“The science fiction genre has lost one of its greatest — and most controversial — authors. Harlan Ellison, who wrote and edited groundbreaking sci-fi anthologies, short stories, and television episodes, died at the age of 84, according to his wife, via an associate,” TheVerge reports.
Ellison, who wrote stories including “Jeffty Is Five,” “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman,” and “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” reportedly died in his sleep at home in Los Angeles.
“Like many who write short stories and novellas in genres like speculative fiction, the sweep of his career is evident in his collection of awards: Hugo Awards, Nebula Awards, Edgar Awards and many others,” NPR reports. “He wrote episodes of ‘Star Trek’ (‘The City on the Edge of Forever’ won him a Writer’s Guild of America Award), as well as ‘The Outer Limits’ and ‘The Twilight Zone.’ He wrote comics and read audiobooks.”
The NPR report adds: “He also had a reputation for being, as Jason Sheehan called him in a review of his 2015 collection ‘Can and Can’tankerous,’ ‘America’s weird uncle.’ Words like that one from the title — ‘cantankerous’ — and ‘irascible’ and ‘difficult’ followed him for much of his life. His rants were legendary, including a profanity-filled one about the need to pay writers that has been viewed on YouTube more than a million times.”
Stephen King responded to news of Ellison’s death with a tweet in which he wrote: “Harlan Ellison: 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.”