By Bob Calhoun
Harlan Ellison showing up at “Star Trek” Las Vegas is a hell’s frozen over moment. It’s something that seemed impossible just a year ago, or ten years ago, but there he was walking through some shuttle bay doors and onto the spacious stage at the Rio Hotel and Casino on Thursday after a reported 20 years of avoiding “Star Trek” cons. I’m not sure what the weather report is in Hades right now, but I bet there’s a polar vortex going on down there.
Ellison, stalking the stage, briefcase in hand, is here to promote a new comic-bookadaptation from IDW of his original, unaltered script to “City on the Edge of Forever,” the episode of the original series that is widely considered to be the best. You’d think that Ellison would dish dirt on his conflict with “Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry over the rewrites to his script that have supplied a half-century of Trekker debates. You would think, but instead, the multiple Nebula and Hugo award winner gave us a little TMI about this one episode of “The Flying Nun” he wrote.
“I wrote one episode of ‘The Flying Nun’ because I wanted to fuck Sally Field,” Ellison explained.
“I was absolutely knocked out by Sally Field,” Ellison continued, “I wanted to get next to her on the set, because I knew, a couple of minutes in her company, and I would get laid.”
When a fan in the audience yelled for even more intimate details on Ellison’s bid to sexually harass the two-time Oscar winning actor, Ellison asked him to raise his hand.
“Raise your hand,” Ellison demanded, “so that everyone around you can see that you’re a pervert.”
Creation Entertainment exec and convention organizer Adam Malin, who was tasked with moderating the talk, attempted to turn the conversation back to “Star Trek,” but instead, Ellison told us what he really thought of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, his wife, and his mistress.
“As a Jew, I’m embarrassed to be in the same universe as them,” Ellison said. “They should be submerged in a gigantic ocean of monkey vomit with imps going around them in motorboats, and making waves.”
Ellison also doesn’t want to be “in the same time zone” as Lima beans, it turns out. Somewhere in the midst of so many of the creative tirades Ellison is known for, the author announced a new deal with MGM to remake his script for the classic “Outer Limits” episode, “Demon with a Glass Hand,” into a two-hour movie.
“And J. J. Abrams will probably rip it off, and sell it to you as a new idea and you won’t know the difference,” Ellison added as the assembled Trekkers were still applauding his announcement.
And sometime after submitting a Middle East peace plan that involves building a wall “twelve-miles thick and a hundred miles high” with only one door, Ellison finally talked about “City on the Edge of Forever.”
“I wrote ‘City on the Edge of Forever’ before Roddenberry had in stone some of the rules,” Ellison recalls. “I wrote a script that went through 12… 15 iterations before other people stuck their hands in it, and they couldn’t kill it.
“The idea was a simple love story where Kirk was willing to sacrifice everything—the universe, the ship, everything—for the love of this woman. And I said, ‘The love story will transcend whatever you do to it,’ and it has.”
As Ellison started to rattle off a list of pet peeves, Counselor Deanna Troy herself, Marina Sirtis, graced the stage and whispered into Ellison’s ear, probably to remind him that he was eating into the time of her “Next Generation” panel with Gates McFadden and Denise Crosby.
The “cantankerous old fart,” as Ellison describes himself, then sped away on a Rascal mobility scooter and almost swerved into several of his most loyal fans, who were lining around the vendors’ room for his autograph.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I bought two paperbacks from Mr. Ellison, and I’ve never been more the gobsmacked fanboy in my life.
Bob Calhoun is the author of “Shattering Conventions: Commerce, Conflict and Cosplay on the Expo Floor” (Obscuria Press, 2013). You can follow him on Twitter @bob_calhoun.
Star Trek Las Vegas: http://www.creationent.com/cal/st_lasvegas.html
Shattering Conventions: http://www.creationent.com/cal/st_lasvegas.html
Harlan’s site: /p>
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.