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Harlan Ellison Suffers Stroke, Partial Paralysis [Updated]


UPDATE #6 – 10:30pm 10/25/14

Jason Davis, Editor at HarlanEllisonBooks.com, writes that he recently visited Ellison:

His mind was unaffected and he’s entertained countless visitors, famous and infamous, from his hospital bed, fielding phone calls from long-distance well wishers.

In the two weeks since “the episode,” he’s nearly recovered the full use of the affected limbs and–as of my visit on Thursday, the 23rd of October–has set up his portable typewriter and returned to work. I’ve visited Harlan four times and found his dexterity much improved on each subsequent visit.

Davis has included an audio message from Ellison to those who have been sending “Get Well” messages through the site.


UPDATE #5 – 10:00am 10/19/14


UPDATE #4 – 2:15pm 10/16/14

October 14 at 7:10pm ·

I just called Harlan, having put it off for a couple of days so as not to contribute to the expected deluge, and he immediately summoned the full weight of the cultural heritage of our people and guilted me for not calling him earlier.

Of his paralysis I can say nothing except that he’s had enough of it, and is willing to go on to something else; of his mental state I can say that he hit me with a couple of sentences that sounded like he had a thesaurus open to the relevant pages even as he spoke.


UPDATE #3 – 1:30pm 10/14/14:

UPDATE #2 – 11am 10/14/14:

From all I’ve been hearing, Harlan Ellison’s hospital room is LA’s hottest new showcase for comedy.


UPDATE #1 – 11pm 10/13/14: Patton Oswalt had an update after speaking with Ellison:


ORIGINAL STORY – 11:30pm 10/12/14: Noted science fiction author — or dare we say “notorious” science fiction author — Harlan Ellison has suffered a stroke. In a very brief post on the Harlan Ellison Wedberland site, Susan Ellison posted a very brief announcement:

– Sunday, October 12 2014 14:40:3

I will make this brief. A couple of days ago Harlan had a stroke. He’s in the hospital. His right side is paralyzed.
He’s comfortable–as possible. We will keep you up-to-date with his progress.
With all kindness –Susan

Writer Adam-Troy Castro posted a brief update on Facebook that received numerous comments in support for Ellison. Screenwriter Josh Olson added the following details:

He’s comfortable, and resting in hospital. If one was going to have a stroke, this was the one to have.
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. 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.
If you’re the type who prays, it’s probably not worth it, because he doesn’t believe in that s—. That said, it will annoy him, so go ahead. He’s resting and cantankerous, and completely Harlan.

Clifford Meth posted on his blog: “I spoke with Harlan earlier today and his mind and wit and spirit are stronger than most ten people a third his age.”

Ellison is a multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Edgar award winner, and penned the (heavily rewritten) script of “The City on the Edge of Forever” for the original Star Trek. His work includes editing the anthology Dangerous Visions, and he has written such notable works as A Boy and His Dog (made into a movie starring Don Johnson), I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, and numerous short stories, some of which Ellison adapted into episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.He also served as a consultant on the 1985 revival of The Twilight Zone and Babylon 5.

Updates as they develop.


Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

6 thoughts on “Harlan Ellison Suffers Stroke, Partial Paralysis [Updated]

  • Get well soon Harlan, love your stories, especially `Deeper then darkness`

    • Dear Mr. Ellison, I would like to wish you a quick recovery and hope that you will continue to write as always with your vim, vigor and fascinating wit, Thank you


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