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Old 05-22-2005, 03:03 PM
Scott Plaid Scott Plaid is offline
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What was Harlan Ellison's complete quote about Doctor Who? P.S. I see no plot holes.

I have read novelizations of Doctor Who episodes since I was a little child. I can clearly recall Harlan Ellison's introduction to many of them, which started out: "The greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one or all in a bunch to back it up!"

Really, looking back on it, not only was Doctor Who british, unlike Star Trek, or Star Wars, but also, it had so few plot wholes in comparision, and once I suspended the intial idea, I never had to drop it to point out that it doesn't make sense for Leia to suddenly be Luke's sister, with all the intentional tension in the first film, or explain why the Enterprise doesn't have seatbelts, or circuit breakers.

As I recall however, his main point of contention was the shows he criticized were stuffed full of cheese, unlike the Doctor, who would not always allow for a happy ending, or for things to go back to normal.

Anyway, I have two questions.
  1. What was the complete speech he made? Is a copy avalible online somewhere? I looked, but all I could find was the first sentence, being used as a tagline.
  2. Any plot holes you think you have spotted in Doctor Who? I bet I can explain them away. Of course, my memory isn't perfect, since I haven't seen each and every episode of the longest running science fiction show in the world, but I will try my best.
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Old 05-22-2005, 03:55 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
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In the introductions, Harlan claimed to have said it at a World Science Fiction Convention. The full quote from the book is:

Quote:
Star Wars is adolescent nonsense; Close Encounters is obscurantist drivel; "Star Trek" can turn your brains to puree of bat guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is Dr. Who! And I'll take you all on, one-on-one or all in a bunch to back it up!"
Ellison's introduction was copyrighted 1979, so it was most likely the 1978 Worldcon: Iguanacon in Phoenix (Close Encounters was released in November of 1977, after the 1977 Worldcon). Ellison was Guest of Honor at Phoenix (he lived in a trailer to avoid spending money in Arizona, since the state hadn't ratified the ERA), though I don't know if the quote was part of his GOH speech.
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:01 PM
Scott Plaid Scott Plaid is offline
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Thank you, Chuck, but didn't he go into more detail then that, explainng what he saw wrong with diffrent series?
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:16 PM
Don Draper Don Draper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Plaid
I never had to drop it to point out that it doesn't make sense for Leia to suddenly be Luke's sister, with all the intentional tension in the first film,
Be careful to whom you mention THAT. I once brought that up in the company of two die-hard Star Wars fans, and they bit my head off like ravenous wolves!
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:25 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Plaid
Thank you, Chuck, but didn't he go into more detail then that, explainng what he saw wrong with diffrent series?
Probably not. If he was doing an encomium to Doctor Who, he was probably just dropping quick digs at the other series, not a critical analysis.
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:59 PM
Scott Plaid Scott Plaid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
Probably not. If he was doing an encomium to Doctor Who, he was probably just dropping quick digs at the other series, not a critical analysis.
Quick digs? Ellison? I haven't read all that much of his, but he doesn't seem to concerned with space.
I have been driven to dig up my old copies, ( "Doctor Who and the Revenge of The Cybermen" by Terrance Dicks (1979, Pinnacle Books) and found it was back at the World S.F Con of the same year. (Thanks, Chuck)

It is six pages long, and is basically a paean of praise to the good doctor. However, now that I reread the name of the con, I was able to find the complete document. (Shows what a dedicated lot of researchers you are. ) Here is the part in which he states what he found wrong with the other big forms of sci-fi of the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by M.L.Stone, transcribing Ellison's words
Let me conclude this paean of praise with these thoughts: hating
Star Wars and "Star Trek" is not a difficult chore for me. I recoil
from that sophomoric species of creation that excuses its simplistic
cliche structure and homage to the transitory (as does does Star Wars)
as violently as I do from that which sententiously purports to be deep
and intellectual when it is, in fact, superficial self-conscious twaddle
(as does "Star Trek"). This not to say that I am an ivory tower
intellect whose doubledome can only support Proust or Descartes. When I
was a little kid, and was reading everything I could lay hands on, I
read the classics with joy, but enjoyed equally those works I've come to
think of as "elegant trash": the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, The
Shadow, Doc Savage, Conan, comic books and Uncle Wiggly. They taught me
a great deal of what I know about courage and truth and ethic in the
world.
To that list I add Doctor Who. His adventures are sunk to the
hips in humanisim, decency, solid adventures and simple good reading.
They are not classics, make no mistake. They can never touch the
illuminative level of Dickens or Mark Twain or Kafka. But they are solid
entertainment based on an understanding of Good and Evil in the world.
They say to us, "You, too, can be Doctor Who. You, like the Doctor, can
stand up for that which is bright and bold and true. You can shape the
world, if you'll only go and try."
---------------------------------------------------------
Introducing Doctor Who
amenities performed by Harlan Ellison

The words after the transcript,as I have said, written by M.L.Stone, are as follows:

The next time someone slags you for your love of Doctor Who, or if you
start to wonder why you like the good Doctor in the first place, just
remember Ellison's words. Eighteen years down the line, and every last
word is still true.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I need a drink, and then I'll think I'll write
something about Doctor Who.
__
M.L.Stone,
that very nice geezer, who's just nutty enough to have re-typed the
entire introduction so no one misses out....
------------------------------------------------------
I will take Mr. Stone's advice, and reread my old novelizations.
  #7  
Old 05-22-2005, 08:01 PM
JohnT JohnT is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
Probably not. If he was doing an encomium to Doctor Who, he was probably just dropping quick digs at the other series, not a critical analysis.
Not Harlan Ellison!

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