Rest in Peace, Harlan Ellison

I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but always appreciated his writing and commentary. John Scalzi has an excellent memoriam, Neil Gaiman’s note is personal and fascinating, and the LA Times has collected a variety of tweets and comments from admirers that’s worth going through, if you’re curious about the breadth and depth of influence he had on others.

Harlan talking about the role of the writer says a lot about who he was:

I don’t know how you perceive my mission as a writer, but for me it is not a responsibility to reaffirm your concretized myths and provincial prejudices. It is not my job to lull you with a false sense of the rightness of the universe. This wonderful and terrible occupation of recreating the world in a different way, each time fresh and strange, is an act of revolutionary guerrilla warfare. I stir the soup. I inconvenience you. I make your nose run and your eyeballs water.

He took that role seriously, and his work — and his readers — were better for it. May your work be remembered for a long time to come.

Like the wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we are, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.