Writer, iconoclast, and all-around world class pain in the ass Harlan Ellison passed away earlier today at age 84. Harlan wrote over 1,700 stories in his long and celebrated career. He won eight Hugo awards, including one for his 1967 Star Trek script for “City on the Edge of Forever”, widely considered the best episode in the series, if not the entire franchise.
Harlan was famously and fiercely agnostic and would have been appalled by wishes for him to Rest In Peace in the afterlife. (He also would have been secretly delighted by David Mack’s crack about God owing him residuals.)
It has been an exceptionally crappy week, and this sad news was the fecal capper. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for David Gerrold’s comment on his Facebook page, which simultaneously brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face:
I keep wanting to pick up the phone to call Harlan and find out how pissed he is about dying.
Like many late-blooming Trekkies, I discovered the world of Star Trek in reruns, as a small boy in second grade, and in my case, through the episode that Harlan wrote. And even at the tender age of eight, COTEOF touched my soul—it was simultaneously extraordinary, thought-provoking, and utterly heartbreaking. I was entranced, and hooked for life.
So even though I know you would scoff at the sentiment, RIP Harlan. We are all a little smaller for your absence.