From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Harlan Jay Ellison (born May 27, 1934) is a prolific American writer of short stories, novellas, essays, and criticism. His literary and television work has received many awards. He wrote for the original series of both The Outer Limits and Star Trek; edited the multiple-award-winning short story anthology series Dangerous Visions; and served as creative consultant to the science fiction TV series The New Twilight Zone and Babylon 5.
Ellison's most famous stories were published within the science fiction genre, and he has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. He was also very active in the science fiction community (he was a founder of the Cleveland Science Fiction Society and edited its fanzine as a teenager), and gives colorful and confrontational talks at science fiction conventions. He served as the Science Fiction Writers of America's first vice president, in the 1960s. He prefers not to place his works in a genre, but will use the term "speculative fiction" to describe his work.
Ellison's fantasy work, however, is generally better aligned with surrealism or magical realism than space opera-type science fiction. There is also a strong ethical current that runs through his work, half of which is nonfiction, including social activism and criticism of the arts.
He is fiercely protective of his work and has sought (and won) legal action against copyright infringements. He occasionally uses the pseudonym Cordwainer Bird for reasons explained in the "Controversy" section, below.