Harlan Ellison's Watching (ISBN 0-88733-067-3) is a 1989 compilation of 25 years worth of essays and film reviews written by Harlan Ellison for Cinema magazine, the Los Angeles Free Press, Starlog magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction among others.
In the book, Ellison explains, in an entertaining introductory essay, how he became a film critic and his views on film criticism in general. At the time that many of these reviews were written, he was one of the few people who worked within the genres of science fiction, horror and fantasy to openly criticize some of its most popular works. Highlights include a thorough savaging of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (entitled "Luke Skywalker is a Nerd and Darth Vader Sucks Runny Eggs"), wherein he describes it as "shallow" and "a film without soul, without a core," and writing that Gremlins "suffers from the dreaded Jerry Lewis Syndrome: it vacillates between a disingenuous homeliness and an egomaniacal nastiness."
Ellison also used his status within the industry to expose what he felt were unjust handlings of films like Brazil and Dune by their respective studios. He also championed obscure films that he felt were of exemplary quality, like Big Trouble in Little China, which had "some of the funniest lines spoken by any actor this year to produce a cheerfully blathering live-action cartoon that will give you release from the real pressures of your basically dreary lives" and Joe, which he said was "a visceral experience on a par with going black-belting with Bruce Lee. Joe will kick the shit out of you. It will set the blood slamming against your cranial walls. It will make you as cold as Ultima Thule."
For a few years after this book was published, Ellison continued to write a film criticism column for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction but these have yet to be compiled into book form.
|Harlan Ellison's Watching|
First edition hardcover
|Cover artist||Ilene Meyer|
|1989 (1st edition)|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Pages||514 pp (first edition)|
|LC Class||PN1995 .E58 1989|
In his review for the New York Times, Robert Moss wrote, "In contrast to the detached, impersonal tone of the average film critic, Mr. Ellison pronounces almost exclusively at the top of his voice...His style routinely mixes a standard critical idiom with esoteric vocabulary, slang, a liberal use of obscenities and many homemade coinages."
Big Trouble in Little China is a 1986 American fantasy martial arts comedy film directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, and James Hong. The film tells the story of Jack Burton, who helps his friend Wang Chi rescue Wang's green-eyed fiancée from bandits in San Francisco's Chinatown. They go into the mysterious underworld beneath Chinatown, where they face an ancient sorcerer named David Lo Pan, who requires a woman with green eyes to marry him in order to release him from a centuries-old curse.
Although the original screenplay by first-time screenwriters Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein was envisioned as a Western set in the 1880s, screenwriter W. D. Richter was hired to rewrite the script extensively and modernize it. The studio hired Carpenter to direct the film and rushed Big Trouble in Little China into production so that it would be released before a similarly themed Eddie Murphy film, The Golden Child, which was slated to come out around the same time. The project fulfilled Carpenter's long-standing desire to make a martial arts film.
The film was a commercial failure, grossing $11.1 million in North America, below its estimated $19 to $25 million budget. It received mixed reviews that left Carpenter disillusioned with Hollywood and influenced his decision to return to independent filmmaking. It has since become a cult classic and has a 78% average rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a steady audience on home video.Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction
The Bram Stoker Award for Best Non-Fiction is an award presented by the Horror Writers Association (HWA) for "superior achievement" in horror writing for non-fiction.Clarence Budington Kelland
Clarence Budington "Bud" Kelland (July 11, 1881 – February 18, 1964) was an American writer. He once described himself as "the best second-rate writer in America".Although largely forgotten now, Kelland had a long career as a writer of fiction and short stories, stretching from 1913 to 1960. He was published in many magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post and The American Magazine. A prolific writer, his output included sixty novels and some two hundred short stories. His best known juvenile works were the Mark Tidd series and the Catty Atkins series, while his best known adult work was the Scattergood Baines series. Other notable adult books by Kelland include Conflict (1920), Rhoda Fair (1925), Hard Money (1930), Arizona (1939), and Dangerous Angel (1953). Kelland was the "literary idol" of the teenaged John O'Hara. He was referred to in a 1995 installment of Harlan Ellison's television commentary, Harlan Ellison's Watching for the program Sci-Fi Buzz, wherein Ellison laments what he perceives as a prevailing cultural illiteracyKelland's work resulted in some thirty Hollywood movies, including Speak Easily (1932) starring Buster Keaton. Opera Hat, a serial from The American Magazine, was the basis for the film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) starring Gary Cooper. Opera Hat later was turned into the short-lived television series Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1969–70), and the movie Mr. Deeds (2002). One of Kelland's best-known characters was featured in the Scattergood Baines series of six films from 1941 to 1943, starring Guy Kibbee.Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is a lifetime honor presented annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) to no more than one living writer of fantasy or science fiction. It was inaugurated in 1975 when Robert Heinlein was made the first SFWA Grand Master and it was renamed in 2002 after the Association's founder, Damon Knight, who had died that year.The presentation is made at the annual SFWA Nebula Awards banquet, commonly during May, but it is not one of the Nebulas—which recognize the preceding calendar year's best works of SF and fantasy, selected by vote of all Association members. SFWA officers and past presidents alone submit Grand Master nominations and the final selection must be approved by a majority of that group. The recipient is announced in advance, commonly during the preceding calendar year, which is the publication year and official award year for the Nebulas.Dune (film)
Dune is a 1984 American epic science fiction film written and directed by David Lynch, based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan as young nobleman Paul Atreides, and includes an ensemble of well-known American and European actors in supporting roles. It was filmed at the Churubusco Studios in Mexico City and included a soundtrack by the rock band Toto, as well as Brian Eno.
Set in the distant future, the film chronicles the conflict between rival noble families as they battle for control of the extremely harsh desert planet Arrakis, also known as "Dune". The planet is the only source of the drug melange—also called "the spice"—which allows prescience and is vital to space travel, making it the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe.
After the novel's initial success, attempts to adapt Dune as a film began as early as 1971. A lengthy process of development followed throughout the 1970s, during which Arthur P. Jacobs, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Ridley Scott unsuccessfully tried to bring their visions to the screen. In 1981, executive producer Dino De Laurentiis hired Lynch as director.
The film was negatively reviewed by critics and was a box-office failure, grossing $30.9 million from a $40 million budget. Upon release, Lynch distanced himself from the project, stating that pressure from both producers and financiers restrained his artistic control and denied him final cut privilege. At least three versions have been released worldwide. In some cuts, Lynch's name is replaced in the credits with the name Alan Smithee, a pseudonym used by directors who wish not to be associated with a film for which they would normally be credited. The extended and television versions additionally credit writer Lynch as Judas Booth. The film has developed a cult following over time, but opinion varies among fans of the novel and fans of Lynch's films.George Kirgo
George Kirgo (born George Blumenthal; March 26, 1926 – August 22, 2004) was an American screenwriter, author and humorist.Harlan Ellison
Harlan Jay Ellison (May 27, 1934 – June 28, 2018) was an American writer, known for his prolific and influential work in New Wave speculative fiction, and for his outspoken, combative personality. Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho, described Ellison as "the only living organism I know whose natural habitat is hot water".His published works include more than 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, comic book scripts, teleplays, essays, and a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media. Some of his best-known work includes the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever", his A Boy and His Dog cycle, and his short stories "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" and " 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman". He was also editor and anthologist for Dangerous Visions (1967) and Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). Ellison won numerous awards, including multiple Hugos, Nebulas, and Edgars.Harlan Ellison bibliography
This is a list of works by Harlan Ellison (1934–2018). It includes his literary output, screenplays and teleplays, voiceover work, and other fields of endeavor.Hugo Award for Best Related Work
The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially known as the Science Fiction Achievement Award. The award has been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing". The Hugo Award for Best Related Work is given each year for primarily non-fiction works related to science fiction or fantasy, published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. Awards are also given out for works of fiction in the novel, novella, novelette, and short story categories.
The award was originally titled the Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book and was first awarded in 1980. In 1999 the Award was retitled to the Hugo Award for Best Related Book, and eligibility was officially expanded to fiction works that were primarily noteworthy for reasons besides their fictional aspects. In 2010, the title of the award was again changed, to the Hugo Award for Best Related Work. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for years 50, 75, or 100 years prior in which no awards were given. The Retro Best Related Work Hugo was awarded for 1954, 50 years later, but has not been awarded for any other year due to insufficient nominations.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. The works on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of works that can be nominated. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held near the start of September, and are held in a different city around the world each year. Members are permitted to vote "no award", if they feel that none of the nominees is deserving of the award that year, and in the case that "no award" takes the majority the Hugo is not given in that category. This happened in the Best Related Work category in 2015 and 2016.During the 40 nomination years, 197 authors have had works nominated; 52 of these have won, including co-authors and Retro Hugos. John Clute has won four times; once by himself, once with John Grant as a co-author, once with Peter Nicholls, and once with Nicholls, David Langford, and Graham Sleight. Nicholls has won a third time, and Grant has won a second time, sharing the award with his co-authors Elizabeth L. Humphrey and Pamela D. Scoville. Thomas Disch and Ursula K. Le Guin have also won twice, both without co-authors; no other author has won more than once. Cathy and Arnie Fenner have been nominated eight times for their work on the Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art series, both the most number of nominations received by any author and the most number of nominations without winning. Clute has been nominated seven times, Farah Mendlesohn six times with one win; Le Guin four times with two wins; Isaac Asimov and Langford four times with one win; and Mike Resnick four times with no wins. The Writing Excuses team, consisting of Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Jordan Sanderson, have been nominated four times and won once. Seven other authors have been nominated three times. Many of these writers, editors and artists have won Hugos in other categories, from Fan Writer to Best Novel.Iceman (1984 film)
Iceman is a 1984 American science fiction film from Universal Studios. The screenplay was written by John Drimmer and Chip Proser, and was directed by Fred Schepisi. The cast included John Lone, Timothy Hutton, Lindsay Crouse, and Danny Glover.
It was filmed in color with Dolby sound and ran for 100 minutes. The DVD version was released in 2004.Lost Horizon (1937 film)
Lost Horizon is a 1937 American drama-fantasy film directed by Frank Capra. The screenplay by Robert Riskin is based on the 1933 novel of the same name by James Hilton.
The film exceeded its original budget by more than $776,000 and took five years to earn back its cost. The serious financial crisis it created for Columbia Pictures damaged the partnership between Capra and studio head Harry Cohn, as well as the friendship between Capra and Riskin.In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".Murder of Kitty Genovese
In the early hours of March 13, 1964, nearly home from work, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was stabbed outside of the apartment building where she lived. Two weeks after the murder in Kew Gardens, The New York Times published an article claiming that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, but none of them called the police or came to her aid.The incident prompted inquiries into what became known as the bystander effect or "Genovese syndrome", and the murder became a staple of American psychology textbooks for the next four decades. However, researchers have since uncovered major inaccuracies in the New York Times article.
Reporters at a competing news organization discovered in 1964 that the article was inconsistent with the facts, but they were unwilling at the time to challenge New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal. In 2007, an article in the American Psychologist found "no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive". In 2016, The New York Times called its own reporting "flawed", stating that the original story "grossly exaggerated the number of witnesses and what they had perceived".Winston Moseley, a 29-year-old Manhattan native, was arrested during a house burglary six days after the murder. While in custody, he confessed to killing Genovese. At his trial, Moseley was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death; this sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment. Moseley died in prison on March 28, 2016, at the age of 81, having served 52 years.The Emerald Forest
The Emerald Forest is a 1985 British drama film set in the Brazilian Rainforest, directed by John Boorman, written by Rospo Pallenberg, and starring Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, and Charley Boorman with supporting roles by Rui Polanah, Tetchie Agbayani, Dira Paes, Estee Chandler, and Eduardo Conde. It is allegedly based on a true story, although some dispute this. The film was screened out of competition at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. In promoting the film for awards competition, Boorman created the first Oscar screeners, but the film received no Academy Award nominations.The Fabulous Baron Munchausen
The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (Czech: Baron Prášil) is a 1961 Czechoslovak romantic adventure film directed by Karel Zeman, based on the tales about Baron Munchausen. The film combines live-action with various forms of animation and is highly stylized, often evoking the engravings of Gustave Doré.A digital restoration of the film premiered on 5 September 2016 at the Telluride Film Festival in the United States.Typewriter in the Sky
Typewriter in the Sky is a science fiction novel by American writer L. Ron Hubbard. The protagonist Mike de Wolf finds himself inside the story of his friend Horace Hackett's book. He must survive conflict on the high seas in the Caribbean during the 17th century, before eventually returning to his native New York City. Each time a significant event occurs to the protagonist in the story he hears the sounds of a typewriter in the sky. At the story's conclusion, de Wolf wonders if he is still a character in someone else's story. The work was first published in a two-part serial format in 1940 in Unknown Fantasy Fiction. It was twice published as a combined book with Hubbard's work Fear. In 1995 Bridge Publications re-released the work along with an audio edition.
Writers have placed the story within several different genres, including science fiction, a subgenre of science fiction called recursive science fiction, and fantasy. Masters of the Occult author Daniel Cohen noted the book contributed to Hubbard's reception among influential science fiction authors of the 1940s. It is regarded as classic science fiction by The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography in its entry on Hubbard, as well as by writer James Gunn, and publications including the Daily News of Los Angeles, and Chicago Sun-Times. Writers have placed Typewriter in the Sky within the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Authors Mike Resnick and Robert J. Sawyer classed the story within the science fiction subgenre recursive science fiction, and writer Gary Westfahl wrote that Hubbard may have been influenced by the 1921 Luigi Pirandello play within the recursive fantasy subgenre, Six Characters in Search of an Author. The book is listed in Fantasy: The 100 Best Books, and Rivals of Weird Tales: 30 Great Fantasy and Horror Stories from the Weird Fiction Pulps placed it among the best quality fantasy writing of the 20th century. Writers characterized the overarching theme within the book as dealing with an individual caught between two different worlds.Typewriter in the Sky was generally well-received, and regular readers of Hubbard's stories at the time widely appreciated the work. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas wrote in a 1951 review that the story was amusing though it could have used copy editing, and Groff Conklin described its concept as silly. The New York Times review the same year said it had a lively pace. Damon Knight was critical of the depiction of the protagonist's fate, and concluded the ending of the book made up for this defect. Books including The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines and Pulp Culture: The Art of Fiction Magazines characterized the work as one of Hubbard's best stories. Adam Roberts pointed out Hubbard likely based the character of pulp fiction writer Horace Hackett on himself.Subsequent to the story's publication, commentators have speculated that its influence impacted themes in later science fiction works. Paul Di Filippo wrote that the 1949 book What Mad Universe by Fredric Brown may have drawn from Hubbard's tale. Umberto Rossi asserted in a book on writer Philip K. Dick that Typewriter in the Sky likely influenced Dick's first published short story "Beyond Lies the Wub" (1951), in addition to his novel The Cosmic Puppets (1957). Harlan Ellison compared it to the 1989 film The Purple Rose of Cairo. Gary Westfahl likened the Typewriter in the Sky to the 2006 film Stranger than Fiction, going so far as to suggest the two had virtually an identical narrative.Underwood–Miller
Underwood–Miller Inc. was a science fiction and fantasy small press specialty publishing house in San Francisco, California, founded in 1976. It was founded by Tim Underwood, a San Francisco book and art dealer, and Chuck Miller, a Pennsylvania used book dealer, after the two had met at a convention.
Underwood and Miller chose to begin with a first hardcover edition of The Dying Earth by Jack Vance. This was a classic fantasy novel never done in hardcover. Both Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. and Mirage Press had tried to publish The Dying Earth but had failed to obtain the rights. Underwood was acquainted with Vance and was able to secure the rights directly from him. Vance was enthusiastic, had several other projects in mind, and became the author most identified with the press. In the next few years they produced a number of Vance hardcovers, many of them new to boards as well as a few reprints of scarce, early Vance hardcovers.
The press then diversified and began publishing works by other authors such as Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg and Roger Zelazny. In several such cases, the books in question printed recently done stories that either appeared only in magazine form or only in paperback, with no previous hardcover edition.
In 1994, Underwood and Miller decided to dissolve the partnership. As their last book, they reprinted The Dying Earth.World Fantasy Award—Collection
The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards (which cover both fantasy and science fiction). The World Fantasy Award—Collection is given each year for collections of fantasy stories by a single author published in English. A collection can have any number of editors, and works in the collection may have been previously published; awards are also given out for anthologies of works by multiple authors in the Anthology category. The Collection category has been awarded annually since 1975, though from 1977 through 1987 anthologies were admissible as nominees. Anthologies were split into a separate category beginning in 1988; during the 10 years they were admissible they won the award 7 times and were 38 of the 56 nominations.World Fantasy Award nominees and winners are decided by attendees and judges at the annual World Fantasy Convention. A ballot is posted in June for attendees of the current and previous two conferences to determine two of the finalists, and a panel of five judges adds three or more nominees before voting on the overall winner. The panel of judges is typically made up of fantasy authors and is chosen each year by the World Fantasy Awards Administration, which has the power to break ties. The final results are presented at the World Fantasy Convention at the end of October. Winners were presented with a statue in the form of a bust of H. P. Lovecraft through the 2015 awards; more recent winners receive a statuette of a tree.During the 44 nomination years, 152 writers have had works nominated; 41 of them have won, including ties and co-authors. Only six writers or editors have won more than once. Jeffrey Ford has won the regular collection award three times out of four nominations, while Karen Joy Fowler, Lucius Shepard, and Gene Wolfe won the regular collection award twice, out of two, four, and two nominations, respectively. Charles L. Grant and Kirby McCauley won the award as editors of anthologies while those were eligible; Grant was nominated nine times as an editor and once for a collection, while McCauley won both times he was nominated for anthologies. Grant's ten nominations are the most of any writer or editor, followed by Ramsey Campbell, Harlan Ellison, and Charles de Lint at five, with two of Campbell's nominations coming for anthologies. Dennis Etchison, Stephen King, Fritz Leiber, Kelly Link, and Stuart David Schiff have had the most nominations without winning at four; one of Etchison's and all of Schiff's nominations were for anthologies.