Sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison has been hospitalized following a stroke late last week that left him paralyzed on his right side. However, according to multiple sources — including Patton Oswalt, Clifford Meth and Mark Evanier — the 80-year-old author remains as sharp, and as sharp-tongued, as ever.
Ellison’s wife Susan broke the news Sunday on his website in a brief announcement that’s been followed by updates and reassurances there and elsewhere from friends who’ve spoken to or visited with him.
“I was with him the day before yesterday when the specialist who checks verbal and memory impact was there, and it was like an SNL skit,” screenwriter Josh Olson wrote Sunday evening. “She’s checking for slurring and loss of memory, and he’s being quintessential Harlan — talking a mile a minute, and throwing out more obscure references per minute than anyone can possibly keep up with. (He did, at one point, forget the name of an actor with a wooden leg who played a supporting part on one of his favorite radio shows back in the forties, but last time I talked to him, he couldn’t remember the name of the key grip on Passage to Marseilles, so it’s probably safe to say that’s nothing to worry about. ) I can’t say he’s fine, because he’s had a stroke … but he’s as well as well can be under the circumstances, and had all of the nurses laughing. And he complained a lot. So, you know … Harlan.”
An author and screenwriter as prolific as he is cantankerous, Ellison has won multiple Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker and Edgar awards for a body of work that includes “A Boy and His Dog,” “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” and the original screenplay for the acclaimed Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” (I’ll add to that mix a personal favorite: the surreal “Knife in the Darkness” episode of the short-lived TV Western Cimarron Strip).
This year has seen two of Ellison’s works adapted to comics: his original teleplay for “The City on the Edge of Forever,” released as a miniseries by IDW Publishing; and, his “lost” Two-Face script for the classic Batman television series, coming next month to DC Comics’ digital first Batman ’66.
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