Cuts Like a Knife

It’s fairly easy to tell why Harlan Ellison became a writer. Watching clips from Dreams with Sharp Teeth, the 2007 documentary of his life and work, you can see Ellison in his element: A ranting gonzo who insults friends and passersby alike, flinging obscenities with total abandon. He’s also a bit of an egotist who’s known for picking fights with his editors, or anyone else he works with. In other words, he’s a total outcast. Writing is the only profession a guy like Ellison could manage to stay alive in.

Yet stay alive he did. Ellison — in case you’re unfamiliar — is one of the most prolific science fiction writers of our time. He’s penned for the original series of Star Trek and The Outer Limits, winning awards for his work in both, and written well over 2000 stories. What makes his work transcend is his ability to use mature themes and create depth of meaning (drawing from personal history) in a genre most often known for fantasy. Who else could’ve written about a drug deal on the Enterprise, called Gene Roddenberry’s edit “fatally inept,” and then won a Writer’s Guild Award for the original script anyway? There’s plenty more oddity to Ellison’s character; find out just how much when Dreams with Sharp Teeth screens today at 4 p.m. at the Lake Worth Playhouse (713 Lake Ave., Lake Worth). Tickets start at $5. Call 561-586-6410, or visit
Mon., July 14, 2008

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John Linn