An unguarded, uncensored, unquiet tour of the life of Harlan Ellison.
In late 2011 Harlan Ellison—the multi-award-winning writer of speculative fiction and famously litigious personality—did two uncharacteristic things. First, he asked biographer Nat Segaloff if he’d be interested in writing his life story. Second, he gave Segaloff full control. The result is the long-anticipated A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, an Exploration. The expansive biography, which is the first such project in which Ellison has permitted large portions of his varied works to appear, is published by NESFA Press.
Segaloff conducted exhaustive interviews with Ellison over the course of five years and also spoke with many of his friends and enemies in an effort to get inside the man and pin down the best-known “Harlan stories.” Their wide-ranging discussions cover his bullied boyhood, his storied marriages, his fabled lawsuits, and his compulsive writing process with more depth and detail than has ever before appeared in print. But it also delves deeply into the man’s deeply held principles, his fears, and the demons that have driven him all of his 82 (so far) years. Friends, colleagues, and admirers such as Neil Gaiman, Patton Oswalt, Peter David, Robert Sawyer, Michael Scott, Edward Asner, Leonard Nimoy, Ed Bryant, Alan Brennert, Robert Silverberg, and many other notables add their voices.
Along the way the reader is treated to definitive versions of the Connie Willis controversy, the infamous dead gopher story, the adventure of fandom, and the final word on The Last Dangerous Visions. What emerges is a rich portrait of a man who has spent his life doing battle with his times and himself, always challenging his readers to reach for a higher plane and goading himself to get them there. It’s funny, wise, shocking, and—well, it’s Harlan.
Table of Contents
- Preface and Acknowledgments
- Chapter 1: Morning in the Sunken Cathedral
- Chapter 2: First Contact
- Chapter 3: Harlan in Wonderland
- Chapter 4: Marriage Ain't Nothin' But Love Misspelled
- Chapter 5: Science Friction
- Chapter 6: Teats for Two
- Chapter 7: All the Lies That Are His Life
- Chapter 8: The Cordwainer Chronicles
- Chapter 9: Aye, Robot
- Chapter 10: The Snit on the Edge of Forever
- Chapter 11: The Voice in the Wilderness
- Chapter 12: The Collector
- Chapter 13: Repent, Harlan!
- Chapter 14: The Rabbit Whole
- Chapter 15: The Lost Dangerous Visions
- Chapter 16: The Flight of the Deathbird
- Appendix A: Harlan Ellison on Writing: A Conversation
- Appendix B: Unrealized Projects (Unproduced Teleplays, Screenplays, and Treatments)
- Appendix C: Awards
- Appendix C: Interiews
- Selected Bibliography
Nat Segaloff is a writer, producer, and film historian. He has written the biographies of Arthur Penn, William Friedkin, and Stirling Silliphant, and produced documentaries on Stan Lee, John Belushi, Larry King, and Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop. He is co-author of the play “The Waldorf Conference,” about the origins of the Hollywood Blacklist (in which Harlan Ellison acted) and, in addition to A Lit Fuse, has also completed a memoir, Screen Saver.
ISBN for the special first edition/printing/state: 978-1-61037-322-7