Star Trek, The Twilight Zone and Babylon 5 writer Harlan Ellison dies

Veteran science fiction writer Harlan Ellison has died at the age of 84.

His former agent and close friend Christine Valada confirmed the news on Twitter, writing: “Susan Ellison has asked me to announce the passing of writer Harlan Ellison, in his sleep, earlier today.

“‘For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.’ —HE, 1934-2018. Arrangements for a celebration of his life are pending.”

Ellison was famous for writing multiple sci-fi stories for pulp magazines and TV shows such as Babylon 5 and The Twilight Zone, for which he also served as a consultant.

His short story I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream was even adapted into a video game (by him).

He was also famous for his Star Trek episode that led to a long legal battle.

His Original Series episode ‘City on the Edge of Forever’ – the one set in Depression-era America – was rewritten to remove his anti-war message (the Vietnam War was happening at the time) and he was not happy about it.

He wrote a book in 1995 titled The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became the Classic Star Trek Episode, which contained early drafts of his script, and in 2009 he sued over revenue from merchandise based on the episode.

He later sued over his ideas being turned down by studios and used in something called Future Cop, and even sued over The Terminator allegedly pinching some of his ideas (James Cameron eventually put Ellison’s name in the credits). He was going to sue over the Justin Timberlake film In Time, but changed his mind.

Outside of science fiction, he wrote for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Man from UNCLE and The Flying Nun.

A documentary about Ellison called Dreams with Sharp Teeth was released in 2008 and even featured Robin Williams as an interviewee. Ellison himself appeared in a few documentaries, including With Great Power. The Stan Lee Story.

Many big name in the world of writing and entertainment paid tribute to Ellison, including Stephen King, Patton Oswalt and Guillermo del Toro.

He is survived by his wife, Susan Ann Toth.

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