Ellison Gallery: Personal Photos and Contributions

These pictures are all thumbnails of larger image files. To view the full image, click on the picture or the accompanying text. The images on this page were all taken from various Ellison publications. Where such information was available I have given the photographer or artist proper credit.

All the images on this page were contributed to this gallery and most can only be found here. In direct contravention of logic, they are posted in the order I received them, so the latest pics are at the bottom.

   Photo: Rick Wyatt



My personal Ellison pictures

From the DragonCon/NaSFic Convention, Atlanta, July 1995.:

Harlan leaving the opening ceremonies at DragonCon.
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Harlan reading his bio from the back of The Essential Ellison.
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Harlan gesturing as he reads one of his stories.
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A fuzzy picture of Harlan onstage at the DragonCon opening ceremonies. Hey, even Photoshop has its limitations.
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A picture which I call Hey, me and Ellison are like THIS! , but which would better be referred to as Ellison gets tired of waiting on the putz I gave my camera to to get that old opposable thumb thing going. That's me in the middle (in my Cro-magnon beard stage) and George Alec Effinger to the right with his David Crosby moddy jacked in.
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From Readercon, July 1999

27K JPG Harlan and I share a quite moment at Readercon. (photo by Dave Truesdale).

45K JPGHarlan receives the ring Paul Riddell had made for him. It's an exact replica in green gold of a Green Lantern power ring.

50K JPGHarlans' reaction to his new ring. He's very happy.

For more personal photos, check out My Day with Harlan and Your Day with Harlan.

Harlan at the 1996 Chicago Comic Con

Pictures and Descriptions Courtesy of Sue Luesse

Harlan realized THIS picture will be going onto Webderland for all the world to see.
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Harlan "taming the crowd", having run over on signing and due in for the panel on Storytelling.
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Harlan signs "another one", as I read the specs from my 5x7 cheat-sheet list... Note the expression of tired resignation...
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Harlan copies directly from the cheat-sheet, and perks up - he's on a roll, and chatting...
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Harlan hits his stride, and pretends to be signing as the "chat" really gets going. After that we talked and laughed. He didn't use his pen - we didn't use cameras.
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Harlan in the '80s

Courtesy of James Wilson

Harlan at the 1980 World SF convention in Boston. This picture marks the first meeting between James and HE.
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Two shots of Harlan signing at an appearance at Michigan State University in 1983. Another photo James took at this appearance was printed on the cover of the first issue of Rabbit Hole, the newsletter of the Harlan Ellison Recording Collection.
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Another shot of Harlan from the Michigan State U. appearance. I have no idea who the child is - I hope it's not Jefty...
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HE speaking at the 1983 World Fantasy Convention in Chicago.
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Harlan on the Occaision of his 60th birthday

Courtesy of Cynthia Schaefer

This picture was taken by Cynthia Schaefer tekbird@ix.netcom.com 06/94 at Chicago ComiCon.

Pictures from an HE Storywriting Session

Courtesy of Chad Netzer

Chad's Notes:
These photos were taken on May 14, 1994 at "The Booksmith" in San Francisco (1644 Haight Street). Robin Williams arrived at 10 am to provide Harlan with a story idea, which was used to compose an original short story that very day. Throughout the day Harlan wrote the story, page by page on his manual typewriter, taking frequent breaks to entertain the crowd, answer questions, and sign books. Finally, the story was completed, and Harlan read it to the assembled crowd at 7 pm. As it turns out, it was a killer story, with a great ending, and it is likely that it will appear in the Harlan's next collection, _Slippage_. (All accompanying text for the next four photos is Chad's as well - Ed.)

Here is a photo of the letterhead of Robin Williams, containing the title with which Harlan created the story ("Computer Vampyre; or, The Byte That Bytes"). Harlan had remarked in the morning, before Robin showed up, that the idea he would be given would likely be "difficult". Upon seeing that the story would involve computers, Harlan jokingly screamed "I KNEW you would do this to me!". Harlan and Robin bantered with each other and the crowd for a few minutes, and then Harlan simply sat down and pounded out the first paragragh of the story.
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Here is Harlan sitting in the front display window of The Booksmith, with pen in mouth, banging out a page of his story while listening to Django Reinhardt music. As he finished each page of the story, Harlan would tape it to the window, facing outward, for interested onlookers to see. Off to the right is a partial view of one of these pages, along with an audience of readers. Notice the manual typewriter and the characteristic hunt-and-peck typing style that Harlan is employing.
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Here is a view of Harlan from outside The Booksmith. Harlan is reviewing what he's written and smirking; he is probably thinking, "How the hell am I gonna get out of this corner I've written myself into?" Those who were present that day know the answer to this question. Notice Harlan's handheld watch on the wall which reads 11:17 am. Also, reflected in the glass is an image of the humble photographer... "Smile, Harlan!"
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Here is another, close-up view of Harlan from outside The Booksmith, looking in through the front window. See? I got him to say, "Cheese!" Actually, he is concentrating fully on his work, oblivious to my intrusions. What cannot be clearly seen in this shot, unfortunately, is Harlan's cool Rorschach tee-shirt, which readers of Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbon's _Watchmen_ would have recognized. Was there some symbolic significance to the blood red shirt Harlan wore on top of it? Nah, probably not; But it was still neat.
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Ellison at the 1996 Chicago Comicon (again)

Courtesy of ScoperJohn@aol.com (with his comments)

These shots are from the same Con as Sue Luesse's pictures. In fact, I'm informed the "Girl of Steel" shot below was taken just a few seconds after Sue's shot of HE taming the crowd.
Read SJ's notes on the Con

I call this one Ellison in Shades. I think his recent cataract operations were making him sensitive to light.
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This is HE's darling wife Susan with her GIRL OF STEEL shirt on. Ellison can be seen faintly facing us, right behind her.
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A close up of JMS, creator and head writer of Babylon Five. He was having a ball holding court
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Ellison at Harper College, 1998

Courtesy of Kevin Hlousek

Read Kevin's comments about the event

Harlan relaxed, as usual before the crowd at Harper.
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A great shot of Harlan gripping the mike.
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Harlan reads from The Essential Ellison
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Harlan at Dangerous Visions bookstore

(Photos taken by and appear courtesy of Lydia C. Marano)

Harlan with author Connie Willis at a DV signing.
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Harlan writing one of his "stories under glass" with X-Files creator Chris Carter looking on.
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"The 102 year-old pregnant corpse", the story idea given to Harlan by Chris Carter for the above.
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Finally, the first page of the story Harlan wrote based on Chris Carter's idea.
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Harlan at Glendale Community College, March 1999

The pictures and commentary are by Shane Shellenbarger (shown above with HE). I also am including some pictures of Harlan at Arizona State Univerisity West that Shane sent me. You can also view a text version of Shane's comments.

Neither Your Harlan Nor Mine: The Morning, Afternoon, and Two Evenings of Delicate Terrors
By Shane Shellenbarger

31k JPGHarlan Ellison is mannerly, cordial, and courteous: In the two days that I spent enjoying his company, I never saw Ellison treat a clerk, cashier, waitress, or manager with anything less then a respectful or gentlemanly manner.

Harlan Ellison is puckish, charming, and winsome: Whether he's trying to convince a waitress to commit a felony, talk a short-order cook through the best way to prepare a cheeseburger, or surveying an elderly couple's opinion about my paying for breakfast, Ellison radiates feelings of alliance and connection with his new acquaintance.

Harlan Ellison is forthright, blunt, and direct: Ellison doesn't hesitate telling an audience member to stop biting his nails, a litter bug to pick up his trash, or a group of rowdies at a restaurant to take it down a notch or ten.

Harlan Ellison is a storyteller. I've read his work since the mid-seventies and I first heard him speak at the 1978 World Science Fiction Convention, IguanaCon. Whether his words are printed on the page, he is reading his work aloud, or he is extemporizing for an audience, Ellison captivates, fascinates, and enthralls. For those reasons and more, I decided to bring Ellison to Arizona.

In January of 1998, I contacted the William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, to get some information about an upcoming appearance by Ellison. After he had spoken, I contacted the college again for more details. I worked with the chairman of the Speakers Forum at Glendale Community College, Hannes Kvaran. Then my wife, Lauren, found out about the LodeStar Grant, which was sufficient to cover Ellison's speaking fee. Kvaran wrote the grant proposal, Ellison agreed to the venue, and the stage was set. Fast forward to 11 a.m. March 10th, 1999.

41K JPGWhile he can speak on any number of topics off of the top-of-his-head, Ellison wasn't constrained to any single subject and so he spoke in stream-of-consciousness. He started by requesting his check and then told the story of a Chicago talk where the coordinator breached the terms of a contract by not having Ellison's fee in hand before he was ready to go on stage. The president of the college wrote a personal check, which he had delivered (along with his identification), to Ellison. When the bank opened the next day, Ellison cashed the check.

Language was discussed and Ellison warned the audience that some words might offend them, but as a writer he knew of only one obscene word: Nixon.

After loosening up the crowd with a couple of jokes, Ellison talked about his recent return to acting on the syndicated show, PSI FACTOR and his early career as a child performer in minstrel shows. This lead to Ellison voicing his despair for the future of the film industry due to the upsurge in movie remakes and films based on old television programs. He was down on GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE, couldn't understand why the animated KING AND I was made, and the inherent illogic of WILD, WILD, WEST just made him shake his head in disbelief. He felt that FARGO is about, "Stupid people doing stupid things." He states that Quentin Tarantino is a poser (he could learn a few things about dialogue from the 1955 film, PETE KELLY'S BLUES) and relayed a story about how he went PSYCHO on copycat director, Gus Van Sant. Ellison wasn't totally down on Hollywood. He had praise for A BUGS LIFE, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, Stanley Tucci in MONTANA and Christian Slater in THE TEARS OF JULIAN POE. His final comments concerned the growing age discrimination against writers in Tinsel Town. Sixty year-old producers are telling thirty year-old writers that they're too old to write scripts and teleplays for modern audiences. Ellison allows that he hasn't suffered from this rampant state of ageism, although producers usually come to him as a last resort.

26K JPGEllison spoke about designing the computer game I HAVE NO MOUTH, AND I MUST SCREAM. He gloats a bit that he's never used a computer, doesn't use an electric typewriter, types one hundred and twenty words per minute on a manual typewriter, and that his computer game has received an industry award. He laments existing in a world where blotting paper and fountain pens are so esoteric that mentioning them gets you looks from people as if you were speaking Esperanto. He pointed to writer, James Sallis, sitting alone in the back of the audience and spoke about Sallis's work in poetry, jazz, and crime fiction. Ellison talked about the honesty that is owed to the work and how it prevented him from writing an introduction for a collection of old stories by mystery writer Bill Pronzini that didn't live up to the stature of his current work.

Ellison's feelings about his writing can be boiled down to, "You are responsible." He doesn't write about science fiction, he writes about friendship, courage, ethics, and living your own life to some purpose. When asked what he would do if he had to do it all over again, Ellison remarked that he is as famous as he cares to be, that he has a great marriage, people buy his books and come to hear him talk. He said, "I'm either lucky or skillful enough that I can fall into shit and come up smelling like a rose."

39K JPGEllison wrapped up his talk and was quickly surrounded by autograph seekers and well wishers. After posing for a photograph with a woman, Ellison told her that she stank of smoke and that cigarettes would kill her. He told her that he had smoked four packs-a-day since the age of thirteen. These were unfiltered coffin nails: Camels, Lucky Strikes, Philip Morris, and the like. In 1962, he accompanied a girlfriend to her doctor's appointment and corrected galleys while he waited. After the doctor noticed Ellison coughing up his lungs, he led the author to a room where he took an x-ray of his chest. When Ellison saw the picture and the black shadows where his lungs should be, he made a decision. He pulled the cigarette pack from his pocket, crushed them, and never smoked another cigarette. After telling the story, Ellison directed the woman to get her cigarettes, took them out of the pack and sank them into a half-filled glass of water. He returned the empty pack and bid her to smoke no more. Harlan Ellison is concerned, involved, and uninhibited.

It's been said that if you confuse the work of the writer with the life of the writer you'll be disappointed. I couldn't tell you what I expected of Ellison before his visit to Arizona but I can tell you that it was an extraordinary experience that I won't forget.

Part II will continue with Harlan Ellison speaking at Arizona State University West

Pictures from the Arizona University West Appearance







26K JPGHarlan at ICON 1999 smiling pretty at the book signing. Photo by Karen Lee.

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