Harlan Ellison – a huge talent with a biting wit



Harlan Ellison – “one of the great living American short story writers” – has died. Staggeringly prolific he wrote 1700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, comic book scripts and essays, mainly in speculative new fiction, which included science fiction. Notorious as a firebrand, he once described himself as “a yapping dog with mean little teeth;” “a street urchin and a clown.”  He was litigious and argumentative and turned his zeal to good use in fighting for civil rights and writers’ right in the internet.

One of his obituaries said his “style was made up of equal parts insight, invective, absurdity, candor, charm, passion and biting wit.”

He was born 27 May 1934 2.20pm Cleveland, Ohio, with his father dying young and he was bullied at school as the only Jewish kid there. He ran away frequently, took odd jobs, spent some time in college and joined the army where he published his first novel and moved to Hollywood in his late 20s. He had four brief marriages, only his fifth in 1986 lasted to his death.

He had some chart. His ever-chatty Gemini Sun was in his 9th house of publishing and communication in a creative square to Neptune and trine Jupiter in Libra in his 1st, so blessed with confidence, talent and luck. A fearsome Fixed T square of Mars in Taurus in the 8th opposition a Scorpio Moon square Saturn suggests a turbulent emotional life with deep-seated anger issues and a dislike of cooperation and compromise. Added on to that his influential and controlling Pluto in the 10th was trine his Moon and square Venus Uranus in Aries in his 7th – so no surprises that his marital life was in constant churn.

His relationship with his mother looks highly stressed from his chart. One of his favourite remarks was “No one gets out of childhood alive” – and he clearly bore the scars of his troubled upbringing.

His creative 5th Harmonic was strong; as was his obsessive 11H; and his breaking-with-the-orthodox, genius 13H.


One thought on “Harlan Ellison – a huge talent with a biting wit

  1. A great writer and personality.

    I read many of Harlan’s short stories in the late seventies and early eighties, and I still
    have a copy of his brilliant “Deathbird Stories” which I bought in 1979.

    The “Dangerous Visions” anthology is now an established classic of science fiction.
    His infamous 1966 encounter with a sullen Frank Sinatra also merits checking out.

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