Harlan Ellison’s “The Three Most Important Things in Life”

Harlan Ellison’s been one of my favorite authors for a while now. Originally classified as a science fiction writer, he’s since recieved credit for his writing even outside the genre. Beyond getting published in appropriately literary compendiums of short stories and getting the occasional award, he’s also penned a Star Trek episode or two and consulted for Babylon 5.

I’ve been amused to visit his website every so often and even more amused to find that my favorite of his essays (The Three Most Important Things in Life) has been placed online.

If you’ve never heard of Ellison before and are considering reading him solely on the basis of my recommendation, be warned: His books have been banned. At least one teacher has been fired for using a short story he wrote as a class reading.

I’m not saying that the essay I link to above is particularly offensive, but, if you’re someone who gets offended by things you read and this offends you, well, it’s not my fault.

With the disclaimer finished, I’ll tell you a little (very little) about the essay. According to Harlan Ellison, the three most important things in life are:

1. Sex
2. Violence
3. Labor Relations

UPDATE (9/19/2006): For those of you coming here from this post, I’d like to note that I find Harlan Ellison’s public groping of Connie Willis extremely disturbing. Connie Willis is also one of my favorite authors and I have absolutely no idea what he was thinking.

One thought on “Harlan Ellison’s “The Three Most Important Things in Life””

  1. I have never considered myself an Ellison fan (speaking of the man himself, rather than his writing, any of which I do not recall ever reading, being only a very occasional reader) but I really enjoyed the first two parts of this essay. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Jim.

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