Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Happy Sunday!" said the Tickock Man

With the family out of town, it's quiet and kind of boring around here, but I am getting some good writing done. I'm in the honeymoon phase with a new story...if it goes anywhere, I'll share details later.
Watched Dreams with Sharp Teeth last night, a documentary on Unca Harlan Ellison. Crazy old bastard...sadly, my first introduction to Harlan was not his writing, but his very public, very nasty dustup with Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade a few years back. If you weren't in that gossip loop, the upshot is that onstage at the Foolscap awards ceremony, Harlan was being Harlan and accused Gabe of being a high school dropout, at which point Gabe, being Gabe, asked Harlan if he was the guy who wrote the Star Wars books. At that point, friendly banter turned to threats, and each camp's ferocious, drooling internet packs joined the fight. It was kind of fun to watch, but a sad misunderstanding--mostly, I think, because Ellison and the singular being that is Gabe/Tycho are really different generations of the same inspired, rebellious spirit (I won't say Maverick, John McCain ruined that word for me).

Anyway, the movie showed that Ellison is, indeed, a crazy man. But, it also showed very clearly that he is probably a really great guy, and a self-tortured psyche to boot. Interesting movie, lots of footage of Neil Gaiman who, apparently, has been friends with Ellison before Gaiman was even a working fiction writer. The movie does have a few good tidbits for writers, but mostly it's an homage.

I am about halfway through reading his Strange Wine collection. Great writing, very poetic, a very careful and conscientious selection of words and sentence structure. On a personal note, I find I relate to Harlan on a few levels, which is endearing and disturbing.

He also has a really, really cool house.
I was cruising and found a reference to this story called "Candle Cove". It's a short story told in the form of a chatroom discussion. I found it on a different site with no reference to the fact that it was fiction and not just a blog discussion, so the intended creepy effect in the story definitely worked on me. The author is, apparently, Kris Straub (relation? not sure).
It always makes me happy when one of my online friends gets something big released. Today the big news is the release of Catherine J Gardner's chapbook The Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon. Order one today, it's only $6 including's been said many times, but that is the best damn title I've heard in a long time.
And now, Unca Harlan plays us out.


Jamie Eyberg said...

I have read a lot of books, but I don't think I have ever read anything by Ellison, yet.

Aaron Polson said...

Gotta love Harlan. He is one helluva writer.

Natalie L. Sin said...

Very psyched about Catherine's book. And the cover is amazing, no? : )

Catherine J Gardner said...

Thank you for the pimpage. :)