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Harlan Ellison Sues For "Star Trek" Episode 483

Miracle Jones writes "The ever-quotable speculative fiction writer Harlan Ellison has launched a lawsuit against Paramount and the Writer's Guild West for rights to residuals surrounding his famous and award winning 'City on the Edge of Forever' episode for the original Star Trek series. Ellison, recently featured in the documentary 'Dreams with Sharp Teeth,' said that 'The Trek fans who know my City screenplay understand just exactly why I'm bare-fangs-of-Adamantium about this.' Regarding his lawsuit, he had this to say: 'The arrogance, the pompous dismissive imperial manner of those who "have more important things to worry about," who'll have their assistant get back to you, who don't actually read or create, who merely "take" meetings, and shuffle papers — much of which is paper money denied to those who actually did the manual labor of creating those dreams — they refuse even to notice... until you jam a Federal lawsuit in their eye. To hell with all that obfuscation and phony flag-waving: they got my money. Pay me and pay off all the other writers from whom you've made hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars... from OUR labors... just so you can float your fat asses in warm Bahamian waters.'"
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Harlan Ellison Sues For "Star Trek" Episode

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  • wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @07:32PM (#27234727) Journal

    Tell us what you really think dude ;)

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @07:34PM (#27234743) Journal
    He has a mouth and he must sue...
  • I really... (Score:5, Funny)

    by AresTheImpaler ( 570208 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @07:38PM (#27234807)
    I really enjoyed the Star Wars [] stuff he wrote...
  • hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @07:39PM (#27234825)

    A writer and his dog-and-pony show.

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @07:43PM (#27234883)

    On one hand, we have the tired old story of a writer/creative not receiving due credit for his work. On the other hand, said creative is possibly the most obnoxious asshole still living that I've known of.

    On the third hand, this is Star Trek.

    God, I'm so conflicted here, who do I want screwed over the most?

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @07:43PM (#27234887) Homepage Journal

    "REPENT Harlanquin!" Said the FatCat man.

  • Harlen (Score:4, Funny)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @07:47PM (#27234923) Homepage Journal

    Is it in your contract? No? too Fucking bad, boo hoo, you shouldn't sign contracts you don't agree with.
    You whiny pain in the ass.

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:01PM (#27235081) Journal

    Yeah, Hollywood has always ripped off its writers

    Fixed that for you.

  • by stiggle ( 649614 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:01PM (#27235085)

    I so need to become a plumber or electrician in Hollywood - just so I can demand due credit & payment for my work and get residual payments everytime someone uses a tap or flicks a switch....

    These residual payment demands by writers and actors for work that they've already been paid for is starting to really annoy me. If you've been paid for the work then shut up and go do something else more productive than whine about how nobody has paid you yet again for something you were paid for back in the 1960's.

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:15PM (#27235259)

    Tell us what you really think dude ;)

    What is Star-Trek?

    It's an old TV show where men in tight-fitting outfits and women in mini-skirts and tight-fitting nylons flew a primitive warp-drive spaceship around, interfering in the development of numerous civilizations around our part of the galaxy on a weekly basis. That fine tradition was continued in the various Star Trek spinoff franchises that popped up (rather like weeds) in the decades since the original series was aired. Note to first-time viewers: the various characters in TOS (i.e., The Original Series) were conveniently color-coded for longevity: those wearing tight-fitting red outfits generally didn't make it out of any given episode alive.

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:16PM (#27235267)

    With your nick, I shall take you at your word. ^_^

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by plover ( 150551 ) * on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:33PM (#27235461) Homepage Journal

    That's right. We should support those Hollywood writers by buying their stories, not just watching re-runs that make money only for the studios.

    Here's one way to support Harlan: buy the book. [] Make sure he gets paid for his fabulous story.

    Oh, wait. It's out of print, and that's a site that sells used copies. Sorry, Harlan!

  • Re:wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:38PM (#27235507) Journal

    What is it with these illiterate moderators? Doesn't anyone _read_ any more? Oh, wait. Of course not.

    I'd personally give them shit but "I have no mouth and I must scream!"

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:42PM (#27235563) Homepage

    HOLY CRAP! you just gave me, well Gabe actually... my tagline for the next 2 months...

  • by Mishotaki ( 957104 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:46PM (#27235607)
    They should have the rights to "bare-fangs-of-Adamantium"
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @08:49PM (#27235623) Homepage

    Harlan has tilted at windmills his entire life.

    This is where he is happy, fighting the impossible fight that gives him the limelight one more time...

    I will never forget my personal berating at the hand of the man. The profanity he spouted when I handed him a book to sign, he signed it and when I got it back I said in jest, "Wait I though you were Kurt Vonnegut"...

    He came unglued.... It was spectacular.

  • by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @09:38PM (#27236097)

    Greedy, arrogant writer sues greedy, arrogant corporation.

  • by kentrel ( 526003 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @10:09PM (#27236355) Journal

    If he wants credit for shit, then how about we all give him credit for starting the Trek trend of bullshit time travel plot devices that have been pulled out whenever they need a ratings boost or plot holes need filled.

    He can also take the credit if the new Star Trek movie sucks because of its time travel plot device. Its not about the art with him, its about the credit, so take it Harlan, its all yours! The shitty Voyager two part episode where they went back in time - Its yours!

    The terrible DS9 holodeck episodes set during WW2 - yours too! You were the first to do a WW2 theme in Trek.

    After all, its all about the money, your words. Let that be your epitaph, while after your death we continue to celebrate real sci fi authors like Phillip K. Dick who died penniless, but left amazing art.

  • by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2009 @11:52PM (#27237021) Journal

    It's even more funny when you get it right; it's "Goodbye, little fuck!"

    (obligatory: this is an old apocryphal joke about Harlan Ellison trying to use a pick-up line. The man is short.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @12:24AM (#27237179)

    Awesome. And you're not the only one... []

    So Tycho and I are up in front of the audience with Harlen, and Hank (the con organizer) presents us with some jester hats (âoeFoolâ(TM)s capsâ). Tycho and I put ours on because we are polite, but Harlen - who is apparently too cool for school - refuses to wear his. I turn to him and say, âoeDonâ(TM)t you want your hat?â and he tells me to fuck off. This caught me off guard, I mean I have no clue who this fucking coot is. Then he points to a pad of paper he has and asks if Iâ(TM)m aware that his paper is also called foolscap. Now, Iâ(TM)ve never heard that term before, I pretty much just call it paper so I shake my head âoeno.â This really isnâ(TM)t a fair question. I mean, it would be like me asking him about Photoshop or if he can remember what he had for lunch. The guy was essentially setting me up to look stupid in front of all these people. So then he asks me if I even attended college and I say âoeNo, I did not.â Then, he says âoedid you at least finish high school?â
    I said that I had, but you couldnâ(TM)t really hear me because the audience is laughing at me along with Harlen. So once they stop, I turn to him and I say, âoeWhile Iâ(TM)ve got you here I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Star Wars stuff you wrote.â

    I didnâ(TM)t know him very well but I felt like mistaking him for someone who writes Star Wars books was the sort of insult that would cut right to his brittle old bones. The audience seemed to agree because I could hear a lot of oooooooohâ(TM)s and oh noâ(TM)s over the laughing. Some people in the front even suggested a fist fight was now in order. I look over at Harlen and heâ(TM)s staring at me like he wants to choke me. He then says âoeso thatâ(TM)s how itâ(TM)s going to be.â Now keep in mind that heâ(TM)s the one that started hostilities when he told me to fuck off. Iâ(TM)m just the one that finished it. The guy tells some pretty funny stories about how witty he is and how heâ(TM)s always saying clever things at exactly the right moment. When confronted with someone who was unwilling to take any crap from him he had no clever retort. The great writer just glared at me and then walked off stage. I donâ(TM)t doubt that given enough time he could craft a perfectly worded and extremely vicious response but up there on stage in front of all his fans the man didnâ(TM)t have shit.

    I donâ(TM)t blame Harlen for not knowing who I am. I honestly donâ(TM)t expect him to. I donâ(TM)t expect anyone that old to know who I am. I did expect him to be polite and at least respect the fact that I was a fellow guest of honor. That was apparently too much to ask for from the great Harlen Elison.

    -Gabe Out

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @01:20AM (#27237491) Homepage Journal

    "Sticking his neck out for the little people"? Since when? This is possibly the most self-centered person in Hollywood. And that's saying a lot!

    Or is this yet another joke about his height?

  • by Chris Tucker ( 302549 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @03:16AM (#27238059) Homepage's come to this.

    In your dotage, it's easier for you to sue someone, than it is to create and write something of quality.

    Have you no sense of shame, you foul-mouthed, angry little man? You've been playing the L'enfant terrible for decades, and now, here you are, 75 years old, still throwing tantrums, still playing the poor victim, still blaming those damned kids and their Internets and everyone else under the Sun for all your woes. Still cursing and swearing and tossing obscenities and vulgarities around like a little child, wanting to shock the grownups.

    Well, guess what. The grownups think you're a rude, vulgar, egotistical little shitmonkey. Every time you open your yap to cry that you have been victimized yet again, most of humanity in the immediate vicinity wishes you would just shut the hell up, already.

    Mr. Ellison, your time has passed. You are as irrelevant as the ancient typewriters you worship. You are as irrelevant as Spiro Agnew. You are as irrelevant as suing AOL, thinking that would stop ebooks of your works being on the Internet. Mr. Ellison, I hate to break this to you, but AOL does not equal the Internet, despite all those TV commercials from the 1980s you remember.

    Mr. Ellison, you are a joke. You have become nothing more than a punchline: "Why do you call an 8 ounce can of Budweiser a 'Harlan'? Because it's a short, bitter half-pint!"

    Mr. Ellison, feel free to continue to disgrace yourself in public as much as you like. Just be aware that, like seeing the derelict who has urinated and defecated in his trousers, the vast majority of people just turn away from such a scene of pitiful self degradation with expressions, not of sympathy for that poor man, but of disgust for what has become of that poor man.

    Show some dignity. For once in your life, show some dignity!

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."