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  #1  
Old Jan 8, '13, 9:53 am
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Rocks_91 Rocks_91 is offline
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Default Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

Hello,
I was wondering - I used to be into reading books by Harlan Ellison a few years back (before I was Christian) and I absolutely loved his short stories and novelettes. His prefaces were very excellent quality and his writing was imaginative and captivating. Whatever he wrote, whether sci fi or speculative fiction about hoodlums, it was all very very good. But a lot of what he wrote was rather contrary to Christian morals. But I was wondering if there is a sort of a Christian author who writes good spec fic like him?
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  #2  
Old Jan 8, '13, 10:56 am
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Sailor Kenshin Sailor Kenshin is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

Tolkien, Rowling, Koontz.
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  #3  
Old Jan 8, '13, 1:50 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocks_91 View Post
Hello,
I was wondering - I used to be into reading books by Harlan Ellison a few years back (before I was Christian) and I absolutely loved his short stories and novelettes. His prefaces were very excellent quality and his writing was imaginative and captivating. Whatever he wrote, whether sci fi or speculative fiction about hoodlums, it was all very very good. But a lot of what he wrote was rather contrary to Christian morals. But I was wondering if there is a sort of a Christian author who writes good spec fic like him?
I actually met him, years ago, (like 35) in an airport gift shop I worked in. He came in, started looking around and buying gifts for people. Kinda little guy, but handsome, and charming, and quite personable and funny. I was walking through the shop, joking with him and helping him pick things out. I had no idea who I was joking with! I just knew he had some money because he wasn't just buying the cheap stuff!

So he finally gets done picking out gifts and I walked over to the cash register....He hands me his credit card. I looked at the name and just about fainted! HARLAN ELLISON! Of course I then said that profundity that all fans do in that moment, "You're REALLY HARLAN ELLISON??" I mean, I just lost it.

I then gushed all over him for about 10 more minutes as my hands shook and I tried to complete the sale and wrap his gifts for him. All the while, he was reassuring me and saying, "It's OK, don't be nervous," etc. Probably the only person I would have gushed even more over was Tolkien himself. I think I got his autograph but where it is now, I have no idea. Hey St. Anthony...some day when you aren't busy....(It would have been amazing if I had been reading one of HIS books in the shop but as I recall, I may have been reading Dune at the time. )

I have never met another celebrity, he's my only encounter with greatness.

Now as to your question...As long as you can see the difference between what is being written and your Christian morals, why worry? Ellison's stuff wasn't amoral in the sense of being like porn or anything. And he's a darn good writer. And I'm not just saying that 'cause I'm a fan.
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  #4  
Old Jan 8, '13, 4:18 pm
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Sailor Kenshin Sailor Kenshin is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

How could I have forgotten C.S. Lewis?
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  #5  
Old Jan 8, '13, 8:58 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

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How could I have forgotten C.S. Lewis?
C.S. Lewis wrote sci-fi?

I never knew.
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  #6  
Old Jan 8, '13, 9:08 pm
Arizona Mike Arizona Mike is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

I've read his work for decades (I think I have a copy of every book he's written) and find him very talented, with a great love for the English language and talent to spare. His atheism, which comes out strongly in works like "Deathbird" and "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" is, like that of many atheists, very emotionally based and seems to be based on (in my opinion) a deep sense of disappointment and loss rather than a true intellectual commitment. Like Christopher Hitchens and Mark Twain, his anger at God makes him more of an anti-theist than an atheist, and often seems based on an actual desire for God to exist as a focus for anger at the shortness of life, the loss of friends, and the problem of human suffering. His short story "Croatoan" is an interesting examination of abortion and moral responsibility from a fantasy perspective and was attacked by those pro and con on the issue when it was first published in the 1970s.

The arguments against God he advances in his fiction and essays are generally pretty weak from a basic apologetic level, and are the sort of things that most Catholic readers of this forum can easily refute, although obviously strongly held by Harlan. I've met and talked with him briefly a few times over the years and he can be very kind and thoughtful on a personal level (he always has been to me), but I think he also enjoys playing the role of a curmudgeon. I don't know if he's mellowed over the years, but I think his marriage to his wife Susan has been the best thing that's happened to him and he seems to be enjoying life more.

He does think about religion a lot, and it comes out in many of his works, although I obviously disagree with many of the conclusions he draws. I suspect that the moral strength of the Jewish tradition in which he grew up mitigates his atheism in an interesting way, and perhaps to a greater degree than many of the atheists who come out of a Christian or completely secular background. He does have a strong sense of morality and a commitment to social justice, which I think is commendable.

As far as a Catholic alternative (don't know if I would call him an equivalent), but if you like Ellison I would also suggest Tim Powers, who shares Ellison's love for fantasy and myth, loopy history, and language, and is another amazingly talented author (who is also very Catholic):

Here's an interview where he talks about how his faith affects his writing: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/featu...tvw_sept05.asp

Wikipedia on Tim: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Powers

His short story "The Way Down the Hill" also explores abortion from a fantasy perspective.
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  #7  
Old Jan 8, '13, 11:35 pm
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JharekCarnelian JharekCarnelian is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealJuliane View Post
C.S. Lewis wrote sci-fi?

I never knew.
Try his Cosmic Trilogy. It is not hard sci fi but it is very interesting.
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  #8  
Old Jan 9, '13, 6:26 am
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Sailor Kenshin Sailor Kenshin is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

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Originally Posted by TheRealJuliane View Post
C.S. Lewis wrote sci-fi?

I never knew.
Yes! They are classics. Out of the Silent Planet... Perelandra... The Hideous Strength...

Awesome.
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  #9  
Old Jan 10, '13, 7:10 am
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Rocks_91 Rocks_91 is offline
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Default Re: Is there a Catholic/Christian equivalent of Harlan Ellison?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealJuliane View Post
I actually met him, years ago, (like 35) in an airport gift shop I worked in. He came in, started looking around and buying gifts for people. Kinda little guy, but handsome, and charming, and quite personable and funny. I was walking through the shop, joking with him and helping him pick things out. I had no idea who I was joking with! I just knew he had some money because he wasn't just buying the cheap stuff!

So he finally gets done picking out gifts and I walked over to the cash register....He hands me his credit card. I looked at the name and just about fainted! HARLAN ELLISON! Of course I then said that profundity that all fans do in that moment, "You're REALLY HARLAN ELLISON??" I mean, I just lost it.

I then gushed all over him for about 10 more minutes as my hands shook and I tried to complete the sale and wrap his gifts for him. All the while, he was reassuring me and saying, "It's OK, don't be nervous," etc. Probably the only person I would have gushed even more over was Tolkien himself. I think I got his autograph but where it is now, I have no idea. Hey St. Anthony...some day when you aren't busy....(It would have been amazing if I had been reading one of HIS books in the shop but as I recall, I may have been reading Dune at the time. )

I have never met another celebrity, he's my only encounter with greatness.

Now as to your question...As long as you can see the difference between what is being written and your Christian morals, why worry? Ellison's stuff wasn't amoral in the sense of being like porn or anything. And he's a darn good writer. And I'm not just saying that 'cause I'm a fan.
Nice story. I like Tolkien, but he was a nutter. He had one good work (Lord of the Rings), it wasn't even that good. I would say it approached enjoyable. There were some good bits but a lot of parts were really dreary, especially his poetry and the parts of Frodo and Sam's drudging through Mordor bored me to death. But there were some fun bits. Unlike the Silmarillion, which I threw away after reading just a few pages. His writing/language is so difficult and dreary to read in that. I think his head was permanently in the clouds also, after reading about his romance and how he named his wife after one of his fictional characters. A lot of authors have one good work and the rest is unreadable tripe. G K Chesterton's Father Brown was interesting to read (although I think he was too 'eloquent' in his descriptions at the beginning of the stories, giving every character 'aquiline' faces and 'equestrian' (horsy?) demeanours. But the plots were really clever and I enjoyed it. But I could never read his other works, like Man Who was Thursday if only to save my life.

With Harlan Ellison though, all his stories approach a level of quality and readability that I've never found in most other authors. That's why I liked him. But I do find some of his stories apprehensive to read, in regards to impurity, some of his stories definitely were in bad taste. But I think I might be more conservative than some.

I didn't know C S Lewis wrote short pieces, I have only read one of his books. I was mostly hoping for recommendations for authors who wrote short pieces.
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