(via supervillain). Oh man, Harlan Ellison— I took a drive late last year after having lived here for years, and made a pilgrimage and drove by his home (aka the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars). It’s in this pretty part off Mulholland, surrounded by these very pleasant California homes, and from the outside, it’s as ornate as it’d always sounded— gargoyles, snake carvings, multi-armed Aztec gods on the exterior walls. I took a photo from my car like a tourist, but it doesn’t show how neat the garage area is. He doesn’t give tours because of course he fucking doesn’t but… I’d sure go on that tour.
I remember really, really digging Run for the Stars but I haven’t read Ellison in years, though I’ve had an itch lately to go through that stuff again. Run for the Stars isn’t super-Ellison-y or probably even very noteworthy— it was part of that war-with-aliens stretch of stories where he was doing his own brand of splashy action spectacles, the most famous of those being Demon with a Glass Hand (the Outer Limits / lawsuit with James Cameron one). I just remember it being very entertaining. I was a member of the Record Club when I was 22 and everything— I had Jeffty is Five on cassette.
The thing I think most about though, the one that stuck with me and that I think about … pretty damn often actually, come to think of it, is the screenplay for the Harlan Ellison Movie— I think it’s in one of those Essential Ellison volumes. Some movie producer said, “Write whatever you want” and he turned in this screenplay for a, like, psychedelic-ish hippie “society is what’s wrong” movie. I really want to re-read that, but I don’t have that in arm’s reach… (I’m a little scared to revisit his stuff because I just feel like… his voice is perfect for me, ages 20-23 in a way that I kind of want to leave intact?) The thing I’m surprised I don’t see more of though is Mefisto in Onyx— that limited edition had those Frank Miller drawings…
(Wait; that’s a lie; the thing I think of most with Ellison is him on Tom Snyder talking about his run-in with Frank Sinatra, when he was playing pool with Peter Falk or whatever— it all went into that Gay Talese story Frank Sinatra Has a Cold; he told the best joke in that episode; in a nutshell: there’s a massive earthquake, and a hotel collapses into rubble; there’s a telephone call from the rubble, and a guy says “Help, help I’m trapped” and the firemen go “Calm down, where are you” and the guy goes, “I’m in room 324.” He told it better, but. I fucking love that joke…)
I don’t know; difficult, messy person, sure, but I’m so grateful to have read that guy when I did… (EDITED: it’s weird sitting here thinking of it how much my idea what a writer’s supposed to be is based on reading that guy at that age…)