At MadCon, an ailing Harlan Ellison will say goodbye
Farewell to the fans
Josh Wimmer on Thursday 09/23/2010,
Ellison: 'The truth of what's going on here is that I'm dying.'
Fans of fantastic fiction -- or just some of the finest damn writing to be put on paper -- take heed: If you've ever wanted to talk to Harlan Ellison, this weekend's MadCon 2010 is your last chance.
The 76-year-old writer, cultural critic and longtime den mother of the genre he'd prefer you didn't call "science fiction" is the guest of honor at the convention, happening Sept. 24-26 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Ellison is the winner of multiple Hugo, Nebula and Edgar awards and the author of such oftreprinted short stories as "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" and "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore," as well as the mind behind the original screenplay for what many consider Star Trek's best episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever." Other scheduled notables at MadCon include writers Gene Wolfe, Peter David and Patrick Rothfuss, and Doctor Who's Sophie Aldred.
Due to his failing health, there had been some doubt about whether Ellison would show up in person or participate in panels, readings and other events by telephone from his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. But at press time he affirmed he was coming. He is also adamant that MadCon will be the final convention he ever attends, in any fashion.
"The truth of what's going on here is that I'm dying," says Ellison, by phone. "I'm like the Wicked Witch of the West -- I'm melting. I began to sense it back in January. By that time, I had agreed to do the convention. And I said, I can make it. I can make it....'"
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