Category Archives: harlan ellison

Author Frederik Pohl Passes at 93

There was a time in junior high school when I was devouring all the classic science fiction at the local small town library, or at least trying to. I was fascinated by Bradbury, found Asimov and Clarke far too obtuse, loved Ellison to death, dug Heinlein and Dick, and also really liked Frederik Pohl.

Besides Harlan Ellison, Pohl was one that entranced me into reading more of his work immediately. I spent some time exploring Gateway, Jem, and the secrets and stories of the Heechee. Fantastic stuff. I should give it another read after all this time. Two days ago, Pohl passed away at the age of 93. He’ll be missed.

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Mind Slices by Kevin R. Tipple

Kevin R. Tipple is a dear friend, or at least as good a friend as one can have online. That said, he’s a good man, a great book reviewer, a terrific writer, and a wonderful fount of writing knowledge. We’ve known each other for years, and have supported each other in various projects over that time. Now Kevin has released a short story collection, Mind Slices.

The collection offers a glimpse into the mind of the man. Having read sadly very little of his fiction before, I was a bit surprised. Kevin’s got a bit of a weird streak, and I like it. His twists are unexpected and fun, as well as edgy. The man is a hell of a writer, I’m in awe.

Much of the collection is previously published elsewhere, but there’s also quite a bit of new flash fiction that is quite good, and that’s not a form I usually like. One of my favorite parts of the book is the individual introductions to each story. I first fell in love with short stories under the pen of Harlan Ellison, and this was one of his practices – and this brought me back.

All that said, I loved Mind Slices, and not just because Kevin’s my friend. Seriously that has nothing to do with it. On the contrary, being a friend means I’d really give it to him if it sucked, but this was really good.

Mind Slices can be found on Amazon and on Smashwords, check it out, highly recommended.

You can find Kevin at his website, his blog, and on the Twitter as well.

Ernest Borgnine 1917-2012

Ernest Borgnine passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 95, from kidney failure.

I grew up with him in “McHale’s Navy,” but some of the younger folks might know him from “Airwolf” or surprisingly (at least to me) “Spongebob Squarepants.” Besides those roles, Borgnine also acted in dozens of television shows in his six decade career, including an Emmy nomination for his role in the last couple episodes of “ER” when he was 92.

Borgnine was also a stage star, and because his television credits are so dominant, many folks forget what a legendary screen actor he was. He won the Oscar for his role in 1955’s Marty, and was outstanding in many other films like From Here to Eternity, The Dirty Dozen, Willard, The Devil’s Rain, The Poseidon Adventure and even Harlan Ellison’s infamous The Oscar.

I recently saw the man interviewed on TCM. He was as boisterous and lively as he had ever been, happy to tell tales of the old days and more recent times, a happy library of the industry. We have lost one of the great actors of Hollywood.

Ray Bradbury Is Dead

Ray Bradbury is dead. That is the news I woke up to this morning. I still can’t believe it is real.

Recently, with so many pop culture deaths, I have had to write more than a few memorial pieces here on the blog. A dear friend told me just a few weeks ago I was very good at it. I would like to do the same here for this man I admire so much, but I can’t. I just can’t. I have no words. Other folks will have to do it for me, as they have done here.

Again, I have no words. People often talk of the day that Bill Haley died, or when John Lennon was shot, or when Kurt Cobain took his own life, as the day the music died. This is the day of no words.

The man was an inspiration, a genius, a forefather, an icon, perhaps one of the best writers of our time. I could read Bradbury’s work over and over again and always get enjoyment and wonder, and still learn from it on each reading. His words made me think. I could say that Harlan Ellison and Stephen King made me want to write, but Ray Bradbury made me want to read.

Ray Bradbury is dead. Today is a day without words.

Sorry, Harlan

The Oscar ~ This 1966 film was notorious in my teenage years. It was known as one of the worst movies ever made, and it was also the main reason my favorite author, Harlan Ellison, had so much contempt for Hollywood, as it was co-written by him. The really bad part was that it very rarely aired on TV. The one time it did, it was so boring I fell asleep before it had barely begun. Luckily (or maybe not) I got a chance to see it again recently, and in its entirety.

Based on the novel by Richard Sale and starring Stephen Boyd, hot off of Ben-Hur, the lovely Elke Sommer, and believe it or not, Tony Bennett in a dramatic role, the flick actually boasts quite a cast and crew of superstars and behind-the-scenes masters. At first glance, this could have been, and should have been a surefire hit. The question is – what happened?

Sorry, Harlan. Proof positive that you can have Jill St. John do a striptease, and your movie will still suck. The Oscar is so bad, it’s good, but not that good.