Excerpt from Wings Interview: The Real Harlan Ellison (page 32).

Harlan Ellison is the author of over nine hundred stories. A third of them are science fiction, a third are fantasy. The rest are mainstream. "What I'm trying to do," he told fans at a recent science fiction convention, "is to create a body of work that spans all genre." He has won eight Hugo awards for his work in science fiction short stories and films, two Nebula awards from the Science Fiction Writers of America, an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, and three times received the Writers Guild of America award for Most Outstanding Teleplay.

Among his award winning short stories are "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman", "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream", "The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World", and "Jefty is Five". He won Hugos for his novelettes "The Deathbird" and "Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langehans". His award-winning dramatic presentations include "The City on the Edge of Forever" (A Star Trek episode) and the motion picture "A Boy and His Dog".

[Snipped -- More biographical information ]

[Snipped -- earlier parts of the interview]

On Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard:

Ellison: Scientology is bullshit! Man, I was there the night L. Ron Hubbard invented it, for Christ Sakes!

I was sitting in a room with L. Ron Hubbard and a bunch of other science fiction writers. L. Ron Hubbard was famous among science fiction writers because he was the first one to have an electric typewriter.

Wings: He claimed to have written Dianetics in a weekend, and nobody can deny it.

Ellison: That's true. He wrote Dianetics in one weekend, and you know how he used to write? He used to take a roll of white paper, like paper you wrap fish in. He had it on the wall, and he would roll it into the typewriter and he would begin typing. When he was done, he would tear it off and leave it as one whole long novel.

We were sitting around one night... who else was there? Alfred Bester, and Cyril Kornbluth, and Lester Del Rey, and Ron Hubbard, who was making a penny a word, and had been for years. And he said "This bullshit's got to stop!" He says, "I gotta get money." He says, "I want to get rich".

Wings: He is also supposed to have said on that same night: "The question is not how to make a million dollars, but how to keep it."

Ellison: Right. And somebody said, "why don't you invent a new religion? They're always big." We were clowning! You know, "Become Elmer Gantry! You'll make a fortune!" He says, "I'm going to do it." Sat down, stole a little bit from Freud, stole a little bit from Jung, a little bit from Alder, a little bit of encounter therapy, pre-Janov Primal Screaming, took all that bullshit, threw it all together, invented a few new words, because he was a science fiction writer, you know, "engrams" and "regression", all that bullshit. And then he conned John Campbell, who was crazy as a thousand battlefields. I mean, he believed any goddamned thing. He really believed blacks were inferior. I mean he really believed that. He was also very nervous when I was in his office because I was a Jew. You know, he was afraid maybe I would spring horns or something.

Anyhow, the way he conned John was that he had J. A. Winter, who was a doctor, who was a close friend of John's, and he got him to run this article on Dianetics, the new science of mental health.

Wings: Dianometry was the first article, I believe.

Ellison: Right. And science fiction fans will go for any goddamm thing. They'll believe anything, man, they will believe in the abominable snowman and the Bermuda Triangle, in Pyramid Power, in EST, in Scientology, in the Second Coming, they'll believe in any goddamm thing, they don't give a shit. They go to see Star Wars; they think it is for real!

So science fiction fans picked it up, they began proselytizing, he started making money, when he had made enough money he was able to spread out a little more, then he got more cuckoos, you know, pre-Charlie Manson assholes that had no place else to go, and he began talking to these loons as if Dianetics really meant something. Then he wanted to get tax-exempt status, so he called it "The Church of Scientology".

Now, they've gotten so big that they own property all over the country, and it is impossible to stop it. They infiltrated the FBI, they infiltrated the tax department... , the funny thing is, Ron Hubbard and I still occasionally communicate with each other. Every once in a while, a couple or three times a year, we exchange letters. And I write to him, you know, and I say, "Hey Ron, when is this bullshit going to cease? These cuckoos are really driving me crazy! They come around the house with pamphlets!" And he writes me back, and he says, "It's the good work, it's the good work."

It's all very funny stuff. He was going to write a new story for me for the last Dangerous Visions, but I guess he got too busy counting his money. I don't know.