Hey there. I'm Kafkahead, I'm 17 and a big big fan of the works of Mr. Ellison. I'm an amateur writer that writes intesively and says "Fuck you" to people who demand freebies, and all because of Harlan.
I first learned about the work of Harlan Ellison when I bought a science fiction anthology called "Masterpieces". It was fine selection of stories, chosen by Orson Scott Card, and divided into three categories: The Golden Age, The New Wave and the Media Generation. And the first story to pop up in the New Wave section was " "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Tick-tock Man". The amusing title and description of Harlan's work was enough to catch my attention and grasp it tightly, like a boa from the jungle. I read it in one sitting. After I was done, I had to lie down...It wasn't "1984" or "Brave New World", but something along the same lines, where the very spirit of rebellion was celebrated as a source of powerful criticism against an opressive system.
No sooner was I thinking to myself "I need more of this stuff" then I managed to scrounge on the internet a PDF version of "I Have No Mouth and I must scream". Again, I read the words so carefully typed by Mr. Ellison, and gaped at the horror of the story, at the atrocities of AM and his five prisoners. This was clearly a man that knew how to move people. So I looked for more. I looked so hard, that I eventually managed to buy from amazon a copy of "Dreams with sharp Teeth". And I learned more about the man than I could ever know in a lifetime of research. It was his "Pay the Writer" rant that moved me the most, hitting that little crack in the ceiling of my mind and shattering it, so that I could begin some actual writing, instead of wishful thinking about writing. Because of him, I'm now working on three different stories and trying to find a magazine that will buy them, so I can have a source of income before I finish my Senior year. And for that, I have to say: thanks, Harlan.
Hope you'll reply to this, you magnificent human.