I'm starting off this article with a simple question: Harlan Ellison,the Bard who hates to be called a man of the Sci-Fi field, is needed now more than ever before, in this odd land of the 21st century.
I'm a fan of Harlan Ellison, and I love "I have no mouth and I must scream", and if any man deserves some rest and relaxation, it should be him; But, in these down-sliding, down-sizing, simplistic as hell, moronic, facetious, and just all-around lame-brained for the masses, we need that insufferable little rebel who'll tell us to go to hell, and rightly so.
Maybe it's just not being caught up with the new "revolutionaries" or just not really digging some of the new authors who spew out the same erotic messes or mass-mushed garbage, but Ellison's stuff still hits deep in the bone, years after the fact: The entirety of "Shatterday" speaks for itself on that regard, with challenging material for all and easy answers for none(as it should be.)
Age, youth, growing up, death, what it means to be a human being, love: The "mortal dreads", as Ellison calls these universals, run rampant through his work. As the tales spin and the books pile up, and the years pass by, Harlan never stopped raging against the machine and all of its parts: that's why, even as time passes, he should still rage against the dying of the light.
If all of this is sounding presumptuous and full of shit, then, well....you're not too far off there, sure. But, seeing the trends that now pass as "literature" or "culture", seeing ignorance being praised for intelligence, and seeing the best minds of this generation passed aside on a daily basis for nitwits who clog up the arts like a blood clot, then you can catch my drift and why I rate Ellison so highly with other writers; he's the guy not afraid to be ostracized for his views, and screw you if you don't like it, all right?
That's why we need that crazy man: Who else can do it, and for so long and so consistently, too?
"Star Wars is adolescent nonsense; Close Encounters is obscurantist drivel; Star Trek can turn your brains to puree of bat guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one or all in a bunch to back it up!"
Auditorium monitors moved in, truncheons ready to club down anyone foolish enough to try jumping the lecture platform; and finally there was relative silence. And I heard scattered voices screaming from the back of the room, "Who? And I said, "Yes. Who!"