Saturday, April 24, 2004

I'm a bit behind on this one, but the paper was sucking my will to live toward the end of this week.

Neil Gaiman recently won a Nebula award for his novella, Coraline. It's actually a (very creepy) children's book, but one that older people can also enjoy. The author could not be present at the Nebula awards ceremony, though, so he requested that someone else read his acceptance speech in the event of a win.

That someone else was Harlan Ellison.

Now some of you may know that Mr. Ellison, in addition to being an accomplished writer, is something of a strong personality. (CMC readers may recall his lecture at the Athenaeum in 2001. Over the course of the evening, he told dirty jokes, read an entire short story, switched dinner tables halfway through the meal, called a student a bitch, asked for contributions to support his intellectual property lawsuit, went more than thirty minutes over his allotted time, and scandalized the audience. This was a relatively tame evening for Harlan. I proudly admit to being the person who invited him. It was beautiful. But I digress.)

The Harlan Ellison persona, created and manifested over decades, is of being utterly uncontrollable. So who could resist the opportunity to make Harlan Ellison say anything he wanted? Not Neil Gaiman (scroll down for the full text of the speech). An excerpt:

The knowledge that the person reading the acceptance speech will actually say whatever I write here is deeply intimidating. Think about it: for the first time in my life, possibly for the first time in anyone's life, I can make Harlan Ellison say, literally, anything. And he will. Because it's my acceptance speech. He's not going to extemporise here, or suddenly start telling a joke about a duck trying to buy a condom or something. He has to read what I've written. I could make him proclaim his love of the Republican party, or reveal his membership in Al Quaida. I could write down the words "I, Harlan Ellison, am actually a science fiction writer" in my awards speech, and he'd have to say them. I wouldn't actually do any of this, though, because Harlan's revenge would be swift in coming and incredibly funny whenever he told people about it. Well, incredibly funny for everyone except me, anyway. I'd still be in Hibernia, pursued by enraged lascars and apothecaries.

I would have paid a great deal of money to see this.
blog comments powered by Disqus