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82 Of The Best Harlan Ellison Quotes From The Pioneering Science Fiction Author

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A writer as great as Harlan Ellison must be acknowledged for generations

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Harlan Ellison was an American sci-fi writer.

Ellison passed away at the age of 84 in June 2018. He is remembered for his great works and outspoken personality.

He has written over 1,700 short stories, screenplays, novellas, teleplays, essays and more. He has won numerous awards throughout his lifetime. 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman' and 'I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream' are two of the most famous short stories written by Ellison.

Read on to find Harlan Ellison quotes on writing, Harlan Ellison quotes on evil, Harlan Ellison quotes on what is not nailed and more.

This article has a compilation of the best Harlan Ellison quotes. For more such quotes, also check 'The Thing quotes and Victor Frankenstein quotes.
 

Best Harlan Ellison Quotes

Some of the best Harlan Ellison quotes are listed below.

1. “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

-Harlan Ellison.

2. “I'm like a snake sleeping on a rock. I won't bother you unless you poke a stick at me.”

-Harlan Ellison.

3. “The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight.”

-Harlan Ellison.

4. “The act of writing means you wish to communicate. Whether you're writing a memoir for yourself you put in a drawer, or you write a poem and you send it to a little magazine, or you write for publication, it always means - the form follows function.”

-Harlan Ellison.

5. “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.”

-Harlan Ellison.

6. “Any writer who pretends to a disaffection for recognition, I think they're being duplicitous.”

-Harlan Ellison.

7. “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.”

-Harlan Ellison.

8. “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.”

-Harlan Ellison.

9. “Be careful of monsters with teeth.”

-Harlan Ellison.

10. “The real name for 'science' is magic.”

-Harlan Ellison.

Harlan Ellison Quotes On Life

Listed below are some Harlan Ellison quotes on life.

11. “Now begin in the middle, and later learn the beginning; the end will take care of itself.”

-Harlan Ellison.

12. “History will decide if I'm a villain or a hero.”

-Harlan Ellison.

13. “We've got technological wonders around us, and we've used them to abrogate all responsibility for everything in our lives.”

-Harlan Ellison.

14. “Possibly the only dismaying aspect of excellence is that it makes living in a world of mediocrity an ongoing prospect of living hell.”

-Harlan Ellison.

15. “You watch enough TV, and very soon the inside of your head has become a vast, arid plain, across which you cannot detect the passage of a thought.”

-Harlan Ellison.

16. “It is not merely enough to love literature if one wishes to spend one's life as a writer.”

-Harlan Ellison.

17. "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."

-Harlan Ellison.

18. “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.

19. “Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned. Adult. You have become adult.”

-Harlan Ellison.

20. “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.

21. “Everybody has a talent, whether it's scrapbooking, or kite-flying, or brain surgery, or writing, everybody has a talent.”

-Harlan Ellison.

22. “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.

23. “If you let the image of the messenger get in the way of whatever message there may be, however large or small, that's your problem, not his.”

-Harlan Ellison.

Popular Harlan Ellison Quotes

Some popular Harlan Ellison quotes from the famous writer are listed below.

Harlan Ellison quotes on reading are very inspirational.

24. “The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.”

-Harlan Ellison.

25. “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.

26. “The world is turning into a cesspool of imbeciles.”

-Harlan Ellison.

27. “They are stories I wrote because my friends are gone, a lot of them, and if you can’t be angry about it, how the hell much did you care to begin with?”

-Harlan Ellison.

28. “When you're a writer, you have to have the passion and the skill and the craft. It's not just enough to have the passion. You've gotta have all three.”

-Harlan Ellison.

29. “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.

30. “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.

31. “Humor should not be dissected because nothing lives through dissection.”

-Harlan Ellison.

32. “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.

33. “They change scapegoats at the networks more regularly than some people change socks.”

-Harlan Ellison.

34. “There in the midst of the Amazon Jungle, Simon Haskell has cobbled up for himself a replica of an Art Deco salon.”

-Harlan Ellison.

Interesting Harlan Ellison Quotes

A list of some interesting Harlan Ellison quotes is given below.

Quotes by Harlan Ellison can motivate every man and woman.

35. “I don't mind you thinking I'm stupid, but don't talk to me like I'm stupid.”

-Harlan Ellison.

36. “In these days of widespread illiteracy, functional illiteracy...anything that keeps people stupid is a felony.”

-Harlan Ellison.

37. “When belief in a God dies, the God dies.”

-Harlan Ellison.

38. “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.”

-Harlan Ellison.

39. “No one inspired me to write, but writer Harlan Ellison terrified me into getting published.”

-Harlan Ellison.

40. “Where did he get jelly beans? That's another good question. More than likely it will never be answered to your complete satisfaction. But then, how many questions ever are?”

-Harlan Ellison.

41. “I was alone. All stinking alone, without even an imaginary playmate.”

-Harlan Ellison.

42. “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.

43. “If you don’t care about science enough to be interested in it on its own, you shouldn’t try to write hard science fiction. You can write like Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison as much as you want.”

-Harlan Ellison.

44. “I see all. I hear all. I know all. And I spend a great deal of time in the bathroom.”

-Harlan Ellison.

45. “I was there when the first dreams came off the assembly line. I was there when the corrupted visions that had congealed in the vats were pincered up and hosed off and carried down the line to be dropped onto the rolling belts.”

-Harlan Ellison.

Famous Harlan Ellison Quotes

Some famous Harlan Ellison quotes are listed below.

46. “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.

47. “They minute people fall in love they become liars.”

-Harlan Ellison.

48. “I hate being wrong, but I love it when I'm set straight.”

-Harlan Ellison.

49. “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.

50. “Let me first establish—on your behalf—feelings of animosity and disgust at the mendacity inherent in this concept of "cartoon."”

-Harlan Ellison.

51. “She thinks we were all killed when they made the Great Sweep, but I escaped in the mud.”

-Harlan Ellison.

52. “Perhaps once we might be able to sneak a death past him. Immortal, yes, but not indestructible.”

-Harlan Ellison.

53. “Then he said the truest thing about their relationship. He said, "We didn't really fall in love. What we did was collide at the intersection of your life and mine.”

-Harlan Ellison.

54. “I am a great soft jelly thing. Smoothly rounded, with no mouth, with pulsing white holes filled by fog where my eyes used to be.”

-Harlan Ellison.

55. “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.

56. “And we passed through the cavern of rats. And we passed through the path of boiling steam.”

-Harlan Ellison.

Inspirational Harlan Ellison Quotes

Some inspirational Harlan Ellison quotes are listed below.

57. “You must never be afraid to go there.”

-Harlan Ellison.

58. “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.

59. “All you have to do is look out around you at the good things you've done, and you'll know how good you are.”

-Harlan Ellison.

60. “You can live in your dreams, but only if you are worthy of them.”

-Harlan Ellison.

61. “I am not one of these people who instantly takes umbrage when he's corrected or - I love being corrected.”

-Harlan Ellison.

62. “I usually say I write for the smartest, cleverest, wittiest audience I know, and that's me.”

-Harlan Ellison.

63. “I am responsible for myself. I am exactly who I eventually wanted myself to be, I guess, without consciously knowing what I wanted me to be.”

-Harlan Ellison.

64. “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.

65. “To say more, is to say less.”

-Harlan Ellison.

66. “The reward of a successful collaboration is a thing that cannot be produced by either of the parties working alone.”

-Harlan Ellison.

67. “Get a day job, make your money from that, and write to please yourself.”

-Harlan Ellison.

68. “Anyone who can not write should.”

-Harlan Ellison.

Harlan Ellison Quotes From Books

Some of the Harlan Ellison quotes taken from the famous sci-fi writer’s books are listed below.

69. “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, ‘Stalking The Nightmare’.

70. “The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘Strange Wine’.

71. “He was just Ron and I kinda liked him, mostly because he wrote well, and I never felt he took all that Scientology nonsense seriously but knew how to make a good buck, and he liked me, and... well, he was a friend who died.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘Angry Candy’.

72. “We talked across each other, our conversation at right angles, only meeting in the intersections of silence at story’s end.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘Deathbird Stories’.

73. “Who wants a library full of books you've already read?”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘Angry Candy’.

74. “On the night after the day she had stained the louvered window shutters of her new apartment on East 52nd Street, Beth saw a woman slowly and hideously knifed to death in the courtyard of her building.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘Deathbird Stories’.

75. “It is now. Live in the world around you.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘"Repent, Harlequin!" Said The Ticktockman’.

76. “Who among us can deny that within every adult is caged a frightened child?”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘Shatterday’.

77. “It crouches near the center of creation. There is no night where it waits. Only the riddle of which terrible dream will set it loose.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘The Beast That Shouted Love At The Heart Of The World’.

78. “I never met a man I didn't like. I don't go out much.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘Vic And Blood’.

79. “There are some people who just shouldn't be allowed to fool around with love.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘Strange Wine’.

80. “Of all liars, the smoothest and most convincing is memory.”

-Harlan Ellison, ‘The City On The Edge Of Forever: The Original Teleplay’.

81. “Style, like taste, is resistant to lucid definition; however, both, as living things should be, are subject to constant change.”

― Harlan Ellison, ‘I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream’.

82. "Everywhere I go, I find that writers are treated as if they're invisible, as if they don't matter."

-Harlan Ellison.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for the best Harlan Ellison quotes from the pioneering science fiction author, then why not take a look at Ada Lovelace quotes, or Alan Turing quotes.

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