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A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison Hardcover – 14 July 2017
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That is true, but it was a match made in heaven. The result is a vivid portrait of the writer, told with respect and affection but also without pulling any punches. (Full disclosure: Nat Segaloff has been a friend for many years and a some time collaborator. Other than introducing him to his publisher, NESFA Press, I had no role in this project.) Both Segaloff and Ellison (whom i've met on a couple of occasions) are strong writers with humorous streaks, a fierce dedication to telling the truth, and sentimental sides which they may believe they have cleverly hidden. It's no surprise they connected and that Ellison, who turned 83 on May 27, trusted Segaloff to tell his story and tell it right.
Ellison gave friends the okay to talk to Segaloff, sat for hours of interviews himself, allowed his works to be freely quoted, and had no approval over the final book. It was a grant of trust which has been amply rewarded. I've read most of Segaloff's books including biographies of directors William Friedkin and Arthur Penn and screenwriter Stirling Silliphant and say without hesitation that this is the best thing he has ever done. I fully expect this to be on next year's Hugo ballot for "best related work," and I'll suppress any twinge of jealousy if he wins the award I lost for Jar Jar Binks Must Die... and Other Observations about Science Fiction Movies.
What makes this so special? It is a full-bodied portrait of Ellison the writer as well as the ups and downs of his personal life. It doesn't turn away from the touchy subjects (The City on the Edge of Forever, the Connie Willis controversy, the never published Last Dangerous Visions), but it also celebrates not only his successes, but the way he has inspired the writers who followed him, created works of lasting value, and demonstrates that while he is, indeed, one of the giants of science fiction, he is also a writer of mysteries, of criticism, of essays, and of one of the most interesting lives in modern American letters. Even If you are not a devoted Ellison fan, it is a fascinating story, and you may find yourself eager to fill in the gaps in your own reading of Ellison.
Whether you're a science fiction fan, a devotee of Ellison, or simply interested in what it means to be a writer, this is an essential book. Harlan Ellison trusted Nat Segaloff with his life, and Nat Segaloff repaid that trust with a book fully worthy of its subject. --Daniel Kimmel, Goodreads
About the Author
Segaloff's other books include biographies of directors Arthur Penn and William Friedkin, screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, and Final Cuts: The Last Films of 50 Great Directors. He was also a founding partner, with John de Lancie and Leonard Nimoy, of the science fiction production company Alien Voices. He lives in Los Angeles ducking phone calls.
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This book is an overview of his life and contains lots of stuff that even I a massive Ellison fan didn’t know like he was friends with Spike Milligan which I can understand they shared a lot in common.
I was lucky enough to meet him once a gent who made me feel important his work will last forever read this book to get an honest frank look at his amazing life.
Harlan is a lot of things, and this book does a superb job of telling his life story.