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CNN Interviews with Harlan Ellison, Bruce Sterling

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the mona-lisa-listening dept.

Media 147

half_cocked_jack writes "Over at the CNN Podcast area they have a program titled 'Hollywood's SciFi Summer'. It sounded interesting, so I downloaded it. Much to my surprise, the host, Renay San Miguel, seems to really know SF, and he interviewed Harlan Ellison, Connie Willis, Bruce Sterling, and Len Wein on their views on how Hollywood handles SF. Great listening!"

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fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966869)

w00t

Whorelan Ellison?! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966871)

The guy who tried to shut down USENET [slashdot.org]

~~~

Oh, PULEEEZE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966910)

So Harlan tried to protect his IP. Suddenly that's no only a crime, but he tried to "shut down USENET"?

Give me a FREAKING break.

Or perhaps you didn't bother to RTFA to which you linked.

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (1)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966971)

He tried to force USENET providers to screen posts and allow him cancellation privileges at will. That's not just protecting his precious stale old short stories.

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966977)

And if you're IP was being strewn across newsgroups, you'd just accept it? Give me a freaking break.

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (1)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966984)

What choice would I have? And it isn't as if he hadn't already been paid many times over for it. All he succeeded in doing was turning people who had never even heard him off of his work and exposing himself as a net.kook.

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (1)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967055)

Harlan, and anybody else who was proud of their work, would fight to keep their creation - both in the form that it was written and under some mechanism to recover payment for the work.

Harlan was right. End of story.

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (4, Insightful)

mbrother (739193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967106)

At this time in tech history, I think it's to a writer's advantage to give away their work online, and that it actually helps sales of paperbacks and hardbacks. I put my money where my mouth is and my first novel, Star Dragon (Tor 2003), is available for free download from my site under a Creative Commons license. That's a decision that I made and my editor has supported. I hope it helps me generate sales at the milli-Ellison level or better.

But it's against the law to copy stories without permission. Harlan is old school, and as obnoxious as all hell when he wants to be, and that's his right here. Sure, publishers need to change their business model, but they haven't just yet. Respect the artist. If you think he sucks so much, why do you want to read his work anyway?

I wanted to use a story by Geoffrey Landis in my astronomy class last semester. I emailed him up, asked him if I could make 120 copies for my students, and he said absolutely. Even asked if I wanted the story in electronic form. If he'd said no, I wouldn't have done it.

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (1)

SA Stevens (862201) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967194)

Why do writers have to take actions that some pundits think 'is to their advantage' to keep face?

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967951)

I wanted to use a story by Geoffrey Landis in my astronomy class last semester. I emailed him up, asked him if I could make 120 copies for my students, and he said absolutely. Even asked if I wanted the story in electronic form.

Oh yes. 120 students who'd never heard of him before get to read a story by him. If there's one thing non-bestseller authors need, its word-of-mouth and getting their writings in front of potential readers. He'd be mad to refuse (assuming the publisher slipped up and Landis still owns some of the rights to his stories and can give permission...)

Or put it another way: Tell a hard SF author you want to use his story for teaching astronomy, what do you think he's going to say? Flattery will get you everywhere.

Obligatory Baen books link, about what giving away your texts does for the sales of non A-list authors: http://www.baen.com/library/palaver6.htm [baen.com]

You are ranked 400,000 on Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12968462)

I checked Amazon and found that your novel, "Star Dragon" is ranked 400,000 place with only 4 customer reviews. Tell me again why free distribution helps new authors?

New authors should worry about improving their writing craftsmanship instead of distribution systems. Readers have to be interested in your books and want to read them before you can sell them or even give them away for free.

Ellison is the William Shatner of Written Scifi (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967112)

He's too busy puffing up his rep to write anything inventive. It's been what 25 years since he did anything worth reading. Funnier still, Bill Shatner has actually written better SciFi then Ellison. Why does the name Ellison seem to come with a air pump plug directly into the head? Larry is the same way. Seeing either of them is like watching a Bobble head doll that talks. (actually babbles)

Re:Ellison is the William Shatner of Written Scifi (1)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967163)

Not a chance.

Read, Dogfight on 101

Then compare Shatner with Ellison, if you can.

A simple, solid short story of a family man and his "souped-up" car. Ellison is a craftsman who mastered the short story - Shatner came late to the party and only because Roddenberry cast him in a SF role.

Ellison is a writer, first, last and always. His muse may wain, but the body of work is solid.

Finally, Ellison has done dramatic readings for years. It is another outlet for the artist and many of those are classics.

See, http://www.audible.com/ [audible.com] and search for Ellison as narrator.

Re:Ellison is the William Shatner of Written Scifi (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967225)

Case in point, Along the Scenic Route ["Dogfight on 101"], (ss) Adam Aug 1969

And a lot of others have dug into that road-rage vein, there was even a card game by Steve Jackson Games called Car-Wars. And as I recall they mentioned a different story of the same vintage as inspiration.

Re:Ellison is the William Shatner of Written Scifi (1)

mbrother (739193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967195)

Ellison has continued to produce good work in recent years, just not things as famous and ground-breaking as he did once upon a time.

And what makes you think Shatner actually writes? His name on some books?

Re:Ellison is the William Shatner of Written Scifi (1)

tengu1sd (797240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967804)

William Shattner provides the cover name, I've been told by several sources that there's at least 2 Ghost-writers behind Shattner's books.

Not that this is a bad thing if they're willing to take the check and pass credit on Big Name Actor. It's a business you know and the next Tek book is coming out, check out the William Shattner homepage for book store appearances.

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967287)

Oh! You said "end of story"! That's that nail in the coffin for THIS argument!

Ok everyone, we can stop debating this one, because "grolaw" has it all sewn up.

Look, just because "grolaw" says it's true, doesn't make it so. Now, shoo.

Re:Oh, PULEEEZE (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967617)

I'd take it as a sign that I had "made it" and be happy. Unless they were trying to claim it was their IP, at which point I'd find who was doing it and go to their house with a shotgun rather than waste time trying to shutdown the distribution channel.

YEah! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966873)

Frist Psot!! Wahoo! Yay sci fi guys. I probably fail it though. And by the way, I'm not a fucking script.

Bruce Willis? (5, Funny)

sedyn (880034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966885)

he interviewed Harlan Ellison, Connie Willis, Bruce Sterling, and Len Wein


Does anyone else think that this placing is unfortunate? I know that I misread it on first-pass.

Bruce Sterling? (2, Funny)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967099)

My mind filled in: "oh, the Twilight Zone guy".

Then I realized that Rod Serling was probably dead of lung cancer by now, and that I didn't know who Bruce Sterling was.

Re:Bruce Sterling? (1)

cei (107343) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967564)

Then again, with the parent post misreading as "Bruce Willis", that could be "the Twilight Zone guy" too... Bruce starred in the New Twilight Zone episode based on one of Ellison's short stories, "Shatterday".

Haven't seen/heard it yet... (2, Funny)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967959)

Let me guess: all Harlen Ellison talks about is how great a writer he is and how much better his script for "City on the Edge of Forever" was than the one filmed for Star Trek.

Am I right? I mean, that's ALL this guy talks about.

Re:Haven't seen/heard it yet... (1)

djlowe (41723) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968374)

"Let me guess"
Why guess? You can listen for yourself, and spare the rest of us your ignorance.

Oh, and his first name is spelled "Harlan", BTW.

Re:Haven't seen/heard it yet... (2, Funny)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968390)

Nah...I'd rather guess and try to be clever than to actually spend time actually RTFA...er...L(isten)TFA I guess in this situation.

I mean, this IS Slashdot. And you of course fulfilled the other Slashdot requirement of correcting someone's spelling when it doesn't matter at all.

Bravo! Good to see someone keeping the old traditions alive.

Is that audio stream copyrighted? (2, Funny)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966907)

Because, you know, it's illegal in Sweden [slashdot.org] to download copyrighted material.

Re:Is that audio stream copyrighted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966933)

Aren't web sites copyrighted unless specified otherwise?

Re:Is that audio stream copyrighted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967103)

dear god! everyone in sweden who uses the internet is a lawbreaker! Run for your (yorgen borgen) lives!

Re:Is that audio stream copyrighted? (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967086)

Unless you have their permission smartass.

Re:Is that audio stream copyrighted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967105)

I image that the grandparent was mocking the incorrect slashdot heading earlier today which seemed to indicate incorrectly that downloading anything which was copyrighted is now illegal.

Re:Is that audio stream copyrighted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967164)

Then it should get modded funny...

The Sterling-Ellison Connection (4, Informative)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966927)

Not many people know that Harlan "discovered" Bruce. He attended a very early Turkey City Writer's Workshop [rr.com] , bought Bruce's first novel (Involution Ocean), and then paid Bruce's way to the Clarion Writer's Workshop. Harlan is a prickly character, but he does have a fine eye for talent (and a gift for making the right enemies).

Bruce has "paid it forward" by helping a number of new writers (myself included) with their careers by subjecting them to the bracing fire of a Sterling critique...

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (4, Interesting)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967040)

Ellison "prickly"? You must be using some meaning of the word "prickly" that I wasn't previously familiar with.

Harlan was a wicked, wicked young man. His readings at Worldcon in NYC in the late 60's and early 70's were the stuff of massive panel debates. AND, fawning admiration by most of the attendees.

I can remember one piece that Harlan read an overtly raw sex piece from the dais at the Commodore Hotel, around the time that he published "I see a man sitting in a chair and the chair is biting his leg" in a collaboration with Robert Sheckley. I recall that Sheckley, Gunn, and Silverberg were all onthe panel and a room full of college kids had their first exposure to erotic literature.

The man wrote, and read, brilliantly. Yes, he has short-man's syndrome, but in his defense, he has taste and style and a willingness to explore just about anything as a writer.

From his Dangerous Visions anthologies to his scripts for Demon with a Glass Hand and City on the Edge of Forever to The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat, Ellison has cranked out a lifetime's work nearly every year for the first 20 years of his professional life. Only Isaac Asimov was more prolific.

Ellison had a legitimate, hard fought, lawsuit for copyright violation. Companies were reprinting his work and selling it without paying any royalty and Ellison had every right to fight for his property rights.

See, http://harlanellison.com/home.htm/ [harlanellison.com] for Ellison's (way out of date) home page and,

See, http://www.authorslawyer.com/c-ellison.shtml/ [authorslawyer.com] for the copyright action.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (4, Funny)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967123)

>Ellison "prickly"? You must be using some meaning of the word "prickly" that I wasn't previously familiar with.

"Prickly" as in "Every single science fiction writer older than myself I know can tell you a story about how Harlan Ellison was a complete asshat to them at one time or another." Most also have a story about how Harlan went out of his way to do something nice for them as well.

There are legions of Harlan Ellison stories in science fiction. Like the time he flew across the country to punch out Charles Platt. (Like I said, he has great taste in enemies.) Or the job he did on Andy Porter (IIRC) in Short Form. Or check out Christopher Priest's the Last Deadloss Visions (AKA The Book on the Edge of Forever.)

Make no mistake about: At the top of his game, Ellison was probably the best short story writer in the field, and I fully expect "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" to be read 100 years from now. But in no way, shape or form is he a saint.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (3, Interesting)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967187)

Exactly. Prickly doesn't convey the proper image of Ellison.

An under-medicated, short curmudgeon, with distinct bi-polar and antisocial traits who used his personality as a birth control device is a somewhat more accurate description of the Ellison I know.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12968196)

I fail to see how an entire sentence compares to a simple adjective. Care to suggest a genuine alternative to "prickly" or are you just trying to score points instead of make one?

Slashdot as therapy (1)

abulafia (7826) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968240)

An under-medicated, short curmudgeon, with distinct bi-polar and antisocial traits who used his personality as a birth control device is a somewhat more accurate description of the Ellison I know.

I feel much better about myself now. Thank you.

Re:Slashdot as therapy (1)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968406)

Harlan would have:

Punched me out

stolen my gal

hogged the dais

and, bragged about it.

You do nice graphics. I feel much better about you, too.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (2, Interesting)

Malleus Dei (889640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968587)

An under-medicated, short curmudgeon, with distinct bi-polar and antisocial traits who used his personality as a birth control device is a somewhat more accurate description of the Ellison I know.

Sorry, but any description of Harlan that leaves out the word "brilliant" is incomplete. I am yet another member of SFWA (just how many of us are on here?), and I first met the larger-than-life Harlan back in the Seventies. I know a ton of Harlan stories that range from his boyhood to the dead gopher to some private acts of kindness that would make your jaw drop. (And I'm not telling any of them.)

IIRC in the movie "My Favorite Year" there's a great line: "With Swan you forgive a lot."

Likewise Harlan.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (1)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968187)

Wasn't there a "Victims of Harlan Ellison Support Group" at one point? I seem to recall Dave Langford writing about it in the dim and distant past.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12968225)

Are you sure punching out Charles Platt doesn't qualify for sainthood?

Ever read Firefly by Piers Anthony? (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967125)

Not Firefly, the movie by Wheadon.

That was a disturbing book as much for its fundamental premise as for its denoument as for its cast of characters. (A paedohile who is a victim of his young 'victim'.)

This was a great book which made me think.

Re:Ever read Firefly by Piers Anthony? (1)

JLF65 (888379) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967160)

It is a great book. I have it sitting on the shelf just a few feet to my left. A lot of his stuff is just teen whacking material, but that one is really some of his best work.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967528)

Ellison had a legitimate, hard fought, lawsuit for copyright violation. Companies were reprinting his work and selling it without paying any royalty and Ellison had every right to fight for his property rights.

Unless he was foolish enough to transfer it to a digital format.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (3, Interesting)

cei (107343) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967578)

I have one of the collections of Ellison erotica written under the pen-name "Paul Merchant." I was able to get Ellison to sign it using his preferred nom de plume (which the publisher wouldn't let him use), D.S. Merchant (for Dirty Smut Merchant). I wasn't really sure how he would handle being handed a copy of Sex Gang at a signing, but he was in good spirits. He doesn't normally sign those, but he hadn't seen a copy in a while.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (1)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968322)

Haven't seen a copy of one in 25 years!

It does show that Ellison had range and guts.

I just don't remember if it was really all that good,.. How does he compare with Nin?

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (1)

identity0 (77976) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967703)

Ellison had a legitimate, hard fought, lawsuit for copyright violation. Companies were reprinting his work and selling it without paying any royalty and Ellison had every right to fight for his property rights.

That is about as much bad spin as you'd likely find in a SCO press release. Do you work for them, per chance, gvien that your nick seems to be a rip on "groklaw"?

Hell, even your links show you're wrong - basically, people on Usenet were pirating Mr. Ellison's work, and instead of going after them he went after AOL.

For providing Usenet access.

Apparently he cannot distinguish between a company publishing something and providing open access to a network. He seems to think AOL is responsible for all the content you can access through it, like a television network. Even under the DMCA this was questionable. I am definitely no friend of AOL, but it's too bad they settled this out of court instead of kicking Harlan's ass.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (1)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968358)

I predate "groklaw" and wouldn't rip Heinline's "grok" from Stranger in a Strange Land. Shame that paralegal decided to start a blog without an original name - still a nice blog that.

I've had this nick since 1987 when I started using it on The Well and BIX. That was the year I started law school.

As for the case: the law makes you take certain steps. In Chess you must open with a pawn or a knight. Period. Them's the rules..

For Ellison - who acted through his attorney - and it was the attorney came up with the strategy - the route he took and rules he used were both: successful and mandated by law.

Ellison had been fighting print pirates for years - this was just the war on a new front. He won and AOL lost. How many people have the guts to bring a suit and risk losing and paying a massive attorney's fee award to AOL? Check the pleadings. There is a fee petition in there and the Court denied it...but it could have bankrupted Ellison had the decision gone the other way. Fee petitions are decided by judges - not juries.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968188)

Ellison had a legitimate, hard fought, lawsuit for copyright violation. Companies were reprinting his work
He also suggested completely shutting down USENET during some legal action after some of his stuff was posted on the net - prickly and not really interested in looking at details or worrying about consequences. At that time USENET was actually useful and not the morass of spam and possibly russian child porn it is now.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (1)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968379)

In the law you ask for more than you can get. Nobody opens with their bottom dollar.

As for the strategy, USENET wasn't hurt by Ellison. Usenet, and the Internet have been hurt far more by the few hundred individuals who spam and crap all over everything.

Ellison was a leader in exploring individual legal rights over Internet matters. His argument advanced individual rights. Exactly what is the problem with that?

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (1)

ediron2 (246908) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968458)

At that time USENET was actually useful

In 2000?! No way. At the time, the endless september [wikipedia.org] had already come and (never) gone. Think about it: that is how this suit got a footing: AOL turned on the idiot stream, Harlan noticed, Kersplat!

TO call USENET useful at this point, I suspect you've got the same definition as I do: Useful compared to it being gone, but a faint shadow of itself and only useful thanks to deja-news and massive killfiles.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (3, Interesting)

mbrother (739193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967118)

Ellison also discovered a lot of other writers, too, including Dan Simmons. While most people see his growly, larger-than-himself public persona, he can be an incredibly generous man. He called up one friend of mine who'd reviewed a story of his because Ellison wasn't sure he'd appreciated some of the subtlies of the story -- and then they talked for an hour. A guy I knew in college had written a complaining letter to him about why he was years late on a Star Trek project, and Ellison called him up to bitch back and explain, and then they talked like buddies for an hour. Interesting, talented guy.

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (3, Informative)

billyjoeray (65862) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967233)

Another fact some people might forget is that Ellison was the technical advisor for Babylon 5

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (1)

ChadN (21033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967851)

FWIW, in the introduction to "Prayers to Broken Stones", Harlan exclaims that it was he who "discovered" Dan Simmons at a writers workshop (and that when he is long forgotten for his own work, he will be remembered for that fact alone). Dan Simmons, of course, went on to write the early Hyperion Cantos books soon afterwards and win the Hugo. Dan acknowledges the discovery in that introduction (although his recounting of the events is somewhat different).

Re:The Sterling-Ellison Connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12968200)

I didn't know that Harlan paid Bruce's way to Clarion! But I'm not surprised. I know of one or two other people who he paid to go to Clarion.

One of my favorite Harlan stories took place at the Clarion workshop Bruce attended (1976?). People were sitting around one evening and somebody made a remark about what a loser Bruce was, because he never hung out with the rest of the writers. Harlan yelled at them and said that they were the losers, because Bruce Sterling was in his room every night writing, while they were all goofing off. Harlan said that Bruce would someday be a famous science fiction writer, because he cared about writing more than anything else. Talk about predicting the future!

A new record for Slashdot? (3, Funny)

Qwertie (797303) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966930)

A story so boring that it's only got 6 comments 15 minutes after being posted!

LTFPC? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966947)

Maybe folks are Listening To the Fine PodCast before commenting?!?!? Naaaaa.... --M

Re:A new record for Slashdot? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966994)

> A story so boring that it's only got 6 comments 15 minutes after being posted!

Really???
frist psot!!!!
w00t!!!

Re:A new record for Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966998)

It's because everyone has to actually listen to it first.
Of course, that usually doesn't stop people from posting comments about the printed articles...

Re:A new record for Slashdot? (1)

ghee22 (781277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967193)

you must have your moderation at +3

Re:A new record for Slashdot? (1)

webdesignr (896841) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967301)

Maybe it has something to do with the Holiday weekend.

Re:A new record for Slashdot? (1)

Scaba (183684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967556)

Holiday? Are you talking about July 4th? Do you think the entire world celebrates the anniversary of America gaining independence from England?

wish I had an ipod (-1, Offtopic)

jonbusby (880488) | more than 9 years ago | (#12966936)

I wish I had an ipod.... so i could listen to podcasts.

Re:wish I had an ipod (1)

1000baseFX (120418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967085)

Hey, pull your head out. They're mp3's.

Re:wish I had an ipod (1)

ken_devon (549706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967562)

That link points straight at a 40 meg file. And their web server **hasn't melted**. Amazing, simply amazing.

Who are they (1)

Quentusrex (866560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967008)

Would anyone be so nice as to briefly, or not, explain who these four people are? What they have done that people would recognize? etc? I surely don't recognize their name.

Are these people worth reading about, other than the fact that they got slashdotted?

Re:Who are they (1)

1000baseFX (120418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967104)

Your showing both how young you are and the fact that our schools are failing.
These are some of the bigger names in Science Fiction.
Never heard of "A boy and His Dog"?.

Re:Who are they (0)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967244)

I remember that one!

See Spot.
See Spot run.
Run Spot, run.

I think we moved on to Hooked on Phonics after that ... or maybe it was the one where Spot gets a ball. A red ball. A big red ball.

Re:Who are they (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967498)

No, "A Boy and His Dog" was more like:

See Jane.
See Jane run.
Run Jane, run.

Re:Who are they (1)

mbrother (739193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967143)

Connie Willis -- Mulitple Hugo award winning sf author. Best known novel is probably DOOMSDAY BOOK. Harlan Ellison -- Multiple Hugo award winning sf author. Best known for short stories like "I have no mouth and I must scream." Also did some TV (e.g., Star Trek, Outer Limits) and movie work. Bruce Sterling -- one of the founders of the cyberpunk movement and still a big tech guru publishing regularly in Wired. He's won some of those Hugos, too, I believe. Try the ground-breaking cyberpunk anthology he edited in the 1980s called MIRRORSHADES. Len Wein -- probably the lesser of these four. Best known for THE PROBABILITY BROACH, which is probably the pinnacle of Libertarian SF featuring an alternative US where there was no constitution.

Re:Who are they (2, Funny)

mbrother (739193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967334)

Ack, I blew it on Len Wein! L. Neil Smith is the author of THE PROBABILITY BROACH. Len Wein has done some media and comic book work.

Well, I said he was the least well-known of these four in SF circles. Guess I just proved that assertion with a data point.

Re:Who are they (4, Informative)

Sangloth (664575) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967239)

Bruce Sterling is a founding father of cyber-punk, next to William Gibson. Despite the role-playing world's that come to mind when cyber-punk is mentioned, Sterling's worlds are believable and his stories aren't very action oriented. One of his latest books was about politicians in the US in about 40 years. Bruce more looks at social trends then technology, that's not to say tech isn't in his books, but in general they are about society.

Connie Willis wrote the Doomsday book, a story about a time traveler stuck in Europe during the plague. There was a very heavy historical emphasis, in practice it was a historical novel. She's written other timetravel stuff. Her books aren't so much fun as interesting.

Harlan Ellison's books are fun. He is a brillant writer who should not be let out in public(The man is very easily offended, and not afraid to attack with a chair or what not when he is offended. If he's not violent, he's shouting furiously, and it really doesn't take anything intentional to set him off). He wrote I have no mouth and I must scream and Repent Harliqin said the Tick Tock Man. Harlan's books, and Harlan have a extreme cynical viewpoint that's very entertaining. Harlan started out attending sci fi conventions, and has many big sci fi writer friends. I don't know that his writings really fall in a sci fi category (To be clear, Harlan's books pay no attention to science at all, it's more experimental modern writing), but they are good reads.

I've read a ton of Sci Fi, and I've never heard of Len Wein. A quick google says he's a comics guy invovled heavily with X-men, fantastic 4, hulk, and the watchmen series. Some one else will have to give a perspective here.

All three authors are big names in Sci Fi, although none of them give more then lip service to the sci part. I can barely think of who else might belong on this list over them. (Well...Philip K. Dick, Asimov, Heinlien, Bester, Clarke, Cambell(Editor, not an author) a couple other golden oldies. Of living people under 70, Bear, Guin, Stephenson, Kress, and Gibson...Still that's a wish list... )

Still, these are the names of real Science Fiction in the last 20 years (Star Trek and such belong in fantasy or action). I'm not trying to be elitist. These are big names... If you don't know these people, you don't know science fiction...

Sangloth
I'd appreciate any comment with a logical basis...it doesn't even have to agree with me.

Re:Who are they (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967518)

might as well throw in David Gerrold to the list, too. Larry Niven. Maybe even Jerry Pournelle.

If anyone has gotten the "alien invasion" right, it's Gerrold. Anyone who disputes this obviously has not seen Mother Nature in action (i.e., kudzu, himilayan blackberry, thistles, morning glory/bindweed, reed canary grass, et many al) when it comes to "alien" species slowly, then quickly, overwhelming an area in the span of about 1-3 years.

It starts out slow. there's a few here, a few there. We'll pull them out. OK. Next year, there's a few more. OK, maybe some Roundup or Crossbow. Ahhh shit. Get out the tractor.

Re:Who are they (1)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968344)

Peter F. Hamilton - best UK newcomer. More focus on the 'Sci'. Read him, you'd enjoy it.

In this Country, In this Era (2, Insightful)

Quentusrex (866560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967278)

In this mostly planned economy, that too often verges on and grows ever closer to a socialism, why would the public school system teach anything about SF? They are already bogged down trying to teach multi-ethnic understanding, the extremes of bipolar(atleast politically) secularism, not equal opportunity but equal reality, social irresponsibility and trust in federal courts for all matters moral and ethical, and the many other view "new" initiatives in place today.

Can you really blame any graduate from the US Public School System for not knowing the 4 names?

Re:In this Country, In this Era (2, Interesting)

Forbman (794277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967533)

They should make students read "Player Piano", by Kurt Vonnegut.

Capitalism? Only on eBay, auctions and garage sales. Otherwise, might as well call it corporate socialism. Govment makes more and more policies that are solely for benefit (or punishment) of industries or enterprises. That people might be involved is paid at best lip service.

SF == SourceForge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967032)

For a second, I was hoping they were covering SourceForge on CNN.

Bruce Sterling free books (2, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967043)

Bruce is pretty hardcore into cyberpunk. Check out the links, including a LEGAL digital copy of his "The Hacker Crackdown" at http://project.cyberpunk.ru/idb/library.html [cyberpunk.ru]

-Charles

Re:Bruce Sterling free books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967189)

And for an interesting look at where the US may be heading in terms of the environment and politics, I recommend Sterling's more recent works, including "Heavy Weather", "Distraction", "Zeitgest" and "The Zeinth Angle".

This is a guy who really knows what is going on.

you faIl it? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967069)

CNN Confirms it ... Luther Vandross, dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967073)

I just read some sad news on CNN.com - legendary R & B singer Luther Vandross was found dead in his New Jersey hospital room this afternoon. There were more details - it was related to a stroke from April 2003. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Outrageous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967074)

... the host, Renay San Miguel, seems to really know SF, and he interviewed Harlan Ellison...

Ellison will of course be utterly outraged at the fact that he was interviewed, and will probably start a lawsuit about it.

An interesting listen-to (1)

AndrenidEnder (837536) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967093)

although I'm unsure it really did more than simply reaffirm what we already knew: that Hollywood often fails at accurately representing the genre of Science Fiction.

RFTA?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967150)

One time when you can't say that.

Ellison on Religion (2, Interesting)

mcleodnine (141832) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967169)

With this summer's wanna-be blockbuster shrouded in the cloak of Tommy Cruises' Scientology rant, I'm dead curious to hear what insight Harlan has to offer on this topic.

C'mon. You know you want to tell us.

Please?

He offered that insight on Hour 25. (4, Interesting)

Stormbringer (3643) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967345)

...back in the 80's. Hour 25 [hour25online.com] is now online-only, but it was a 2-hour Friday-night program on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles, hosted by Mike Hodel and Mel Gilden, at the time, and Harlan was a frequent guest. No doubt, Eric Foss has the entire broadcast archived on tape somewhere [hour25.us] .

From what I recall, Ellison said something like, "I attended a party in New York, along with some other writers, including L. Ron Hubbard, and Hubbard was saying something about 'Y'know what I should do? Invent a new religion. That's where all the real money is.' And, next thing you know, he came out with his next book, 'Dianetics'."

Re:He offered that insight on Hour 25. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967542)

Yup. Heard him say this exact thing at a UCLA science fiction convention (Yay, Enigmacon!) in the late 80s.

Obligatory... (0)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967281)

I'm stone deaf, you insensitive clod!

It's slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967437)

Anyone got a torrent of the mp3?

From Kurosawa to Blade Runner (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967550)

Great to hear some good comments about Hollywood and remakes. So much cash, cpu power, world wide sales and yet they always totally fail with plot. How many ppl know of the SW Kurosawa link? There is a good interview with Steven Spielberg talking about War of the Worlds with a great line about remakes 'Why does Hollywood remake a classic? Because they didn't get it wrong the first time.' http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s1 385190.htm [abc.net.au]

podcast?!?! WTF?!?! (0, Offtopic)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967651)

podcast has to be the most idiotic word EVER. It's just a fucking mp3 download!!!

Next thing will be these same idiots pizzacasting dinner from Domino's and dvdcasting a movie from Blockbuster. And don't forget to oilcast some fuel from the Texaco while you're out, morons!

Re:podcast?!?! WTF?!?! (1)

InfinityBuffer (750053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967656)

Pizzacasting will pave the way to a new era where you can download pizza instantly. This is extremely important to the way humans live.

Ellison (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967789)

Is there any slashdotters that really hold Ellison high for his works? I had a paperback of some of his short tales and I just couldn't get into it.

My only other real knowledge of Ellison is a ST:TOS episode and his rants on the late CNet from sci-fi. And when it comes down to it rants are rants; much like assholes everyone has one and normally since most are based on opinion alone very few of them ever mean anything.

I know the man has an extensive work pool but I've never met anyone with a seriously high opinion of anything he's ever done.

And no, this is not a troll but rather a question of who likes this guy and for what reason?

Re:Ellison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12967894)

Some of his early work was just purely pulp sci-fi, and a lot of it just isn't really engaging on anything more than an escapist level.

That said "love ain't nothing but sex mispelled" and "angry candy" are some of the only books I've read that made my insides knot up and my face to contort with anxiety just from the vivid ways in which he conveys emotional pain. They're some of the best stories i've read anywhere.

Re:Ellison (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967955)

Well... It's like I think he's super great... but you are pretty much guaranteed to get a good read with his works, rather than the crap shoot you get with other authors.

Re:Ellison (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967961)

whoops! I meant "It's NOT Like"

Re:Ellison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12968177)

Harlan Ellison is beloved by many for being someone who fought the good fight in the 60's and 70's. From supporting farm workers to fighting against taboos, he was a role model to a generation of writers that would come after. He also encouraged hundreds of young writers personally, in many, many selfless ways, offering advice as readily as a spare couch. I have never met a man who was so kind and giving.

Harlan was also probably one of the first science fiction writers who could read a story aloud to an audience and keep them spellbound. Unfortunately for history, most of his output was in short story form and so didn't get the acclaim that novelists got. Track down an anthology like "I have no Mouth and I must Scream" to see why his fiction was respected. But unlike most authors, his bravery, courage, love, and kindness were as important as his written work.

Re:Ellison (1)

reymyster (521177) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968182)

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream & Shatterday are 2 that are particularly standing out in my mind as having loved...I could probably think of more, but not at 4 in the morning.

Re:Ellison (1)

Bhodi (8956) | more than 9 years ago | (#12968555)

I'd say there are just a few people who like Babylon 5, on which he was a 'creative consultant'. He gave enough input to the series that his name is shown prominently at the begining of every single episode.

I personally love B5 but I feel it doesn't hold a candle to some of his literary works (check out The Essential Ellison for a sampling of that).

As far as name recognition and viewer/readership of the general populace, I'd say B5 is his most 'famous' work.

Why it has to be protected (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 9 years ago | (#12967808)

mbrother (739193) sez: "At this time in tech history, I think it's to a writer's advantage to give away their work online"

Unless things have changed a great deal recently, at this time in legel history it's all but necessary for writers to keep their work off the net unless the publisher releases it for that.

Almost all writers' contracts require that they sign over e-rights to the publisher as part of their contract, whether or not the publisher intends to do anything with them. The writer signs away the e-rights, or doesn't sign the contract.

Note that e-rights are rights to publish, not ownership. The writer still owns them.

Along comes the work, posted online. The author has to make an effort to protect the work, because signing the e-rights gave the publisher the right to release it. If the writer doesn't, they are in violation of their contract and the whole thing can be cancelled.

A few writers like Harlan can afford to take on a case like this themselves, and can afford to refuse to have an e-rights clause in their contract. Most can't. If they want to get the contract, they sign the whole thing, and they're stuck having to do their own police work.

If a writer has signed a publishing contract for the work that includes an e-rights clause they can't publish it on line, and they have to try to prevent others from doing so.

At least that's the way it was explained to me by Charlie Petit, Harlan's lawyer during the lawsuit, while I was serving as material witness and slated as expert witness. Harlan was protecting his own work because he wanted to, not because he had to, because he didn;t have to contend with these silly e-rights issues in contracts. He also did so because newer authors didn't have the resources to be doing things like this all the time, and he wanted to see this made public so they wouldn't get screwed out of being able to be authors.

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