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Harlan Ellison's Thoughts on the Internet

affinity8 pointed me towards an interview with Harlan Ellison from the May 2004 Writer's Digest. I'm amused by some of his comments on the Internet:


WD: If you could go back in time and stop the Internet from being invented, would you do it?

HE: I would certainly do it if I were selfish, and I'm about as selfish as anybody is. But no, I wouldn't do it, because the good things that it does are things that are necessary. Doctors, for instance, have access to life-saving information that they wouldn't have otherwise. Locating lost kids is easier. Scientists can exchange information across the planet in moments, not years. It's the "chat-net" and all its endlessly babbling, trivial adjuncts that are idiocy-promoting.

So, no, I wouldn't kill off the Internet; I'd just like to maim the crap out of it...

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And this at the very end...

"You can't allow yourself to be frightened; not if you want the writing to have heat and reason and passion."

...ties into what I was posting about earlier in regard to taking story risks. Though at this point I've pretty much concluded I should throw out the risks and write whatever I damn well please.
I was all ready to hate him when he said "I mean, look, there are some people who take to ice skates instantly. You know what I mean: never been on ice skates, puts on ice skates, bang, he's great. An Arctic Fred Astaire."

This, after just he just finished saying how good writing is impossible without practice and still quite rare even with practice. Why should good writing require practice while good ice-skating may just require raw ability? But then he goes and ruins it with by acknowledging his own fallacy by jokingly referring to his "three toughest things to do" comment again.

At least I think he was joking...
"I would certainly do it if I were selfish, and I'm about as selfish as anybody is."

Harlan, selfish?

Naaaaahhh.
He's a damn good writer, but man. Such a Luddite. Reminds me of my hotly debated essay about his copyright battle with AOL.
Actually, Harlan revels in being a Luddite. I believe he may still use a manual typewriter.
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