The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, April 20, 2007

Harlan Ellison screening

Last night I was at the Writer's Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, watching a movie that I have a tiny part in (about 1.5 seconds, to be exact). It is the documentary on Harlan Ellison, one of the very greatest science fiction writers who have ever lived, and one of the 20th Century's finest men of letters. It was an extremely emotional experience--I've known Harlan since the 60's and it has been one of the great pleasures of my life to be his friend. Harlan is 72 now (Jeeze, that's hard to believe), almost as sharp and fast as the first day I met him, even after considerable health challenges. But what is very clear about this amazing man is that he is the real thing, the genuine article, a human being who has remained true to his inner essence, his sense of self, at all costs. In general, people either love or hate him, and I can easily see why either response could be appropriate. The film covers his entire life, and is probably as true to the experience of this wild-man as anything that could ever be created. They screened it for an audience of, what? Maybe 400? People who'd come in from all over the country just to celebrate with him. Unfortunately, Tananarive couldn't make it (our baby sitter dropped out on us) so I was there along with notables like D.C Fontana, Denny Skotak, Len Wein, Werner Herzog, Robert Klein, and others. I was so proud and happy for Uncle Harlan. He is one of a kind. If you've never gotten to see anything other than the public personae, check this out. Love him or hate him, you'll come a lot closer to understanding him.

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