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

You there! Go and buy some comics from Harlan Ellison's Comic Collection right now!

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

Chuck Messer
- Saturday, March 17 2018 20:34:14

"Now it's "right-wing" to observe that men and women have certain differences. What's next?"

Well Robert, so far only one person has suggested that. Sort of. The problem is whether 'different' means 'inferior'. I suspect you didn't mean that during your conversation with your date. There are some differences between men and women -- women's bodies can make babies, after all -- but I think you know and I know that they can handle any job that men can do.

I wonder if her sensitivity might come from the fact that there still is a definite and systematic pay gap between men and women, and she might feel *any* suggestion that there are differences between men and women automatically puts women in an inferior position. I don't think you meant that, but she might have thought you did.

Definitely not a good match for either one of you.

Better luck next time, Sir Robert. (insert wink here)


Janet Gamache
Victoria, BC - Saturday, March 17 2018 20:2:54

and creation
and dream
ed into existence
on a path
as true
and fair as
of whom
it is said
choose to host/
give voice to
the muse

"I come here,
I am ALWAYS here"

without fail
beyond doubt
it will tell.


E. Kang
- Saturday, March 17 2018 19:14:4

A closing rumination:

Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, stated nicely and concisely: "when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion."

I see very little difference between that and the nature of conservatism. As with any religion, conservatives need anchored ideology and blind faith, to the parsing or outright denying of historical facts, to preserve what they desperately want to believe, however extensive the delusion.

Not trying to proselytize, because I know that's not possible. Just observing a sad dsysfunction.

Fortunately, the country seems to be moving ever forward in a progressive direction, more crowds perceiving the big right-wing con we'd been shanked by for decades; greed, controlling the electorate with money, literally letting the NRA get away with murder as it hides behind the 2nd Amendment in behalf of corporate profits, and so on. (Hopefully, we'll likewise expunge the orange shit stenching the White House, a threat to national security, if he colluded with Russia at ALL, and the requisite life sentence, as he was given the highest classified information; no one doing business with the Russian mafia should have that level of clearance).

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Saturday, March 17 2018 18:6:46

E. Kang AKA Simon AKA VOR &c.

"Change in social thought."

A trait commonly shared by middlebrows is that they are slaves to intellectual fashion.

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Saturday, March 17 2018 1:26:26

Now it's "right-wing" to observe that men and women have certain differences. What's next? And it's the left that accuses the right of waging a "war on science."

KS -- Your comments bring to mind George Orwell's celebrated statement that "some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual can believe them." Your astute sociological analysis has expanded the notion to include that great middlebrow center which has always been a dead weight to the life of the mind in America. They propagate the ideas of the fashionable opinion makers without fully understanding what they are passing on to the great unwashed. Orwell of course was an intellectual himself, but he was also very intelligent, which helps. What we want is a highbrow democracy, with intellectuals who respect science more than trends and tenure, who appreciate great art even if it was produced by a swine, and who don't look down on those less educated than they are but attempt to understand them and pass on their knowledge to them without condescension or disdain. I don't expect this social transformation to take place anytime soon.

E. Kang
- Friday, March 16 2018 22:34:49

Right-wingers baying at the moon, ever in defiance of change in social thought.

- Friday, March 16 2018 20:57:42

Allow me to share with you four, very meaningful letters in my life: PMDD.

Oh, trust me when I say that I get your analogy.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Friday, March 16 2018 17:30:59

Robert Nason

I am sure that you are familiar with the belief among exobiologists that any planet that is capable of harboring life must be neither too distant from nor too close to its parent star, hence the term "Goldilocks Zone." By the same token, there exists a similar narrow range of cognitive capacity that enables a person to believe notions along the lines of "Hormones exert little influence on human behavior."

If someone has an IQ below, say, 110, then he is unlikely to be smart enough to grasp the supporting argument and therefore possesses a degree of natural immunity to it. On the other hand, if someone has an IQ of, say, 140 or above, then he is likely too smart to believe the supporting argument and therefore also possesses a degree of natural immunity to it.

As for the people who fall in the middle, they are smart enough to internalize that sort of thing but not smart enough to subject to subject it to a rigorous critique. These people are highly susceptible, and because they are fairly bright often find themselves in the role of middle managers, which means that they are responsible for enforcing social norms.

The above is merely a heuristic, of course, but there is no doubt that at present the world lives under the tyranny of the middlebrow (AKA democracy). I do not believe that this state of affairs will endure for much longer, however.

- Friday, March 16 2018 16:35:37

Octavia Butler ...
... just came up as a Jeopardy! clue. And no one knew.

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Thursday, March 15 2018 21:41:58


O Brave New World, even Al Just Huxley (sic) could not imagine the new forms of human strangeness awaiting us! But even before that world arrives, it's taking chunks out of my soul. Just last week I went on a date with a highly educated professional European woman, who drew me into an argument, or perhaps we drew each other, about the difference between the male and female brain. She asserted there's no difference between the male and female brain whatsoever. I pointed out that the male brain is positively soaked in testosterone, and she replied, "But those are merely hormones!" Yes, the way of fish is merely in water and the water is merely in the fish. I tried to bring up the little matter of the XY chromosomes that are in every male cell and the XX chromosomes in every female cell, and she said that they were many other chromosomes that were equally if not more important. When I tried to refer her to studies showing that boys and girls learn math and science at different rates -- apparently boys pick up math and science quickly at first but then have trouble a few years on, while girls struggle with math and science at first but grasp it much more easily at the later stages -- she told me that in the Soviet Union males and females were taught math and science in exactly the same way and the USSR boasted many of the best male and female scientists in the world. I tried to explain that my concern was not to keep women back but to adjust teaching so that it would fit the actual ways boys and girls learn, which appears to be different, whether cultural or genetic. Nonsense, she said. The trouble is with our lousy schools. We went on like this for a while until I realized that there was not much chance of this relationship blossoming into something rare and precious. I called it a night. She probably called it a nightmare.

I can only imagine what you would have said if I had mentioned Harlan's collection of stories, LOVE AIN'T NOTHING BUT SEX MISSPELLED. She might have said that only a man would think that way. Then I could have responded with a triumphant riposte, "Ah! So men and women ARE different!" But then she would probably have said it was because of a patriarchal culture, not genetics or the difference in brains.

She also managed to compare Trump to Hitler. That was the least unexpected of her comments.

In any event, after sending her an email politely expressing my feeling that a romantic relationship was probably not in the cards for us, she wrote back telling me that my background has conditioned me to think I want a woman who is intelligent and articulate, whereas in her opinion I would probably be happier with a woman who is in articulate and not very bright. I gave that a few moments thought and remembered encounters I've had with women who fit that description and remembering just how bored I was with them.

I'll probably catch hell from some of the Pavilioneers for this off-topic confession, both for its lack of relevance to matters Ellisonian and for what it no doubt reveals about me. But somehow I think Our Esteemed Host would understand. As he would say (and, in fact, has), does it parse? Hopefully.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Thursday, March 15 2018 16:18:15

Robert Nason

Just the other day I saw a piece in NEW SCIENTIST describing how researchers are examining more than five hundred genes linked to intelligence (like height, IQ is polygenic). As the human genome is more thoroughly explored, we will be reading similar stories linking heredity to everything from introversion vs. extroversion to political orientation.

The only question is whether genetics accounts for fifty percent of measurable psychological traits or as much as eighty percent of them. A friend of mine fresh out of graduate school at a well-known university in Massachusetts informs me that the geneticists and psychometricians that he studied under are well aware of this but that even the tenured ones are too cowed by the current political climate on campuses all across the Western world to discuss it publicly, lest they face not only the ruin of their careers but also physical assault by antifa.

That said, this knowledge is already beginning to be an open secret. By the mid-2020s the debate over nature vs. nurture will have ended. My ugly suspicion is that the Blank Slatists, shocked and disillusioned to find that the human psyche is not so malleable as Silly Putty after all, will reverse polarity and begin to demand that CRISPR technology be used to edit the human genome so as to make us more peaceful and egalitarian, and the Nietzsche's Last Men will inherit the Earth.

Better a world-ending thermonuclear holocaust than that.

largo, fl. - Wednesday, March 14 2018 18:23:9

Frank Church, no one likes you here!
Doesn't feel good does it. Your way off,you haven't even an understanding of William F. Buckley from Firing Line.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Wednesday, March 14 2018 11:13:35

Michael Fleisher
The man's lawsuit against Harlan did nobody any good, but I think it needs to be said: he wrote one of the damnedest comic books of all times, the death of Jonah Hex. I think that should be ultimately what he is remembered for.

Andrew Laubacher
Lackawanna, New York - Wednesday, March 14 2018 8:38:6

R.I.P. Michael Fleisher
Mark Evanier is also reporting that this is the same Michael Fleisher: https://www.newsfromme.com/2018/03/13/michael-fleisher-r-i-p/

The irony of Mr. Fleisher's dispute with Our Host (though I imagine that few are not aware of this) is that Harlan was attempting to complement him and his writing. Bat-shit, indeed.

Jeff R.
Philly, - Wednesday, March 14 2018 7:10:15

If one can trust the Wikipedia...
...they say that it's the same Michael Fleisher.

E. Kang
- Wednesday, March 14 2018 0:11:3

Well, humanity has lost Stephen Hawking and it sucks.

Robert Nason <nightwriterblue82@gmail.com>
Whitestone, NY - Tuesday, March 13 2018 20:13:26

Frank, alas, like many leftists and anarchists, is in the grip of that pernicious myth promulgated by Rousseau in the 18th century, the myth of the Noble Savage. Man was good and peaceful until something called civilization turned him into a murderous brute. The irony of this a historical fantasy is that it encouraged many real brutes to form tyrannical regimes which used state power to "restore" human beings to their original goodness. The French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, Mao's Cultural Revolution, and the tens of millions of corpses they produced are the horrifying testament to the folly of this belief. No, Rousseau is not responsible for the evil deeds done through his indirect influence, though he bears some intellectual culpability. And yes, I'm aware that Western liberal democracies have blood on their hands as well. But there was no Noble Savage, and there is no way to create one, other than perhaps genetically, which may produce yet new atrocities.

James Van Hise <Jimvanhise@aol.com>
Yucca Valley, CA - Tuesday, March 13 2018 18:43:38

According to this, Harlan's old nemesis is now deceased. It hasn't made it on any major comic book news sites yet and even The Comics Journal board has not officially reported it. On the Comics Reporter (http://www.comicsreporter.com/) they ask if this is indeed him and did he die 6 weeks ago?


- Tuesday, March 13 2018 17:36:18

The earliest evidence of human violence goes back nearly half a million years. Even you, Frank, should be able to understand that there were no nations back then.


Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Tuesday, March 13 2018 17:30:42

Frank Church
As physicist-turned-anthropologist Greg Cochran, co-author of THE TEN THOUSAND YEAR EXPLOSION: HOW CIVILIZATION ACCELERATED HUMAN EVOLUTION, points out, you can get a better grasp of anthropology from reading Robert E. Howard's penny-a-word Conan stories than you can from wasting your time on the "research" a fool such as Brian Ferguson. Without a doubt Pinker is right about this matter.

Chuck Messer
- Tuesday, March 13 2018 16:33:5


I do believe Dr. Smith is a woman this time.

I just hope this LIS will avoid being the mess the movie was. I still refuse to believe that movie had an actual script. It seemed like they just pointed the camera at the cast and had them run around yelling stuff, then left it to the editor to try to assemble the scenes in some kind of intelligible order.

It didn't work.


Jeff R.
Philly, - Tuesday, March 13 2018 16:15:26

This time, there may just be no way that Dr. Smith will keep his hands off Will Robinson!

Frank Church
- Tuesday, March 13 2018 15:34:29

Very hard to deal with actual fake news when even brains like Steven Pinker get it so wrong. Says that the Neanderthals were war like, but experts like Brian Ferguson say they were peaceful up until nation states were created. Statism creates violence, national needs to take land, hoard resources, see others as enemies that invade their cultural space. We still have no learned. We created fire but don't want others to warm their hands by us.


In the 70s Conservatives gave up on empirical research, linked science to liberal ideas--people who look down on Religion and want to take traditional ideals away like Christmas. Why they now deny climate change and basic stats on wage gap etc.

Andrew J. Wilson <ajwpublishing@gmail.com>
Edinburgh, Scotland - Tuesday, March 13 2018 14:32:20

Lost in Space
Here's the trailer for the reboot, Ezra:


Heaven help us all!

Now, after the VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA debacle, there was no way that our host was going to script for LOST IN SPACE, but that doesn't mean we can spin the Wheels of If. I'll start: H.E.'s '60s L.i.S. episode would have been entitled ... "Shattered Like a Glass Jaw", "'Repent, Robinson!' Said the Carrotman", or "How Interesting: A Tiny Mind".

- Tuesday, March 13 2018 14:15:35

E. Kang you will not wish to access this here link-


And you will also not wish to watch UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, the Thai film from 2011 directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. UBWCRHPL contains one of the great interspecies sex scenes in all of cinema, where a young woman wades out into a stream and is blown by a fish.

The advantage the Gillman has over other denizens of the foamin' briny is that he can provide other than oral comforts to his partners.


I saw an advert on the Metro over the weekend announcing an upcoming comic book convention hereabouts and along the bottom of the poster was a blurb about an upcoming series produced by Netflix. A reboot of...wait for it...LOST IN SPACE. You knew this would happen eventually. I know nothing else about it but I can guess that this time no way Major Don West keeps his hands off Judy Robinson.

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