Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion

Discussion of the man and his work.

Welcome to the Art Deco Dining Pavilion! Here's the deal. This is Harlan's little breakfast nook at Webderland. When he's not here, we chat about him and his work. When he is, we act like we're guests in his home. That's about all there is to it. (link to More specific rules) Oh, and since the nook doesn't exactly hold a crowd (and to prevent the less frequent voices from being drowned out), please limit yourself to one post a day unless Harlan asks you a direct question. The Pavilion Annex is available if you're the logorrheic type. Also, we have archives of old posts. RSS Feed

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Displaying board posts 1 through 25 - showing messages at a time.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Thursday, January 17 2019 17:49:56

Chuck Messer

The motorist in question was arrested within minutes after I was hit. Not only did three witnesses see him run me down, come to a stop, and then speed away, leaving me unconscious in the middle of a four-lane highway, he also has a string of previous DUI convictions and was driving on a suspended license, so I am hopeful that he will be convicted and do some serious jail time.

But this is Knoxville, the place that the late, sadly missed horror writer Karl Edward Wagner liked to call the city of bad vibes, and the very real possibility of a miscarriage of justice exists. Anyone familiar with "the Knoxville Horror"--a case so sickening and grotesque that it makes "The Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World" look tame--can tell you that.

Speaking for others ,,,
- Thursday, January 17 2019 17:38:30

Thanks, Chuckles
I missed a few days. But the reasons for the rule have pretty much vanished. Still, it's only polite to heed it.

Chuck Messer
- Thursday, January 17 2019 6:1:59

A Humble Reminder:
Guys, the rule here is one post per day. It's stated rather clearly above, along with the reason for that rule.

Flouting that rule shows disrespect for Rick Wyatt, who created this discussion nook, and for Harlan Ellison who specifically requested that rule so no one person or group of people could monopolize the conversation.

Kenneth: Is there any chance that they will catch the dipso that ran you down? Good luck on your continued recovery.


Bazooka Joe
- Tuesday, January 15 2019 23:54:9

your stand up routine will be funny

- Tuesday, January 15 2019 23:50:56


Thanks for the kind words, Nason. At least I when I mispell your name I don't do it pseudonymously.

And I very much hope your health is good.

As for myself, my therapists seem quite surprised at what they call my "accelerated recovery" from being run down by that drunk driver. In short order I have gone from being bed-ridden to rolling around in a wheelchair to using a walker to not realizing until half an hour later that I walked off without my cane.

All that seething hatred for modernity makes me strong. No wonder our would-be oppressors malign that particular emotion so.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Tuesday, January 15 2019 23:7:49

Frank Church

Being an economist is like being a TSA officer. Both occupations are rightfully shunned by those possessed of even a modicum of intelligence and good character. By their nature they attract those such as that vat-grown aspie Paul Krugman or the fat, smirking creep who felt up my girlfriend at the airport last year. Such dysgenic refuse live only to abuse their petty power by lording it over their natural betters.

Still, unlike you, I know enough about Marx and Smith to grasp that both men, being products of that intellectual clusterfuck we call the Enlightenment, advocated a policy of free trade, the swiftest and most certain method ever devised of reducing the standard of living here in the West to that of India or Eritrea, all so that today's billionaires can eventually count themselves trillionaires.

"Muh socialism." You're little more than a ventriloquist's dummy used to mouth slogans.

- Tuesday, January 15 2019 16:7:3

I support Susan selling the comic books. Some here may be offended.

Frank Church
- Tuesday, January 15 2019 16:0:16

The silliness of this place now. Harlan says quit. Kenneth, quit being rude, that's my job.

Harlan was always political. He even defended a guy who pretended to have a suicide vest protesting nuclear arms. The feds sadly offed the poor guy.

Like the guy who flew a plane into the IRS building in Texas--his sad note about people dying without insurance. Luckily we have real people like AOC who refuses to play the corporate game and tells the truth that the real answer is socialism.

Surplus Value is a real thing. Kenneth needs to read up on both Adam Smith and Marx.

We want the Jewish uncle as President. Dump the fat headed fascist. Clean the ice box of that off smell.

Bazooka Joe
- Monday, January 14 2019 21:45:9

Mr Mason
You guys should just get a room.

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, Chose - Monday, January 14 2019 20:55:11

Kenneth Stevens --

You're hilarious. And kudos for being one of the few people in the Pavilion these days with the simple courage to post your own name. I don't take comments by all these anonymous posters seriously. If you can't show your face, at least show your name.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Monday, January 14 2019 15:22:51

You're on to me, Chode Boi

It is but a small step from taking over this heavily trafficked website to realizing my ultimate goal: winning the undying love of MacKenzie Bezos.

Call me, Mac baby! Quit playing hard to get! I know you're reading this!

- Sunday, January 13 2019 21:37:56

Bok Choy...
Thank you for your thank-you. I've always been bothered by people who complain whenever an author "takes on" another's voice--mostly because it's never an issue if said author is profitable and famous enough. Just look at the "Sherlock Holmes" incarnations over the past 127 years, and at all the imitators (including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's own son) who strove to write "authentic" Holmes stories in his voice. Nobody buying the anthologies ever whined about the "sacrilege" of copying Doyle's style. Write a Sherlock Holmes story on a whim, and it's fan fiction. Do it with backing and permission (from the estate, a publisher, a literary agent, etc.)... and it's part of your skill set, bully for you, croutons all around and don't skimp on the bacon bits. It's the same creative process that brings the work into being, either way; the difference merely lies in finding the right high-class pimp to set you up in a townhouse with a hot tub, rather than stumbling alone towards traffic on wobbly spike heels, looking to turn a trick before you lose another tooth for coming up short on cash.

Stephen King wrote the Foreward to HE's "Stalking the Nightmare," in which he said, "'Milk always takes the flavor of what's next to it in the icebox'... For the last four days I have been, so to speak, sitting next to Harlan in the icebox. I am not copying his style; nothing as low as that. I have, rather, taken a brief impression of his style, the way that, when we were kids, we used to be able to take a brief impression of Beetle Bailey or Blondie from the Sunday funnies with a piece of Silly Putty." This is a tendency that we're all subject to, if we're regular readers of Harlan's work. That doesn't make us copiers--that demonstrates his undeniably strong influence on our individual talents. Someone might echo his wealth of knowledge about authors, and book and short story titles, in their writing... but that's all right to express, so long as they don't *sound* like him when relaying the information. They can be as detailed and intelligent and explain the backlog of names and titles all day long. If Harlan was the one that prompted them to learn all this information, well, that's just fine.

As for someone like me, who has a similar Midwest background (me from the Detroit area, him on the other side of Lake Erie in Painesville), who shares an opposition to authority figures in the writing world (particularly those who push us to follow our writers' instincts, then turn around and tell us that we're "doing it wrong"), and who has a similar cynical nature in regards to a variety of subjects? Ooh, since I kinda-sorta sound like him... I'm just a cheap imitator! Sure. Fine. Maybe it's because I'm half his age and have had maybe 1/4 of his experiences, and because I never had any stunning successes, and because I've never had an agent or a manager or a publisher or... how many comparisons do we need to make, really? I ain't him and I will never even come close, nor do I strive to be him in any of my daily activities or my overall storytelling abilities. But I do acknowledge and accept that HE has influenced my writing style since the age of 19. So to pull up an old expression: "Stone the crows." Besides that, I have nothing that even remotely resembles his career success as I near the half-century mark. Harlan's influence and passions obviously didn't "take," or I'd have my own Lost Atlantis Temple of Venus, I'd spend my days making the rounds on the talk show circuit, and my books would be racking up hot sales on Amazon.

Bok Choy
- Sunday, January 13 2019 13:26:34

KS, the tweaker

Thanks Bix and Michael Rubin for your posts.

The entity known as KS, noticeably absent in late June and early July (he would have been ignored, overwhelmed by others' posts in tribute to our esteemed host), has attempted to wrest control of the Pavilion for his own platform. His list of gripes is growing. Perhaps he not able to set up his own blog.

- Sunday, January 13 2019 12:45:28


Then Sir Thomas More must have been a moron as well, since he too cited the ancient maxim "Silence implies consent" as part of his defense during his 1535 treason trial.

Doubtless you will be pleased to hear that it did Sir Thomas no good whatsoever.

- Sunday, January 13 2019 2:41:45

Kenneth Stevens -- the pavilion's resident moron
"And silence implies consent."

Only a moron, or a conservative-minded moron, would type that sentence. And worse, assume Harlan Ellison believed "Dubya" -- and that asshole Cheney -- did anything worthwhile.

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Saturday, January 12 2019 23:47:32

The lesser of three evils?

I suppose Harlan faced the same problem in 1980 that many voters did. He couldn't bear to help reelect Jimmy Carter (either from a revulsion of Carter's right turn during the second half of his presidency or an exasperation with the year-long holding of American hostages in Iran, coupled with long lines at the gas pump and that new contribution to the economy, quaintly dubbed "stagflation." But he obviously wouldn't go for the superstar of American conservatism, Ronald Reagan either; so that left John Anderson, the last of a dying breed of liberal Republicans, once known as "Rockefeller Republicans," and today represented by poor (but rich) Mike Bloomberg, who seems to think he has a chance at the White House. So I suspect that in 1980 Harlan chose to do what a good many people did that year: not vote for anyone for president. But maybe he actually did pull the lever for Odd John.

But discussing politics here is wearisome, and politics from nearly 40 years ago more wearisome still. So next time I'll talk about Francis Towner Laney's even older "farewell to fandom," his 1948 self-published screed AH, SWEET IDIOCY!, which I recently came across online, all 130
mimeographed pages of it lovingly scanned and posted on the fanac.org website. It's an obscure work I've been searching for ever since I first learned about it as a teen in Harry Warner, Jr.'s excellent history of 1940s fandom, ALL OUR YEDSTERDAYS. Now that's more fun than politics. But I admit I have strange tastes.

That Guy
- Saturday, January 12 2019 18:3:46

Jeff R., Robert Nason

Harlan did indeed speak approvingly of John Anderson in that distant election year -- at least once on the Tomorrow show.
As I recall, he didn't really elaborate on why; it was mostly a passing exchange with Tom Snyder in the midst of other, probably unrelated ones. I doubt that episode has turned up on Youtube, but surely it exists *somewhere*. Whether that somewhere makes it onto the web is doubtful.

("Stop calling them 'Shirley'", right Someone Else?)

- Saturday, January 12 2019 14:42:52

If your "skin suit" comment is directed at me... well, are't we being rude? And for no obvious reason, at that. Your desire to be cruel to a total stranger, one who has shared this forum with you in the past in relative harmony, is both baffling and irritating. (Or are we simply a Trump supporter, and angry at my call-out over that crap "steel slat" wall, so easily chopped apart by Border Patrol? If so, you have my sympathies... it's hard to admit when one has been suckered into a losing scheme by one's idol, and it's likewise a struggle to stand firm by one's erroneous decisions in the face of logic.)

That being said... sorry for the news flash, my bitter cohort, but THIS IS HOW I WRITE. This is how I've ALWAYS written. My masculine style of writing (often confusing people into thinking I'm male, based on my overall tone and word/phrase choices) has ALWAYS carried a bit of the smartass with it. My writing has also always been imbibed with my single-minded determination to write MY way; this tendency to ignore advice is one that ticked off my English teachers to no end, I might add. I can't tell you how many times I was told to change something I'd written to suit THEIR desires, and how many opportunities I missed out on specifically because I wouldn't change what I put on the page.

The Midwestern background that I share with Harlan is one of the things that first drew me to Harlan's writing--the shadow similarity of his voice to mine helped pull me in. I remember discovering his work in my first year of college, when I pulled the hardcover edition of "Shatterday" from the shelf and stood there so long, reading the entries, that my legs grew numb. But along with that remarkable voice of his, HE also had an additional and sometimes stunning wealth of wisdom that comes with life and career experience. HE had waded through a remarkable depth of living that we will never see in a writer from our current spoiled generations.

So, yes, you go ahead and hate on me for how I write, and do so in a public forum. Go ahead and mock my natural style, simply because you think I'm copying one Harlan J. Ellison--if only I had that much talent, I'd be a lot more secure in my writing abilities! Anyway, such an attempt at delivering me a low blow over my writing style (and failing to do so, I might add) is a reflection on your troubled mentality, not mine.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Saturday, January 12 2019 13:14:30

A note on fashion
Harlan's views on Bush II are no more relevant to the matter at hand than was his distaste for Lima beans. What is striking, however is that using CTRL-F to search the Pavilion archives reveals that Harlan remained avowedly neutral on what every knowledgeable observer of the day correctly foresaw would be America's greatest foreign policy blunder ever, the invasion of Iraq, a land so Godforsaken and flyblown--with a rate of cousin marriage above 50% and still rising--that in 1920 an exasperated Winston Churchill sought to drop poison gas on its perpetually unruly denizens.

I bring this up not to besmirch Harlan's good name but to point out the folly, not to mention the unseemliness, of attempting to score political points by donning a Harlan Ellison skinsuit. Such an ill-fitting garb will fool nobody but the wearer.

Bok Choy
- Saturday, January 12 2019 13:11:54


Harlan's friend Robert Culp portrays Hoby Gilman, at odds with a wall-building con man by the name of Trump in "The End of the World," an episode of TRACKDOWN from 1958:


Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Saturday, January 12 2019 12:58:20

Jeff R. -

I'm not sure Harlan would have supported John Anderson for president in 1980. As I recall, Anderson positioned himself as "the candidate of new ideas," yet the only idea he ever seems to have had as a congressman was to propose legislation that would declare America a Christian Nation. I rather doubt Harlan would have been thrilled with that. Nor would any American who took the Constitution seriously.

- Saturday, January 12 2019 8:53:45

Harlan had an _Impeach Bush_ sign in front of Ellison Wonderland fer Christ's sake. You used to be able to see it when you googled the street view of his address.

Jeff R.
Philly, - Saturday, January 12 2019 8:38:21

For Michael Rubin:
Do you know which Republican I could picture Harlan supporting wholeheartedly? John Anderson, who ran as an independent back in 1980. Remember him?

- Friday, January 11 2019 22:12:9

I miss Harlan Ellison ...
I've been drinking, and I'm right at that thin territory where I'm not incoherent but I'm not polite ...

I miss Harlan Ellison ...

I miss his certainty. I didn't agree with everything he said. Outside of his authorial capacity, I didn't agree with everything he wrote. But I liked Harlan Ellison because he was honest. And I miss him.

Not because his politics aligned with mine. Not because he wrote some beautiful stories (go on, read "Paladin of the Lost Hour" and lie to me: tell me you read it without tears in your eyes).

I miss Harlan Ellison because he was HONEST. When he saw something was bullshit, he called bullshit. When he saw someone being bitchslapped by a gang of bullies, he said so.

And I'm just so sad and angry and disappointed that the world isn't becoming a better place.

I miss Harlan Ellison.

Michael Rubin <mrpros818@sbcglobal.net>
Cleveland, Ohio - Friday, January 11 2019 13:41:47

United States
I hate to use these words, but believe me, Harlan was no fan of either of the Bush presidents. C'mon this is HE, who was an anti-war protester, walked with MlK in support of civil rights and women's rights. I would hazard a guess that the only republican he may have supported would have been Ike....maybe.

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