Straczynski News Roundup About Ellison Foundation

The Lost Aztec Temple of Mars

J. Michael Straczynski has given Facebook readers an update about the accomplishments of the Harlan and Susan Ellison Foundation.

An initial round of improvements has been made to the Ellison house:

1) The first stage of improvements/repairs to the house has been completed in preparation for becoming a Memorial Library. This includes: structural repairs for leaks and other issues, installation of a state-of-the-art security system with cameras and a bunch of other wonderfulnesses, building a new back wall and reinforcing the property to keep the house from sliding downhill, and landscaping to create an area looking out over the valley for talks and other events. Stage Two will include repairing/renovating the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars, making other large repairs, putting in safety measures for folks visiting the library, and setting up audio and video systems to run during visits.

The October auction of items from Ellison’s collections has brought in enough income to put the Foundation on a solid footing:

2) This and other work for the Foundation, can now be paid for by funds earned by the recent Heritage Auction, which total approximately one million dollars. This ensures that the Foundation will be solvent and viable well into the foreseeable future.

An Ellison assistant continues to help and receive her full salary:

3) Even before this, back when I first came on as Executor, we informed Sharon, Harlan’s assistant for nearly 40 years. who was crucial to Susan coping with his passing, and is now helping with the Foundation and looking after the house, that she would continue to receive her full salary in perpetuity for the rest of her life.

The Foundation has filed as a California nonprofit corporation and is in good standing:

4) The Harlan and Susan Ellison Foundation is now a certified nonprofit corporation, which ensures that the company will be run according to all the state, local and federal rules and regulations governing such nonprofits long after I’ve gone to dust.

Commercial development of Ellison’s properties for the media, publishing plans for The Last Dangerous Visions and its predecessors, as well as a new collection of his greatest stories, are all in train:

5) Several of Harlan’s properties are now in active development for TV and film. More on this as and when I can discuss it.

6) In order to build up to the release of The Last Dangerous Visions as a major publishing Event, Blackstone Publishing will be releasing all of the DV books in sequence, starting with the original DV in Fall ’23, Again Dangerous Visions Spring 24, and TLDV Fall ’24.

7) A major publisher (holding off on the name pending a formal announcement by the company) recently won the rights to publish Harlan Ellison’s Greatest Hits in a fierce auction between several companies. The book presents 17 of Harlan’s most famous, award-winning stories that span his career. It will be published as a mass-market paperback, audio, kindle, and a collector’s edition illustrated hardcover, setting the stage for a deal to reprint all of Harlan’s prior collections.

Best of all, the book will be distributed through the company’s Classics line, which puts it in the same historical category as books by Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, and other authors who have earned a place in American literature. This means it have a significant presence in bookstores, libraries and universities, will be covered by the mainstream press, and that it will be given the critical attention his work deserves.

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16 thoughts on “Straczynski News Roundup About Ellison Foundation

  1. Repeating what I posted in response on Facebook: “With 185 comments ahead of mine – and understanding there’s an incredible number of problems you’re constantly dealing with – I ask whether the built-in bathroom soap dish I broke in the 1990s (metal bathtub insert plug fell off the windowsill and hit the washcloth-holder thing) has been repaired. I offered to pay for such at the time, Harlan and Susan said they’d take care of it, no problem – and it still hadn’t been repaired the last time I was there. My offer still stands. Thanks for all you’re doing. You are wonderful.”

    Another question I have is even more minor and tangential, but … Is there a chance that Harlan’s early publications might eventually be republished – or scanned and posted? His 1950s DIMENSIONS fanzine contained a story by my mom (SF writer you’ve never heard of – Betsy Curtis), and I’d love to be able to read it.

  2. Mm my only “interface” with the legendary Harlan Ellison (HE) was at an end of a B5 UK event aeons ago. JMS was of course there (and I think I talked with him re our common love of “The Prisoner”). Also there, was HE’s then newish and delightful Scottish other 1/2 (Susan)- now herself sadly gone. At the end-of-Con dinner for GoHs (and I was the fan GoH thereat), we were all proceeding to that meal. I accompanied the late and much missed Irish author James White (a fellow Hibernian). If I recall, HE was already there at one end of the table (and in his dressing gown). I then proceeded to sit down near to HE (having not really talked to him much during the Con itself) but James suggested –a wise move in the end– to sit at the other end. I think James said “watch for fireworks”!! The table filled up and the place opposite HE was the last to fill. We all wondered who would sit opposite this SF legend. In the end it was the UK SF fan / geneticist (and colloborator with Terry P) and now also sadly late, Jack Cohen. It appears that neither had talked much to each other during the Con. And so we (the rest of us at that table) had mega-entertainment as HE and Jack “squared” up to each other!! Absolute bliss. HE was then and still is an iconic figure in our genre. Glad to hear the Ellison legacy endures. best wishes.

  3. It’s cool to see that J. Michael Straczynski is doing so much for Harlan and Susan Ellison’s estate.

    There are issues of Harlan Ellison’s early fanzine that haven’t made it to Fanac or anywhere else? Surely we can call upon our primordial slan powers and find a copy of the issue of Dimensions containing the story by Maggie Thompson’s mom.

  4. Maggie Thompson—sure I’ve heard of your mom! I typed out her name within the last two weeks, because I’m creating a database of Hugo Award finalists.

  5. Terrific! She and Harlan were friends in Early Days. (Among my memories: Harlan at a speaking engagement at Kent State University. I attended – and so did Mom. Harlan came over to where we were sitting and exclaimed, “My God! It’s Betsy Curtis!” Mom responded, “I’m not your god, Harlan.” To which he replied, “Yes, you ARE!” Magic moments.) Mom’s first SF sale (“Divine Right”) was to F&SF. Quoting the magazine intro: “A story comes in from a totally unknown writer. It’s fresh, original in both idea and treatment. But it needs a little fixing. The wary editor returns it with suggestions … and gets back a re-write exceeding his hopes. That too rare sequence of events is even more gratifying to an editor than publishing the best Bradbury yet, or discovering a ‘lost’ Poe story in a forgotten magazine. So it was with this, Betsy Curtis’ first published story. Here’s a bright new talent to add to that small group of women who can depict the broadest implications of future sociology and technology through their minute domestic impacts. Now go ahead and share our joy of discovery.”
    —Editor Anthony Boucher
    The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction #3 (Summer 1950)
    Originally © 1950 Fantasy House, Inc.
    What do you think was Harlan’s publishing schedule for his fanzines?

  6. Further note: In a comment JMS says “we’re also applying to have the house declared a historic/cultural landmark”.

  7. I wonder if any of the material I published by/about Harlan will be in the place.

    Straczynski bought into Ellison’s unfounded claims that I am an evil and hateful person, and all my dealings with JMS have been shaded by this.

    Proof of JMS’s enmity upon request.

  8. Andrew Porter, I have something to say to you. In this celebration of all of this wonderfully great news, this very insensitive kvetching by you is way out of place. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.

  9. Just because a lot of people like this news doesn’t obligate everyone to be happy or be quiet.

    But it is good news to me. The gesture of paying Harlan Ellison’s assistant of 40 years for the rest of her days is great.

  10. rcade: Just because a lot of people like this news doesn’t obligate everyone to be happy or be quiet.

    Andy would be happy to recite his decades-old grievances at length — and takes every opportunity to open the topic here.

  11. Vintage Classics is a misnomer as they do contemporary writers like the recently passed on Toni Morrison and Philip Milton Roth, and the very much living Ian Russell McEwan.

  12. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: December 11, 2022 - Amazing Stories

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