Two Bits Of Ellison
My two bits to add to the Ellison remembrances… I read a metric ton of science fiction as a kid and tended to gravitate to the character/social edged writers. The ones that got beyond device as plot and hooked up a good character set into the mix.
In my early twenties I spent some time in the midst of a big telemarketing house in NYC. If you were scrapping for dollars back in the early 80's you too might have done your time at Ed Blank Associates. Yea, you know the place. The downside to phone sales was I was mostly horrible to slightly amusing at the gig, the upside was I made a good number cruncher/admin. So I moved from the phones to the office.
At night I had use of a few dozens of phone lines, dozens. I mapped the operator network around NYC, I played with odd ball numbers that were floating around in zines and bbs's. Late one night I decided I wanted to talk to Harlan Ellison.
I had found the number somewhere or another some time back. I was in the midst of reading thru Dangerous Visions and rereading some older works. So add a bit of fanboism , some late night boredom, and a what-the-fuck moment and there I was dialing this I dialed the number.
For the next 20 mins I chatted with Harlan Ellison. I do not remember much of what we talked about, I asked about some characters and editing Dangerous Visions He asked me what I wanted to do with my life, what I was doing to grow a skill. I must have babbled on about bbs's and tech because he asked why I was into computers. It was not dismissive but he seemed more amused. We wound down,, I fumbled a good bye and like that…I had chatted with Harlan Ellison.
Years latter I recounted this to another author I had fallen in with for a time. He let me know about the evils of Ellison, that there was a group called the Enemies of Ellison. Over the years the tales of Ellison's barbs became the stuff of legends and the legends spawned a feud and the feud spawned a possible punch or a swing or something of that sort…and yeah there was/is The Enemies of Ellison. The things you find out during the late early hours in an old NYC office building while a few dozen 14.4 modems lights blink merrily along.
Which makes an Ellisonian sort of sense. He was not a simple human, had spikes and spit and vinegar in him. He also was able to conjure up stories and characters that still have a place in my thought space.
So here is to Harlan Ellison. The beautiful bastard who created some great works, pissed off a fair amount of humans, and one night had 20 mins to chat with me.
Not soon forgotten