All right, I'm back from Thanksgiving break and ready to share opinions no one cares about.
In my web-surfing today, I ran across an article on science-fiction writer, Harlan Ellison. This goes me thinking about why I like Ellison so much. It occurred to me that I would be a fan even if his writing was terrible.
This is not to say that Ellison's writing is terrible. In fact, its quite good. Even his more bizarre works are great reads. I feel less like Ellison is being incomprehensible for the sake of being incomprehensible and more that his works simply require further reading and analysis. That's a rarity I find only in really engaging writers.
However, the reason I would like Harlan Ellison, even if he was a bad writer, is because he is such a larger than life character. His public persona as angry, curmudgeonly man has taken on mythic proportions. Loads of stories revolve around the man, many of them apocryphal. For example, there are allegations of his throwing a fan down an elevator shaft or setting a rude smoker's purse on fire. His disputes with Hollywood personalities like Gene Roddenberry and James Cameron are legendary.
These stories have taken on such a life of their own that they will endure long after the man himself has gone. Any random anecdote about Harlan Ellison is guaranteed to be at least as interesting as some of his lesser writing. Ellison is a talented writer and I am the first to sing his praises. However, in a lot of ways, Harlan Ellison's greatest and most enduring creation is Harlan Ellison.