For a reader who wondered why, after he'd released his Partners In Wonder collaborative book with many many male writers back in 1970, why there hadn't been a similar collaboration collection with female writers:
HARLAN ELLISONAnd, in a louder mood, he sounded off on the news that Columbia Pictures and director Roland Emmerich are now working on a Foundation film:
- Monday, January 19 2009 11:46:38
WHY IS THERE NO "PARTNERS" WITH WOMEN???
For no particular reason, and doing as I almost never do, I went to the S.P.I.D.E.R. Forum, and -- again -- for no particular reason began reading your assorted exegeses on the collaborations in Partners In Wonder.
Very interesting, intelligent observations.
The one comment that prompted THIS post, to you, and to the person who picked up on it, is something no one else has ever commented on, or asked me, though the asking should be obvious:
You thought there should have been collaborations with female writers. And, boy, were you right on the bullseye.
There was GOING TO BE a book of such stories.
With collaborations by me and
URSULA Le GUIN
KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH
POPPY Z. BRITE
and two or three others, whose identities escape me for the moment. A few of the above had not been contacted, most had, and I'd even begun the writing of stories with Connie and Kris.
It never happened.
I wish I could give a more interesting answer, but I suppose time and space and health and death and availability and (in one case) incompatability of style all came together inaptly, to sideline the project. Now, of course, it remains only an interesting,
"Gee, wouldn't that've been an interesting experiment with Harlan and (fill in the name) working on the same story."
You may, however, take sad small satisfaction in knowing you asked me a question--sort of asked--no one had ever asked before...obvious though it was. So many many of my best friends have been women writers, and I was all fired up to do it...
Well, the world is rife with "what ifs" and sometimes that's all there is to it.
Yr. Pal, Harlan
HARLAN ELLISONHe added
- Monday, January 19 2009 17:29:26
YOUR MEMORIES ARE SHORT --- AND HISTORY MUST BE REMEMBERED
On hearing that one of the two largest, dumbest, movie studios has finally prevailed in the legal wrangling to get the rights to film my friend Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, and promptly handed over the producing/directing reins to Roland Emmerich:
A week before Emmerich's/Devlin's first big production, StarGate, opened in theaters, Rolan Emmerich came here to my home to get me to sell him the rights to make "Mefisto in Onyx" for an enormous sum of money.
I turned him away and told my agent never to let him come anywhere near me again, mostly because he spoke in such a teeth-grating "Valley Girl" patois -- Bavarian-accented -- with the word "like" every other sentence, that I actually had to stop the meeting and ask him to cease doing it, which request had to be interpreted and conveyed to him TWICE by his associate who sat next to him on my sofa. (A very nice young woman who was apparently mortified by her employer's "schoolgirl grammar" fecklessness.) And a second later he started doing it again, so I thanked him for coming, and sent him on his way. I knew, from a lifetime of dealing with such people, that it would all quickly end in rancor and violence. He was full of himself; he was far less accomplished than he thought himself to be; he did not listen; and my fuse is too short to put up with educating someone who would quickly tire of my impertinence, and give the scipting of MY STORY to his partner, the equally matched Dean Devlin. It was a no-win meeting.
I told everyone that StarGate (which they'd had screened for me the day before my meeting with Emmerich) that he and Devlin knew how to throw CGI at the screen to excellent effect, but they didn't have a clue as to how to tell a story, which was why StarGate was HALF a masterful film, and half a muzzy disaster. (Not to mention that anyone who could direct Kurt Russell so as to make him look lousy onscreen, was not much of a director of human beings.)
That he then did Independence Day and Godzilla and whatallelse.
That [A History of Violence screenwriter] Josh [Olson] (and I, by extension) were offered Foundation in the middle of last year. And we turned down the assignment.
REMEMBER you've heard it here a dozen times...
There are SOME works of Art (or High Craft) that were meant to exist ONLY in their medium of creation. Moby Dick can NEVER be made as a movie of any consequence, though they've tried at least three times. And if you cannot pull it off with John Huston and Ray Bradbury, well, pack it in and realize that only abies and movie-geek assholes think EVERYTHING should be a movie or a theme ride, or both. "Guernica" is a painting, not an animated BASHIR film. The Fly (Chas. Edward Pogue version) is a grand film; it is a shit opera.
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST:
Foundation was turned down by Josh and me because
REMEMBER I SAID THIS TODAY, upon hearing Emmerich would assay the project:
Foundation should not nowhichway ever, probably CAN NOT even under miraculous circumstances and no moronic "input" tolerated, CAN NOT be made as a movie. Or trilogy of movies. Or heptology of movies, without dumbing it down so much, creating so much non-Asimov material to puff it up, losing so much Asimovian talking-head and let's make Hari Seldon a zombie, crap bullshit commercial slop CGI incendiary nonsense -- Mr. Emmerich's complete bag of one-trick-ponies -- that you will all come bleating about what a waste of your (by then) $25-a-ticket time was spent swallowing what will be
REMEMBER I SAID IT
an oozing cinematic sac of baboon puke and kindergarten-level
disoriented psychobabble chaos.
Harlan Ellison on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2009
- Monday, January 19 2009 17:36:32
HISTORY MUST BE REMEMBERED ---- P.S. APOLOGIA
In my ferocity to get it out there, I never re-read it.
It is redolent rife with errors.
My apologies. Muddle through it as best you can, and forgive an old man his gaffes.
Or I'll smite you.