I was very surprised to see this article in Isthmus, the weekly paper from my old homeland of Madison, Wisconsin. Harlan Ellison, a legendary writer of fantastic fiction, sharp-edged essays and criticism, and maker of more than a little controversy in his decades in the limelight, says his attendance at the MadCon science-fiction convention in Madison this weekend is his last convention – ever.
The reason is that he says he's known since at least January that he is dying. "The truth of what's going on here is that I'm dying," Ellison told journalist Josh Wimmer by phone. "I'm like the Wicked Witch of the West – I'm melting. I began to sense it back in January. ... This is gonna be the biggest fucking science-fiction convention ever, because no con has ever had a guest of honor drop dead while performing for the goddamn audience. The only comparison is the death of Patrick Troughton, at a Doctor Who convention. And I don't think he was even onstage."
Well, if you didn't know Ellison before you read this, that previous paragraph gives you a sense of what he's like.
I wish I had been in Madison this weekend.