Noted Sci-fi writer and Cleveland native Harlan Ellison (1934-2018)

The Top of the Volcano: stories by Harlan Ellison coverHarlan Ellison was an American writer, known for his prolific and influential work in New Wave speculative fiction, and for his outspoken, combative personality.

Harlan Ellison was born on May 27, 1934, in Cleveland. Growing up, partly in Painesville, Ohio he was bullied in school, largely for being Jewish. The experience made him feel like an outsider and fueled his anger, which he channeled into his writing. In 1949 and started the Cleveland Science Fiction Club, became a frequent moviegoer and worked as a runner for local mobsters, he told The Plain Dealer.

In the mid-1950s he began publishing a torrent of work, eventually unleashing close to 2,000 essays, short stories, teleplays, op-eds, novellas, and nonfiction pieces on the world. Most of the hundreds of stories Harlan Ellison wrote over the years revolved around the many ways in which people could help or hurt one another. Ellison's writing won numerous awards, including multiple Hugos, Nebulas, and Edgars.

Ellison moved to California in 1962, and subsequently began to sell his writing to Hollywood. He wrote episodes of television series like “Star Trek,” “The Outer Limits,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” the 1980s revival of “The Twilight Zone”.

Ellison was also the star of “Dreams With Sharp Teeth” (2008), a documentary feature about his life directed by Erik Nelson. In the film, which showcases Mr. Ellison’s fierce, volcanic and argumentative personality, he is described as a “hurricane”. Harlan Ellison died at his home in Los Angeles in the morning of June 28, 2018.

Find his work in the Science Fiction collection at WPPL.