 25, broadcast on Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM, Los Angeles. He considers radio to be significantly better than television, as it activates imagination of the listeners instead of providing “a full audio-visual package[.]”
During the 70's and 80s, besides writing scripts and stories, he lectured extensively in universities and taught at various workshops such as Clarion, shaming those not performing at their best while unreservedly promoting the outstanding — notably Dan Simmons, whom he singled out among workshop participants in 1988 and whose popularity skyrocketed internationally in the next decade. Recognition of the excellence of Ellison’s own work has spread gradually beyond the field of science fiction: his 1992 novelette The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore was selected from over 6000 entries for inclusion into the 1993 edition of The Best American Short Stories.
Since 1966 Ellison has resided in the same LA house, built to his design and decorated with sculptures and bas-reliefs of fantastic creatures – Ellison Wonderland or The Lost Aztec Temple of Mars. He considers himself to be a contented man with a loving wife, who is also a trusted companion, living in a wonderful California valley and continuing to write.
Ellison never switched to writing on a computer and still types on an Olympia manual typewriter. One of the sayings adorning Ellison's typewriter the longest is “I am an artist and should be exempt from shit” by a rock singer P.G. Proby, later accompanied by a Latin proverb “Sat ci sat bene” – “it is done quickly enough if it is done well.” The importance of performing at his best has often brought Ellison to conflicts over deadlines.
The dignity of an author, in Ellison’s opinion, includes being paid for his job, whether it is a story, an article, or an interview. Throughout the 90s he fought and won on his own behalf and on behalf of authors in general a number of legal cases: in 1997 he sued James Cameron for “providing inspiration for his Terminator” – Ellison's name is now included in all the credits for the film; in 2000 he sued AOL to protect writers’ intellectual property from on-line theft and won the case in 2004.
As of 2010, he has written or edited 76 books, over 1700 stories, essays, articles, newspaper columns, and over 20 teleplays (four times awarded the Writers Guild of America most outstanding teleplay award). The list of his other awards includes three Nebulas (given by the Science Fiction Writers of America) and 8 ½ Hugos (awarded by World Science Fiction Convention), two Edgar Allan Poe awards (from Mystery Writers of America), six Bram Stoker awards (Horror Writers Association, including Lifetime Achievement in 1996), the silver pen for "Defense of the First Amendment" from P.E.N., the World Fantasy Award, The British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, two Audie awards plus a Grammy nomination for Spoken Word recordings, and a Distinguished Skeptic award presented by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of Paranormal (CSICOP). In 2006 Harlan Ellison was named the Grand Master of the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America. But in May 2009 he turned down the Cleveland Arts Prize for Lifetime Achievement, refusing to be “appropriated by Cleveland.”
Ellison also agreed to accept the J. Lloyd Eaton Award in early 2011 for science fiction criticism.
Dreams with Sharp Teeth. Dir. Erik Nelson. biographical documentary, 2007.
Slusser, George Edgar. Harlan Ellison: Unrepentant Harlequin. San Bernardino: Borgo, 1977.
Weil, Ellen and Gary K. Wolfe. Harlan Ellison:The Edge of Forever. Ohio State UP, 2002.
1. All quotes if not otherwise mentioned are taken from this film.