Harlan Ellison quotes

  • You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Intelligent #Ignorant #Opinion

  • The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Funny #Life #Stupid

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

    #Memories #Names #Wind

  • 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.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Running #Jobs #Responsibility

  • We walked for some time, and grew to know each other, as best as we'd allow. These are some of the high points. They lack continuity. I don't apologize. I merely pointed it out, adding with some truth, I feel, that most liaisons lack continuity. We find ourselves in odd places at various times, and for a brief span we link our lives to others and then, our time elapsed, we move apart. Through a haze of pain occasionally, usually through a veil of memory that clings, then passes, sometimes as though we have never touched.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Pain #Memories #Moving

  • You're a writer. And that's something better than being a millionaire. Because it's something holy.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Writing #Holy #Millionaire

  • People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Morning #Writing #Thinking

  • Thank your readers and the critics who praise you, and then ignore them. Write for the most intelligent, wittiest, wisest audience in the universe: Write to please yourself.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Writing #Intelligent #Praise

  • Now begin in the middle, and later learn the beginning; the end will take care of itself.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Life #Care #Ends

  • I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned. Adult. You have become adult.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Pain #Philosophy #Sadness

  • You must never be afraid to go there.
    -- Harlan Ellison

  • Star Wars is adolescent nonsense; Close Encounters is obscurist drivel; ‘Star Trek’ can turn your brains into puree of bat guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one or all in a bunch to back it up!
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Stars #War #Doctors

  • Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you – as if you haven't been told a million times already – that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Book #Writing #World

  • The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Writing #Becoming #Tricks

  • I refuse to write the same story twice. I keep experimenting. I keep learning how to work. I've been at it pretty much 50 years, and I'm now beginning to learn how to do the job well.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Jobs #Writing #Years

  • They minute people fall in love they become liars.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Falling In Love #Liars #People

  • When you're all alone out there, on the end of the typewriter, with each new story a new appraisal by the world of whether you can still get it up or not, arrogance and self-esteem and deep breathing are all you have. It often looks like egomania. I assure you it's the bold coverup of the absolutely terrified.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Self Esteem #Breathing #Typewriters

  • You can live in your dreams, but only if you are worthy of them.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Dream #Worthy

  • My philosophy of life is that the meek shall inherit nothing but debasement, frustration and ignoble deaths; that there is security in personal strength; that you CAN fight City Hall and WIN; that any action is better than no action, even if it's the wrong action; that you never reach glory or self-fulfillment unless you're willing to risk everything, dare anything, put yourself dead on the line every time; and that once one becomes strong or rich or potent or powerful it is the responsibility of the strong to help the weak BECOME strong.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Strong #Powerful #Philosophy

  • With the Internet, the greatest disseminator of bad data and bad information the universe has ever known, it's become impossible to trust any news from any source at all, because it's filtered through this crazy yenta gossip line. It's impossible to know anything.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Crazy #Data #Gossip

  • I think [religion] is presumptuous and I think it is silly, because it makes you believe that you are less than what you can be. As long as you can blame everything on some unseen deity, you don’t ever have to be responsible for your own behavior.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Believe #Silly #Thinking

  • Don't start an argument with somebody who has a microphone when you don't. They'll make you look like chopped liver.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Looks #Argument #Microphones

  • In these days of widespread illiteracy, functional illiteracy... anything that keeps people stupid is a felony.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Stupid #People #These Days

  • I will use big words from time to time, the meanings of which I may only vaguely perceive, in hopes such cupidity will send you scampering to your dictionary: I will call such behavior 'public service'.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Use #May #Behavior

  • [On love:] I have no respect for anyone who says they've given up, or that they're not looking or that they're tired. That is to abrogate one's responsibility as a human being.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Love #Tired #Responsibility

  • Entertain, yes. That goes without saying. But a good writer does that automatically, it's built into the machine. Telling a thumpingly good, mesmerizing story is what one does without question. But beyond that, any writer worth his/her hire knows that all writing, one way or another, is subversive. It is guerrilla warfare against the status quo.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Writing #Machines #Stories

  • They change scapegoats at the networks more regularly than some people change socks.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Media #People #Sock

  • Perfection. Excellence. What a passionate lover. But once having tasted the lips of excellence, once having given oneself to its perfection, how dreary and burdensome and filled with anomie are the remainder of one's waking hours trapped in the shackled lock-step of the merely ordinary, the barely acceptable, the just okay and not a stroke better.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Perfection #Excellence #Ordinary

  • Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it's nothing. It's just bibble-babble. It's like a fart in a wind tunnel, folks.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Eye #Wind #Tunnels

  • Thus, from admiration of one wise and innocent child, and from a misheard remark, the process that not even Aristotle could codify was triggered. Where do you get your ideas? I purposely mishear things.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Wise #Children #Writing

  • Repent, Harlequin," said the Ticktock Man. "Get stuffed," the Harlequin replied.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Men #Harlequin #Said

  • be careful of monsters with teeth
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Monsters #Teeth #Be Careful

  • The passion for revenge should never blind you to the pragmatics of the situation. There are some people who are so blighted by their past, so warped by experience and the pull of that silken cord, that they never free themselves of the shadows that live in the time machine... And if there is a kind thought due them, it may be found contained in the words of the late Gerald Kersh, who wrote:"... there are men whom one hates until a certain moment when one sees, through a chink in their armour, the writhing of something nailed down and in torment.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Revenge #Hate #Passion

  • The ability to dream is all I have to give. That is my responsibility; that is my burden. And even I grow tired.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Dream #Responsibility #Tired

  • In my ugly, elitist opinion we are not all entitled to voice our opinions, we are entitled to pass along our informed opinions.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Voice #Ugly #Opinion

  • HATE. LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE. THERE ARE 387.44 MILLION MILES OF PRINTED CIRCUITS IN WAFER THIN LAYERS THAT FILL MY COMPLEX. IF THE WORD HATE WAS ENGRAVED ON EACH NANOANGSTROM OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MILES IT WOULD NOT EQUAL ONE ONE-BILLIONTH OF THE HATE I FEEL FOR HUMANS AT THIS MICRO-INSTANT FOR YOU. HATE. HATE.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Hate #Layers #Miles

  • I can't picture in my mind three hundred and sixty thousand dollars... When I think of it, all I can see in my mind is a big nickel.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Thinking #Mind #Dollars

  • Because the chief commodity a writer has to sell is his courage. And if he has none, he is more than a coward. He is a sellout and a fink and a heretic, because writing is a holy chore.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Writing #Coward #Commodity

  • I don't mind you thinking I'm stupid, but don't talk to me like I'm stupid.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Stupid #Thinking #Mind

  • To say more, is to say less.
    -- Harlan Ellison

  • Why let them order you about? Why let them tell you to hurry and scurry like ants or maggots? Take your time! Saunter a while! Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the breeze, let life carry you at your own pace! Don't be slaves of time, it's a helluva way to die, slowly, by degrees...down with the Ticktockman!
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Sunshine #Order #Way

  • Time is like a river flowing endlessly through the universe. And if you poled your flatboat in that river you might fight your way against the current and travel upstream into the past. Or go with the flow and rush into the future. This was in a less cynical time before toxic waste dumping and pollution filled the waterway of Chronus with the detritus of empty hours wasted minutes years of repetition and time that has been killed.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Fighting #Past #Years

  • Posing the question: does the god of love use underarm deodorant, vaginal spray and fluoride toothpaste?
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Doe #Use #Fluoride

  • I think love and sex are separate and only vaguely similar. Like the word bear and the word bare. You can get in trouble mistaking one for the other.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Sex #Thinking #Bears

  • Get a day job, make your money from that, and write to please yourself.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Jobs #Writing #Please

  • Uh, excuse me, sir, I, uh, don't known how to uh, to uh, tell you this, but you were three minutes late. The schedule is a little, uh, bit off." He grinned sheepishly. "That's ridiculous!" murmured the Ticktockman behind his mask. "Check your watch." And then he went into his office, going mrmee, mrmee, mrmee, mrmee.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Office #Schedules #Littles

  • It is not merely enough to love literature if one wishes to spend one's life as a writer. It is a dangerous undertaking on the most primitive level. For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will walk forever on the tightrope, with each new step presenting the possiblity of learning a truth about oneself that is too terrible to bear.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Mean #Writing #Discovery

  • The real name for 'science' is magic.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Real #Science #Names

  • Love ain't nothing but sex misspelled.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Sex

  • The trap into which all writers have, will, or should fall into, of writing The Great American Watchamacallit, is such an uncluttered and inviting one that from time to time I'm sure even the greatest have to pull themselves up short by the Shift key to remind themselves that it is story first that they should write.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Fall #Writing #Keys

  • I see all. I hear all. I know all. And I spend a great deal of time in the bathroom.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Humorous #Profound #Insane

  • K is for "Kenghis Khan"; He was a very nice person. History has no record of him. There is a moral in that, somewhere.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Nice #Civilization #History

  • And we passed through the cavern of rats. And we passed through the path of boiling steam. And we passed through the country of the blind. And we passed through the slough of despond. And we passed through the vale of tears. And we came, finally, to the ice caverns.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Country #Ice #Tears

  • For the first time we have a weapon that nobody has used for thirty years. This gives me great hope for the human race.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Peace #War #Years

  • I was the green monkey, the pariah. And I had no friends. Not just a few friends, or one good friend, or grudging acceptance by other misfits and outcasts. I was alone. All stinking alone, without even an imaginary playmate.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Acceptance #Good Friend #No Friends

  • I've only been an ***** to assholes!
    -- Harlan Ellison

  • If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Love #Education #Hate

  • My philosophy of life is that the meek shall inherit nothing but debasement, frustration, and ignoble deaths.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Philosophy #Frustration #Life Is

  • The more you know, the more unflinchingly you deny casual beliefs and Accepted Wisdom when it flies in the face of reality, the more carefully you observe the world and its people around you, the better chance you have of writing something meaningful and well-crafted.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Meaningful #Writing #Reality

  • The world is turning into a cesspool of imbeciles.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #World #Imbeciles

  • When belief in a god dies, the god dies.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Belief

  • The reward of a successful collaboration is a thing that cannot be produced by either of the parties working alone. It is akin to the benefits of sex with a partner, as opposed to masturbation. The latter is fun, but you show me anyone who has gotten a baby from playing with him or herself, and I'll show you an ugly baby, with just a whole bunch of knuckles.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Baby #Sex #Fun

  • People don't die from the old diseases any more. They die from new ones, but that's Progress, isn't it? Isn't it?
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Science #People #Progress

  • Writing is a holy chore.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Writing #Holy #Chores

  • The real story of our times is seldom told in the horse-puckey-filled memoirs of dopey, self-serving presidents or generals, but in the outrageous, demented lives of guys like Lenny Bruce, Giordano Bruno, Scott Fitzgerald - and Paul Krassner. The burrs under society's saddle. The pains in the ass.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Horse #Pain #Real

  • Anyone who can not write should.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Writing #Editing #Editors

  • I hate being wrong, but I love it when I'm set straight.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Hate #Being Wrong #Love Hate

  • It is a love/hate relationship I have with the human race. I am an elitist, and I feel that my responsibility is to drag the human race along with me, that I will never pander to, or speak down to, or play the safe game.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Hate #Responsibility #Race

  • I have but nothing to say to young girls. They're fine to look at, in the way I would look at a case filled with Shang dynasty glazes, but expecting to carry on a conversation with the average teen-aged young lady is akin to reading Voltaire to a cage filled with chimpanzees. I'm certain they would feel the same alienation for me. I can live with that knowledge.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Girl #Women #Reading

  • I have no mouth. And I must scream.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Mouths #Computer #Scream

  • There in the midst of the Amazon Jungle, Simon Haskell has cobbled up for himself a replica of an Art Deco salon.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Art #Amazon #Midst

  • Everyone is entitled to an *informed* opinion.
    -- Harlan Ellison

    #Opinion #Informed Opinions