A very strong writer of short stories, Ellison has also written for several science fiction television series, including the original Outer Limits series, and Star Trek. He has received many awards for both his fiction and television work. In addition to his writing he served as creative consultants to the science fiction TV series The Twilight Zone and Babylon 5. The screenplay for his projected television series The Starlost was given a Writers Guild award, though the actual series was so altered by the producers that Ellison had his name removed from the credits.
One of his most famous stories is "Repent, Harlequin", said the Ticktockman. He has also written large amounts of non-fiction, including a novel about his experience infiltrating a gang in the late 1950s, Memos from Purgatory, and several collections of essays about the TV and film industries. For many years media studies classes used The Glass Teat in television criticism classes.
He also edited the extremely influential science fiction anthology Dangerous Visions (1967), which collected stories commissioned by Ellison, accompanied by his rambling and commentary-filled biographical sketches of the authors. He challenged the authors to write stories at the edge of the genre, and Dangerous Visions is widely considered the greatest and most influential SF anthology of all time. Many of the stories broke past the traditional Campbellian form, influenced and inspired by the experimentations in the popular literature of the time, such as the Beats. The follow-up Again Dangerous Visions (1972), while also successful, showed the increasing decadence of experimental SF in the years between the two. A third volume, The Last Dangerous Visions, was planned but was delayed and has been so now for a quarter of a century or so, although much of it is finished. It has long been a myth in publishing.
Books of Short Stories:
- Gentleman Junkie and Other Stories of the Hung-Up Generation
- Deathbird stories
- The Beast Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World
- Approaching Oblivion
- Love Aint Nothing but Sex Misspelled (fiction and nonfiction)
- Strange Wine
- Angry Candy
Published screenplays and teleplays:
- I Robot (with Isaac Asimov)
- City on the Edge of Forever (Star Trek episode, original screenplay, with commentary)
- See also Phoenix without Ashes; the novelization by Edward Bryant of the screenplay for the pilot episode of The Starlost, which includes a lengthy afterword by Ellison describing what happened in the production of that series.
- Memos from Purgatory
- The Glass Teat (essays on television, 1968-1970)
- The Other Glass Teat (essays on television, 1970-1972)
- Harlan Ellisons Watching
- Hugo award, best short story, for the following:
- "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman"
- "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"
- "Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38° 54' N, Longitude 77° 00' 13" W"
- Nebula award, best short story, for the following: