Harlan Ellison has written or edited 75 books; more than 1700 stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns; two dozen teleplays, for which he received the Writers Guild of America most outstanding teleplay award for solo work an unprecedented four times; and a dozen movies. He won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe award twice, the Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker award six times (including The Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996), the Nebula three times, the Hugo 8½ times, and received the Silver Pen for Journalism from P.E.N. Not to mention The World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, two Audie Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award, and a Grammy nomination for Spoken Word recordings.
From Ellison's June 2013 Q & A with Damien Walter for the Guardian:
HE: I spend a lot of time annoying people. That's my job on this planet.--Marshal Zeringue
DW: That's a good job to have. You've always been a political writer and politically active as well. You famously marched from Selma to Montgomery with Martin Luther King.
DW: Why don't speculative fiction writers today cause more trouble?
HE: Ah, kiddo, I wish I could give you an answer. I sigh woefully, [sighs], because that's what writers are supposed to do, afflict the contented. But most of them don't. Most of them just want to tell a story, and I guess that's a noble endeavour in and of itself, to tell a story. Storytellers can be teachers, like Aristotle, or they can just be storytellers like – I don't know, who's writing the trash these days? I don't know who's writing trash over there where you are, but whoever it is, you pick the name, put it in for me.
DW: When you were starting out, and you'd run away from home, and then you were in the army for a short while, and you were writing through the night to get all of this stuff done, did you expect, did you dream, of becoming as famous and as successful as you have as a writer?
HE: Absolutely. At one point in my career – I don't think I was married at the time. I've been married to my wife for 27 years, and God knows how she's been able to stand it. But she's my fifth wife. At one point I had a T-shirt that said, "Not tonight dear, I'm on a deadline." And you stop and think how many movies you didn't go and see, how many parties you didn't attend, how many concerts you didn't get to hear, because you were working. And I've worked endlessly through my entire life. I've never been a sluggard, and yet I've never felt that I've done one twentieth of what I was capable of doing.
And when I stopped at some point – and I've done this on numerous occasions – and said, "Why? Why am I doing it?" I am reminded...[read on]