One of Ellison’s last short story collections was The summit of the volcano, a collection of his award-winning tales. The title was fitting: Ellison was a volcanic writer and a public presence – loud, furious, fire-breathing, sometimes dangerous, always impossible to ignore. He was a controversial figure who caused heated discussions wherever he went, but through his energy and passion he helped change American science fiction and fantasy. He transformed genres from their pulpy early 20th-century coloring into realms of lofty literary ambition.
He was born in Cleveland in 1934 and grew up in the small town of Painesville, where he often faced anti-Semitic bullying. He has often attributed his resilient and contrarian personality to the thick skin he developed from the torments of youth. He found escape in science fiction, not only as reading material, but also in the sociability of his active fandom. As a teenager, he was already editing science fiction fanzines and befriending future writers, including Robert Silverberg, who would be his lifelong buddy.
He dropped out of Ohio State University in 1953, with what he boasted was the lowest GPA in school history, and became a writer for pulp magazines. He’s written garish tales in many genres (including soft-core pornography) for publications like Infinite Science Fiction, Terror detective story and Exotic.
Few of his early works are worth remembering, but pasta gave him a background in storytelling that would help him when he moved to Los Angeles in 1962 and became a screenwriter and screenwriter. Although he often argued with producers, he made a name for himself in this field, in particular by writing “The City on the Edge of Eternity” which is widely considered the best episode of the original star trek series.