The Genius of Harlan Ellison

The Genius of Harlan Ellison remembered…

Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison died in June 27 at age 84. He wrote or edited more than 120 books, and more than 1,700 stories, essays, and articles, as well as dozens of screenplays and teleplays. He won numerous awards, including the Edgar Award, a Hugo Award, an Audie Award for Best Solo Narration (including other authors work), and five Nebula Awards, breaking scifi genre records. A Grand Master chosen by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, he is responsible for inspiring The Terminator, keeping Star Trek alive during the very first season (when it faced cancellation), and writing some of the most legendary and imaginative stories ever, like “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.” (An AI has trapped a final group of humans in an eternal hell for revenge until one sees a way to trick it by murder/suicide in a moment of inattention…only he fails to kill himself before he’s stopped, and now the AI vows never to drop its attention again, and turns him into a slug-like being in a torture chamber without end. William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, creator of Cyberpunk, credits Harlan for being there first.) “A Boy and His Dog” was made into a Don Johnson movie, about a super intelligent dog who can speak, and protects his master from the dangers of a ravaged post-apocalyptic tic Earth. There is an underground city with suburban-like streets, from which a girl has snuck out topside, dressed like a bum, and the dog alerts the boy to follow her down. Dying of hunger, the dog waits for him. She tries to convince him to stay, forget the dog, insults him, and asks him “what is love?” She follows him out, and the scene moves forward to him remembering her question. The dog is no longer hungry. Last sentences: “What is love? A boy loves his dog.” The movie version was a cynical twist, with the dog saying, “She didn’t have good taste, but she sure did taste good.” (Laughter.) Ellison was angry, and filed many lawsuits against those who misused his work, or didn’t credit him. For a complete rendering of his run-ins with Star Trek and William Shatner, and his feud with Roddenberry, listen to THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER, which references his award-winning Star Trek teleplay. (Roddenberry lied? Yes, some lies are indisputable and documented.) Ellison enjoyed rubbing the lies in, too, and mostly won his lawsuits and awards. He even sued James Cameron, an honorable man, who settled out of court. “Writers always get the shaft,” he said. “Every thug and studio putz and semi-literate merchandizer has grown fat as a maggot off what I created.” OMG. Yes, he was derisive. But most local press is more interested in viral cat videos than local writers. Movie and sports stars? They are American Gods. Author of American Gods, Neil Gaiman, credits Ellison in becoming a writer. Ellison was friends with Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451. Stephen King tweeted, “There was no one quite like him in American letters, and never will be. Angry, funny, eloquent, hugely talented. If there’s an afterlife, Harlan is already kicking ass and taking down names.”    

scifi

Print review version. My ebook dedicated to him HERE.

Robin Williams and Leonard Nimoy on Harlan Ellison below:

A Fairy Tale Wedding

MeghanWhen Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were set up by a mutual friend on a blind date in July 2016, little did they know that the resulting whirlwind romance would lead to their engagement in November 2017 and marriage in May 2018.

Morton goes back to Meghan’s roots to uncover the story of her childhood growing up in The Valley in Los Angeles, her studies at an all-girls Catholic school, and her fraught family life-a painful experience mirrored by Harry’s own background. Morton also delves into her previous marriage and divorce in 2013, her struggles in Hollywood as her mixed heritage was used against her, her big break in the hit TV show Suits, and her work for a humanitarian ambassador-the latter so reminiscent of Princess Diana’s passions. Finally, we see how the royal romance played out across two continents but was kept fiercely secret, before the news finally broke and Meghan was thrust into the global media’s spotlight.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with her family members and closest friends, and including never-before-seen photographs, Morton introduces us to the real Meghan as he reflects on the impact that she has already had on the rigid traditions of the House of Windsor, as well as what the future might hold.

HarryFrom his earliest public appearances as a mischievous redheaded toddler, Prince Harry has captured the hearts of royal enthusiasts around the world. In Harry, Britain’s leading expert on the young royals offers an in-depth look at the wayward prince turned national treasure. Nicholl sheds new light on growing up royal, Harry’s relationship with his mother, his troubled youth and early adulthood, and how his military service in Afghanistan inspired him to create his legacy, the Invictus Games. 

Harry: Life, Loss, and Love features interviews with friends, those who have worked with the prince, and former palace aides. Nicholl explores Harry’s relationship with his family, in particular the Queen, his father, his stepmother, and his brother and reveals his secret “second family” in Botswana. She uncovers new information about his former girlfriends and chronicles his romance and engagement to American actress Meghan Markle. Harry is a compelling portrait of one of the most popular members of the royal family and reveals the inside story of the most intriguing royal romance in a decade.

Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks narrates.

The Kentucky Derby #Goodreads

Horses

Audiobooks

Won by JUSTIFY, trained by Bob Baffert, who also trained AMERICAN PHAROAH. The horse AUDIBLE placed third. From ESPN producer and Audible narrator Barry Abrams, whose last narration was Awakening Storm: “Audible should have won. He was the best of Todd Pletcher’s four horses. He showed an ability to succeed either by racing just behind the leaders or coming from much further back, so he had versatility.” Barry has a podcast on iTunes called IN THE GATE, about horseracing. “Justify your love” by joining Audible and downloading American Pharoah, and get it and another free in the process.  

 

Animal rights

In America dogs eat better than kids. Dog food is often 100% grass fed, “grain free.” McDonalds is grain fed. Relevant books: Fast Food Nation, Sugar Fat Salt, Brandwashed, The Filter Bubble, Future CrimesCoffee? Time to wake up.

Becoming Meryl Streep

Meryl StreepHer Again is an intimate look at the artistic coming-of-age of the greatest actress of her generation, from the homecoming float at her suburban New Jersey high school, through her early days on the stage at Vassar College and the Yale School of Drama during its golden years, to her star-making roles in The Deer Hunter, Manhattan, and Kramer vs. Kramer. New Yorker contributor Michael Schulman brings into focus Meryl’s heady rise to stardom on the New York stage; her passionate, tragically short-lived love affair with fellow actor John Cazale; her marriage to sculptor Don Gummer; and her evolution as a young woman of the 1970s wrestling with changing ideas of feminism, marriage, love, and sacrifice.

Featuring eight pages of black-and-white photos in a PDF, this captivating story of the making of one of the most revered artistic careers of our time reveals a gifted young woman coming into her extraordinary talents at a time of immense transformation, offering a rare glimpse into the life of the actress long before she became an icon.

THE POST was nominated for Best Picture, and Streep for Best Actress. The story is appropriate for our times for several reasons: newspapers are dying in favor of online McNews video and sound bites. Many local news stations have folded their investigative departments, and instead chase viral videos just like TMZ does. It is all about sports and weather. “Scores” (whether on the football field or killing fields) are tallied and delivered, accompanied by ads for junk food and prescription drugs. War stories and political secrets are particularly suppressed or debated, with only a few outlets like the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post (along with 60 Minutes and Frontline) spending time and money to get to the truth. Disinformation and fake news attack these efforts relentlessly. Many of the movies up for Oscars were based on books. Writing, like reporting, takes work that many do not want to take in a “winner-take-all” culture. Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, had this to say about it: “Factoids are clips posted to make people believe they know more than they do. The less people read, the more violent the world becomes.”

 

Desperate Voyage

PalmIslandSVG

Treasure comes at great cost: hard work, mental exhaustion, love, vision, and never giving up. Such was the life of John Caldwell, author of the sailing classic Desperate Voyage, about his sailing alone from Panama after WW2 into bad weather to get to his bride in Australia. He then had given up the normal, quiet life in LA, and set off on sailing advertures, his heart with the ocean tides. It was never an easy life, but he was never mesmerized by other dreams: money, cars, or a gold watch after a long stint at the factory or in a cubical. His dream was travel on the open ocean, in small boats, his hand on the wheel. No flash in the pan, his life was about force of will, fitness of spirit—a life spent fighting storms, invaders, his dogs at his side, his sons and wife Mary sharing his vision. Digging for treasure? No. Planting palm trees. On his island, a mosquito infested place which he bought for a song and transformed into a paradise. Over decades. Still at it, he died at 80, walking his “Highway 90,” which he told me meant “I hope for 90 years, and the devil take the rest.” The island is now an upscale resort, one of the best in the Caribbean. They say every paradise has a backstory, whoever “they” are. And not just in the Grenadines. Now imagine a Powerball winner who disappears, then discovers he has a son, and hires the tabloid writer who finds him, to fight off pirates just as John did. To buy an island. Palm Island. The Powerball winner in the shadows, out of danger, paying others to risk everything, so he can emerge rich and famous, not JUST for 15 minutes. Fame Island. Based on John’s true story. Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean was partly filmed nearby. Both books DESPERATE VOYAGE and LOTTERY  ISLAND links HERE.

 

 

TAXI?

Tony DanzaUber is threatening the taxi cab industry. Competitors are threatening Uber. Stock prices fluctuate, while the public looks for the cheapest fares. Long before he starred on some of television’s most beloved and long-running series such as Taxi and Who’s the Boss? and went on to distinguish himself in a variety of film and stage roles, Tony Danza was a walking contradiction: an indifferent student who dreamed of being a teacher. Inspiring a classroom of students was an aspiration he put aside for decades until one day it seemed that the most meaningful thing he could do was give his dream a shot. What followed was a year spent teaching tenth-grade English at Northeast High — Philadelphia’s largest high school with 3,600 students. Entering Northeast’s crowded halls in September 2009, Tony found his way to a classroom filled with twenty-six students who were determined not to cut him any slack. They cared nothing about “Mr. Danza’s” showbiz credentials, and they immediately put him on the hot seat. It was only after experiencing abject terror for several weeks — and even dissolving into tears on several occasions — that Tony began to pick up the tricks of how to get kids to learn. Featuring indelible portraits of students and teachers alike, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had reveals just how hard it is to keep today’s technologically savvy — and often alienated — students engaged, how impressively committed most teachers are, and the outsized role counseling plays in a teacher’s day, given the psychological burdens many students carry. The audiobook also makes vivid how a modern high school works, showing Tony in a myriad of roles — from lecturing on To Kill a Mockingbird to coaching the football team, organizing a talent show, leading far-flung field trips, and hosting teacher gripe sessions. Interesting, heart-opening.

Taxi

Serena Williams VS Roger Federer

Serena Williams

No, Roger Federer didn’t make a statement like John McEnroe did. He doesn’t have a new book out to promo, either. But John’s statement has people imagining Serena playing top male tennis players…what would be the score, in this case? Does it matter? There was once a “battle of the sexes” in tennis, so it might be interesting to try it again. Serena and Roger would be a great matchup. Would the players consider it? Should they? Am not a big sports fan, although I do play and follow tennis, so am wondering if fans think this is a publicity stunt. John narrates his new audiobook BUT SERIOUSLY…out the same week as his statements. Perhaps we take the statements of celebs (and sports itself) too seriously?

 

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