One of the greatest and most prolific writers of our age, Harlan Ellison, has died in his sleep at 84. While most renowned for science fiction, he wrote about 50 books (including the cult classic, “A Boy and His Dog”) and over 1400 articles, comic books, essays, scripts and more, some outside the sci-fi field. He wrote landmark episodes of such series as “Star Trek” and “Outer Limits,” while fighting bitterly with the producers and denigrating the results. He also received partial credit for the “Terminator” movies after suing the producers, claiming they stole the killer robot idea from him.
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If you’re sensing a theme, it’s because Ellison was almost as famous for his pugnaciousness as for his writing. He had a highly-developed sense of injustice and a short fuse, feuding with practically everyone he crossed paths with, from Frank Sinatra to “Star Trek” creator, Gene Roddenberry. It’s amazing he died in his sleep at an advanced age, considering he once described his own personality as “bellicose” and admitted, "I go to bed angry, and I get up angrier every morning."
It’s a shame he couldn’t be happier and more content in life, but at least he channeled that anger into some iconic stories, several of which are recounted at the linked obituary. One surprising detail: he denied being anti-technology and claimed he just hated the uses technology is put to. Despite doing so much to popularize science fiction, he refused to own a computer. He tapped out all those classic futuristic stories, iconic sci-fi scripts and angry letters on a manual typewriter.