One of America's best living writers, born on May 27, 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio. He had to quit Ohio State University halfway through his sophomore year after he punched a professor who told him he had no talent.

When he was 21 years old, he passed himself off as a 17-year-old and joined a street gang for ten weeks, solely to write about the experience. He completed his first book, "Web of the City", while serving in the Army.

Ellison is the author of classics like "I Have No Mouth, Yet I Must Scream," "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Tick-Tock Man," "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs," "Xenogenesis." and many, many more. Some of his best essays can be found in "The Glass Teat" and "The Other Glass Teat," which collect a series of columns he wrote about Hollywood and the television industry. His much-beloved "Dangerous Visions" and "Again, Dangerous Visions" anthologies have helped fuel his popularity, though his inability to get "The Last Dangerous Visions" assembled and published has earned him some enemies. Some of them, along with people offended by his outspoken attitude, have formed an anti-Ellison organization called "Victims of Ellison" (originally "Enemies of Ellison"). A bunch of Ellison fans formed "Friends of Ellison" in response, and the two groups can still be found enjoying flamewars on Usenet...

One of the things Ellison does best is irritate people, and even though I like Harlan a lot, sometimes he irritates the hell out of me. He is, by many accounts, a total sweetheart in private, and unswervingly loyal to his friends, but more often than not, his public face is angry, snarling, even hateful. Nowadays, his most frequent targets are the Internet (and everyone who uses the 'Net) (he says the Internet is a time-waster and helps spread disinformation, which is often true, but hardly enough reason to reject all who use it) and young people (he says they are almost universally stupid and uneducated, which is sometimes true, sometimes false -- and certainly, you'd never expect a counterculture gadfly like Harlan to go condemning people because of their age).

For some reason, his books are almost impossible to find in most bookstores, which ought to be a crime, as far as I'm concerned.